YES! staff work intensively with teams to assess community assets and needs, create action plans, identify and involve community partners, and link teams with further funding resources to match the students’ passion with a real need and opportunity in their community.
I’m proud of what has been achieved through YES! and happy to be part of the journey. In my YES! Administrative role I bring enthusiasm, energy, and a focused effort toward results. I began my career in program and grant management within Minnesota and Wisconsin School Districts and am joining YES! with two decades of non-profit administration and development experience. My goal is to support the role of youth in taking massive action, learning by doing, and creating solutions to environmental challenges. Outside of work, I enjoy spending time in walking shoes appreciating nature and being with my children. I believe that a strong connection to the natural world is critical to our wellbeing, starting in childhood.
I was a YES! student while I was in middle and high school at ACGC (Atwater Cosmos-Grove City) where we completed many projects during the 6 years that I was participating. My favorite projects involved educating younger students in the elementary schools. I took part in projects like our school garden, planting a water/rain barrier, installing hydration stations, reducing hallway lighting, installing energy efficient outdoor lights, placing sorted classroom recycling bins around the campus, and many more projects! Being in YES! helped fuel my passion for the outdoors and living sustainably. I am a student of biology and love the idea of continually learning about the world we live in. My family and I enjoy traveling, hiking, camping, swimming, and finding new places to explore.
I grew up in a rural area just ten minutes west of Prairie Woods ELC. My passion for the outdoors really blossomed during my college years when I was studying Fine Arts and Graphic Design in the Twin Cities. I would often escape to the North Shore for weekends just to be still in the presence of trees, rocks, waters, and silence. As I manage my busy schedule and work towards a Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy, I continue to rely on the beauty of nature to always put my soul at ease. My fiancé and I enjoy fishing, swimming, boating, hiking, cross-country skiing, and snowboarding; we try to live a sustainable and environmental friendly life. I am so excited to be part of the YES! program and work with students across Minnesota as they study environmental and ecological solutions!
I joined the full time Prairie Woods team in November 2013, after volunteering and being a part-time staff member the prior three years. I wear many hats at Prairie Woods as office manager, “as needed” challenge course and environmental education instructor, as well as time travel program leader. One of my many office manager duties is to help support the YES! teams on the business end. I gained my “many hat” experience through working for outdoor education centers in Hudson, WI and Battle Creek, MI. Growing up in Door County, WI is what built my love of the outdoors and a good Midwest winter.
Before joining YES! in September 2019, I worked for 20+ years as an educator in formal and recreational learning settings in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Illinois. Most recently I taught youth and adults about fishing and aquatic resources with the MinnAqua program at the MN Department of Natural Resources. I graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point with a MS in human dimensions of natural resources and a BS in resource management, specializing in environmental education / interpretation. My husband Rob teaches high school science and is passionate about electric vehicles; we live near Mankato on a bluff overlooking the Minnesota River Valley. In my spare time I practice encaustic painting, a technique that involves fusing layers of melted beeswax to a wooden board with heat.
Prairie Woods Environmental Learning Center (YES! Host)
12718 10th St NE
Spicer, MN 56288