Mountaineers Foundation: Natural Places, Sustainable Practices

Natural Places, Sustainable Practices

About Us

The Mountaineers Foundation is dedicated to passing the best possible environmental legacy to ensuing generations.

Working through our volunteer board, The Foundation serves those who are committed to the responsible stewardship and active enjoyment of the beauty and diversity of our natural resources.

The Foundation promotes the long view of stewardship by building and maintaining strong relationships with both donors and grantees based on mutual trust and openness.

The Mountaineers Foundation is a registered 501(c)(3) organization. In 2018, we will be doing business as Keta Legacy Foundation under the registered trade name Keta Legacy Foundation.

Our Dual Purpose

The Rhododendron Preserve: An important part of our dual-purpose is owning and maintaining one important property: the 386-acre Rhododendron Preserve in Kitsap County.

Created to provide a refuge for people, native plants, and animals, the Preserve is a unique example of Puget Lowland old growth forest, home to one of the largest Chum salmon runs in the Puget Sound. The Preserve is open to the public and supports environmental and conservation educational experiences on the property.

For more information about the Preserve, please visit

Conservation Education Grant Funding: We also provide financial support for a wide range of conservation education projects that support our mission of environmental responsibility within the Salish Sea region.

In September 2013, Mountaineers Foundation received an extremely generous bequest from one of our founding members, Paul Wiseman. Mr. Wiseman wished his legacy to support conservation education projects the Foundation deemed appropriate to our mission.

Here’s a complete list of grants awarded.

Visit our Donate page to find out how you can support us.

Foundation Funds

General Fund

The Mountaineers Foundation maintains a General Fund which is used in a variety of ways to support the work of the Foundation and help manage the Rhododendron Preserve.

Paul Wiseman Conservation Education Fund

In September 2013, Mountaineers Foundation received an extremely generous bequest from one of our founding members, Paul Wiseman. Mr. Wiseman wished his legacy to support conservation education projects the Foundation deemed appropriate to our mission. Several times each year our Community Grants Screening Committee reviews and prioritizes grant applications and provides funding based on a number of factors outlined in our public grant guidelines. Funded programs have ranged from public classroom curriculum to community-focused, habitat-restoration communications and trainings.

Dedicated Funds

The Foundation maintains dedicated or restricted funds, which allow donors to make contributions that will be used only in support of designated projects. Restricted funds are typically established to support projects that are important to the Foundation. Below is a listing of our present dedicated funds and their assigned purposes.

  • Rhododendron Preserve Second Century Fund: dedicated to protecting and maintaining the Rhododendron Preserve
  • Rhododendron Preserve Education Fund: supports educational programs that utilize the Rhododendron Preserve as a resource
  • Property Acquisition Fund: supports land purchases for conservation and environmental protection and preservation

Mailing Address

PO Box 5749
Bremerton, WA 98312-0583

990 Report




Officers, Board, and Staff


Mindy Roberts has served several terms on the Foundation's Board, primarily focusing on the long-term health of the Rhododendron Preserve. She conducted research on the forests around Lost and Wildcat Creeks as part of her environmental engineering dissertation from UW. Mindy currently leads the Puget Sound program at the Washington Environmental Council.
Jeff Wirtz began his first term on the Foundation Board in early 2017, after several years of helping to survey the Rhododendron Preserve. He is an environmental scientist at a local consulting firm. In his free time, Jeff can usually be found climbing in the Cascades or the Olympics with the Mountaineers.
Scott Eby spent most of his childhood car camping and trout fishing with his parents in eastern Washington. That early experience, followed by participation in Boy Scouts and the Mountaineers, instilled a life-long love of the outdoors. Scott has a great appreciation for what we have to lose if we do not take care of the outdoor environment. Serving on the Foundation Board allows Scott to give back to the land in a tangible way that he was unable to do before.
Nancy Neyenhouse has been involved with and working on conservation issues in the Pacific Northwest for more than 20 years. She began her journey volunteering with the Mountaineers Conservation Committee. For the past 9 years, she has been a dedicated member of the Mountaineers Foundation Board of directors.

Board Members:

Linda Anderson-Carnahan joined the Mountaineers Foundation Board of Directors in 2016 and is currently the Co-Chair of the Preserve Committee. She is also a member of the Kitsap Branch of the Mountaineers and is the Chair of the Branch’s Climbing Committee.

Linda holds a Bachelor of Science degree with a double major in chemistry and biophysical environmental studies from Northland College in Ashland, Wisconsin. She also holds a Master of Science degree in Public Health from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where her thesis research focused on characterization of the byproducts of drinking water disinfection by ozonation.

She began her career in environmental science, policy and management in Atlanta in 1984 after working at the Centers for Disease Control. Over the last 33 years, Linda’s experience includes both staff and management positions in the areas of air and water quality, toxicity and risk assessment, pollution prevention, strategic planning, grants management, and the Puget Sound, Superfund and Brownfields programs.

Linda and her husband David live in Bremerton. Her interests include cycling, backpacking, sea kayaking, cross-country skiing, and mountaineering.

Jim Gates first volunteered at the Rhododendron Preserve in 2012, helping clean up Hidden Valley and removing invasive plants. He was immediately captivated by the old growth forest and the natural beauty of Lost and Wildcat Creeks. He sees the Preserve as an invaluable resource to the community, and was honored to accept an invitation to join the Foundation Board in early 2016. A construction project superintendent, Jim brings 30 years of construction skills to the restoration of Hidden Valley's natural beauty.

He is a member of the Mountaineers, and volunteers with their intermediate climbing committee, in addition to teaching new and less experienced climbing students to safely climb; with a focus of rock and glacier alpinism.

Jim's hobbies include reading, sports, running and alpinism. He is a lifelong resident of Washington and currently lives in Tacoma with his wife, son and daughter.

Rick Gillatt was raised on a 40 acre farm in Arizona. He currently resides on Bainbridge Island with his wife and two daughters. His education includes Kent School, a Bachelor's in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology with an emphasis in Marine Sciences from University of Arizona, and Sea Education Association, Woods Hole/Boston University.

Rick's career in ecology and biology has included work experience in plankton research, teaching, water chemistry, aquaculture research, marine animal care, seabird rehabilitation, and cattle farming. He has worked for New York Ocean Science Laboratory, Prince William Sound Aquaculture Corporation, and The Seattle Aquarium, to name just a few.

In addition to being a member of the Mountaineers Foundation Board, Rick serves on the Education, and Grants committees. He is also a wildlife care steward/educator with raptors at regional events and schools for the West Sound Wildlife Shelter, and conducts seasonal educational salmon programs at the Mountaineers Foundation Rhododendron Preserve.

Katha Miller-Winder grew up in eastern Washington, where she learned that all the interesting things are outside. As an adult, this has translated into a passion for outdoor education, both encouraging kids to learn about the environment and encouraging educators to use the natural environment to inspire learning. "It's a lot more fun to learn about circumference measuring actual trees than boring circles on a page." In Mountaineers Foundation, she's found a place that allows her to channel her passion.
Jay Naylor has served on the Foundation Board since 2007. He finds that the Foundation is unique in its goals of preserving the untouched watershed surrounding the large salmon runs in Lost and Wildcat Creeks and providing financial support to small community conservation efforts which are invisible to most donors. His main focus has been on the Community Grants and Finance Committees. He's been a member of The Mountaineers since 1977.
Nicole Cooper has served on the board since 2011 and is currently Chair of the finance committee. In her day job, Nicole is a benefits compliance analyst. The Mountaineers Foundation is a perfect blend for Nicole to combine her passion for the outdoors with her analytical personality. When she's not monitoring our expenses, Nicole can often be found hiding out in a tiny cabin in a remote forest in Montana.
Phyllis Meyers has worked with the Mountaineers Foundation since 1990 on Chico Creek issues. She is happy to join the board in 2018. Phyllis is a biologist and has worked largely on salmon habitat. She has worked for the Suquamish Tribe, National Marine Fisheries Service, and for King County's regional river and floodplain management section as a senior ecologist. Phyllis now helps her husband run their home business full-time, growing orchids from seed to supply collectors, and one day, restoration projects.
Eileen Hurley Safford, a life-long Puget Sounder, comes to the Foundation Board with years of experience as an educator, holding degrees in both Biology and Education. When not working with students, she spends as much time as possible out of doors, hiking, backpacking, kayaking, or skiing. Her main focus on the Board is education.

Debbee Straub has served on the Foundation Board since the summer of 2016. A Leadership Kitsap Alumni, she has also served as a member of the WestSound Wildlife Shelter’s steering committee and helped establish 501(c)(3) status for the Hui Heihei Wa’a Outrigger Canoe Association. Debbee is a National Board certified educator, teaching math, science, and aviation.

A strong advocate of youth and community, she coaches, volunteers, and advises groups in the Central Kitsap School District. Currently Debbee is the head track coach and an advisor to the group GoGirlGo which she began 6 years ago, inspiring girls to reach their potential as leaders in the community. Since 2012, she has been the creator and leader of Family STEAM nights (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art/Aviation, Math), encouraging families to grow and be inspired by the STEM initiative.

Debbee holds a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science and a Master of Science in Education.

Theresa Turpin began her first term on the Foundation Board in early 2017. She has also served two terms on the Nature and Environment Advisory Council for MetroParks Tacoma. As a consultant, Theresa assisted the Foundation with zoning verification of the Rhododendron Preserve property, and provided a list of permit requirements for repair work for the bridge and work in the floodplain on the property. Theresa has extensive public and private sector experience working with endangered species, shorelines, biological and environmental documentation, and land use planning and regulations.


Lorisa Watkins holds a B.A. in Environmental Planning and Policy with a minor in Environmental Science from Western Washington University, and has over 16 years of experience as a water quality professional. She has worked for the Department of Ecology’s Manchester Environmental Laboratory, Kitsap County Public Works Wastewater Department, and served West Sound Utility District (WSUD) as a laboratory analyst and non-formal public educator.

She has developed education outreach programs for the public, and volunteers for the South Kitsap Schools District as an advisor for Career and Technical Education and for the STEM Program.

A native Washingtonian, Lorisa is proud to call the Kitsap Peninsula her home, and feels fortunate to live 5 minutes away from the Rhododendron Preserve. She brings with her a spirit of service and a joy for helping students and community members understand environmental preservation.

Please feel free to contact us.