Sacred Earth Foundation Staff
Shawn Bergman | Facilities Manager
Shawn joined the Ekone crew in the spring of 2017, bringing his awesome work ethic, creative problem-solving skills, and the good sense of humor necessary to deal with Ekone's infrastructure. Shawn first visited Ekone in the early 2000s, drawn by the mission and vision of this place. He then spent many years working with other educational organizations and with troubled youth in the wilderness, developing and teaching valuable construction and wilderness skills. Shawn is a master of figuring out how to acquire and use recycled and reclaimed materials, of solving unsolvable facilities problems, and of creating the beautiful and highly functional facilities improvements you see around Ekone.
Jodie Buller | Cemetery Director
Jodie has been a friend of Ekone since 2008, and stepped into leadership of White Eagle Memorial Preserve in 2013. She works with families directly to walk through end-of-life choices and burial logistics, and supports White Eagle’s Stewards, hosting tours, burials, and special events. Jodie lives part-time in the White Eagle Cabin in the Ekone Valley, and part-time in a wee cabin in Skagit Valley. Her background in outreach work for the Skagit Valley Food Co-op informs her passion to introduce White Eagle to communities throughout Washington and Oregon, with presentations and workshops on natural burial. She is a founding member of the Conservation Burial Alliance, and part of the Washington Funeral and Oregon Funeral website team, creating public service websites which provide resources for family and community directed death care.
Liz Coppola | Operations Director
Liz first came to summer camp in 1995, and has yet to miss a summer since! As a child, Liz initially fell in love with the land and horses of Ekone, and used to write songs about them and sing over the fence to the horses as she was filling their water trough. She worked as camp staff through her teens and early twenties, and graduated from Hampshire College in 2006, with a BA in Media and Cultural Studies. In 2007, Liz began managing a small livestock farm outside Seattle, providing pasture-raised dairy, meat, eggs, and cheese for the Seattle farmer’s markets, and spent 6 years working there. When Ekone founder Ray Mitchell died in 2007, Liz worked with another longtime Ekone summer camp leader, Caitlin Price, to continue running summer camp for the next three years. In 2013, Liz returned to Ekone to work full time as the Facilities Manager and then the Operations Director, overseeing maintenance to Ekone’s facilities, project management for the Saddle Up capital campaign, and participating in summer camp and other programs.
Susan Holmes | Development Manager
Susan first visited Ekone in the Spring of 2011 and just kept coming back...
She volunteered as garden manager for a few growing seasons while commuting back and forth from her ‘real’ job in Seattle as the owner of a small landscaping company. Other job experiences include account management and operations management positions in both the nonprofit and for-profit sectors. In 2023, 12 years later to the day of her first visit, she happily joined the Ekone crew in a full-time position. She holds a B.A. in Economics from Binghamton University, an A.A. in Landscape Design and Construction from South Seattle Community College and is a certified Permaculture Designer and Teacher. In her free time, Susan enjoys birding, botanizing and walking through the woods.
Jenna Milton | Horse & Finance Manager
When Jenna started coming to camp in 2001, Ekone inspired her to pursue her passions for horses, art, and adventure! Later, she rode hunters with her university’s equestrian team and spent summers teaching at Ekone and other horse camp settings. In 2013, Jenna graduated from Hollins University, spent the following summer at Ekone and then put her understanding of the Top Hand Wrangler Creed’s “Put safety first and embrace danger” to use on a 16-month sailing trip from Seattle to New Zealand, encountering incredibly beautiful places (along with some requisite challenging circumstances) along the way. After a year living in Australia, she returned to the PNW in May 2016 and spent a year and change as an Ekone volunteer/intern/ camp staff. She officially joined the year-round staff team in January of 2018 and these days, happily divides her time between wrangling spreadsheets and managing ponies.
Michelle Sager | Program Director
Michelle first connected with Ekone in 2017 while working at the OSU Extension Service nearby in The Dalles. In 2020, she made the switch to become the Volunteer Coordinator at Ekone, and in 2023 became our Program Director. Michelle brings many years of experience working with both youth and adults in horticulture, art, and naturalist education, and love love LOVES to work with people outside in nature. She has a B.A. in art from UC Berkeley, an M.S. in Sustainability Education from Portland State, and a second M.S. in Conservation Biology from Prescott College. (She really likes learning stuff!) You can often find her planting seeds, smelling trees, or investigating tiny flowers.
Shonie Schlotzhauer | Executive Director
Shonie first showed up at Ekone in 1994 and was immediately hooked by the warm, welcoming camp community, kind and spirited horses, and the rustic lifestyle reminiscent of her childhood in the Canadian bush. She lived at Ekone for two years as a teen, before attending The Evergreen State College where she studied agriculture, food systems, and community development. She farmed for several years, taught garden-based nutrition programs, and served as the Food & Farming Program Manager at Sustainable Connections in Bellingham. Shonie returned to the ranch in 2009 to help fill the need left by Ray Mitchell’s death, becoming Sacred Earth Foundation’s first official staff member and providing careful, heartful leadership for SEF. Her love for the land grows each day.
Chris Woodcock | Kitchen Manager
Chris has now spent two decades serving up delicious, wholesome meals at Ekone’s “Yummy Tummy Café,” and has converted hundreds of children to loving vegetables. Her daughter, Shonie (now Ekone’s executive director), was the first to fall in love with Ekone, but Chris was not hard to convince, and has lived and worked at Ekone since 1995. Compared to cooking for tree-planters deep in the British Columbia bush, cooking for children in the Yummy Tummy is a dream. She also serves as a cemetery steward, and offers one-of-a-kind handmade shrouds for cemetery clients.