50th Planning Committee

Joyce Erickson

is a longtime Ballard resident who recently retired after 30 years at a nonprofit health organization, PATH. During the pandemic,  she found herself coming to Discovery Park nearly every day, to walk in a beautiful place with hardly any people. What came to dominate these walks was birds – and she learned that the songbirds, owls and woodpeckers she was seeing were among an astonishing 270 species of birds who make their home in Discovery Park.

Joyce soon realized that this park didn’t come about by accident: it had a visionary master plan behind it, and more important, people who cared deeply about its integrity and its future. Through her near-daily walks in the park,  she became one of those people. In 2021, she joined the board of the Friends of Discovery Park, and also joined an alliance of organizations working to celebrate 50 years of Discovery Park’s master plan.

Although we all owe a debt to the master plan for prioritizing our human need for tranquility, it has had additional benefits over time, by providing the park’s flora and fauna with the conditions they need to thrive and make a living in the park. And even beyond that is something the park’s original visionaries could not have foreseen: this forested land has become utterly crucial to our city as we head into the new reality of climate change. Joyce considers Discovery Park to be our city’s most valuable property. It is Seattle’s greatest achievement.

Melissa Islam

is a scientist and educator, driven by her passion for the natural world and igniting that passion in others. Within months of moving to Seattle and exploring the tranquility and delights of Discovery Park, she volunteered as a member of the Discovery Park Advisory Council, excited to leverage her professional experience in environmental education. Although the pandemic paused environmental education, Discovery Park’s visitor count rose. Visitors often found respite as well as rekindling their connection to wild spaces. To spark new opportunities for visitors to engage with the park, Melissa joined the 50th planning committee.

When Melissa is not watching mosses grown in the park, she works on various botanical projects with University of Washington, Colorado State University, and Flora of North American Association and teaches at Denver Botanic Gardens School of Botanical Art and Illustration.

Joshua Morris
Urban Conservation Manager, Seattle Audubon

Josh loves life. From deep-sea isopods to turkey vultures and every living thing in between. Josh started birding in 2017 and admits he still has a hard time with gulls, swallows, warblers, finches, woodpeckers, sparrows, shorebirds, and seabirds. He feels pretty good about ducks. Josh is delighted to be part of the Seattle Audubon community, where he coordinates Seattle’s Urban Bird Treaty City Coalition, is a member of the Capitol Hill EcoDistrict Steering Committee, and serves on Seattle’s Urban Forestry Commission. His professional background is varied. He’s been a project scientist, a high-school chemistry teacher, a legal assistant, and, for one curious month, a chocolate vendor on Monterey’s Cannery Row. He holds a master’s degree in International Environmental Policy and is a certified naturalist.

Leslie Reed

is a real estate attorney with approximately 16 years’ experience in commercial transactions and leasing/development matters, half of those here in Seattle as the leader of Amazon’s Real Estate legal practice.  Prior to that, Leslie was a creative exec in the music business, curating film soundtracks and creating other album projects for Atlantic Records and Universal Records in Los Angeles (fun fact: Leslie learned one of her ancestors is commemorated in the plaque circles near Olvera Street as one of L.A.’s founding members!). She lives with her long-term partner, Stephen, and a little cat overlord near the pedestrian entrance of Discovery Park on Emerson.  She began looking for a conservation and/or stewardship opportunity to get involved with to which she could offer her organizing and “doing” skills, along with digging in the dirt and protecting beautiful spaces, and Friends of Discovery Park seemed a natural fit.  Leslie connected with Friends of Discovery Park following the public opening of the Capehart trail and reforestation area in May of 2019, and in 2021 she became a board member.  Later in 2021, Leslie became an official Forest Steward through Green Seattle Partnership and FODP.  She stated “I feel so lucky to have such a gorgeous community resource just outside my house that brings so many people out into nature, and wanted to help protect it and keep it beautiful in return for everything it provides to the greater Puget Sound region.”

In other community-driven work, Leslie has done Pro Bono legal work from her role at Amazon with Washington Innocence Project, Washington Lawyers for the Arts, DACA clinics, and now leads focused efforts on behalf of The Nature Conservancy.  She also led the legal work for Amazon’s collaboration with Mary’s Place providing long-term integration into one of our campus towers of their “Popsicle Place” shelter for kids fighting through difficult medical issues.

Finding ways to make Discovery Park accessible to everyone across the Puget Sound and seeing the great variety of visitors who enjoy its peace and tranquility and open spaces every day is very rewarding!

Dee St. George

was born and raised in West Seattle, and with her husband moved to Magnolia to be close to family.  And now, living here for over 40 years, she cannot say enough about the many great Magnolia residents she has been able to meet and gotten to know. 

After a career in the restaurant industry, Dee became involved with schools that her son attended (Magnolia Coop Preschool and Lawton Elementary) and discovered her desire to volunteer there which included PTA positions, school cafeteria aid, after school activities, and multiple field trips.  In 2006, Dee joined the Magnolia Historical Society – a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving Magnolia history – first as Grant Fiscal Support for their second book, Magnolia: Making More Memories, then as Treasurer and currently as President.  All of these volunteer experiences have truly been rewarding and adds to her pride of being a part of the Magnolia community!  

Michael Tulee

is a Yakama tribal member who currently serves as the Executive Director of United Indians of All Tribes Foundation. Founded in 1970, United Indians of All Tribes Foundation provides an extensive array of culturally responsive services and programming to Seattle and King County’s urban Native community.  Their headquarters, the Daybreak Star Indian Cultural Center, was completed in 1977, and has become a hub of activity for Native peoples and their supporters locally, nationally, and internationally.

Phil Vogelzang

has been a volunteer advocate of Discovery Park and a member of Friends since 1996. From 2002-2007 he served as president of the Discovery Park Advisory Council. He became FoDP board president in 2017. He has a special interest in Fort Lawton history and how it impacts the Park user of today. His favorite past time is seeing old pavement be torn out and forests planted in their place. He became president of Friends of Discovery Park in 2018.

Phil’s interest in the Park began with volunteering as a restoration steward in the mid 90’s. He continued that work for the next 15 years, primarily at the 15 acre old-Hospital site (just north of Jackson viewpoint).  He currently volunteers at the 30 acre Capehart forest restoration site. 

He works as a physician in the Seattle area. He lives in Queen Anne with his wife of 25+ years, Katy. 

Monica Wooton

is a graduate of the University of Washington in English with a Writing Emphasis, graduating magna cum laude. She is a successful writer and writing teacher. She is a wife and mother of four (one with special needs). She is a lifelong resident in the neighborhood of Magnolia. As a child she lived three blocks away from Fort Lawton and visited on her bike, having many picnics in the cemetery with other kids waved into the Fort by the gatekeepers. Her children were raised one block away from Discovery Park, spending many hours there playing, picking blackberries and exploring the forest, beach and sand dunes. Her son earned his Eagle Scout by doing his service project in Discovery Park. 

She has served on many nonprofit boards and community project committees, including the Fort Lawton Historic District and development of Magnolia Manor Park (and its P Patch, where she has gardened for going on her 10th year as a Master Gardener). She was a founding member of The Magnolia Historical Society, Seattle Women’s Art Collective- and Magnolia Art Experience; and for The Magnolia Historical Society is currently a volunteer consultant. She served as the innovator, project manager, editor, author and photographer of three award-winning books of writing by over 100 authors about the history of the neighborhood that she so loves: Magnolia: Memories & Milestones; Magnolia: Making More Memories; Magnolia: Midcentury Memories.