Board Members

Lisi Ott
President
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Lisi Ott

President

Lisi was born and raised in Milwaukee Wisconsin by a dedicated conservationist dad and an art major mother. Her dad was in the last graduating class of Aldo Leopold and she was raised to be someone who cannot live without the “wild things”. Her childhood was spent exploring the United States, its lands and the communities to which we all belong. She graduated from St. Lawrence University in upstate NY spending 4 years exploring the Adirondacks while earning her degree in Behavioral Ecology by majoring in animal biology, animal psychology, and environmental science. She and her husband moved to E. Wenatchee in 1984 where her interest in regional planning almost got her employed by the city of E. Wenatchee until an unfortunate encounter with a van while riding her bike sent her life in a different direction. They bought land up the Chumstick Hwy. and moved to Leavenworth in 1996. Lisi acquired llamas to help her access the backcountry and alpacas to feed her growing interest in fiber art. Shortly after moving into her new community Lisi helped start the Chumstick Community Watershed Association and replaced 7 culverts for improved fish passage. During the late 1990’s she was appointed as a Chelan County Planning Commissioner and served for 4 years. In 2004 she was a founding board member of Leavenworth Recycles. During this time she began volunteering for Barn Beach Reserve’s youth education program shortly after its inception. This lead to a full circle where Lisi is able to pay forward her father’s teachings of conserving only what we love, loving only what we understand and understanding only what we are taught.

Gary Provo
Vice President
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Gary Provo

Vice President

 A third generation Wenatchee native, Gary was raised in a large, local family who celebrate and embrace the four seasons, abundant diverse wildlife, dramatic geography and distinctive watershed that is the namesake of the Cascades.  Although his immediate family moved to Arizona for family health reasons when he was a teenager, he returned frequently to visit relatives, and vacation in favored environs of the Pacific Northwest.
After a fulfilling career as a Systems & Technology Executive in Financial Services and Higher Education, he and his wife Jane, left the “big cities” in 2013 and retired to the West Eaglerock area of Sunnyslope, above the river valley they both cherish.  Landscape and wildlife photography along with fishing, hiking, and boating are personal priorities.  Gary joined WRI after being introduced to the organization through the notable Naturalist Program at Wenatchee Valley College.   He is a Rotarian, a member of the Wenatchee Valley Museum and the Ice Age Floods Institute, and serves on the Finance Committee of the Chelan-Douglas Land Trust.  

Gro Buer
Secretary
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Gro Buer

Secretary

Gro loves living in gorgeous Leavenworth and spends as much time as possible outside. She is a former science teacher with degrees in natural resources and science education as well as English as a second language. She regulary brought her students from Icicle River Middle School and Cascade High School to the Barn Beach Reserve to enjoy the outdoors and help younger students in the program. In her career, she has taught at University of Washington and with the Peace Corps, and currently for Wenatchee Valley College. Gro was the education chair for Seattle Audubon and is currently serving as a board member for MEND. Her love for the outdoors and education led her to join the WRI board.

Claudia Cockerham
Treasurer
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Claudia Cockerham

Treasurer

Claudia grew up in South Seattle, where she enjoyed hiking and camping with her family. Her family greatly valued community involvement, as they actively advocated for and supported the arts, parks, historical preservation, and many other volunteer efforts with much success. She graduated from San Francisco State College with a degree in Economics after-which she pursued a 35 year career in commercial small business lending, specializing in SBA loans, with both non-profits lenders and banks in the Bay Area. She has served as Executive Director for Evergreen Community Development in Seattle and most recently was Commercial Team Leader and Sr. Vice President with Peoples Bank for 11 years in Chelan and Douglas counties. She retired in 2015.

Claudia and her husband, Gary moved to Leavenworth in 2012 to enjoy the natural beauty and outdoors. She is drawn to Wenatchee River Institute because of her interest in sustainability and gardening. She is also passionate about promoting a stronger connection for kids and adults to the natural world because of her childhood. She has many years of volunteer experience with nonprofit organizations including the Wenatchee Valley Humane Society and Wenatchee Downtown Association in many capacities, including finances and fundraising.  

Scot Brower
Board Member
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Scot Brower

Board Member

Scot Brower, M.D., grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio. He attended college at Washington and Lee University in Virginia and did his Opthalmology residency and fellowship at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. Scot practiced Ophthalmology with a special interest in retinal disease and surgery for 33 years in Seattle. During this time he spent weekends at his log cabin on Icicle Creek. Upon retiring in 2012, he became a full-time resident of Leavenworth. He has been an avid outdoorsman and environmentalist since attending summer camp in Northern Wisconsin as a child. His hobbies include hiking, backpacking, fly fishing, birding, kayaking, canoeing, and cross country skiing, and he has traveled widely while participating in these activities. Dr.Brower is interested in passing his knowledge, experience, and love of the outdoors to the children of the valley.

Dave Bartholomew
Board Member
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Dave Bartholomew

Board Member

Dave Bartholomew lives with his wife in the wilderness near Leavenworth, Washington.
Dave spent most of his career in the outdoor industry including roles at REI and Mountain Safety Research (MSR). He current is a self-employed business advisor; is co-founder of Simply Living Farm, a sustainable living store; and author of several books and ongoing columns on sustainability and business.
He has served on numerous for-profit and non-profit boards. He holds a business degree from Pacific Lutheran University.

Lisa Therrell
Board Member
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Lisa Therrell

Board Member

A Washington State native, Lisa Therrell harbors a life-long love of the natural world. Growing up in Western Washington, her mother taught her daughters the names of the native plants, birds, and other animals. Lisa grew up with happy memories of car camping, hiking, canoeing, gardening with natives, and playing in the woods surrounding home. “I was a country girl trapped inside suburbia,” she says, always longing for a more rural lifestyle. Lisa started her 34 year career with the Forest Service as a volunteer wilderness ranger as soon as she graduated from high school. She attended Seattle Pacific University, where she double majored in biology and environmental studies, then later earned a teaching certificate. Lisa cobbled together many jobs after graduation, in between working seasonally for the Forest Service, including working as an environmental educator and teaching biology. In 1991 Lisa finally received a permanent appointment with the Forest Service while working in Idaho as a wilderness planner. In 1992 she moved to Leavenworth to be the Wilderness Manager for the Leavenworth Ranger District, a dream job in a dream place. Lisa had grown up going to church camp in Sunitsch Canyon, her favorite place on earth, where she learned to hike the dry ridges of Chelan County. So finding a home on six acres in Merry Canyon was the best possible home-coming.
Lisa is now retired, and enjoys playing in the outdoors and learning more about nature with her husband Rich. Her hobbies include hiking, biking, cross-country skiing, paddling, botanizing, birding, gardening, and quilting. Lisa is also certified as a yoga teacher, and enjoys working with people with physical challenges. Lisa has always strongly valued volunteerism and community involvement. She was on the original steering group that founded Upper Wenatchee Valley Habitat for Humanity. She volunteered for seven years with Leavenworth Empty Bowls, including leading the group for four years. And she is active with the Earth Stewardship Group at Faith Lutheran Church, that brought 96 solar panels to the Icicle River Middle School and recycling bins to downtown Leavenworth. Knowing the value of her own nature-based childhood, Lisa is proud to serve Wenatchee River Institute to help fulfill its mission of providing outdoor-based educational experiences to the youth of our communities.

Robes Parrish
Board Member
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Robes Parrish

Board Member

Robes grew up exploring the forests and mountains of New England and studied Ecology at the University of Vermont.  After graduation, with the deep Western snowpack beckoning, he first moved to Utah and then to Washington for an internship with the North Cascades Institute.  Smitten by the vast wilderness and huge mountains, he spent the following summer working for North Cascades National Park as a backcountry ranger.  This cemented a love of place and power of teaching which he parlayed into the graduate program in Environmental Education at the Teton Science School in Wyoming.  He completed an MS in Watershed Science at Utah State University, after which he began conducting hydrology and habitat monitoring for the US Forest Service in Colorado.  A permanent job in central Oregon finally allowed him to move out of the back of his truck and into the "real world."  Robes has been working as a hydrologist for the US Fish and Wildlife Service since 2005 and is passionate about doing salmon habitat restoration work throughout the Columbia Basin.  A Leavenworth resident since 2008, he is genuinely excited to do good things for our environment every day and considers it a privilege to bring a scientific perspective and his educational experience to the Board at WRI.  

Kenny Renner-Singer
Board member
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Kenny Renner-Singer

Board member

Dr. Kenny Renner-Singer has served as a principal in the Cascade School District for twelve years at Osborn Elementary, Icicle River Middle School, and Beaver Valley School.  He is proud to be part of a school system built on collaborative teaming, professionalism, and a commitment to ensuring that all students are successful academically, socially, and emotionally.  He is committed to environmental education and community partnerships.  Prior to going into education, he handled educational, environmental, and agricultural policy issues for a Member of Congress in Washington, D.C and continues to serve the community on the Wenatchee River Institute Board of Directors.  Dr. Renner-Singer is married to a teacher at Cascade High School and has two children attending the school district.  

Vania Winters
Board Member
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Vania Winters

Board Member

Vânia Winters was born in the southeast of Brazil, where she taught English for many years.  Her background is in languages, literature, and teaching.  She holds an MA in Linguistics and has conducted doctoral research in Applied Linguistics. Vânia moved to the United States in 1997 and shortly started teaching English as a Second Language, English for International Students, and Developmental English at Wenatchee Valley College. Vânia’s two children, Joseph and Olivia - now in college and high school, grew up witnessing their mother tirelessly volunteering  for the school district and the community. As a mother, Vânia followed her children through their empirical experiences at Barn Beach Reserve, long before it became Wenatchee River Institute. As a passionate educator and board member, Vânia wishes to contribute to programs and activities that WRI offers to children and adults alike. Vânia’s hobbies include gardening, beekeeping, and finding alternative ways to make our planet sustainable.