Heather MacSlarrow, Executive Director
Heather grew up in Northwest Washington and Hong Kong, both of which gave her an appreciation for wilderness and solitude.  She received her Bachelor's Degree in Environmental Studies from the University of Montana, and from there embarked on a 10-year adventure in public land and Wilderness stewardship with conservation corps across the West from Arizona to Alaska.  She worked with the Washington Conservation Corps, Rocky Mountain Youth Corps in Steamboat Springs, Montana Conservation Corps, Youth Corps of Southern Arizona, Southwest Conservation Corps in Tucson, and Southwest Conservation Corps in Salida.  Her last position in corps was as the founder and Executive Director of the Southwest Conservation Corps in Salida, Colorado.  Heather left corps work to pursue her Masters of Natural Resources through the University of Idaho and work with the Colorado Mountain Club as the Lands Director.  Through these positions, Heather worked with many Wilderness Areas, including: Buffalo Peaks, Collegiate Peaks, Sangre de Cristo, Great Sand Dunes, Spanish Peaks, South San Juan, Weminuche, La Garita, Admiralty Island, Glacier Bay, Wrangell Saint Elias, Misty Fjords, Kenai, Organ Pipe, Chiricahua, Gila, Saguaro, Rincon Mountain, North and South Maricopa Mountains, Superstition, Carlsbad Caverns, Guadalupe Mountains, Selway Bitterroot, Rattlesnake, Mission Mountains, Bob Marshall, Mount Zirkel, and High Uintas.  
Heather is highly dedicated to the professional stewardship and management of Wilderness.  She sees this as the key to allowing Wilderness to do what Wilderness does best - facilitate life-changing experiences and maintain important ecological systems, both of which provide essential support for, and strengthen, our communities.  

Kat Lyons, National Program Coordinator

Kat is a 2016 Smith College graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Science & Policy and a minor in Government. Experiencing the outdoors from a young age fostered her passion to protect public lands. Kat’s studies focus on the relationship between field work and policy on the local, regional and national level and how each of these perspectives contribute to the successful sustainability of our precious natural resources. Kat has a variety of experience in both field work and policy by working at the local and regional level with the Forest Service, at the regional level with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife and at the national policy level as an intern with the Land & Water team for the White House Council on Environmental Quality. Enthusiastic and passionate about field work and being able to experience the outdoors, she strives to understand how natural resource policy is developed and implemented and how science should contribute to ensuring that policy is based on a sound foundation. 




Jacob Wall, Wilderness Character Monitoring Core Team Leader

Jacob is a 2016 Colby College graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Policy and Geology. His environmental policy honor thesis researched deforestation in Ethiopia analyzing spatial, ecological, and socio-cultural factors. After graduating from college, Jacob worked in Yosemite National Park as a Student Conservation Association (SCA) intern. There he participated in vegetation restoration projects as well as developed habitat models for rare plant species in order to understand how climate change will impact future habitats. This past year Jacob worked as a Wilderness Fellow in the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness in Idaho where he gained an appreciation for solitude in one of the nation’s largest wilderness areas. In the future Jacob hopes to continue to use science and education to promote stewardship of natural areas. Aside from exploring wilderness areas Jacob enjoys skiing, reading, and cooking.


Michael Smith, Wilderness Character Monitoring Core Team Leader

Mike Smith received a bachelor’s degree in Biology from the University of Delaware in 2011 and a master’s degree in environmental science and management in 2016. During graduate school he specialized in conservation planning. He looks to use his Biology and Environmental Science degrees to pursue a career in conservation biology and management. Growing up in a heavily forested region of the mid-Hudson valley in upstate New York near the Catskill mountains he had the opportunity to experience the outdoors and found an appreciation for its value. Exploring the dense forests and being 15 to 20 minutes away from the nearest development allowed him to enjoy the woods with his dog.                                                                                                           


Rachel MacSlarrow, Office Director

Rachel grew up in Northwest Washington and developed an appreciation at a young age for evergreen trees, rain, banana slugs, and all things ocean-related.  She attended the University of Victoria and received a bachelor's degree in Women's Studies, which has been the cornerstone of her career in human services and nonprofit work.  Rachel's professional life has included work in street outreach, providing interpreter services, and assisting low to moderate income families seeking support services.  She has also worked as a gardener, a landscaper, and on wildlife viewing tour boats in Juneau, Alaska.  
Rachel loves working for SWS because it combines her passion for wilderness with her interest and experience in program development and grants management.  She is dedicated to principles of equity, inclusion, and decolonization and has found that these perspectives are extremely relevant both in the field of human services and in the field of wilderness preservation.  She works out of Southeast Alaska, where she loves boating, hiking, and looking for wildlife in her free time.



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The Society for Wilderness Stewardship is a non-profit, charitable organization under the 501 (c)(3) section of the Internal Revenue Code.