Board of Directors

The Friends is governed by a volunteer Board, consisting of 5 to 13 members. The Board meets monthly and welcomes visitors to these meetings. 

Monthly Board Meeting minutes available upon request. Email us at

These volunteers make up our current Board.

Charlie Pelizza, President

Charlie retired in 2017 after a 39 -year career with Refuges across the US. Charlie now lives on Long Beach Peninsula, partway between the shores of Willapa Bay and the Pacific Ocean. He immediately began volunteering for Willapa Refuge and the Friends and has been a member of the Board since 2020. Charlie continues to enjoy supporting the conservation and management of our wildlife resources. In his spare time, you can find him enjoying all manner of watersports, hunting, fishing, camping, and visiting with family and friends.

Pat Welle, Vice President

Pat retired in 2019 from over twenty years in conservation in the Pacific Northwest. She spent many years working with farmers to reduce agriculture impacts to groundwater and restoring tributaries in the Columbia River estuary for salmon. Pat is also a photographer who recently completed two books on the Columbia River estuary and now resides on the shore of Willapa Bay. She is active in revegetation projects (including an acre of her property being planted to forest and pollinator meadow), and continually explores the bay and nearby coastal forests and wetlands, usually with camera in hand.

Sylvia Pelizza, Secretary

Sylvia Pelizza, Treasurer

Sylvia is a retired U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service employee having served 37 years at 12 different Refuges. She traveled across the country managing lands and waters along the northeast coast, in Florida’s everglades, in the pothole country of the Dakotas, in southwest deserts, in the Pacific Islands, and in the Pacific Northwest. Sylvia retired to the Long Beach Peninsula. Because of her commitment to refuges, she also serves on the board for the National Wildlife Refuge Association. 

Karen Strege, Director

Karen is a retired librarian having worked in communities in the Pacific Northwest and Montana. She spent many childhood vacations on the Long Beach Peninsula. After she retired, she felt the pull of this unique place and decided, with her husband, to make the Peninsula her retirement home. She has served on the Board since 2019 and enjoys using her research and communication skills to help the Friends thrive and the Refuge to meet its goals.

Kathy Freitas, Secretary

Kathy retired from a career as an administrative professional and is a recent transplant to Ocean Park, WA. Her interest in wildlife began as a backyard bird watcher and now she is on a mission to discover all she can about the variety and abundance of wildlife on the Long Beach Peninsula. She is actively involved with the Willapa NWR Complex, Coastal Observation and Seabird Survey Team (or COASST, a citizen science research project at the University of Washington), and Grassroots Garbage Gang (a community beach clean-up group). Both by vocation and avocation, she is a writer, editor, and blogger.

David Campiche, Director

David is a multi-faceted individual: potter, writer, innkeeper (retired after 42 years), involved in various ecological groups, a chef and harmless miscreant. He loves the ecology of the Long Beach Peninsula and all aspects of flora and fauna and, of course, its old growth. This includes Willapa Bay as well as his devotion to all animals, big and small. David has been a part of the preservation of a number of vital landscapes and enjoys working with the Friends. He loves sharing a good bottle of wine and toasts to the preservation of our magical planet.

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