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For more information on the task force process and updates on their activities, visit the Elephant Task Force's website.


The Task Force, created by the WPZ Board of Directors, is conducting an objective and transparent review of the Woodland Park Zoo elephants’ health and care, and the value of the elephant program and exhibit to the zoo’s conservation initiatives.

The WPZ Board of Directors charge to the Task Force is to conduct a data-driven, objective review of the Zoo’s elephant program, exhibit and current elephant welfare and to produce a report to the Board.  It will discuss the status of elephants in the world, the threats to their survival and the options for care of managed elephants at the Woodland Park Zoo.

The Task Force is not charged with studying broader issues regarding zoos, elephants, nor is it charged with conducting public forums on whether or not elephants should be part of the wildlife collection at the zoo. It will not reconsider the mission of the zoo.


At the conclusion of its work, the Task Force will produce a report and present it to the WPZ Board of Directors. The report will include an analysis of their work, overview of the issues discussed by the Task Force and their findings for further consideration by the WPZ board.

Task Force Member Bios

Jan Hendrickson: Co-Chair
Jan Hendrickson has worked with early stage companies for over ten years as a venture capitalist and investment banker, in roles governing, strategy development, advising, capital raising, investing and fund managing.  She is co-founder of Denny Hill Capital, an early stage, multi-industry venture capital firm. She is currently co-Chairman of butter LONDON and TC Global (dba Tully’s Coffee,), a director of Commerce Bank of Washington, WideAngle Technologies, and PhotoRocket.  She is a past chair and director emeritus of the Woodland Park Zoo, past president and current trustee of the Frye Art Museum, a member of the Community Development Round Table, a trustee of the Rainier Club, a founding director of the Seattle-based Women’s Bioethics Project, past chair of Wellspring Family Services of King County Board of Directors, and a former director of Historic Seattle Preservation and Development Authority. Jan holds graduate and undergraduate degrees from the University of the Washington. 

Jay Manning: Co-Chair
Jay Manning is a partner with Cascadia Law Group, and focuses his practice on public policy, environmental, and energy issues.  Jay previously held high-level positions in state government including serving as Governor Gregoire’s Chief of Staff, working closely with the Governor on virtually all strategic, operational, budgetary and political issues.  He was also the Director of the Department of Ecology and an Assistant Attorney General and Division Chief for the Attorney General’s Office, Ecology Division.  Jay is a past and current President of the Washington Environmental Council, is a member of the Advisory Board for the William Ruckelshaus Center, and a past board member of Urban Waters.  In 2012, Jay co-chaired the Governor’s Blue Ribbon Panel on Ocean Acidification. Jay received his law degree from the University of Oregon and undergraduate degree from Eastern Washington University.

Marianne Bichsel
Marianne Bichsel is the founder and president of Bichsel Public Affairs. She has 25 years of experience helping organizations align their communications strategies with their mission and values.  Marianne was a senior staffer for a member of congress and then worked as a communications strategist at Group Health Cooperative. She spent eight years as CEO of The Wiley Brooks Company, a public affairs firm in Seattle before joining former Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels as a senior advisor. Marianne also served as Managing Director of communications for Casey Family Programs, a large national foundation headquartered in Seattle. Marianne currently serves on the board of the Woodland Park Zoo, Leadership Tomorrow and the marketing & communications committee of the Downtown Seattle Association. Marianne received her undergraduate degree from the University of Washington.

Grant Degginger
Grant Degginger is chair of the Construction and Environmental Practice Group at Lane Powell PC in Seattle. His law practice focuses on environmental, construction, and commercial disputes.  His public service includes three terms as a Bellevue City Council member and two terms as Mayor. Grant has served on numerous regional committees and boards addressing water supply and transportation issues, including the Cascade Water Alliance, the I-405 Executive Committee, and the King County Metro Regional Transit Task Force. Before being elected to the city council, he served seven years as a member of the Bellevue Planning Commission.  In 2012, he was the recipient of the Public Official of the Year Award from the Municipal League of King County. Grant received his law degree from Seattle University and undergraduate degree from the University of Washington.

Gene Duvernoy
Gene Duvernoy is the President of Forterra.  Under his leadership, the organization has risen to national prominence by developing bold, innovative and successful landscape conservation and community building strategies.  Forterra has conserved over 200,000 acres of forests, farmlands, and natural areas.  Prior to leading Forterra, Duvernoy held positions in government, research, public policy, and the law.  Duvernoy serves on the Advisory Boards for the Friends of the Waterfront, Seattle; University of Washington College of the Environment; the Runstad Center for Real Estate Studies; and the Marine Conservation Institute. Gene holds law and graduate degrees from Cornell University and a bachelor degree from Carnegie-Mellon University.

Annette Laico
Annette Laico is Executive Director of the Progressive Animal Welfare Society, known throughout Washington State simply as PAWS. PAWS is a nationally recognized leader in rehabilitating injured and orphaned wildlife, sheltering and adopting homeless cats and dogs, and educating people to make a better world for animals and people. Prior to leading PAWS, Annette served as the founding Executive Director of Friends of the Cedar River Watershed, a group dedicated to the protection and enhancement of one of Washington’s most important natural resources. Annette has also served as an organizational consultant, Executive Director of the national non-partisan organization Women Executives in State Government (WESG), as well as leading Washington Literacy, and creating a national education and literacy initiative for United Way of America. She has served on numerous boards and commissions. Annette earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Vermont.

Jeff Leppo
Jeff Leppo is a law partner in the Seattle office of Stoel Rives LLP, practicing in the Environment, Land Use and Natural Resources group. His practice is focused on environmental, wildlife and natural resources law, and related complex litigation, for oil and gas leasing, exploration and development, commercial fisheries, pipeline operators and energy producers, mining interests, and public ports.  Jeff frequently counsels industry associations, public and private companies, and developers regarding Endangered Species Act (ESA), Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act, Magnuson-Stevens Act (MSA), Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA), Clean Water Act (CWA) and Clean Air Act compliance and litigation.  He also serves on the Woodland Park Zoo Board of Directors. Jeff graduated with honors in biology from the College of William & Mary and earned his Juris Doctor from the University of Virginia School of Law.

Rob Liddell
Rob Liddell, M.D. is Medical Director and musculoskeletal, pediatric and body radiologist for Radiology Consultants is also the company's national section leader for musculoskeletal imaging. Dr. Liddell has been involved with the care of Woodland Park Zoo animals volunteering as a diagnostic radiologist to assist the veterinary staff.  Rob is a founding member of the zoo's Conservation Committee.  He joined the Woodland Park Zoo Board of Directors and has served on many committees including chair of the Animal Care Committee and co-chair of the Conservation Education Committee. Dr. Liddell completed his residency in diagnostic radiology at the University of Washington where he served as chief resident. Dr. Liddell received his medical degree at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry and completed his undergraduate degree at Purdue University, where he received a B.S. degree in honors biology with Highest Distinction and a B.A. in Spanish with Highest Distinction.

Jeannie Nordstrom
A West Virginia transplant, Jeannie Nordstrom has been a supporter of causes near to her heart and a community activist since moving to Seattle 30 years ago.  Jeannie worked on the Campaign Staff of United Way of King County.  She was President of the Board of the YWCA and a board member for the past 17 years.  Jeannie was also on the boards of The Market Foundation, Cancer Lifeline, Islandwood, The Delta Society and Friends of the Seattle Waterfront.  Jeannie has fostered hundreds of kittens for Purrfect Pals and supports the causes of PAWS and The Humane Society.

Bryce Seidl
Bryce Seidl is President and CEO of the Pacific Science Center, one of the nation's largest science museums. He previously held high level positions with the Simpson Companies including serving as Vice President of Specialty Paper Operations and Vice President and General Manager of the Kraft Group.  Bryce was also Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer and was elected a Director, President and Chief Executive Officer of Fisher Mills Inc.  He also held elected office both as a City Councilman and as Mayor of Vancouver, Washington.  He serves as past President of the Pilchuck Board of Trustees; as a Senior Trustee of Pacific University in Forest Grove, Oregon; as a Director of Pacific Denkmann Company, as a Director of the Rainier Club and as President of the Association of Science and Technology Centers. Bryce is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley with a degree in ecology.  He completed his MBA at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor with an emphasis on marketing.

Andrew Shouse
Andrew Shouse is Associate Director of the University of Washington Institute for Science and Math Education. He focuses on equitable science education in formal and informal settings, and communication of research to policy and practice audiences. Prior to his appointment at UW, Andrew was Senior Program Officer at the National Research Council's Board on Science Education. He serves on advisory bodies for numerous organizations, including the National Geographic Society, the National Association for Research in Science Teaching, the Pacific Science Center, The Museum of Science and Industry (Chicago), and The NSF Center for Biophotonic Science and Technology at the University of California-Davis. Andrew completed a PhD in curriculum, teaching, and educational policy at Michigan State University.

Bryan Slinker
Bryan Slinker DVM is the Dean and Professor for the Washington State University College of Veterinary   Medicine. Over the years he has taught applied biomedical statistics, bioethics (including animal welfare/animal rights), responsible conduct of research, physiology, pharmacology, and developmental anatomy. Dr. Slinker has more than 50 publications in books and scientific journals. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Woodland Park Zoo. Dr. Slinker received his B.S. in Zoology from the College of Idaho and his D.V.M. and Ph.D. degrees from Washington State University.

Lyn Tangen
Lyn Tangen was Senior Director, Corporate Communications, for Vulcan Inc. for the past 10 years.  She also served as Legal Advisor to Mayor Paul Schell and was a partner in the law firm of Riddell Williams where her practice was focused on commercial real estate development.   She has served on the boards of the Chamber of Commerce, the Downtown Seattle Association, the UW Law School Foundation, and other civic and non-profit organizations.  Currently, she is on the boards of FareStart and Friends of Waterfront Seattle. Lyn received her undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Washington.

Suzanne Walsh
Suzanne Walsh is a senior program officer at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation where she leads the Foundation’s institutional redesign strategies. Before joining Gates, Suzanne worked at two other foundations: The Lumina Foundation for Education in Indianapolis where she managed the Making Opportunity Affordable initiative, which was aimed at increasing college productivity by bringing about fundamental change in the way higher education does business; and, The Heinz Endowments in Pittsburgh where her diverse portfolio included community colleges, universities, workforce development, tech commercialization and transfer, city/county consolidation, immigration and regional economic development.  She got her start in community college work as the Coordinator of Special Projects at Cuyahoga Community College. She is a member of the Grantmakers for Effective Organizations board and on the advisory boards for Roadtrip Nation, as well as education start-ups Uncollege and Sokanu. She is also a proud judge for Dance Your PhD. Suzanne has her juris doctorate and masters in social work from Case Western Reserve University, a bachelor’s of science from Cornell University, and an associate’s degree in applied science from Hudson Valley Community College.

Expert Review Panel

The role of the Expert Review Panel is to provide an objective evaluation of the elephant program of Woodland Park Zoo. The knowledge and expertise of the panel will help guide the Task Force’s findings and options.

See a list of panel members


Meetings will be open to the public unless otherwise noted. Written comments from the public will be accepted and made part of the record; there will not be a public hearing. The meetings will be videotaped and posted on the task force website.

Latest meeting:

October 22, 2013
6:00 - 8:00 p.m.
Seattle Public Library 


Task Force Announcement
- Apr. 16, 2013