Photo by Irene Owsley
PWS Stewardship Foundation Board of Directors
Heather Thamm -- Board of Directors Chair
Heather lives and works in Girdwood, Alaska and has been exploring Prince William Sound for many years. She moved to Alaska from Idaho in the late 90's to attend Alaska Pacific University. She has worked for the Chugach National Forest as a avalanche forecaster and now as a biological science technician. Inspired by wild places like Prince William Sound, she is pursuing a second degree from Oregon State University in Fisheries and Wildlife Science.
Paul Twardock -- Board of Directors Vice Chair
Author of Kayaking and Camping in Prince William Sound, and Professor of Outdoor Studies, Alaska Pacific University; Anchorage,Alaska
Barbara Lydon -- Board of Directors Secretary
Barbara Lydon has been a wilderness ranger for the US Forest Service since 2006, both on the Tongass and Chugach National Forests; she’s been working in Prince William Sound since 2011. Influenced by the natural world, Barbara is an artist and art teacher, and also coordinates Voices of the Wilderness - a unique Alaskan artist residency program through a partnership between the USFS, NPS and USF&WS.
Kelly Bender -- Board of Directors
Kelly is co-owner of Lazy Otter Charters with her husband Mike. Kelly started her career in Prince William Sound in the 80s working on tour boats between Valdez and Whittier. After working small cruise ships and tour boats throughout the Pacific Northwest, Southeast Alaska and Kenai Fjords, she returned to Whittier and her first love, Prince William Sound, where she joined Mike at Lazy Otter. Mike and Kelly raised their family in Prince William Sound and both continue to work preserving the wilderness quality of the Sound. Kelly is the President Greater Whittier Chamber of Commerce.
Marybeth Holleman -- Board of Directors
Marybeth is author of The Heart of the Sound and Among Wolves. Raised in North Carolina’s Smokies, she transplanted to Alaska's Chugach after falling head over heels with Prince William Sound just two years before the Exxon Valdez oil spill. Her first job in Alaska was selling tickets on the train from Portage to Whittier. Visit Marybeth's website at: www.marybethholleman.com.
Peter Denmark -- Board of Directors
President, Alaska Sea Kayakers (Whittier, AK)
Vice Mayor, City of Whittier, Alaska
Doug Penn -- Board of Directors
Doug is an educator and school administrator. He has lived and worked in Prince William Sound for the 25 years and travels regularly to the communities of Chenega Bay, Tatitlek, and Whittier. Doug loves introducing others to the majesty and beauty of Prince William Sound and in particular engaging local youth to be future stewards of this wild place they call home.
Victoria Vandersommen -- Board of Directors
Victoria has been working as a guide in Prince William Sound since 2015. She graduated from UAA in 2017 with a B.S. in Environment & Society and conducted an undergraduate research project in the Sound. Victoria has a passion for studying marine wildlife and sharing information about Prince William Sound’s natural history.
Victor Shen -- Board of Directors Treasurer
Victor grew up in Whittier, Alaska. He left the state to earn a BS in Forestry conservation and wildland fire management from Humboldt State University. Victor started guiding sea kayak trips in PWS in 2004 and has continued that to this day. He spent a few summers working for the USFS in the Chugach NF wilderness program and Mt Baker - Snoqualmie NF wilderness trail crew. In addition to guiding, Victor has worked as a field instructor for NOLS and a trip leader for Alaska Geographic. Currently, Victor is torturing high school students at a residential school and volunteers with Alaska Trail Stewards.
Ellen Ray -- Board of Directors
Ellen discovered her love for Prince William Sound in 2019 when working as a Wilderness Fellow with the US Forest Service. She is now hooked on Prince William Sound’s beauty and finds as much time as possible to explore, learn about, and steward the land. She has helped develop land use monitoring programs and continues to work on various data collection and reporting protocols.