New President & Board Member Named for First Green Foundation

New President & Board Member Named for First Green Foundation

Jeff Shelley has been named the new President of the First Green Foundation, a nonprofit organization that promotes and provides environmental education to elementary, middle and high school students during hands-on field trips to golf courses.

In these outdoor “labs” students test water quality, collect soil samples, identify plants and assist in stream bed restoration. First Green also emphasizes the environmental and community benefits of golf courses, while introducing potential new golfers to the game.

A native of Washington State, Shelley has a 25-year-plus background in golf as a writer, publisher, media director and editor. He’s written and published three editions of the book, “Golf Courses of the Pacific Northwest,” and was the co-author and publisher of “Championships and Friendships: The First 100 Years of the Pacific Northwest Golf Association.”

He is the co-founder and original president of the Northwest Golf Media Association and the former media director for the Fred Couples Invitational, a two-day, annual tournament contested by PGA Tour players. Shelley, who has a Creative Writing degree from the University of Washington, has been the editorial director for since 2000.

Also joining the board is David Burger. David has been the executive director of Stewardship Partners since 2000 and brings with him 15 years of experience working on community-based salmon recovery and managing nonprofit organizations. He has worked both locally in Puget Sound as Executive Director for Mid Sound Fisheries Enhancement Group, restoring salmon habitat with landowners and statewide as program manager for People for Salmon, building capacity of organizations statewide to engage community citizens in salmon recovery. He knows the importance of working cooperatively with a variety of stakeholders and developing and fostering relationships with private landowners to protect and restore fish and wildlife habitat while maintaining the economic viability of farms and forest land.

David also holds a seat on the Snoqualmie Watershed Forum, is on the Executive Committee Board for Built Green of King and Pierce counties, and is a member of the King Conservation District Advisory Board. Previously he was a board member and treasurer of Mid Sound Fisheries Enhancement Group. Burger received his Bachelors of Science in Natural Resource Management from Colorado State University.

Shelley and Burger join fellow board members secretary/treasurer Steve Kealy, vice president Jeff Gullikson, Lynn McKay and Bill Meyer. Also overseeing the organization are executive director Karen Armstead and programs and marketing director Cathy Relyea.

Steve Kealy, CGCS and golf course superintendent at Glendale Country Club, has received national recognition in the golf industry for his environmental leadership. He is active as a board member for NTA, WWGCSA and environmental organizations such as Audubon International.

The golf industry has also recognized Jeff Gullikson, CGCS and golf course superintendent at Spokane Country Club, for his passion for environmental education. He has obtained grants to fund teacher education and training workshops, developed curriculum for use on field trip programs, and presented at teacher association and golf course superintendent conferences. Jeff is a co-founder of First Green.

Lynn McKay brings a teacher’s perspective to First Green, with extensive experience in helping students understand practical environmental stewardship through projects such as designing and building rain gardens and butterfly gardens and in the use of native plants. She has been involved with First Green since its inception, assisting other teachers to become involved and in designing curriculum. Lynn teaches Environmental Horticulture at Interlake High School in Bellevue, Wash.

Bill Meyer, Ph.D., is nationally recognized for his golf-education activities, coaching, and support for environmental programs. As a leadership coach, Bill saw the relationship between youth-development programs such as Future Farmers of America and the environmental stewardship opportunities on golf courses, and sparked the formation of First Green.

Karen Armstead, Ph.D. As Executive Director of the First Green Foundation, Karen coordinates the educational outreach and operational activities of the foundation. These include managing the foundation’s educational resource materials development and the scholarship program.

Cathy Relyea, MBA. As a partner at The Earth Generation, Cathy worked with multiple stakeholders (corporate clients, NGO, and government agencies) to create customized environmental curriculum for science teachers in seven states, as well as cities in Turkey, the Philippines, Mexico and Venezuela. Cathy has recently updated First Green’s website as a resource for environmental curriculum and tools.


Supporters of First Green include the Washington State Golf Association, the United States Golf Association, the Northwest Turfgrass and Western Washington Turfgrass associations, various school systems, and individual contributors who assist the organization through monetary grants and participation in field trips.

For more information about First Green, visit or call 425/746-0809. To contact Jeff Shelley, email [email protected] or call 206/522-6981; to contact Karen Armstead, email kwarmstead@gmail or call 425/746-0809.

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