SHADOW Lake Nature Preserve stewards critical habitat, increases access to green spaces, and provides inclusive environmental education to cultivate a land use ethic throughout the Puget Sound Region.


SHADOW Lake Nature Preserve’s vision is to cultivate a resilient community that values and embraces ownership of our shared environment.

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“People protect what they love, they love what they understand, they understand what they are taught.” -Jacques Cousteau Take a class today! Experience-based learning is available for students of all ages at SHADOW. Read more


To date, SHADOW Lake Nature Preserve has placed 109 acres under preservation. Join us in protecting green spaces in a rapidly urbanizing corner of King County, today! Read more


SHADOW’s grounds include wetlands, upland forests, and a 5,000 year-old, peat moss bog. Volunteers have been the powerhouse behind restoration at SHADOW since 1995. Get your boots dirty at a Restoration Work Party, while learning about the unique ecosystems at SHADOW. Read more


1940s photo of Shadow Lake, which was known at the time as Spoon Lake. 

SHADOW Lake Nature Preserve was founded by two people, just like you. Max grew up in LA and the learned the importance of access to green spaces on weekend trips to his family’s cabin. Erin  grew up right here, in rural, Southeast King County, and has seen this area change immensely.

After high school, Max’s family moved to Washington. In 1980 he married Erin. It didn’t take long for the young couple to realize that the abandoned lot next door to their house was home to a rare and beautiful wetland, Shadow Lake Bog. Experts informed the couple that this ecosystem had been forming since the last ice age!

The lot containing Shadow Lake Bog had historically been an illegal dump site and was marked with a red tag. Max and Erin believed in individual responsibility to the environment and that they couldn’t wait for the government to fix this problem. So they decided to invest in these beliefs. In 1995, they bought the 18-acre parcel of land containing Shadow Lake Bog.

Right away, local community members, showed up to help. Together with these early volunteers, they removed 110 dump truck loads of trash from the site and began planting native plants to restore wildlife habitat.  

Max and Erin understood that a bog that had been forming for the last 5,000 years, would need more than just them to protect it. In 1999, they formed the nonprofit Save Habitat And Diversity Of Wetlands (SHADOW) in order to strengthen the community around Shadow Lake Bog and educate younger generations about the importance of wetlands.   


Erin and Max with some of the first groups of students to visit Shadow Lake Bog, in 2000.

Today, the nonprofit known as SHADOW Lake Nature Preserve stewards 109 acres of permanently protected in land in Southeast King County. The Nature Preserve continues to be supported by community stewards, who believe that land protection is important.

Our work is not done. As green spaces in King County disappear, it is now more important than ever for individual people to invest in the environment.

If you don’t want to wait for government to fix the problem, then join us in Preserving land, today!

Board & Staff

Max Prinsen,


Board service began in 2000

A California native, Max is an Engineer & Systems Manager at OTIS Elevators. Starting in 1978 Max built a home on one acre and married and his wife, Erin, in 1980. In 1995 Max and Erin acquired the 18.5 acre property surrounding Shadow Lake Bog. As they learned more and more about the unique significance of the land, they established SHADOW in 2000. Max also serves on the board of King Conservation District and represents SHADOW on the WRIA 9 Council, at the Green River Coalition and is the Chair of the Cedar River Council. 


Erin Wojewodzki-Prinsen,

Vice President

Board service began in 2000

Erin is a South King County local with a passion for the environmentShe is certified as a Native Plant Steward and as a Livestock Steward. Erin co-founded  SHADOW and ithe organization’s acting vice-president as well as the manager of a small,environmentallyfriendly farmHer stewardship work has been recognized by the King Conservation District. 


Walt Szklarski

Board service began in 2003

As Instructional Technology Coordinator at Tahoma School District, Walt uses his years of teaching experience to support district level curriculum advancement. Walt helped establish the partnerships between SHADOW and the Tahoma School District.


David Terry Jones   

Board service began in 2003

David was born and educated in the United Kingdom, where he received both a B.S. and Ph.D. in Physics. He has worked as a programmer and software engineer for International Computers Limited in England, Control Data in Canada, Microsoft and Expedia. David and his wife, Maryanne, are active in local politics and with nonprofit organizations working towards environmental and social justice. He also serves as a board member for OneNW and the Museum of History and Industry in Seattle.


Kristi McClelland  

Board service began in 2003

As a former King County Forester, Project Program Manager, and Land Resources ForesterKristi brings a sense of humor and over four decades of forestry experience to SHADOW. Kristi started at the Nature Preserve as a volunteerShe believes land management decisions should support healthy ecosystems while contributing to a viable economy. 


Gayle Podrabsky  

Board service began in 2014

Gayle graduated from Seattle University with a degree in journalism and has worked as a video content producer/ director for the past 25 years. As the Creative Director of Fidget TV, Gayle provides content for corporate and non-profit clients. Passion projects have led Gayle to work with organizations that help animals, protect the environment, and support environmental education.


Mary Jane Glaser  

Board service began in 2015

As a member of the Tahoma School District Board of Directors since 1998, Mary Jane has recognized the important impact of SHADOW on students. She serves, also, as the Sustainability Representative for the School Board. In 1998, Mary Jane founded the Maple Valley Creative Arts Council, a local, non-profit, arts agency. Community opportunities and partnerships are at the core of her work.


Amy Blue  

Board service began in 2018

Amy is a land use attorney with her own law practice here in Maple Valley.  As a mother of four and a local business owner, Amy is passionate about supporting the Maple Valley community and joined the SHADOW board in May 2018 with that objective.  Amy serves as the legal advisor to the SHADOW board and assists staff with legal matters as needed.


Mike Lasecki

Board service began in 2018

Mike is currently a program manger at King Conservation District, where he works with other natural resource professionals to help private landowners in King County steward their natural resources.  Mike grew up in the Midwest, studied Conservation Biology and History at the University of Wisconsin, and early in his career had the great fortune of working for conservation organizations similar to SHADOW.  Before moving to the Pacific Northwest Mike did ecological restoration, wildland fire fighting, and forestry work in many different regions of the country. Through his service on the board Mike hopes he can help support and cultivate the next generation of land stewards.


Klaus O. Richter,


SHADOW board member since 2003

Klaus holds a Ph.D. from the University of Washington iForest Zoology and is a former Ecologist & Researcher for King County, whose work on amphibian habitat has been widely recognizedKlaus has been involved with SHADOW since its inception and help shape many of the Nature Preserves early education programs and restoration projects.  Klaus has been a life-long advocate for wetland protection and designed SHADOW’samphibian pond.


Joy Stewart,

Interim Executive Director

Joy has a strong passion for conservation. Her love for nature grew while taking ecology courses as an undergraduate student. Joy continued her education and obtained a graduate degree in Environmental Systems from the University of California. She recently moved to the King County area in 2018 from California where she was working as a Wildlife Biologist helping to restore native habitats for endangered species. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking, training dogs, and going on road trips. Joy is excited to start a new career at SHADOW and help make positive environmental change in the community.



Cordelia Boyle,

Restoration & Outreach Specialist

Cordelia “Delia” is originally from Rhode Island and graduated from Saint Michael’s College in Burlington, Vermont in 2015 with a degree in Biology. Since then she has developed a passion for conservation work while traveling and working in a variety of settings including small farms in New Zealand to offshore waters in the Atlantic Ocean. In her free time, she enjoys rock climbing, hiking, and sailing. Delia is very excited to be a part of SHADOW and to be completing fulfilling work while she settles into the Seattle area.



Gabi Esparza,

Outreach Lead

SHADOW staff member since August 2018. Gabi is a King County native who currently lives in Renton. She graduated from Linfield College in McMinnville, Oregon with a degree in environmental science and minors in mathematics and biology. Over the past several years, she developed a serious interest for habitat restoration and environmental justice. Her other interests include sustainability, camping, nature walks, tiny houses, and ukulele. Now, she is excited to work for SHADOW and start her career.



Melissa Polevoy,

Restoration and Education Intern

SHADOW staff member since April 2019. Melissa is a Pacific Northwest native who graduated from Northwest University in 2018 with her degree in Environmental Science. During her time as a student, she worked in recycling education and outreach in King and Snohomish County. Melissa is passionate about environmental education and is interested in ecological restoration. She has various outdoor hobbies including running, hiking, and snowboarding. Melissa is excited to be a member of the SHADOW team and for the opportunity to foster environmental stewardship in her native region.



Employment opportunities 

Staff Position Openings

Are you passionate about Preserving green spaces, Restoring wildlife habitat, and providing inclusive environmental education? Do you want to work in a beautiful, woodland office, just 10 minutes from downtown Renton? Make a BIG difference in South King County, today!

Development Manager

SHADOW Lake Nature Preserve is seeking a Development Manager in charge of Grants and Outreach to join our small but mighty team. This 30 hour/week, salaried job with medical involves grant management, event planning, and communication with community members, donors, and volunteers. We are seeking a self motivated and passionate individual with a strong connection to SHADOW’s mission.


Are you passionate about environmental protection? Do you have a strong desire to help others? Do you want to spend your time surrounded by beautiful nature? SHADOW Lake Nature Preserve’s internship program might just be the right fit for you! 

SHADOW offers internship opportunities for high school, college, and professional applicants who are interested in growing their skills. Come expand your resume and become empowered.

SHADOW Go-Green Youth Internship

This is a great opportunity to be a community contributor, while spending your summer at SHADOW Lake Nature Preserve! Learn about environmentalism and nonprofits in a real world setting. SHADOW’s Summer Youth Intern will be responsible for assisting with summer educational programming and events at the Nature Preserve, completion of an independent project, and working with SHADOW staff.