Meet the Board: Marty Deggeller & Shelley Ratay

By Canopy Team on September 14, 2018

Meet the Board

In follow up to last month’s post on Laura Martinez and Susan Rosenberg—we’re thrilled to introduce two more Canopy board members! Meet Marty Deggeller, who has volunteered with Canopy since 1997, and Shelley Ratay, who joined the board in September 2017. 

Marty Deggeller

Marty DeggellerMarty is a retired Aerospace manager who has been a Canopy volunteer since 1997. He has previously served two six-year terms on the Canopy Board and was Board Chair for four years. He grew up in the forests of Washington state and has had a lifelong affinity to trees including several summer jobs in the forest products industry, and early work with International Paper Company. Marty holds a BS in Industrial Engineering from Stanford University, is a long-time Palo Alto resident, and a member of the Palo Alto Kiwanis Club.

How did you get started with Canopy and how long have you been on the board?

Marty: When I retired from the aerospace business at the end of 1996, Arnie Soforenko, a long-time friend and Canopy’s first treasurer, suggested I come out to a Canopy tree planting. I did my first planting in January 1997 and I’ve been involved in the organization ever since. I’m now serving my third six-year term on the Board and was the Board Chair for about 4 years.

What inspires you most about Canopy’s work?

Marty: Canopy does a great job of engaging the community in all our program activities and I love to work with the wide range of individuals that attend our planting events. Everyone participating seems to enjoy the activities and gets great satisfaction out of putting the trees in the ground and improving their community.

Why do you care about trees?

Marty: While I recognize the value of all the ecological benefits that trees provide, I’m really taken with the aesthetic impact trees have on an area, particularly those areas that have minimal green areas associated with them. There’s something about finishing a large school planting in East Palo Alto, for example, and walking away realizing the impact those newly-planted trees have on the ambiance of the campus.

What is your favorite tree?

Marty: I grew up in the conifer forests of Washington so I’m partial to any type of conifer. However, we don’t have the opportunity to plant many conifers locally so my interests have shifted to the wide variety of oaks that we incorporate into our plantings.

Thanks Marty!

Shelley Ratay

Shelley RatayShelley is a director at Stanford University’s School of Earth, Energy and Environmental Sciences, where she oversees the new Change Leadership for Sustainability program. She previously served as executive director of Sempervirens Fund, a local land trust, and as project director at First Community Housing, where she orchestrated the development of hundreds of affordable apartments for low-income families. She has also held strategy development and project management roles at Beartooth Capital Partners, The Trust for Public Land and Conservation International. Shelley lives in Palo Alto with her husband and two children. She enjoys camping, cycling, playing soccer, and partnering with her sister as a social sector consultant. She holds a BA from Brown University and an MBA from Stanford University.

How did you get started with Canopy and how long have you been on the board?

Shelley: I came to know Catherine through our shared experience as local nonprofit professionals. I’ve always admired her thoughtful leadership style, and the care and dedication that she and the staff bring to Canopy’s work. I joined the board 9 months ago, and currently serve as Treasurer.

What inspires you most about Canopy’s work?

Shelley: The way Canopy engages the community in its tree planting and tree care efforts. It’s beautiful to see people of all ages and backgrounds come together to volunteer at Canopy’s work days. Digging in the dirt side-by-side with others to plant a young tree  — that’s the kind of meaningful connection to people and place that we could all use more of. It feeds the soul of the community.

Why do you care about trees?

Shelley: So many reasons. They provide beauty, clean air, shade and habitat. They represent stability, hope and life.

What is your favorite tree?

Shelley: The buckeye tree in our backyard. My husband planted it when our daughter was born. It started as a seed in a pot and we’ve watched it grow up alongside our children.

Thanks Shelley!

Stay tuned for next month to meet two more Canopy board members!



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