Heritage Trust Staff
Rebecca Rettmer, Executive Director
Wanda Cucinotta, Stewardship Coordinator
Bremyhr MacLaren, Administration Coordinator
Katie Johnson, Community Engagement Coordinator
Meet our Board of Directors
My family came to Lummi Island in 1971 to visit friends, with no idea we would end up buying land, building a home, and sending our daughter to Beach School. Over the next 40 some years I worked as an attorney for legal services programs in Bellingham and Fairbanks, Alaska, and then as the Reservation Attorney for the Lummi Nation until my retirement a few years ago. Many years ago I helped work on the first Lummi Island land use plan, motivated by an interest in preserving the nature of this beautiful place. And it is that interest that motivates me now to work with the LIHT, it's excellent staff, dedicated Board Members, and all the wonderful community members who volunteer their time and talents and donate generously to further the work of preserving the nature of Lummi Island.
Great community requires long-term commitment. As a second generation LIHT Board Member, I aim to deliver the natural beauty and shared heritage of Lummi Island into the hands of our children and grandchildren in the same way that my parents did for me and for my children. In doing so, I want to inspire our up and coming Island generations to take ownership of their own future through active stewardship and direct participation. It is an honor to serve them.
I originally came from the High Plains of southwest Kansas but migrated to Washington state to be near grandchildren. My husband, James Addington, and I moved to Lummi Island in 2015, where I continue to work out of the home as a Client Relationship Manager for a software company. We were drawn here by the beauty of the North Cascades and soon learned that Lummi was a perfect fit for our own passion for environmental and social justice. The work of the LIHT in preserving the land and biodiversity of the area fits with our own personal philosophy (and that of Chief Seattle!): "We do not inherit the Earth from our Ancestors; we borrow if from our children."
My wife Susan and I grew up in Bellingham. We have been Lummi Island property owners since 1979 and permanent island residents for more than seven years. Three generations of my family currently reside on Lummi Island. My work as an orthopedic surgeon has taken me all over the world including trips to Brazil, Haiti, Vietnam, Uganda, Dominican Republic, Ethiopia. Lummi Island is the place where I come home for rest, relaxation and the nurturing effects of time with friends and family. My exposure to the wider world has given me a unique appreciation of the Heritage Trust’s mission to protect and care for the island environment.
I am a bilingual lawyer dedicated to enforcing the rights of working people and holding accountable those who abuse authority. My practice focuses in the areas of civil rights, employment discrimination, lead poisoning, product liability, and redistricting. Recently I served as co-lead trial counsel in the first partisan gerrymandering case to prevail at the trial court level. In 2017, this case was heard by the United States Supreme Court and a decision is expected during in 2018. I have served on numerous Boards of Directors including the Milwaukee Area Technical College and various social justice organizations such as Wisconsin Citizen Action, Voces de la Frontera, and Wisconsin Anti Violence Effort. My wife and I make our home on this beautiful island and are committed to Heritage Trust’s work to protecting the nature of Lummi Island.
After a long search for a location to spend our retirement years, I knew as soon as I got off the ferry for the first time that Lummi Island was the place. Drawn by the forests, water, mountains and perhaps most of all, the community, my spouse Debbi and I became property owners in 2010 and moved here permanently from Nebraska in 2017. Recently retired, I have served as a forester in leadership positions with nonprofits and government in the US and overseas for more than 40 years. I have worked to protect and enhance the health and vitality of forests, to restore severely disturbed lands, and was fortunate to participate in programs to secure and protect threatened conservation lands. I know first-hand the great value of protecting forest land and open space for future generations and am committed to working with the Trust and its great staff to sustainably achieve those goals.
Happenstance brought me to Lummi Island. After spending a year at sea, my husband and I sailed into Puget Sound and started to look for a place to stay. Someone suggested Bellingham and along the way we found a lovely anchorage called Inati Bay on an island called Lummi. Within six months we had property on the island. I grew up having acres of forest and fields to roam in as a child. When as a teen, I watched a large portion of the forest destroyed to make way for development I began to appreciate the foresight of those before me who worked to set land aside for the education and enjoyment of future generations of children. The mission of the LIHT appeals to my sense of land preservation and I am honored to serve as a member of its Board.
(Richard) Tobey King
My wife Barbara and I discovered Whatcom County during a 2003 backpacking trip to the North Cascades. Determined to experience the water-sport opportunities offered, we purchased a cabin on Lummi Island and, upon my retirement after 41 years in the chemical business, spent 8 consecutive summers on Lummi Island. Upon selling our cabin, we purchased 4 forested acres, thinking it might be the site of our ultimate residence. Though we decided to live for a significant period in Bellingham, we have upgraded our Lummi property with a "tiny house" which we use for brief overnight stays. I have previously served on the Boards of Lutheran Community Services of Wilmington, DE, the Santa Fe chapter of Girls Incorporated, and the Santa Fe Alliance for Science.
Enjoying the natural world has been a life-long passion. Because I grew up in the suburban sprawl of southern California, joining the Girl Scouts made a huge difference in my life giving me opportunities to experience the natural beauty of California’s mountains, deserts, beaches, and islands. I was instilled with a strong community service ethic and developed my leadership skills. In 1980 my husband Jim and I moved to the Puget Sound where I realized I had finally found the perfect place to bring my love for forests, mountains, meadows and my very strong connection with the sea back together. We lived aboard our boat for almost 10 years, enjoying sailing, scuba diving and exploring the myriad of inland waters that make up the Salish Sea ecosystem. Not long after moving to Lummi Island I learned about the work that LIHT was doing to protect and preserve land, and began volunteering to help out with various projects. After retiring from my sailing business I decided that I wanted to give back to the island community that has been so welcoming to Jim and me. I became a member of the LICA board and eventually served four years as LICA’s president. I also became a citizen member of LIHT’s Community Outreach Committee and have taken the lead in organizing several special events and programs for the trust over the years. I am looking forward to continuing to support land conservation and preservation on Lummi Island as a member of the Board.
I first visited Lummi Island in 1976, and have lived on Lummi Island since 2012. I enjoy walking, swimming and reading on Lummi Island. I grew up camping in the Olympic Peninsula each summer and think that the Pacific Northwest is the most beautiful place on earth. I am a family doctor at the Lummi Tribal Health Center.
We first moved to Lummi Island in 1982 so our three (and then four) children could grow up in this very special community and environment. With family, I ran Village Point Restaurant on Legoe Bay for a bit, an experience that only deepened our connections to the island. After leaving for a number of years, I’ve been delighted to return and have relished the opportunity to rekindle old friendships and enrich my grandchildren’s relationships with the island. In the interim I worked in international adoption, on environmental projects, and at Western Washington University where I continue. I am a long-time supporter of the Heritage Trust and grateful for the opportunity to contribute to the preservation and protection of island lands.