Leader Spotlight: Dee Ann Kline

Leader Spotlight is a monthly blog to showcase our incredible volunteer leadership at The Mountaineers. Meet this month's featured leader: Dee Ann Kline. She is a 13-year member who helped form the new Olympia Naturalists Committee to encourage folks to slow down and learn more about the natural world around them.
Sara Ramsay Sara Ramsay
Volunteer Development Manager
February 29, 2020

For our Leader Spotlight this month we talked to Dee Ann Kline, a volunteer leader with the Olympia Branch who enjoys leading easy paced hikes with plenty of time for photos and berry picking.

Name: Dee Ann Kline
Branch: Olympia
Where do you live? Shelton, WA
How long have you been a leader? 8 years (member since 2007)
What activities do you lead? I lead Exploring Nature and Conditioning Hiking Series trips. I am also chair of the Olympia Naturalists Committee, a member of the Hiking Committee, a MOFA instructor, and I just completed a two-year term as Olympia Branch Social Chair. I am currently working on the committee that sponsors the biennial Photo Contest.

Leadership Questions

What inspired you to lead trips for The Mountaineers?

I wanted to lead hikes with an emphasis on appreciating the environment we hike in, and include time to take photos and snack on berries. These activities require a slow-paced, casual hike.

What is the best, favorite, or most memorable trip you've led for The Mountaineers?

I have so many favorite hikes. Naches Loop at the end of July is a favorite wildflower walk. I always ask people who have previously hiked the trail not to give away the "secret" so I can watch expressions at that magical turn in the trail when Mt. Rainier jumps into view. When I lead South Coldwater Ridge we talk about the Mt. St. Helens story.

I think my most memorable hike was a Huckleberry Picking hike this year on the Reflection Lake Loop. My friend Laurie Choate died in 2018, just a few days before she was going to lead this hike. I decided to lead it in her memory. I shared her story at the trailhead and we talked about her at different times during the hike. It was good closure for me and the hikers thanked me letting them get to know Laurie.

How has your leadership style evolved as you've gained experience?

Communication, Communication, Communication. The more information you provide upfront - in the Hike Listing, in the Hello Hiker email, and at the trail head - the fewer surprises you will have while on the hike.

Any learning experiences you can share, such as take-aways from a close call or a near miss?

Since I lead easy paced hikes, people who are new to hiking, new to The Mountaineers, or getting back into hiking often sign up for my hikes. People often have a personal story about what has led them to become involved. Learning those stories helps me lead a safer, more rewarding hike for everyone in the group.

What advice do you have for aspiring leaders in The Mountaineers community?

You are not alone. The Mountaineers has fantastic leadership and mentorship programs to help you grow and thrive as a leader. AND: Be sure to take time to appreciate the places your boots are taking you.

Is there aNYTHING ELSE WE SHOULD KNOW ABOUT YOU?

In spring/summer 2018, several Olympia Mountaineers took the Introduction to the Natural World Course in Seattle. In fall of 2018, we formed the Olympia Naturalists Committee and decided to launch Naturalist Talk and Walks - a 2-hour talk followed by two field trips. In the last year, we have sponsored Talk and Walks on Mushroom Identification (2); Trees of the Northwest (2); Mosses, Lichens and Ferns; and Birds of the Northwest; and Geology in Your Own Backyard. April Devitt, a Naturalists Committee member and Marine Biologist, led a tidepool walk at Tolmie State Park. Joanne Schuett-Hames and Becky Andrade led a hike on Mt. Ellinor to explore the natural history of that area. Committee members led six Exploring Nature hikes during the spring and summer months! I am excited about the energy of this committee and look forward to growing and expanding Naturalist activities in the Olympia Branch.

Lightning Round

What's your go-to place for a post-trip meal? Ice cream at Wapiti Woolies or Hoodsport Coffee Company.
How about your best trail snack? Cashews and licorice.
What's your favorite close-to-home adventure? We are so lucky to have many City, County and State Parks with hiking trails. A close to home adventure is at one of the local parks.
What's next on your bucket list? I had foot reconstruction surgery in September 2019 so healing, rehabing, and getting back on the trails IS my bucket list.

is there Someone that you'd like to see in the spotlight?

Send an email to Sara Ramsay to make a recommendation for one of our upcoming Leader Spotlights!


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Ginger Sarver
Ginger Sarver says:
Sat, Feb 29, 2020 8:01 AM

Dee Ann is such an inspiring leader! When I first met her at a Mountaineers Open House, I knew I wanted to join the Mountaineers and I signed up for my first hike with her.