Board of Directors

OLT is governed by a Board of Directors, which sets the organization’s mission, vision, and goals. Board members also contribute their time and energy to our events and projects.

Cynthia Nelson
President
 

Cynthia is a nurse and accomplished horsewoman who co-owns and operates a 720 cow-calf operation (on conserved land) near Chesaw.

Cynthia grew up in Oswego, Illinois. She earned a BS in Animal Science from Southern Illinois University, and more than a decade later, a BS in Nursing from Washington State University. Since 1998, Cynthia has been working part-time as a rural RN and floor nurse in Republic, and has been a nursing instructor since 2012.

In addition to nursing, Cynthia works as a horse trainer and breeder. She and her husband, Brian, operate the Nelson Ranch, which they placed under permanent protection in 2010 through a conservation easement held by OLT.

Gert Webster
Vice President
 

Gert is a longtime resident of Okanogan County. She was born in Cleveland, Ohio, and earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Dairy Science from Ohio State University.

She managed a horse farm Iowa City, Iowa, before moving to Brewster, WA in 1977. and becoming a resident of Okanogan County. She worked as foreman at Filaree Farm from 1993-2011.

Gert was a founding member and past president of Okanogan County Animal Foster Care. She was a former board member of the Okanogan County T.V. District #1. She now serves as secretary of the Okanogan County Historical Society.

John Rohrback
Treasurer
 

John works as a fisheries biologist for the Colville Confederated Tribes. He was born and raised in Lake Forest Park, a suburb of Seattle.  He came to Okanogan in 2014 to work as a fisheries biologist, and he quickly fell in love with the open spaces, sunny weather, and excellent fruit stands!

John enjoys spending his free time hiking, fishing, and hunting alongside his loyal dog Rosie, and is grateful for the conservation work OLT does to help keep the Okanogan such a wonderful place for the people and animals who love the outdoors.

Among friends, John will reticently admit that he wastes too much time watching old music videos on YouTube and listening to podcasts about college football.

Allisa Carlson
Secretary
 

Allisa works as a Wildlife Planner at the Okanogan Conservation District. She grew up on a small farm in Plains, Montana and graduated from the University of Washington with a degree in landscape architecture.

While in college, she worked for the U.S. Forest Service as an intern at the Columbia River Gorge Scenic Area and discovered a passion for protecting rural communities and scenery. Upon graduation, she worked as a consultant on rural-based projects such as scenic byways, visual  resource management, and habitat restoration.

Realizing that her heart was in conservation, she began a search for employment at a rural conservation-based organization. This led her to the Okanogan Conservation District, where she is currently employed and works with landowners on improving natural resources.

Allisa is also an avid birder and graduate of the Seattle Audubon Society Master Birder Program. In her free time, she enjoys doting on her niece and nephews, hiking, baking pies (with fresh Okanogan fruit!), gardening, art, and travel.

Patti Baumgardner
Director
 

Patti joined the OLT board after she retired from the Forest Service’s department of partnerships.  She feels privileged to have lived and worked in the Okanogan since 1975, and her love and respect for the landscape and the community continues to grow.

In the winter, you’ll find her cross-country skiing at Highlands Nordic Snow Park.  In the summer, she enjoys gardening and bicycling with her husband, George.

Patti envisions the Okanogan as a a network of open lands, both public and private, where agricultural practices fit within sustainable ecological systems, and rural communities thrive. She also loves working with kids in natural settings, and helping young people recognize the impact their actions have on the land they inhabit.

Margaret Hartzell
Director
 

Margaret has a lifelong interest in natural resource management, having worked for two federal land management agencies for 31 years before retirement in 2014.

She has a graduate degree in natural resources planning from the University of Washington. Her career included managing teams of wildlife biologists, fish biologists, soil scientists, social scientists, botanists, foresters, and recreation specialists on projects large and small.

Margaret plans to stay in Okanogan Country now that she is retired. There is lots of outdoors to enjoy and explore.OLT’s work is a great match to Margaret’s interest in the outdoors. She brings lots of knowledge about the natural world and much experience in managing natural resource conservation projects.

Noreen Olma
Director
 

Noreen grew up as a farmer’s daughter and has been ranching with her husband, Derek, in the Tonasket area since 1985.

In 2013, when the first of their two children graduated college and returned to the ranch, the Olmas began the process of placing a Conservation Easement on much of their deeded land.  “I believe in Conservation Easements because they give ranching families such as ours opportunities for growth, while also maintaining the integrity of the land forever.”

With the Conservation Easement now in place, the Olma family has continued to grow and expand their cow calf operation to support three families on the ranch.

Noreen is a graduate of the British Columbia Institute of Technology with a degree in Medical Laboratory Technology.  She works as the Laboratory Manager at North Valley Hospital in Tonasket.

Noreen is a past president of the Okanogan County Cattlewomen’s Association and maintains membership in the state and national Cattlewomen’s organizations.  She is also a proud supporter of the Tonasket Future Farmers of America and agricultural education.

Dale Swedberg
Director
 

Dale worked for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife for 40 years before retiring in 2016. He grew up near Ellensburg, WA, on a dairy farm that also raised beef cattle, grain and hay.  He attended Washington State University, receiving a BS in Wildlife Biology in 1972 and an MS in Environmental Science in 1981.

Dale began working for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife in 1976 and retired in 2016.  During his 40-year tenure with WDFW, Dale held six different positions; the most fulfilling of these was managing the Sinlahekin Wildlife Area for 16 years.  During this time, Dale came to realize that the wildlife habitat was fire dependent and that fire would be needed to manage it.  Dale is married to a very supportive wife, Kathy, who knows more about wildlife management, wildlife control, fire and prescribed fire than she cares to admit.  They have two grown children and three grandchildren.

Dale helped found Okanogan Land Trust, North Central Washington Prescribed Fire Council, and Washington Prescribed Fire Council.  Dale has served on the Citizen’s Committee for Upper Columbia Salmon Recovery Foundation and currently serves on the Board of Trustees for the Okanogan Historical Society. 



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