Who We Are

The Conservancy works with our community to identify and protect special places throughout the region. We protect private lands through legal agreements with landowners. We also work to improve lands under our management for habitat, clean water and air, and native plants. In recent years, the Conservancy has partnered with other agencies and community organizations to protect land for public enjoyment. Check out our projects under Where We Work and join us in protecting this beautiful area for years to come!

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Our Values

Love of Nature
Our work is driven by a deep love of the natural world and its processes.

We steward lands and resources so that our work outlives us.

We make strategic choices based in science to maximize our enduring conservation impact.

We build relationships that deliver results.

The Team

Dave Schaub

Executive Director

Dave joined Inland Northwest Land Conservancy as Executive Director in 2017. An outdoorsman with deep ties to Spokane, Dave has the ideal combination of qualifications and experience: conservation, education, and business.

Dave has a BA in Psychology from Swarthmore College and is a 2017 graduate of Leadership Spokane. He was a board member and a past president of the Dishman Hills Conservancy and is a member of the Spokane County Parks Advisory Committee.

Prior to his involvement in conservation work, Dave’s professional experience includes owning a green building supply business in Montana and teaching public school in Seattle.

Dave’s outdoor experience includes serving as a NOLS Alaska Instructor and hiking the entire Pacific Crest Trail from Mexico to Canada. A proud father of two children, Dave and his wife Heidi spend as much time as they can exploring the beautiful lands and waters of the Inland Northwest on foot, by bike, on skis and by boat throughout the year.

Vicki Egesdal

Associate Director

Vicki joined the land conservancy in 2001 when it was known as the Inland Northwest Land Trust. Previously she was finance director for Spokane AIDS Network. She also was a law office manager for more than 10 years.

Vicki was in charge of all development and communications for Inland Northwest Land Trust from 2001 until 2014 when she became Associate Director and handed off some of those duties to others. She managed INLT’s Family Forests Forever project to conserve private working forests, helped develop the Latah Creek Watershed and Bayview to Hayden Conservation Plans, and ran a campaign to purchase and protect the first parcel at Reardan’s Audubon Lake in 2006. As Program Manager she is once again involved with land protection, community conservation, and communications.

Chris DeForest

Senior Conservationist

Chris is the Senior Conservationist of Inland Northwest Land Conservancy. He started out as the executive director of Inland Northwest Land Trust in June 1997 when he was hired as its first full-time employee, and transitioned in 2014 to full time land protection work.

He enjoys helping people protect the lands they love, as working farms and forests and homes for our native wildlife, from hummingbirds to trout to elk and moose, plus wildflowers and native plants.

Chris has an undergraduate degree in economics and an MBA and Master of Forestry degrees from Yale University. Chris also worked on land-use policy and economics at the University of Georgia School of Forest Resources, then on land management issues for the US Forest Service in Walla Walla and Portland OR.

A Seattle native, Chris spends summer vacations at his great-grandfather Henry Hart’s log cabin on Lake Pend Oreille. Chris and his wife and two young sons live in Spokane. They enjoy cross-country skiing on Mt Spokane, the South Perry Farmers Market, and time with family members on the East and West coasts.

Rose Richardson

Stewardship Director

Rose joined Inland Northwest Land Conservancy in October 2019 and her work supports the Conservancy’s evolving land protection efforts. She monitors protected lands and designs hands-on restoration and volunteer programs to enhance the existing habitats that host our beloved wildlife.

Growing up in Spokane, Rose has strong ties to the lands of the Inland Northwest and returned to the area after studying and working in western Washington. She earned her BA in Geography from Western Washington University.

Prior to her work with the Conservancy, she was the Stewardship Associate for Whatcom Land Trust in Bellingham, Washington, where she monitored lands, designed restoration projects, and engaged volunteers on the land. Before her work with the land trust community, Rose worked with the NW Region Department of Natural Resources to build trails, do restoration work, and fight wildfires.

Carol Corbin

Philanthropy & Communications Director

Carol joined Inland Northwest Land Conservancy in February 2020. Although she grew up in Pennsylvania less than a mile from the Appalachian Trail, for the last 12 years she has worked in Spokane for REI, most recently as an outdoor programs coordinator for retail operations. She has also served on the Dishman Hills Conservancy board and volunteered with Evergreen East Mountain Bike Alliance.

Carol holds a BA in journalism and photography from Andrews University, and MSEd from Southern Adventist University with an emphasis in experiential, place-based outdoor education. After college she spent a year teaching in Guam.

Carol strives to live an intentional, locally focused life. She is “constantly amazed by the power of the outdoors to transform people” and writes, “I want to help INLC find a very clear, cohesive, and compelling voice in the Spokane community, one that doesn’t just speak to like-minded conservationists, but to the average person.”

Spokane and INLC are a perfect fit for Carol and her son, who live near Dishman Hills. Together, they hike, run, bike, build trails, kayak, climb, camp, snowshoe, and snowboard. In addition, Carol has folded over 5,000 paper cranes. Her favorite local areas are Dishman Hills, Mica Peak, Mt. Spokane, and the Little Spokane River Natural Area.

Todd Dunfield

Public Lands Protection Specialist

Todd Dunfield joined Inland Northwest Land Conservancy as the Community Conservation Program Manager in 2018. He is a big trail enthusiast, who can often be found hiking, biking or leading trail maintenance work parties in the greater Spokane area.  Todd has a background in higher education and non-profit management having worked at Gonzaga University for over ten years and serving as the executive director of both Spokane Nordic Ski Association and the North Idaho Centennial Trail Foundation.

Todd has served on the board of the Spokane Mountaineers, Friends of the Spokane River Centennial Trail, and Washington Trails Association.  He has a BA in History from Gonzaga University and a Master’s in Education from Seattle University.  Todd and his family live in the Millwood area east of downtown near the Spokane River.  As a family, they often recreate on the Centennial Trail, mountain bike through Beacon Hill and Rock Climb at Minniehaha Rocks.

Michael Crabtree

Conservation Director

Born in Madison, Wisconsin and raised in Oregon, Mike grew up skiing, camping, and playing sports. Now living in Coeur d’Alene, ID with his wife, kids, and their covid pup, Jackson, Mike loves the beauty and diversity found in the Inland Northwest. “The mountains, lakes, and rivers offer endless possibilities to connect with nature. As a parent, I especially love the opportunities for my children to enjoy the outdoors year-round.” 

Joining the conservancy’s team in 2021, Mike is passionate about future generations enjoying wide open spaces, outdoor recreation, and renewable resources as much as he has benefited from them in his own life. He can think of no better use of his time and energy than protecting clean water, clean air, wildlife habitat, and open spaces for the future.  

“I’d like to see a world in which people have a greater appreciation for and connection to the outdoors and natural surroundings. Undeveloped land is precious.” He points out that once it’s gone, it’s gone forever so this work is immediate and important. 

Steven Eddington

Stewardship Assistant

A native of Bothell, Washington, Steven Eddington joins the Conservancy as Stewardship Assistant because of a lifelong love affair with nature that began on the banks of North Creek. Exploring the creek and getting to know all the plants, animals, and bugs that lived there taught Steven that he wanted to protect places like the Creek so others could fall in love with nature too.

An avid gardener, Steven spends most of his time cultivating 25 different species of fruits and vegetables in only 900 square feet, yielding food for him—and friends and family—for most of the year.

Steven looks forward to working with the Conservancy team to care for protected lands and waters far into the future. 

Gillian Rowe

Philanthropy & Communications Assistant

Gillian is a native of Barrington, IL, and joins the Conservancy team from an AmeriCorps position in Bozeman, MT. Boating on Lake Michigan and playing in her suburban backyard helped Gillian learn to appreciate nature and the outdoors, regardless of the scale. Being far away from her midwest friends and family, Gillian says, is the biggest adjustment in moving to the Inland Northwest but she is excited to discover what the area has to offer and to share it with those closest to her as they are able to come visit. If she had 24 hours and $10,000, she would plan a trip to Ireland to celebrate the life of her Irish Grandma Rowe, who was born on St. Patrick’s Day.

In her free time, Gillian might be found practicing the ukulele, repurposing thrifted jewelry, practicing Spanish with Duolingo, or reading in her hammock. She enjoys hiking, camping, and paddle boarding. She is eager to connect diverse groups in the Inland Northwest with our natural spaces and help to organize a variety of events that offer a taste of the outdoors for everyone.

Leyna Bernstein - President

Leadership Coach & Consultant, Leyna Bernstein Consulting 

After a dynamic career as a non-profit consultant and advocate for conservation, Leyna chose to retire to Spokane because of the abundance of open space and access to beautiful outdoor places. After watching her childhood home of Laguna Beach, CA give way to development, Leyna is passionate about preserving the best of the Inland Northwest for generations to come. In addition to the board of Inland Northwest Land Conservancy, she works with Friends of Manito, the Women’s and Children’s Free Restaurant and Dining for Women.

Toni Pessemier - Vice President

American Indian Relations Advisor, Avista Utilities

In both Toni’s personal and professional experiences, she has been exposed to preservation projects and organizations that have taken the initiative to protect our waters and lands for future generations.  As Avista Corporation’s American Indian Relations Advisor, she has been honored to learn from and work with regional Tribes as they work conscientiously to protect these important natural and cultural resources.  Growing up in Bend, Oregon and living in the Pacific Northwest, she relishes her time in nature-whether it be hiking, backpacking, biking, camping, skiing, kayaking or experiencing a new activity with family and friends.

Brian Behler - Treasurer

Chief Executive Officer, Skils’kin

Skils’kin is a Spokane based non-profit whose mission is “to enrich the quality of life for adults with disabilities.” Growing up in Clarkston, WA afforded Brian access to the Snake River and all of the open space around the area. He is a proud graduate of Washington State University and was a CPA by profession. Prior to joining Skils’kin in 2011, he was the managing partner of the Spokane public ac counting firm of BehlerMick. Brian is driven to protect the open spaces that were so important to him growing up. He says he is dedicated to ensure his grandkids have the opportunity to enjoy nature that is close to home just as he did.

Sally Pritchard - Secretary

Retired Non-profit Leader

Sally Pritchard retired in 2020 after a career of working for local nonprofits, most recently as the Vice President of Community Impact for Spokane County United Way.  Sally has extensive nonprofit board experience, and a deep commitment to preserving the regional ecosystem.  “As a long time member of the Inland Northwest Land Conservancy, I am impressed with its strategic vision, commitment to partnerships, and increasing impact.”  Sally enjoys running, hiking, swimming, and backpacking in the Inland Northwest, and aspires to get better at bird and plant identification.

Lindsay Chutas

Riparian Program Leader, Spokane Conservation District

Lindsay brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to our board of directors, particularly regarding one of our highest priorities: protecting invaluable water resources. A graduate of the University of Washington (B.S., Geology) and Duke University (M.S., Earth and Ocean Sciences), Lindsay is the Riparian Program Leader for the Spokane Conservation District’s Water Resources Department, where she has been working for over a decade.

Vange Ocasio Hochheimer

Professor of Economics, Whitworth University

An Economics professor at Whitworth University, Vange brings highly appreciated skills to Inland Northwest Land Conservancy, particularly since her passion is sustainable development and promoting the three pillars of sustainability: environment, people, and economy.

In Spokane, Vange has won multiple community-wide awards such as the Outstanding Emerging Philanthropist award from Spokane County United Way and the Latina Leader of the Year award from the Latino Hope Foundation. She is extremely active in the Spokane community, and serves on the Spokane YMCA Board, the Community Economic Revitalization Board, and the Catholic Charities of Eastern Washington Board. She has served on the Mayor’s Advisory Council on Multicultural Affairs and the League of Education Voters Executive Committee.

Julie Johnson

Teacher (Retired), Community Volunteer

Julie grew up in Southern California in a community that actively cared for open spaces.  The Laguna Beach Greenbelt was established as a buffer zone while she attended High School.  She participated in efforts to enjoy and care for the environment which included beach trash collecting and taking very short showers.  While in college she spent her summers as a camp counselor leading groups of campers into the mountains of Northern California.  She obtained her Multiple Subject teaching credential after college and has taught and volunteered in schools while raising three sons with her husband, Russ.

Debra Schultz

Retired Educator, Community Volunteer

One of Debra’s greatest joys has been watching the Conservancy grow and mature since those beginning days where a small group of conservation minded folks sat around our kitchen table and dreamed of the organization that the Conservancy has become. She is excited to work with a board and staff that are so competent and forward thinking about preservation of our local land and water environments. Debra offers a variety of skills to Inland Northwest Land Conservancy; soil science, environmental constraint planning, educator, business owner and most important an active participant in our Spokane Community.

Dave Sonntag

Associate Vice President of Marketing and Communications

Dave Sonntag leads marketing and communications at Gonzaga University and serves on the University’s Executive Leadership Team. Prior to that Dave worked at Eastern Washington University and two regional marketing and public relations firms. In his leisure time, Dave enjoys spending time with his family, and outdoor pursuits including mountain biking, fly fishing, paddle boarding, boating, skiing, hiking, and backpacking. 

Sandy Emerson

Real Estate Appraiser, Emerson Valuation 

J.A. “Sandy Emerson grew up on the lake, graduated from the University of Idaho and served as an Army Facilities Engineer in Germany (South Bavaria) before returning with his family to northern Idaho. Sandy was a real estate broker and later executive director of the Coeur d’Alene Chamber of Commerce. He is a real estate appraiser, focusing on land valuations for timberlands and waterfront properties. His lifelong interests in outdoor recreational activities make preservation and protection of our area’s natural resources a priority in his life. 

Lindsay Chutas - Chair

Riparian Program Leader, Spokane Conservation District

Lindsay brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to our board of directors, particularly regarding one of our highest priorities: protecting invaluable water resources. A graduate of the University of Washington (B.S., Geology) and Duke University (M.S., Earth and Ocean Sciences), Lindsay is the Riparian Program Leader for the Spokane Conservation District’s Water Resources Department, where she has been working for over a decade.

Tom Bradley

After a storied career in the National Park Service, Tom planted roots in Spokane due to the proximity to outdoor recreation spaces. Experienced in working extensively with land trusts throughout the United States, Tom is excited to continue his volunteer work on Inland Northwest Land Conservancy conservation projects.

Lisa Langelier

Retired wildlife refuge manager, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 

Lisa’s area of expertise is wildlife habitat, land management,  and wild birds. She volunteers with INLC be cause she believes protecting land from development, offering opportunities for people to enjoy the outdoors, and partnering with others – is critical to our region. As our area grows, INLC will play an increasingly important role. She says, “What INLC does is important, cool, and they fill an important niche in our region.”

Paul Knowles

Planning, Development & Real Estate Manager, Spokane County

INLC and Spokane County have partnered for decades on land conservation projects and in volunteering with INLC, Paul is continuing this long-standing tradition of partnership and collaboration.
He is most excited about the Conservancy’s work with Saltese Uplands addition, Rimrock to Riverside, and Waikiki Springs Nature Preserve. Says Paul of the Conservancy, “It’s a well-run, results-oriented organization that is directly benefitting our communities, lands, waters and wildlife.”

Rebecca Brown

Professor and Chair of Biology, Eastern Washington University

Becky’s area of expertise is plant, restoration, and riparian ecology. She says, “I have a career studying and teaching about the natural world.  It feels good to play a role in hands on conservation of the natural world.” As a neighbor to the area, she is excited about Rimrock to Riverside because of it’s potential to preserve a wildlife and recreational corridor into perpetuity. She loves how hard the community is willing to work for their park through volunteer cleanups and other activities.

Rebecca Stevens

Restoration Coordinator- Coeur d’Alene Tribe

Rebecca specializes in water quality protection, land stewardship, overseeing EPA’s clean-up/remedial efforts in the Bunker Hill Mining and Metallurgical Complex Superfund Site (BHSS) in the Silver Valley of Idaho, restoring injured natural resources due to the historic release of hazardous substances, and furthering the Coeur d’Alene Tribe’s interests in protecting Coeur d’Alene Lake, their aboriginal territories, and Tribal Sovereignty. Conservation easements on agricultural land in the Lower Coeur d’Alene River Basin against land use development. She appreciates the ability to be a part of making sound land use protection projects to the INLC Board and their members in the Pacific Northwest with a particular focus on North Idaho.


Peggy O'Connell

Professor Emerita and former Chair, Department of Biology, Eastern Washington University

Peggy is a vertebrate ecologist who has studied vertebrate behavior and vertebrate-habitat relationships in a wide variety of environments including eastern deciduous forests, southwestern deserts, and tropical savannahs and forests. Since moving to the Inland Northwest close to 40 years ago, she and her students have examined how human activities from logging and grazing to habitat restoration affect vertebrate populations in the region’s varied habitats. She has been involved with regional land conservation for many years, first as a board member of The Nature Conservancy of Washington and then as a board officer and long-term member of the LPC of the INLC. Working with the INLC as it has grown and matured has provided her with a meaningful and proactive avenue to give back to the resources she values.

Rob Lindsay

Administrator, Spokane County Environmental Services

Rob was born and raised in the Inland Northwest and is proud to call Spokane his home. His lifelong passion is exploring local trails less traveled with his family.

Rob is a hydrogeologist and has focused his career on environmental protection and resource management. His  approach to resource management is founded on preservation for future generations. “My charge is to consider the impacts to my children, and their children, with the resource decisions we make today. And that’s why I resonate with Inland Northwest Land Conservancy, to preserve these resources for generations to come.”

Casey Flanagan

Casey joined the Inland Northwest Land Conservancy in March 2022. Growing up north of Spokane, Casey was raised for a love for the outdoors. She currently resides along Lake Spokane with her husband and kids on a small hobby farm. Her and her family enjoy fishing, hiking, backpacking, camping, foraging and rafting throughout the pacific northwest.

Casey holds a B.S. in Biology with an emphasis in fisheries and ecology from Eastern Washington University. She has worked for the Spokane Tribe of Indians for over 12 years as a Water and Fish Project Manager. Her position entails conducting fish and habitat surveys on tributaries to the Spokane River and Lake Roosevelt, as well as water quality monitoring and stream habitat restoration. She is currently on the board of the Spokane River Forum, Spokane Watershed Salmon Restoration Lead Entity, Spokane County Voluntary Stewardship Program and the Spokane River, Lake Roosevelt and Upper Columbia River Redband Trout Workgroups.

Judy Stafstrom

Retired high school government and U.S. History teacher

Judy loves contributing to the preservation of land for the enjoyment of all generations while also contributing to healthy relationships. She gets excited at each Land Protection Committee meeting because she sees the fruits of all the various efforts to protect land. She enjoys volunteering for work parties. She says INLC enables people to make a real difference for land conservation in the region while meeting talented and fun loving people of different backgrounds.

Eric Erickson

Eric lives near Riverside State Park and has been instrumental in protecting areas like the Trautman Ranch property. He hikes daily with his dogs and, in addition to his work on the Land Protection Committee, does GIS mapping work as a volunteer for the Conservancy. His story is featured in this post to our blog from 2020.

Sandy Emerson

Real Estate Appraiser, Emerson Valuation 

J.A. “Sandy Emerson grew up on the lake, graduated from the University of Idaho and served as an Army Facilities Engineer in Germany (South Bavaria) before returning with his family to northern Idaho. Sandy was a real estate broker and later executive director of the Coeur d’Alene Chamber of Commerce. He is a real estate appraiser, focusing on land valuations for timberlands and waterfront properties. His lifelong interests in outdoor recreational activities make preservation and protection of our area’s natural resources a priority in his life. 

Building on Local Parks History

Olmsted 2.0

With 175 sunny days per year and 87 city parks, Spokane, Washington boasts a reputation of being an ideal destination for enjoyment of the outdoors. As the region gets discovered, though, population expansion in the County necessitates a new, bold vision for access to the outdoors–one that will last our community for the next 100 years and beyond.

Learn More

Where We Work

INLC protects a variety of private and public land throughout the Inland Northwest. To find out more about our project areas, check out Where We Work.

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