Heritage Trust Staff
Rebecca Rettmer, Executive Director
Leslie Dempsey & Bremyhr MacLaren, Outreach Coordinators/Office Managers
Wanda Cucinotta, Stewardship Coordinator
Meet our Board of Directors
Linda Sheek, Chair
Born and raised in the Seattle area, I attended Western Washington University, completing a Masters Degree in Education. I retired in 2012 after teaching elementary school for more than 30 years. My love of the outdoors grew naturally as a result of growing up in a rural area and many family camping trips to the National Parks of the western states. I came to Lummi Island by chance and have stayed because I find the natural beauty to be a spiritual experience and the tightly knit community a family. My passion for preserving land is rooted in the desire to leave the gift of this beautiful, natural place as a legacy to my children, grandchildren and all the generations to come, now and forever.
Peter Hodges, Vice-Chair
I have a Bachelor of Arts degree in English. Most of my career has been involved in the practice of Land Surveying, licensed in New Hampshire and Washington State. For the last 12 years I have taught college level Surveying and Mapping courses with an emphasis on Environmental Mapping and Boundary Law. I have been president of the Northwest Chapter of the Land Surveyors of Washington and the Education Chairman of The Washington Department of Resources Land Survey Advisory Board. Lummi Island has been my home for eighteen years and I have served as a committee member on four Lummi Island Heritage Trust committees as well as two sub committees.
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.
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.
Open spaces and the natural environment were an essential part of my childhood in Twisp, where I grew up on a ranch in the beautiful Methow Valley. In 2011, my family successfully completed a conservation easement contract with the Washington Fish and Wildlife Department, which will forever preserve the 640 acres of our family ranch. It was the culmination of many years of work and negotiations assisted by the Methow Conservancy. I moved to Bellingham to attend WWU and fell in love with the verdant hills, expanses of water, and intriguing islands. I graduated in 1984 with a BA in Elementary Education and Foreign Languages, completing my Masters in Elementary Science Education in 1987. I joined the Heritage Trust Board in 2012 and Chair the Community Outreach Committee. My teaching experience and decades of residency on Lummi Island, where my husband and I raised our family, allow me to make a valuable contribution to the Heritage Trust.
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."
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.
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.
Family camping trips to mountains, deserts and seashore were treasured times for a child growing up in Los Angeles. As a young adult I lived in Turkey, Louisiana and visited many parts of the world via the Air Force. Upon my discharge, I knew I didn’t want to raise my son in the hectic, urban environment of L.A. I made the first move north to central California. Fresno County was still agrarian and it was a short drive to the beautiful Sierras where we enjoyed the natural wonders preserved by early conservationists. However, with our children grown, my wife and I yearned to move north again. We discovered the perfect place in 1988 when we moved to Bellingham. With our first visit to Lummi Island we felt a longing to live in this wonderful, peaceful place. We purchased our property in 2004 and moved here full in 2007.
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.
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.