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.
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.
Program Coordinator, Anishinabe Academy partnership
I am excited to be a part of Belwin’s newest program – a collaboration with Anishinabe Academy – and to begin weaving dreams and visions into concrete realities for youth, families and teachers to enjoy in all seasons! Growing up, I was lucky enough to share my backyard with a conservancy in south central Wisconsin, skip rocks along the North Shore, and hike among the tall pines, prairies and woodlands of the Midwest. My love of adventure, nature, languages, art, and lifelong learning has allowed me to call many parts of the world ‘home’, including my most recent experience living with and learning from an Indigenous community in the mountains of central Mexico. I am humbled to apply my background in community-based education, program development and youth programming to this unique and innovative project, and cannot wait to see what the seeds we plant today will bring forth for generations to come.
Natural Resource Specialist
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.
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 performing as a classical singer and managing arts organizations on the West Coast. I find Belwin’s beauty endlessly inspiring and take particular joy in exploring it with my husband and our two little boys.
Growing up, I loved spending time in Northern Minnesota and hiking on the shores of Lake Superior. Now — working at Belwin — I’m so happy to have a role where I can help people connect with Minnesota’s rich, varied ecosystems. Prior to Belwin, I worked as a graphic designer in Chicago before receiving an MFA in Poetry from the University of Michigan. Outside of work, I love reading, playing tabletop games, and exploring downtown Minneapolis.
Growing up in a small town in Minnesota with access to wild spaces, woods, and waters cultivated a deep appreciation and love for the land. Years of paddling, foraging, camping, and hiking has reinforced how imperative our connection to nature is to living well and healthily. My background is in administration and finance, tile making, fabrication, film and theater production, and disability advocacy. I love bringing my skills to Belwin as an Executive Assistant, knowing the work I do in my role supports the restoration and preservation of wild spaces for the public and the future. I am grateful to be a part of the Belwin team.
Event and Office Coordinator
I’ve been a resident of the St. Croix River Valley since 2017. I’m thrilled to join such a wonderful organization that is helping to restore and conserve these incredibly rare ecosystems, right in my backyard. Outside of Belwin, I am a visual artist working in oil painting, printmaking, and watercolors. The programs established by Belwin that blend arts and nature are deeply inspiring to me. In this role, I love that I’m able to contribute to the success and growth of the event and cultural programming offered by Belwin during the year.
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.
Land Use Coordinator
I was fortunate enough to grow up in the country playing in the woods, working on the family tree farm, and hunting and fishing in my free time. Living in that atmosphere inspired me to do what I can for the environment. I received a bachelor’s degree in Field Biology from the University of Wisconsin River Falls and worked multiple seasonal jobs, including out west for the USFWS on remote refuges, for the WI DNR with the wildlife and fisheries department, and, most recently, I did contract restoration work. Working at Belwin gives me new insight into everything I did before on a different level. I love being outside and never knowing what’s around the corner. Being able to continue what I enjoy doing and making a difference is why Belwin is the perfect next chapter for me.
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.
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.
As a strong advocate for environmental sustainability, I am happy to be supporting environmental stewardship with Belwin. Previously, I worked at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls where I volunteered for the Sustainability Office to promote recycling initiatives on campus. Through 25 years of residency in the St. Croix Valley, I have enjoyed watching Belwin protect and restore a variety of landscapes through years of concentrated effort. This is an exciting time of growth for Belwin, and I am grateful to be a part of the team.
Board of Directors
Artist, Architect, Professor
Environmental Chemist & Consultant
David Hartwell, President
Previously U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, The Nature Conservancy
Douglas Johnson, Vice President
Oliver Real Estate Services
Jill Koosmann, Treasurer
CEO and President
HRK Group Inc.
Jessica Manivasager, Secretary
Fredrikson & Byron, P.A.
Youth Program Manger
Friends of the Mississippi River
Associate Laboratory Director for Simulation and Computation
Los Alamos National Laboratory
Retired, Previously Counsel/President & Board Chair
Fredrikson & Byron, P.A.
Head of Content Strategy, Insights & Analytics