After searching for well over a year, INLC is thrilled to introduce David Schaub as the new Executive Director. An outdoorsman with deep ties to Spokane, Dave has the ideal combination of qualifications and experience: conservation, education, and business.
Conservation runs deep in Dave’s blood, beginning with his early involvement with the Boy Scouts. The numerous scouting adventures solidified his love of the outdoors. Then, in college (Swarthmore), his study of books such as Deep Ecology, The Unsettling of America, and The End of Nature helped develop his deep sense of the urgency regarding protecting our lands. Following college, Dave hiked the entire Pacific Crest Trail, from Mexico to Canada. In his own words, this experience “immersed me in both the vast wildernesses as well as the ongoing assaults on the wild lands of the West.” He has also been a whitewater raft guide on the Salmon and Snake rivers.
Background in Education
Yet another of his conservation experiences also has ties to education: he was a NOLS Alaska Instructor. Furthermore, Dave has been a kindergarten teacher as well as a middle school math, science, and reading teacher. In addition, he has designed and run experiential learning programs, and after-school clubs and family events. He hopes to use this background to reach out to local schools.
Background in Business
Finally, and arguably most importantly, Dave has a strong background in entrepreneurial business. For example, he created and ran the Refuge Sustainable Building Center in Bozeman, Montana, a company that sold green building materials. The first of its kind in the Northern Rockies, the business was a leader in promoting sustainable building practices. Most importantly, through his business experience Dave learned how to collaborate with diverse institutions and people.
Ties to Spokane
Although Dave has lived in Seattle and Bozeman, he and his family have chosen to call Spokane home, where he has deep roots. He grew up here, and graduated from Lewis and Clark High School. His mother is from here as well, and his great grandfather was a farmer in Spokane Valley. When faced with the option of living anywhere in the United States, he and his family chose Spokane. Dave affirms the great sense of belonging he feels when, for example, he meets former high school teachers at the local farmers market.
Once he returned to Spokane, his keen sense of needing to protect the environment as well as his seminal belief in the importance of public service led him to become involved in conservation. He is on the boards of the Dishman Hills Conservancy (also past president), Spokane County Parks Advisory Committee, and New Priorities Foundation.
It was, in fact, through his work with the Dishman Hills Conservancy that Dave became most thoroughly aware of INLC, particularly Chris DeForest (INLC’s Conservation Director), termed, in Dave’s words, “one of our local conservation heroes.” Dave is eager to work with Chris and the INLC staff, board, donors, and all involved—notably including the current and future holders of conservation easements—“to promote regional conservation work.” He is also excited about collaborating with other conservation groups in the Spokane area. Notable areas of interest for him are protecting the Spokane River, the aquifer and watershed, and local farmlands and forest resources. A special focus is connecting people to the land in meaningful ways. Ultimately, his hope is to encourage and expand “a human community that values and protects its natural resources both as a buffer of resilience within a changing climate and as plant and animal habitats with their own rights.”
Family and Activities
Dave is incredibly knowledgeable about local environmental issues, based on both study and hands-on experience. He and his family—wife Heidi, who is a writer, and two children, a 12-year-old daughter, and 9-year-old son—regularly enjoy outdoor activities in Spokane’s rich, diverse natural environment. Dave is an avid hiker, skier (downhill and cross-country), as well as water sports enthusiast, especially rafting and paddle boarding. He confesses that whereas many people complain about cold weather, he loves it, particularly when it brings snow.
Overall, it is hard to imagine a more perfect candidate to be INLC’s new Executive Director. All of his highly developed skill areas—conservation, education, and business—will well serve INLC. We are confident that he will help continue to build INLC. Welcome!