The Board

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.

Tom Wooding


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.

Frances Finney


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.

Jeanne Bennett

Member Since: 2012

Jeanne is the former executive director of the Mount St. Helens Institute, former CEO of SW Washington Workforce Development Council, current nonprofit management consultant and the founder of the Columbia Play Project.

Amanda is dedicated to the principles MAI instills in its members and programs: connection to the outdoors and to each other.

Amanda Lawrence

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.

Aaron Sarver

Board Member

Member Since: 2019

I grew up in a small farming town of Sherwood, Oregon about 20 minutes outside of Portland. After graduating high school I attended the University of Oregon and majored in English, while also completing the requirements to become an officer in the United States Army. After college, I was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the aviation branch.

I decided to join Mt. Adams Institute’s (MAI) board because I care deeply for the future of our planet. I would like to see more people committed to stewarding the outdoors and know that MAI’s programs are likely to cultivate that conservation ethic.

My hobbies include camping, fly-fishing, sports, reading, and spending time with my family, which is the most important thing.

Annette Swope

Board Member

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.

Rick Mogren

Board Member

Member Since: 2021

Rick is an Army veteran who retired after 27 years of active service. Upon his retirement, he spent 13 years as a consultant offering facilitative and process leadership to federal, state, and tribal collaborative efforts involved with Columbia Basin salmon recovery and other natural resource issues. Alongside his consulting work, he served 17 years as an adjunct professor of public administration at Portland State University. 

Rick very much enjoys outdoor activities and the career development of public servants. MAI’s missions and programs are of interest to him as an opportunity to assist veterans and develop future natural resource professionals. 

Gala Miller

Member Since: 2021

Gala is the former Chief of Interpretation at the Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument, former executive director of Columbia Springs Environmental Education Center, and current Public Affairs Officer on the Gifford Pinchot National Forest.  She has over 22 years of experience working in Community Engagement for the US Forest Service and has had the pleasure of supervising two VetsWork interns during her time working in this agency. 

Gala cares deeply about connecting people with nature and developing the next generation of natural resource stewards and believes that MAI programs play an important role achieving these goals.

David Wickwire

Board Member

Rejoined: 2022

David was born and raised in Portland, Oregon where he was exposed to the outdoors in the nearby Mt. Hood area and State parks in Oregon. That exposure led him to pursue a career in Forestry. He graduated from Oregon State University, and then University of Montana.  He has been with the U.S. Forest Service for 25 years serving in Timber, Fire and Recreation.  His position for the last 12 years has been at the Mt. Adams Ranger District as the Recreation/Wilderness/ Trails Program Manager.

Not only does he have a passion for the outdoors and serving the public, but he enjoys volunteer work.  He serves as chair of the Trout Lake Community Foundation, a non-profit that provides scholarships for local high school graduates.  He is excited to rejoin the Board at Mt. Adams Institute and support the mission of connecting people to the natural world.