Membership and Roster

UFC Membership

Now Accepting Applications

This fall, the City of Seattle is looking to fill two seats on the Urban Forestry Commission (UFC) - Position #4 - Hydrologist and Position #6 - Landscape Architect. We are seeking applicants who are passionate about racial equity and improving the care and management of Seattle's tree canopy for the benefit of the community while centering communities most impacted by health and educational injustices.

Applicants must demonstrate a desire and ability to dedicate 8-10 hours per month, including attendance at monthly meetings, participation in Commission work, and communication with key stakeholders and department staff.

Minimum Qualifications

Commission members must live or work in Seattle. Minimum qualifications include the following:

  • [FOR POSITION #4 APPLICANTS] Experience as a hydrologist or similar professional, preferably with expertise in the study of natural drainage, climate or air quality, or a combination thereof,
  • [FOR POSITION #6 APPLICANTS] Experience as a landscape architect, with certification from the International Society of Arboriculture.
  • Understanding of how racism and race-based disparities impact communities of color and interest in working to eliminate these disparities and advance equity.
  • Interest in collaborating with other community members to develop recommendations for tree canopy care and protection, while centering the communities most burdened by lack of access to tree canopy and its related benefits.
  • Demonstrated ability to develop collaborative, productive, and respectful relationships with people from diverse educational, social, cultural, and racial backgrounds.

Preferred Qualifications

  • Personal and/or professional expertise serving the following communities:
    • People of Color
    • People with low incomes
    • Immigrant and Refugee populations
    • Youth of color
    • Seniors
    • High risk of displacement neighborhoods
    • Racial justice and environmental justice-based organizations
  • Ability to draw connections between tree canopy outcomes; racial equity; and access to nature and open spaces, and other social needs.
  • Experienced in community collaboration and engagement and desire to build trust with government.
  • Affiliated with community-based organizations, coalitions or networks that work on issues related to environmental justice.
  • Experience and comfort working on a team using anti-racist, pro-equity, collaborative decision-making approaches.

Board Member Compensation: This is a volunteer position. Per Ord. 125415, members of the UFC serve without pay.

How to Apply:
If you are interested in serving on the UFC, we encourage you to APPLY HERE.

Applications are due November 16, 2021.

For more information, please contact Patti Bakker, Interim Urban Forestry Commission Liaison, at


The UFC is composed of thirteen members, six appointed by the Mayor, six appointed by City Council, and one (Position #9) elected by the Commission. The UFC positions are as follows:

Position #1 - Wildlife biologist, preferable with expertise in ornithology (Council appointment).

Position #2 - Urban ecologist, preferably with expertise in the field of restoration ecology (Mayoral appointment).

Position #3 - Representative of a local, state, or federal natural resource agency or an accredited university (Council appointment).

Position #4 - Hydrologist or similar professional, preferably with expertise in the study of natural drainage, climate or air quality, or a combination thereof (Mayoral appointment).

Position #5 - Arborist (Council appointment), with one or more of the following qualifications:

  • Board Certification as a Master Arborist or Municipal Specialist from the International Society or Arboriculture; or
  • Certification by the American Society of Consulting Arborists; or
  • Background and experience in Tree Risk Assessment from a credentializing agency or a professional organization.

Position #6 - Landscape architect, with certification from the International Society of Arboriculture (Mayoral appointment).

Position #7 - Representative of a non-profit or non-governmental organization whose mission is to advocate for preservation or enhancement of urban forests, wildlife habitat or similar natural systems (Council appointment).

Position #8 - Representative of either the development community, including developers, builders, architects, or realtors, with experience in projects developed under Leader in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), or a representative from a non-city utility (Mayoral appointment).

Position #9 - Economist, financial analyst, Washington State licensed real estate broker, or any other similar professional, with expertise preferred in land use planning, environmental planning, or either residential or commercial development (elected by appointed commissioners).

Position #10 - Get Engaged member (Mayoral appointment). This position is occupied by a Get Engaged young adult, according to Chapter 3.51 of the Seattle Municipal Code, to encourage young adults to participate on City boards and commissions.

Position #11 - An Environmental Justice representative, with understanding or experience developing policies or programs in either environmental justice or race and social justice; and who has experience or understands community engagement and community-led processes (Council appointment).

Position #12 -A Public Health representative, with experience in behavioral health, environmental health, epidemiology, or providing direct services to individuals or families; or experience implementing activities that promote health and access to health care in Seattle communities; or has experience helping neighborhoods and schools become places that nurture health and well-being for Seattle resident (Mayoral appointment).

Position #13 -A Community/Neighborhood representative from an underrepresented group in the environmental field, including communities of color, immigrants, refugees, low-income, and youth, who is able to display strong and regular connection to the community and interest in the natural environment, especially trees and the benefits they provide (Council appointment).

All positions serve without compensation, are confirmed by City Council, and have three-year terms after the initial round of appointments, which were staggered.

UFC Roster

UFC PositionCommissioner Name
1. Wildlife Biologist Julia Michalak
2. Urban Ecologist Elby Jones
3. Natural Resource Agency or University Representative Weston Brinkley - Chair
4. Hydrologist or Similar Professional Sarah Rehder - Vice-Chair
5. Arborist Stuart Niven
6. Landscape Architect Michael Walton
7. NGO Representative Joshua Morris
8. Development Community or Utility Representative David Moehring
9. Economist, Financial Analyst, Realtor or Similar Professional Blake Voorhees
10. Get Engaged Elena Arakaki
11. Environmental Justice Jessica Hernandez
12. Public Health Jessica Jones
13. Community/Neighborhood Shari Selch

UFC Past Members

The Commission thanks past members for their contribution to Seattle's urban forest.

Member Position Years served
Nancy Bird 9 - Planner 2009 - 2011
Whitman Bouton 11 - Environmental Justice 2018 - 2021
Gordon Bradley 3 - University representative 2009 - 2015
Tom Early 6 - Landscape Architect 2012 - 2018
Leif Fixen 5 - Arborist 2012 - 2017
John Floberg 1 - Wildlife Biologist 2010 - 2013
Steven Fry 8 - Development Community representative 2019 - 2020
Reid Haefer 10 - Get Engaged 2016 - 2017
Megan Herzog 10 - Get Engaged 2017 - 2018
John Hushagen 5 - Arborist 2009 - 2012
Craig Johnson 9 - Economist, Financial Advisor, Realtor 2017 - 2019
Neeyati Johnson 10 - Get Engaged 2019 - 2020
Mariska Kecskes 10 - Get Engaged 2015 - 2016
Donna Kotska 2 - Urban Ecologist 2013 - 2017
Bonnie Lei 10 - Get Engaged 2018 - 2019
Richard Martin 4 - Hydrologist 2014 - 2016
Matt Mega 7 - NGO representative 2009 - 2014
Joanna Nelson de Flores 7 - NGO representative 2014 - 2019
Kirk Prindle 1 - Wildlife Biologist 2009 - 2010
Jeff Reibman 8 - Development Community representative 2009 - 2015
Erik Rundell 9 - Economist, Financial Advisor, Realtor 2012 - 2017
John Small 2 - Urban Ecologist 2009 - 2013
Elizabeta Stacishin-Moura 6 - Landscape Architect 2009 - 2010
Peg Staeheli 4 - Hydrologist 2009 - 2014
Sandra Whiting 2 - Urban Ecologist 2017 - 2019
Andrew Zellers 8 - Development Community representative 2015 - 2019
Steve Zemke 1 - Wildlife Biologist 2014 - 2020