Lynette Anderson: Interpretive Naturalist/Restoration Specialist
I am involved with both programming and land management at Belwin. I enjoy creating walks and talks that showcase the great work we are doing to restore native habitat for all the critters and plants. I also get to be involved with the work that creates the habitat, which I love! Each day holds something different for me. Some days I am working with my body on the land, some days I am doing reconnaissance for a program, some days I am working with volunteers, and some days, nights or evenings I get to lead a group to some amazing phenological event happening on Belwin property. I feel blessed to be able to work here.

Katie Bloome: Executive Director
I love connections — the human connections we form when we find something in common, and the ecological interconnectedness we see in nature. My role at Belwin spans both, and my favorite days are when I give tours, take donors on buggy rides, or walk our trails with supporters. I have a background in nonprofit leadership, environmental education, and fundraising, most recently coming from Minnesota Public Radio. My love for prairie and savanna started while studying biology at Grinnell College, in Iowa, and I am so happy to be once again surrounded by these rare and beautiful ecosystems. I find my greatest enjoyment exploring the outdoors and canoeing with my husband and two kids.

Paloma Cardoza: Land and Program Assistant
When I was a child, I believed I could connect with nature on a spiritual level. As an adult, I feel the need to take care of plants and animals so they survive long after I am gone. I am grateful to be able to fulfill this dream and put my degree in Conservation Biology to use at Belwin. Working on the land — whether hand pulling terrestrial invasives, being involved with controlled burns, harvesting seed from wild prairie flowers, or building bird habitat — I feel that my efforts will have positive impacts for generations to come. As a program assistant, I get to create content for our social media pages, connecting the work we do with the community, in hopes that others will see the beauty of Belwin and the importance of our work.

Cooper Crose: Land Assistant
I studied Environmental Studies at the University of Minnesota Duluth and then bounced around the country working various wildlife jobs for a few years. Since coming back to Minnesota, I have been working with savanna and prairie restorations and its related wildlife, which is where I really made the connection between healthy habitats and healthy wildlife. I am excited to be at Belwin as a Land Assistant where I can combine my two areas of knowledge.

Angie Eckel: Development and Communications Director
I love getting to know and learn from Belwin’s supporters. I grew up on a farm in Iowa, where I acquired a deep and lasting love for the land. Now that I’m at Belwin, one of my favorite things is learning more about Minnesota’s native plant communities. I came to Belwin most recently from Minnesota Public Radio, but also have years of experience managing arts organizations, and am a classical singer by trade. I find Belwin’s beauty endlessly inspiring and take particular joy in exploring it with my husband and our two little boys.

Alissa Gold: Bookkeeper and Administrative Assistant
Having grown up with woods in my backyard and going camping, foraging, and hunting, I was instilled with love and respect for all things grown and growing. As I have gotten older, I have started to see that the access I enjoyed in my youth informs my passion for conserving these wild spaces for generations to come. With a background in fabrication, carpentry, and bookkeeping for theater, arts, and film, I come to Belwin most recently from the scene shop of the Guthrie Theater. I am so humbled to use my skillset in supporting Belwin’s mission and I hope that the personal experiences people have here will inspire them to share and care for the beautiful and necessary wilderness around us all.

Susan Haugh: Program Director
I am a creator and activist, composer and collaborator. Weaving these passions together, I’ve supported the LGBTQIA+ community through two performance-based organizations, Dreams of Hope and Renaissance City Choir, both in Pittsburgh. I moved to Minnesota for love and was blown away by Belwin Conservancy’s beauty and dedication to healthy ecologies. At Belwin, I bring my passion for arts and culture together with my love of nature to support the health of the planet for generations to come.

Meredith Junker: Public Facilities and Trails Coordinator
Growing up I was passionate about wildlife conservation. Pursuing a degree in Field Research Biology quickly emphasized the importance of habitat in supporting life. This is why the wild spaces at Belwin are so critical, first as habitat but also for providing opportunity for children and adults to explore, have adventures, and learn. Now my responsibilities with Belwin’s office operations and ongoing projects allow me to wear a lot of hats while continually expanding my knowledge about natural resources and ecology.

Eric Palmen: Facilities and Equipment Specialist
I love working at Belwin because of the variety of jobs I get to do, the beautiful landscape I am surrounded by each day, and our wonderful, creative staff. I feel like I am doing some good for the planet.

Justin Sykora: Operations Director
I enjoy the challenges of working with the complex ecosystems making up Belwin Conservancy. Belwin truly has it all, from soccer fields to hiking trails, wetlands to prairies, forests to savannas, there’s never a chance to get bored. I studied Conservation at the University of Wisconsin – River Falls and have been lucky to spend the years since I graduated working with natural resources.

Board of Directors

Jerry Allan
Artist, Architect, Professor
Criteria Architects

Cindy Gehrig
Retired, Previously President
Jerome Foundation

Kris Hansen
Global Application Engineering Manager
3M Food Safety Division

David Hartwell, President

Douglas Johnson, Vice President 
Oliver Real Estate Services

Jill Koosmann, Treasurer
CEO and President
HRK Group Inc.

Jessica Manivasager
Fredrikson & Byron, P.A.

Irene Qualters
Associate Laboratory Director for Simulation and Computation
Los Alamos National Laboratory

John Satorius, Secretary
Retired, Previously Counsel/President & Board Chair
Fredrikson & Byron, P.A.


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Why Belwin Matters

We spark passion for wild places through conservation, education, and immersive experiences on more than 1,500 acres in Minnesota’s Saint Croix Valley.


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1553 Stagecoach Trail South
Afton, MN 55001

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