Mark Welther
President & CEO

Mark brings to Call of the Sea a love of traditional sailing ships, plus 23 years of experience leading conservation and education nonprofits. 

Mark began his nonprofit career at the California League of Conservation Voters, serving for nine years as Development Officer and Membership Director. He then stepped in as Founding Executive Director of the Spaulding Wooden Boat Center, where he pioneered the innovative and diverse Youth Boatbuilding & Sailing Program, partnered with the Arques School of Traditional Boatbuilding, and directed the initial restoration of Freda, the oldest private sailing yacht in San Francisco. 

In 2009, Mark returned to conservation to serve as the Executive Director of the Golden Gate Audubon Society, leading the award-winning Eco-Education Program and the raptor-protecting Altamont Pass repowering project. From 2013 to 2021, Mark led the nonprofit Redwood Forest Foundation as President & CEO, managing the nation’s largest community-owned working forest. Among his achievements at RFFI were a $5 million salmon stream restoration project and registration of California’s largest carbon offset project, which addressed climate change by sequestering more than 5,000,000 metric tonnes of carbon. 

Mark learned to sail at Berkeley’s OCSC, and raced on a championship J-29 team. He also restored a Tayana 37 cruising sailboat, and owned and raced an Olympic class Finn. Mark held a U.S. Sailing Small Boat Level One Instructor Certificate, and served as volunteer crew for two seasons on the Pegasus Youth Educational Project 50-foot Alden ketch Pegasus

Please feel free to reach out to Mark at or (510) 459-1131. 

Alan Olson
Project Director

Alan brings over 50 years of maritime experience in boat construction, engineering, restoration and sailing, to his vision of building a historic educational tall ship for San Francisco Bay. With this passion, he founded the non-profit organization Call of the Sea in 1985 to provide hands-on, educational experiences for youth and adults aboard traditional sailing vessels. In 2005, Call of the Sea merged with another local group, led by Ken Neal, with a similar mission. The newly merged organization purchased Seaward, an 82 foot schooner to operate year round sailing programs in the Bay, and educational expeditions along the California and Mexican coasts. As of 2017, over 60,000 youth and adult students have sailed on day and overnight educational programs.

Alan’s maritime career began in 1962 when he built a 40ft catamaran in Minneapolis and sailed down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean. Along the way, he worked in boat yards and was lead carpenter on the construction of an 85ft catamaran. In 1971, he began construction of the 70ft brigantine, Stone Witch. After its completion in 1977, Alan sailed Stone Witch over 40,000 miles, operating educational sailing programs for youth and adults, along with public charters, on San Francisco Bay, Mexico and the Pacific Islands. Stone Witch was the flagship for Greenpeace and was involved in environmental missions along the California Coast. In the 1980’s, Alan restored the 54ft wooden staysail schooner Maramel which was used in youth educational programs for Call of the Sea and made several educational expeditions with adults including seven trips to Mexico, and a 15,000-mile, 12 month Pacific Rim voyage.

Alan took a five year sabbatical from sailing at a Northern California Buddhist monastery (Odiyan). His experience there, living and working with an all volunteer crew tasked with building complex monumental art and temples, helped prepare him for building Matthew Turner.

Steve Kielar
Director of Education

Steve Kielar grew up in Upstate, New York and recalls how important playing in the woods and streams were to his future. A fond childhood memory includes using small sticks and moss to create small houses for real and imaginary rodents. After receiving his Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology, Steve worked as a Deckhand/Educator on a sailboat in Long Island Sound. The experience teaching and living on a boat instilled a passion for science and adventure.  For the next 9 years Steve taught Environmental Education both at sea and on land in various places throughout the United States.

In 2015, Steve received his Masters degree in Marine Biology from San Francisco State University with a focus on Scientific Teaching. Steve’s adventures after graduate school include teaching Oceanography in the San Francisco Bay Area, working as a Deckhand on a fishing boat in Dutch Harbor Alaska and sailing as a Scientist for Sea Education Association around the Caribbean, Western Europe and the South Pacific. On land he enjoys riding motorcycles and watching rugby. At sea, he enjoys surfing, whale watching, beach combing and identifying plankton. He is currently immersed in learning how to best support programs here at Call of the Sea, as their Director of Education.  He can be contacted at 

Anthony Lloyd Arrow
Director of Vessel Operations

Tony first became tallship crew when he joined the Mystic Clipper in 1985 carrying passengers out of Mystic, Connecticut. Discovering a passion for sailing and education, Tony has stayed in the industry working his way from deckhand/educator to captain/educator. He has been captain of a number of vessels including, Spirit of South Carolina, Westward, Geronimo, “HMS” Rose, and many more.  As Director of Vessel Operations, Tony will oversee the logistics and operations of the Call of the Sea fleet.  Tony maintains a 1600 Ton Ocean Masters Credential and will be providing relief for our talented team of captains.

Mikaela Legarsky
Education Manager

Mikaela grew up boating and scuba diving in and around her hometown of Port Townsend, Washington. She spent most of her childhood exploring beaches and forests throughout the Pacific Northwest. Her explorations and plethora of experiential education opportunities played a significant role in her earning a Master of Science in Natural Resources with an emphasis on Conservation Social Science from the University of Idaho. For the last seven years, she has taught marine and environmental science programs for organizations like the Seattle Aquarium, multiple Conservation Districts, and Pacific Marine Science. In 2019, she traveled and taught Environmental Science 101 in Fiji, New Zealand, and Australia to incoming college freshmen.

On land, Mikaela enjoys hiking, cycling, and museums. At sea, she enjoys scuba diving, hunting for agates, whale watching, and all things bioluminescence. She aspires to further develop her scientific communication skills around deep sea exploration, sharks, and marine animals. Mikaela is currently developing educational systems to best support educators at Call of the Sea.

She can be contacted at

Sylvia in the Wood Shop

Sylvia Stewart Stompe
Director of Community and Business Development

Sylvia has been sailing since childhood, but took to sailing full time in her late 20’s with a position as cook and deckhand aboard an Ocean 71 ketch, for a year in the Caribbean and eastern Seaboard.  Since then her careers have ranged from chef, to jewelry designer and owner of a bridal salon, but her passion for sailing has remained constant. From 2014-2016 she took a two year sabbatical to cruise the eastern Pacific aboard the classic yawl she owns with her husband, visiting Mexico, French Polynesia, Hawaii and British Columbia. Upon her return to Marin County, she started working at Call of the Sea, assisting Alan Olson on the Matthew Turner project with the construction logistics, coordinating volunteers and special events.  She is now handling communications, marketing & sales for both vessels. Hiking with her Labrador in the woods of West Marin, as well as racing and cruising her sailboat in the San Francisco Bay, are her favorite pastimes.

If you are interested in volunteering with us, email