Braided River Board

Stephen Tan, Chair

Stephen Tan is an environmental lawyer and a partner of Cascadia Law Groupwhere his practice focuses on environmental litigation. Long active in the nonprofit community, Stephen currently serves on the boards of directors of the National Audubon Society, Washington Trails Association, and Pacific Public Media (KNKX-FM), and on the advisory board of Cascade Public Media (KCTS-9 Public Television). He writes and speaks often about environmental and conservation policy, sustainable businesses and organizations, and nonprofit governance. Stephen received his J.D. from the University of Colorado and his B.A. in biology and environmental science from the University of Virginia.

Liz Banse, Secretary

Liz Banse is a communications professional specializing in communications planning, strategy and execution. Her firm, Resource Media, focuses on helping nonprofits, foundations and government clients communicate their environmental and public health concerns effectively -- be it through traditional media, new media or other vehicles -- to their target audiences to achieve their goals. Find Liz’s advice on visual communications at:

Susan Elderkin, Treasurer

Susan Elderkin is a communications and development professional with more than 25 years of experience with environmental non-profit organizations. She began her career in Washington, DC by working to protect the California desert and to reform the 1872 Mining Law at the Sierra Club and National Wildlife Federation. Longing for mountains and a deeper connection to the issues she advocated for, she moved to Seattle in 1995. Since that time, she worked to protect old growth from a salvage logging law at Earthjustice, served as the development director for the anti-sprawl group Futurewise, and most recently was the website editor and then the communications and outreach director for Washington Trails Association. Susan has a master's in public policy from the University of Michigan.

Paul Balle

Paul Balle is Regional Director of Development at National Parks Conservation Association, and has been working in the Northwest environmental movement for over 11 years. He began his conservation career soliciting $1 million in gifts for the extremely successful Cascades Conservation Partnership, as a Development Officer for Conservation Northwest. His prior work experience also includes working in sales, technical sales, and marketing for Microsoft (10 years) and even a stint in the exciting world of accounting for 5 years (which included passing the CPA exam). In his spare time, Paul likes to fly fish, volunteer for wildlife surveys, hike, cross country ski and play guitar. His favorite Northwest animal is the wolverine.

Jon Hoekstra

Jon Hoekstra is the executive director of the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust. Jon has previously served as a Senior Scientist for The Nature Conservancy and Chief Scientist for the World Wildlife Fund. He is the lead author of The Atlas of Global Conservation and has published numerous scientific articles on diverse issues including endangered butterfly species, conservation planning, Chinook salmon, climate change adaptation, global habitat loss and protected areas, and conservation return-on-investment. He earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Stanford University and a doctorate from the University of Washington where he maintains a faculty appointment.

Dan Ritzman

Dan Ritzman is the associate director of regional campaigns for the Sierra Club's Our Wild America Campaign covering Alaska, the Pacific Northwest and the Northern Rockies and has more than 20 years of experience running grassroots advocacy campaigns to protect iconic Western landscapes. Dan has worked with the Bureau of Land Management as a River Ranger on the Fortymile Wild and Scenic River in eastern Alaska and as the State Lands Coordinator with the Northern Alaska Environmental Center in Interior Alaska. Dan earned his bachelor's degree in Environmental Policy Analysis and Planning from the University of California at Davis and holds a graduate degree from the School of Forestry at the University of Idaho.


Braided River remembers former board member Lisa Bernsten's accomplishments, adventures, and dedication to conservation and recreation in this memorial on our blog.