Meet Our Team

The Salish Sea School is committed to cultivating and preserving a culture of diversity, inclusion, and connectedness. We are able to grow and learn better together with a diverse team. We welcome the unique contributions that one can bring in terms of their education, opinions, culture, ethnicity, race, sex, gender identity and expression, nation of origin, age, languages spoken, veteran’s status, color, religion, disability, sexual orientation and beliefs.

We are stronger together with the collective sum of individual differences, life experiences, knowledge, innovation, self-expression, and talent which ultimately brings about a healthier planet. 

Click on the pictures below to learn more.

executive director/captain

amy eberling

is dedicated to cultivating student leaders in marine conservation through unique and purposefully tailored programs that bring science and research aliv

board member/naturalist

amanda colbert

works as the Education and Events Assistant for Orca Network. Through educating people of all ages, she aims to raise awareness about the whales of the Pacific Northwest and the importance of providing them safe ...

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art teacher

taylor white

is passionate about bringing the PNW's natural world to life on paper.  Her beautiful water color paintings are used as a fundraiser to support our marine conservation programs...

teacher, mindfulness curriculum

cathy norman

is a Hatha Integral Yoga instructor (RYT 200) and has studied mindfulness and meditation practices through her yoga training and Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction 8 week course...

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board member

betsey thoennes

is very involved in environmental advocay and activism projects. Her work as a developer, project manager and technology integration consultant...

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science advisory board

cindy elliser, ph.d

 founded Pacific Mammal Research to study marine mammals in the Salish Sea, particularly harbor porpoises and harbor seals...

teacher, mindfulness curriculum

dave norman

...passionately believes in the transforming power of intentional community and mindfulness practice. He has many years of experience in contemplative practice and building bridges of understanding and compassion in this tumultuous time of change.

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science advisory board

phoebe barnard, ph.d

 is passionate about accelerating global sustainability tipping points in a way that's as smooth, just, and informed by sound science, social science and economics as possible...

science advisory board

peter hodum, ph.d

is interested in how patterns and processes in ecology and conservation biology are shaped by mechanisms...

science advisory board

craig olson

is a retired salmon pathologist and microbiologist passionate about educating students about the many wonders of science.

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volunteer consultant

stacy de la o, cae

Stacy De La O, CAE, is a certified association executive and principal consultant for Sage & Rosemary Consulting. Read more

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committee volunteer

kelsey hansen

is originally from Idaho, but she has been calling the Pacific Northwest home for several years. Some of her greatest passions are the Salish Sea and the wildlife that call it home. Read more

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trevor derie

is a recent graduate from the University of Washington’s Aquatic and Fisheries Sciences and Biology programs. Growing up in Anacortes, he gained a passion for marine science through continuous explorations of the town’s tidepools and eventuallyand eventually focusing on issues pertaining to the marine environment.

read more

volunteer intern/deckhand

alex lowe

loves to spend time outside with his favorite hobbies being hiking and scuba diving. Alex is currently a freshman at Virginia Tech from Ashburn, Virginia. He is majoring in Biological Systems Engineering and minoring in Biodiversity Conservation.


Upon graduation, Alex plans to pursue a career that will allow him to care for the natural world.

volunteer intern/deckhand

kyle lowe

has a passion for marine animals and in particular the Southern Resident Orcas. 


After graduating from college with a major in Biological Systems Engineering and minor in Biodiversity Conservation, Kyle plans on either going to graduate school or getting a job that will allow help to protect the environment. He is an avid scuba diver and loves to be outside in nature. 

committee volunteer

erin merklein

recently graduated with a BS in Biology from University of Wisconsin- La Crosse and moved to Washington. She has been working at the Port Townsend Marine Science Center in education and animal husbandry. She loves exploring tide pools, kayaking and is obsessed with orca and all marine mammals! 

committee volunteer

jake schoenmann

is an NBC News Photographer based in DC and also a Trans Man. He brings a creative mind and helps with the inclusion/affirmation process towards the LGBTQ+ community. Having more programs that are safe spaces for diverse communities is much needed and beneficial to mental and physical health. 


robert mccrary

is a retired urban planner who decided to follow his bliss and relocate to Whidbey Island. He is a wilderness trekker at heart and enjoys time on his sail boat.  Robert has spent time helping with environmental conservation work focused on high desert and mountain habitats in the Southwest. 

A sincere thank you to the many professionals who have and continue to provide a wide range of invaluable support:

Tim Gohrke, Fractal Fotos
Deborah Gohrke, Fractal Fotos
Matt Stolmeier, OIE Captain
Drew Vevea, OIE Captain
Brooke McKinley, OIE Naturalist
Kevin Jackman, Skagit County Public Works
Wayne Huseby, Friends of Skagit Beaches
Erica Pickett, Soroptimist/Friends of Skagit Beaches
Nicole Mortimer, Anacortes School District
Rob Martin, Chinook Enterprises
Jason Quigley, Skagit County Public Works
Diane Hennebert, Anacortes Stormwater Manager
Mira Lutz, SeaDoc Society
Julie Masura, University of Washington, Tacoma
Elizabeth Johnson, The Johnson Manor
Pete Haase, Skagit MRC