Elizabeth Holmes Gaar
Member Since: 2017
Elizabeth has worked for the federal government, NOAA Fisheries and the U.S. Forest Service, in natural resources conservation for over 30 years as a biologist, policy advisor, and program administrator. She moved to the upper Hood River Valley four years ago because she loves outdoor recreation and access to wilderness; and, the agricultural community is similar to her roots in northern Michigan, where she worked on cherry farms. Moving to Parkdale, OR was like coming home and her family feels the same.
MAI is important to Elizabeth because of the unique opportunities it provides to link veterans and young people to potential natural resources careers and also because the Cascade Mountain School provides fun experiences for young people and communities that enrich their perspectives of the natural world.
Member Since: 2013
After working as program director during the initial development and planning phase of the Mt. Adams Institute, Amanda joined the board. Prior to that she spent over 7 years working for the Northwest Service Academy-Mt. Adams Center, first as the recruitment coordinator and then as the environmental internship program coordinator. Currently she is the executive director of White Salmon Valley Education Foundation. Amanda has lived in the Columbia River Gorge since 2004. She enjoys exploring the outdoors with her daughter and son and volunteering with groups that strengthen communities.
Amanda is dedicated to the principles MAI instills in its members and programs: connection to the outdoors and to each other.
Member Since: 2014
Tom works in the areas of information technology, accounting and finance as a consultant. He enjoys coaching soccer, leading an outdoor adventure program and adventuring in the mountains, down rivers, and in the ocean with friends and family.
Tom volunteers with Mt. Adams Institute because he is touched, moved and inspired by the impact on the participants of the various programs and the benefits the stewardship programs have on the community.
Member Since: 2015
Fran worked in health care throughout her career as an organization development and learning consultant, physical therapist, project manager, and administrator. She likes to spend time in the out-of-doors and volunteering with community organizations. Fran is particularly interested in MAI’s work in connecting individuals to the natural world as a way to promote their individual learning and development. Fran also likes that MAI stimulates an individual’s appreciation and respect for our natural environment.
Member Since: 2011
Heather has lived in the Gorge most of her life, off and on. Her education is a bachelor’s in theology and a master’s in education-curriculum development. Heather’s work experience includes a vast array of short-term jobs as well as eighteen very wonderful years in education. Heather’s life really changed when she retired from education and went to work for the Northwest Service Academy (predecessor to MAI). It was then that she discovered the joys of activities in the natural world and found an inspiring group of dedicated young people. She currently lives in White Salmon, is married to the ever patient Bob, and has three amazing children, four wonderful grandchildren and one adorable great granddaughter.
Heather believes Mt. Adams Institute does important work in connecting people of all ages to the wonders of the natural world as well as helping a wide array of folks find a pathway into their future. The staff are dedicated, creative and fun, a pleasure to work with.
Member Since: 2011
Jeanne is the current CEO of Workforce Southwest Washington, a non-profit that invests in training adults and youth for the careers available in her community. Prior to her current position, Jeanne was the executive director of the Mount St. Helens Institute and assisted in the founding of the Mt. Adams Institute. Prior to that, Jeanne spent almost a decade working for Members of Congress. Jeanne is the proud mother of 4 adult children who are all married and successfully supporting themselves. She also has 6 lovely and rambunctious grandchildren. If she could have one wish, it would be that all of her grandchildren will love and appreciate the natural world and find nothing more pleasant than a hike in the woods, an evening spent stargazing or the sound of a coyote calling in the night.
She believes that there is dignity in meaningful work and especially appreciates the VetsWork program operated at MAI as it helps veterans transition from military service to careers in natural resources and conservation.
Member Since: 2018
Josh Lemieux brings years of experience working in both private and nonprofit settings to MAI’s Board. He works for OCHIN Inc., a Portland-based not-for-profit center providing solutions to improve the integration and delivery of health care services across a wide variety of practices—with an emphasis on safety net clinics and small practices as well as critical access and rural hospitals. He has led health and technology innovation programs at Mayo Clinic, WebMD, Markle Foundation and Intel Corporation.
Josh is drawn to the mission of Mt. Adams Institute through his connection to the Trout Lake community and his daughter’s experience as a Cascade Mountain School camper. He enjoys biking and hiking in the Mt. Adams area and community gatherings in Trout Lake.
Member Since: 2019
From the small farming town of Sherwood, OR, Aaron is a retired Army veteran.
Aaron decided to join Mt. Adams Institute’s (MAI) board because he cares deeply for the future of our planet. He would like to see more people committed to stewarding the outdoors and knows that MAI’s programs are likely to cultivate that conservation ethic.
Aaron’s hobbies include camping, fly-fishing, sports, reading, and spending time with his family, which he believes is the most important thing.
Member Since: 2019
Designer, artist, educator and native Oregonian, Julie Beeler grew up with a deep love and curiosity for the natural world. Along with her husband, Brad Johnson, she founded and led Second Story, an interactive design studio in Portland until 2012.
A Trout Lake resident since 2014, she conceived and launched Bloom & Dye in 2018 to grow her work and passion to benefit what she values most: curiosity, education, creativity, collaboration, community, and the environment. For Julie, educating others on how plants and their colors reflect the beauty of nature is something she is moved to share as a way to inspire care, stewardship and impact. Julie has hosted community dye workshops for MAI over the past few years, donating the proceeds to Cascade Mountain School summer camp scholarships.
When she is not digging in the soil, working in her art studio or leading workshops, Julie teaches Creative Entrepreneurship in the Applied Craft + Design MFA program at PNCA and OCAC in Portland, Oregon.
Member Since: 2020
Annette worked in the technology industry for 25 years with the last 20 at Intel Corporation in Hillsboro, Oregon. Her roles focused on Product Marketing, Project Management, Branding and Education. She and her husband moved to the Gorge in 2011 for its beauty and outdoor connection. They are now focused on revitalizing an old ranch in Trout Lake, Washington in an environmentally conscious manner.
Annette has a commitment to the outdoors, helping veterans, and desires to share her business background and knowledge to further MAI goals.