Our Board

San Olson President

San’s interest is in maintaining both the quality of rural life in the San Juans and protecting our magnificent maritime environment. San has been a dairy farmer, a naval officer, and practiced small animal medicine in Boston and Seattle for 33 years. He was actively involved in the Friends of Barlow Bay’s efforts to oppose a large marina. He is the past president of the Catherine Washburn Memorial Association (owner of the Lopez Medical Clinic).

Janet Alderton Vice President

Janet spent 27 years as a research biologist at the University of California, Berkeley before retiring to Orcas Island. She loves hiking, native plants, and gardening. On her 5 rocky, dry acres in Deer Harbor, Janet is working to remove invasive plants such as Canada thistle and scotch broom and selectively pulling alien grasses to encourage the native grasses, wild flowers, ferns, and mosses. Janet proudly supports the research and public education activities of the Friends that are helping to protect our fresh and salt-water resources and the web of life that they sustain.

Bruce Rylander Treasurer

Bruce has been a longtime home owner and part-time resident of Orcas Island for more than 20 years. He moved to the island full time three years ago, and retired from various positions as a Finance Executive and Business Consultant. As a longtime member of Friends, Bruce supports Friends’ organizational goals and objectives to preserve the Salish Sea ecosystem and maintain the character and quality of island life.

Susan Dehlendorf Secretary

Susan and her husband, David, have lived on San Juan Island for the past 13 years. She is a retired City of Seattle bureaucrat whose early career was in journalism. She is active in the local League of Women Voters and previously served as a County Planning Commissioner. She holds two degrees from Stanford University. She and David are proud parents of two accomplished daughters and grandparents of three.

Marta Nielsen

Marta says she has been in love with all things outdoors since she was five years old and her father taught her the “proper” way to build a fire. About the same age, he also talked to her about “Spirit being all around me in the natural world”. As an adult, her personal priority is to live a life in tune with and respectful of the natural environment. She hopes to be able to put her undergraduate degree in Integrated Studies, MEd in Partnership Education, certification in Non-Profit Management and middle school teaching endorsement in Science and Math to work by helping to further the goals and mission of Friends of San Juan Islands, an organization she was drawn to upon first arriving on Orcas in 2007.

Dixie Budke

Dixie’s strengths lie in her organizational and humanistic character. Her life’s work experience has crossed all sectors – from consulting corporate America to directing a non-profit to a professorship. Dixie has made her living studying human and business organizational culture and will help strengthen Friends’ effectiveness as we work to promote local environmental awareness and stewardship. Dixie holds a BS degree in Business Administration and Management, a Master’s degree in Human Development and a Doctorate in Human and Organization Systems. Her dream community is one where a divergent population can come together in respectful discourse about important matters that improve the good of all. To this end, Dixie is willing to lend her shoulder to support the idea of ‘common good’ in Friends’ work. Dixie looks forward to helping Friends continue to be advocates, data providers and environmental educators for our community.

Ken Burtness

Ken Burtness has a long history in the San Juan Islands – his family moved to Shaw in 1890 and he has lived on Lopez for 35 years. He was born and raised in Anacortes and attended the University of Washington. Ken started working for the Washington State Ferries as a summer job during college. He ended up making it a permanent job as a captain. Ken retired in 2008. His biggest interest these days is gardening. Because of his long family history in the islands, he feels very connected to this place and the people who live here. Ken views his board membership as a way to contribute to keeping the islands a special place. With his deep island roots and in-depth knowledge of our local waterways, it is an honor to have Ken on the Friends board.

Michael Riordan

Michael, a physicist and author, writes about science, technology and public policy from Orcas Island, where he lives and often kayaks. He holds a Ph.D. in physics from MIT and has taught courses about the history of physics and technology at Stanford University and UC Santa Cruz. He is author of “The Hunting of the Quark” as well as coauthor of “The Solar Home Book,” “The Shadows of Creation,” “Crystal Fire,” and — most recently — “Tunnel Visions.” He has published articles, essays and reviews in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, San Francisco Chronicle, Scientific American and the Seattle Times. Currently the Chair of the Science Advisory Board of Research Now in Eastsound, WA, he has an abiding interest in fossil-fuel transport through the Salish Sea.

Shireene Hale

Shireene and her husband Ed have lived on San Juan Island since 2005. She holds a BS in environmental health, and worked as an environmental health professional and land use planner in northern Idaho before moving to the San Juans. She was the deputy director of the San Juan County Community Development Department, and the staff lead on the update of the critical area regulations. Shireene and Ed are now retired and enjoy sailing and visiting remote areas of British Columbia and Alaska. Shireene is proud to support Friends efforts to protect and restore the San Juan Islands.

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