Tox-Ick.Org is an outreach and education effort born out of the 501(c)(3) nonprofit Sustainable West Seattle. The objective of the program is to help educate a critical mass of Puget Sound residents about the problem of polluted runoff and the simple actions individuals can engage in to stop it. To reach this objective, we have developed free outreach resources that are available to individuals and organizations that want to engage their communities in the fight against the Tox-Ick Monster.
If you are an organic gardener, an educator, a fisherman, or just passionate about Puget Sound, you can take this campaign to your community by becoming a Tox-Ick Ambassador. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Cate White, MPA, is the Founder and Co-Director of the Tox-Ick.Org program
Cate’s relevant experience includes having served in development and communications at the international clean water advocacy nonprofit, Waterkeeper Alliance. Cate also served as Associate Executive Director at Facing the Future, a nonprofit that develops sustainability education curriculum, and Board Member at Sustainable West Seattle. Currently, she is serving on a strategic advisory committee for SCALLOPS (Sustainable Communities ALL Over Puget Sound). Her illustration of best stormwater management practices was used by the Chesapeake Bay Program’s Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee’s 2010 report: Exemplary Strategies to Protect and Restore Urban Watersheds. Her education includes an MPA in Earth Systems Science, Policy and Management from Columbia University, and a BS in Environmental Sciences from Humboldt State University. She loves Puget Sound and would like to see community members become aware of the many opportunities they have to help restore Puget Sound to health.
Laura James, Co-Director
Laura is a person with seemingly boundless energy and a deep, abiding passion for our natural environment. As a Seattle resident she has become a tireless advocate for the health of Puget Sound. Laura brings unique insight to the problems facing our waterways. As a diver she knows firsthand the consequences of human carelessness. As a citizen scientist she holds the knowledge to support sustainable conservation programs. As a videographer she maintains the tools needed to support public awareness. And as an environmental activist she has the passion needed to shape public opinion. Laura’s passion and diverse talents make her uniquely qualified to promote the Tox-Ick.org message.
For more than 20 years Laura has been actively promoting the beauty and importance of the Puget Sound while working with local educational programs, organizing dozens of education and outreach programs. Whether she is working with Pacific Marine Research or inspiring public action with her videography in “Beneath the Looking Glass”, Laura is constantly looking for ways to support the health of the Puget Sound. She is equally at home entertaining residents of a retirement facility (bringing the tide pools to them) or while sharing the wonders of a muddy tide flat with a troop of kindergarteners.
Laura’s recent 2012 Cox Conservation Hero award is but one of many ways she continues to expand public awareness and help foreground the plight of our threatened ecosystems. By combining the sophistication of multimedia with the hands-on approach of public events, Laura is helping invigorate local conservation initiatives and establishing a very clear sense that we can all make a real difference in our world.
Most recently Laura has been collaborating with OpenROV to help mentor groups of student and citizen explorers who are curious about Puget Sound and would like to venture beneath the surface but are not Scuba Divers. Utilizing Open Source underwater robots, it is now possible for ANYONE to visit our underwater world, meet the amazing creatures that call it home and investigate the stormwater outfalls that threaten it. Check out Laura’s Seattle Storm Drain Rover project at Open Explorer, a digital field journal where she is documenting progress of visiting stormwater outfalls with her OpenROV.
Steve Richmond, Tox-Ick Outreach Volunteer
Steve is the owner of Garden Cycles, a company that specializes in invasive removal and the restoration of native plant communities in city forests and backyard habitat. Steve also advocates for Puget Creek Watershed Alliance, a neighborhood group that is hoping to restore the creek that is socially significant to the Duwamish Tribe and environmentally significant to the best remaining salmon habitat in the Lower Duwamish River.
Bryan Fiedorczyk, Tox-Ick Outreach Volunteer
Bryan has over twelve years experience as an environmental specialist/planner and currently works as a coordinator for tribal environmental programs with the federal government. He previously served on the Board of the Washington Chapter of the American Planning Association, (APA Washington) and the Steering Committee of Feet First’s Northeast Seattle Trails project. Bryan also co-authored the Water and Ecosystems chapter of Sustainable Washington for APA Washington’s Climate Sustainability Initiative. He earned a BS in Geography from Arizona State. Bryan’s personal mission is to foster healthy, livable, and sustainable communities, and protect and restore natural ecosystems. He resides in a “World War II cottage” home in the Seaview neighborhood with his wife Gayle, baby girl Alice, and cat Chim-Chim.
Norma Tompkins, Tox-Ick Outreach Volunteer and Spanish Translator
Norma is originally from Mexico, where she earned her degree and License of Architecture from La Universidad Autonoma de Tamaulipas. She has 15 years of experience working in local Residential and Commercial design firms and has been a West Seattle resident for the last 10 years. In 2007 she was trained to become a Sustainable Building Advisor; with a deep interest in Sustainable Design; since then she tries to apply green strategies in her projects when ever is possible. Currently she is a Design Review Board Member of the Department of Planning and Development in Seattle’s SW zone, where she is a Local Residential Representative. She was a member of La Casa de Artes, which promoted Latino arts and culture in Seattle, and she has volunteered for Consejo’s Domestic Violence Program, teaching English to Spanish-speaking women.
Kimberly Leeper, Tox-Ick Outreach Volunteer
Kimberly is owner of Mariposa Naturescapes, a West Seattle-based landscaping company through which she specializes in native & edible plant design and installation in the Seattle area. She has a breadth of experience in forest restoration as well as a background in naturalist education with Seattle Parks and Recreation, Seattle Audubon, and Wilderness Awareness School. Kimberly is a Native Plant Steward and a permaculture enthusiast who continues to learn how to incorporate permaculture principles into her life and work since taking a Permaculture Design Course (PDC) with Toby Hemenway. She is passionate about educating the community on how to create more sustainable gardens for wildlife and people by participating in local sustainability events, educating customers, and teaching classes to the general public on Gardening for Wildlife, Natural Gardening, Rain Gardens, and Food Forests.
Katie Humphries, Tox-Ick Outreach Volunteer
Katie earned her Bachelor’s degree in Geography and is passionate about enivornmental education and protection. She has served for AmeriCorps and worked for Columbia Rivekeeper running the Adopt-a-River volunteer program. She has worked as a noxious weed inspector and in the industrial water treatment sector. She loves working with community groups and volunteering with amazing people! Currently she is pursuing a Master’s degree in Education.
Elizabeth Dunigan, Ballard Tox-Ick Ambassador
Years ago, Elizabeth began asking herself the question, ‘how do living systems synthesize in ways that are regenerative?’ Ultimately, this inquiry has guided her interest exploring the intersections between living systems and the built environment. She earned a master’s degree in Whole Systems Design from Antioch University and is a LEED accredited professional. Her work experiences include mycological research, sustainable building for commercial projects, and green infrastructure development that improves the quality of stormwater. As a community volunteer, she has been a board member for Groundswell NW with responsibility to design and oversee the implementation of urban green spaces in Ballard. She’s currently working with Ballard community groups, government departments, and private landowners to create ecological buffers through the application of mushroom mycelium to break down pollutants carried by urban stormwater. Elizabeth is excited to engage the passion, wisdom, & aspirations of the community to realize a sustainable vision for the Puget Sound.