board of directors

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Terry Daulton

President

EXPERIENCE: Terry Daulton is a consulting biologist and environmental educator. During her over 35 year career in natural resources she has worked for both agencies and non-profits including the National Park Service, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) Bureau of Integrated Science Services, US Geological Survey, North Lakeland Discovery Center, and Sigurd Olson Environmental Institute. She continues to work with UW – Madison Center for Limnology on projects which bring artists and scientists together to develop public information and exhibitions on topics such as climate change and limnology.

EDUCATION: Terry received her B.S. in Environmental Studies from Northland College and a M.S. in Environmental Education from University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point.

PERSONAL: Terry has been involved in Wisconsin’s Green Fire from its inception. She is an artist as well as scientist/educator and her paintings reflect her deep ties to the Wisconsin landscape. In addition to her work with WGF, Terry volunteers her time with her local lake association and LoonWatch Advisory Council, Terry strives to live simply (in keeping with her world view) on the Turtle Flambeau Flowage, near Mercer, WI with her husband Jeff Wilson.

Terry Daulton

James W. Perry

Vice President

EXPERIENCE: Jim Perry spent 18 years in administration at UW-Fox Valley, while still teaching an undergraduate botany course. He served as the public face of his campus, interacting with government officials, lobbying for higher education and serving as a fund raiser for his campus. He was Professor of Biological Sciences. Retiring in 2011, he is Campus Executive Officer and Dean Emeritus. Previously he was Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Biology, Wildlife and Fisheries at Frostburg State University in Maryland.

EDUCATION: B.S. – Zoology and Secondary Education, M.S. – Botany and Zoology, Ph.D. Botany and Plant Pathology, all from UW-Madison.

PERSONAL: Jim is a lifelong outdoors person, hunter, and conservationist. Reading A Sand County Almanac as an undergraduate shaped his outlook on the natural world, and he credits Aldo Leopold for serving as his ethical compass. As a WGF board member, he hopes to foster greater public understanding of the value of science-based decision-making, and enlist sporting organizations to support the work of WGF. He is past President of the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters, and serves on the board of Lake Superior’s Big Top Chautauqua. Jim lives in rural Winnebago County with his spouse Joy (also a WGF member), and their German Shorthaired Pointer, Sharpshooter’s Doppler Effect, but spends as much time as possible at their Iron County cabin.

James Perry

Robin Schmidt

Secretary

EXPERIENCE: Robin Schmidt worked for the WDNR in Madison for more than 30 years, initially as a hydrogeologist in the Remediation and Redevelopment program working on Superfund sites and the spill response program.  She worked for the Wisconsin Deptartment of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection for 6 years as their Emergency Response/Homeland Security Liaison and returned to the WDNR to manage the Environmental Loan program providing financing to municipalities for water infrastructure projects.  She also served on the Dane County Board for 10 years representing the City of Monona/east side of Madison.  

EDUCATION: Robin received a B.S. in Geography and Environmental Policy and an M.S. in Land Resources from UW-Madison.

PERSONAL: She and her husband moved to the LaCrosse area upon retirement, with ready access to biking, kayaking, art, and tennis.  She is currently the Vice President of the League of Women Voters of the La Crosse area and is committed to community engagement and environmental protection.    

Robin Schmidt

Bob Gurda

Treasurer

EXPERIENCE: Bob Gurda retired from the Wisconsin State Cartographer’s Office at UW-Madison, where he wrote/edited a quarterly newsletter, coordinated a variety of initiatives across public agencies, presented workshops, monitored advances in technology, served on interagency and interstate workgroups and task forces, and responded to a wide variety of inquiries from professionals, landowners, map seekers, and students. He was heavily involved in establishing the Wisconsin Land Information Association. As a cartographer, one of his particular interests is in effective communication of complex information, especially of the physical landscape. His earlier experience was varied, including as a naturalist, nature photographer, tax auditor, and piano technician. 

EDUCATION: B.S. in Zoology, M.S. Cartography, UW-Madison

PERSONAL: As a generalist student of the natural world, Bob’s interests are diverse. Outside of science, he enjoys urban vegetable gardening, fly fishing, playing trumpet in a big band, and spending time at a cottage near Rhinelander. He has served on the Board and as Treasurer of Dimensions in Sound and the Studio Orchestra, Inc, a non-profit organization. Bob lives in Madison with his wife Betty Craig.

Bob Gurda

Michael Cain

EXPERIENCE: Michael Cain is co-chair of the Public Trust and Wetlands Work Group. Michael was the lead attorney for the WDNR wetland and surface water regulatory program for 34 years, retiring in 2009. He was involved in drafting and developing laws and regulations protecting Wisconsin’s waters under the Public Trust Doctrine. He was the lead attorney for enforcement and litigation of these programs, and successfully led the WDNR through hundreds of permit and enforcement cases. Michael has been involved in education and outreach to the public, Wisconsin's attorneys and consultants, and at law schools and universities. He has received numerous awards including the WDNR Brogan Award for Outstanding Environmental Achievement in 1995, the Wisconsin Wetlands Associations Wetland Protection Award in 2009, and the National Wetland Award from the Environmental Law Institute and EPA in 2010.

EDUCATION: B.S. in Biology from UW-Stevens Point in 1972 and a Juris Doctor from UW-Madison in 1976.

PERSONAL: Michael continues to work on issues relating to Wisconsin's water policies and its evolving land/water ethic. In retirement he has been active with environmental NGOs, advising them on legal issues. He lives in Madison with his wife Anita Sprenger.

Michael Cain

Ron Eckstein

EXPERIENCE: Ron Eckstein served as board secretary from its inception until 2020. He  chairs the Forestry Work Group and co-chairs the Public Lands Work Group. Ron retired from WDNR after 36 years as Wildlife Biologist at Rhinelander. He has worked on forest habitat issues including biodiversity, early successional forests, and old growth forests and specialized in eagle and osprey recovery as well as wild rice conservation.

EDUCATION: Ron earned his B.S. and M.S. in Wildlife Ecology at UW-Madison.

PERSONAL: Ron continues to volunteer with WDNR on eagle/osprey and amphibian surveys. He serves on the board of the Northwoods Land Trust, chairs the Wisconsin Chapter of The Wildlife Society’s Forest Issues Committee; works on forest habitat issues with Partners in Forestry and the Forest Steward’s Guild, and is a member of WDNR’s Silviculture Guidance Team.

Ron Eckstein

Tom Jerow

EXPERIENCE: Tom Jerow served as board treasurer until December 2019. He is a member of the Water Resources and Environmental Rules Work Groups and the Public Trust and Wetlands Work Group. Tom retired from the WDNR in 2013 after 34 years mostly in the water program. He was the Northern Regional Water Leader when he retired.

EDUCATION: Tom graduated in 1979 from the UW-Stevens Point with a degree in Soil Science. His graduate level work was in hydrogeology.

PERSONAL: In his retirement Tom is an avid volunteer at his local food pantry where he manages a large community garden. He has also been an active supporter of the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin. He lives in Rhinelander with his husband Steven.

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Paul La Liberte

EXPERIENCE: Paul LaLiberte chairs the Water Resources and Environmental Rules Work Group. Paul worked for WDNR in a variety of positions related to water quality for 36 years, retiring in 2016. During his work in the Water Resources Program and later as a supervisor in several programs, he acquired a reputation as an advocate of science based decision making. Prior to that, he worked for a private engineering firm and for the US Fish & Wildlife Service.

EDUCATION: Paul received a Master’s Degree from UW-La Crosse – River Studies Center.

PERSONAL: Paul served as an interim Board Member for Wisconsin’s Green Fire, setting up the administrative infrastructure for the organization. Paul is a member if the Wisconsin River Alliance Policy Committee and volunteers at a homeless shelter and several soup kitchens in Eau Claire and Chippewa Falls. In addition to learning tennis and bike rides, Paul likes to share his love of Wisconsin’s outdoors with his children and grandchildren.

Paul La Liberte

Bob Martini

EXPERIENCE: Bob Martini is a member of the Water Resources and Environmental Rules Work Group. Bob served for 32 years with WDNR as Statewide River Protection Coordinator leading efforts to clean up the Wisconsin River and prevent acid rain damage in northern Wisconsin. He was also involved in groundwater quality and quantity work in the Central Sands, as well as dam removal and licensing for public benefit. Bob has received recognition for his efforts including WDNR’s Career Achievement Award, the Brogan Award, and North American River Management Society.

EDUCATION: Bob earned his B.S. in Zoology from UW-Milwaukee, and did his graduate work in microbiology. He is a former Licensed Sanitarian and Registered Microbiologist with the American Registry of Microbiologists.

PERSONAL: Bob provided leadership for various organizations including the Oneida County Lakes and Rivers Association and has served as member of the Oneida County Board.

Bob Martini

Michael W. Meyer

EXPERIENCE: Mike Meyer chairs the Climate Change Work Group. Mike’s research with the Wildlife Section of the Bureau of Science Services at the WDNR focused on wildlife contaminants, inland lakeshore management, and climate change. During Mike’s tenure, he directed a research program that supported 9 graduate students, resulted in 75 peer reviewed publications, and brought in over $3 million in external grant funding.

EDUCATION: Mike received his Ph.D. in Wildlife Ecology from UW-Madison in 1989.

PERSONAL: Since retiring from WDNR Mike has initiated a part-time consulting career conducting research and outreach on lakeshore restoration, citizen science projects, and climate change in the Northern Highlands lakes region. His other part-time career is exploring the Pacific Northwest and back roads south of the Mason-Dixon line – best career change ever!

Michael Meyer

Bryan Pierce

EXPERIENCE: Bryan Pierce comes to Wisconsin's Green Fire after 18 years working with all aspects of non-profit management as the founder, first president, and first executive director of the Northwoods Land Trust. Prior to that he was a tenured faculty serving as the Vilas County UW-Extension Resource Agent (for 9 years plus 2 years in Oneida County). He worked on many lake issues including shoreland zoning, served as coordinator for the county’s recycling grants and hazardous waste collections, worked on county and town comprehensive land use planning and outdoor recreation planning, was the department head for the county advertising department, and also worked on economic and community development issues. Prior to UW-Extension, Bryan worked in environmental education at Trees For Tomorrow Natural Resource Education Center, Starrs Cave Nature Center in Burlington, IA, the Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary, Upham Woods Education Center and Central Wisconsin Environmental Station.

EDUCATION: Bryan has a B.S. in Zoology from UW-Madison and a M.S. in Natural Resource Management/Environmental Education Emphasis from UW-Stevens Point.

PERSONAL: Bryan and his wife, Gail Gilson-Pierce, have lived in the Eagle River area for over 30 years. Their home is adjacent to the Blackjack Springs Wilderness Area where they walk or snowshoe daily with their Brittany Cricket. Gail is a full-time artist with her paintings and fabric art represented in galleries in Door County. She worked for Trees For Tomorrow for 17 years as a naturalist educator, assistant director and executive director, and was a partner in the Wooly Lady hand dyed wool fabric business. Bryan spends a lot of time exploring wild lakes, scenic rivers, trout streams and other wild places canoeing, kayaking, hiking, horseback riding, camping, hunting and fishing. His goal is to make sure there will always be such places in the future.

Bryan Pierce

Kate Reilly

EXPERIENCE: Kate’s work as an environmental educator, which started in high school, has focused on increasing natural resources literacy and stewardship. She has developed programs, training events, and curricula for a variety of NGO’s, and federal and state agencies, applying tested environmental education and social science research to community-based conservation needs.

As an Environmental Education Specialist and Program Manager at the University of Wisconsin-Extension (retired), Kate worked closely with Extension colleagues across the country to help natural resources professionals educate the public more effectively and to increase citizen involvement in solving conservation issues. She developed the Wisconsin Master Naturalist Program with the help of a dedicated group of Wisconsin environmental educators, and was the first executive director of the program. Among her projects are the Extension Water Outreach Education National Facilitation Project (U.S. Department of Agriculture), Changing Public Behavior National Facilitation Project (USDA), ThinkWater (USDA), Drinking Water and Human Health (USDA/e-Extension), and the National Youth Riparian Education Initiative (Bureau of Land Management).

EDUCATION: B.S. – Ecology/Zoology, M.Ed. – Environmental Education, University of Minnesota

PERSONAL: Kate grew up in Minneapolis and spent many years living and working in upstate New York with her husband, Kevin, and three children. Kate and her family, now including four grandkids, have lived in the Madison area for the last 22 years.

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Jodi Habush Sinykin

EXPERIENCE: Jodi Habush Sinykin is an environmental attorney, specializing in water and wildlife matters, retained as a water policy expert by Midwest Environmental Advocates since 2003, appointed to numerous state advisory committees, including the Groundwater Advisory Committee established under 2003 Wisconsin Act 310 and the Legislative Council’s Special Committee on the Great Lakes Water Resources Compact. She collaborates with state and regional partners to watchdog the Great Lakes Compact’s implementation, testified on many occasions before legislative committees, is a frequent speaker on environmental matters, and author of policy reports and published law journals.  

She has also worked as policy advisor and lobbyist with state humane societies and legislators to enact Wisconsin’s “Puppy Mill Bill” to regulate sub-standard breeding facilities. With coalition of scientific experts and plaintiffs, filed suit in opposition to Wisconsin’s 2012 wolf hunt relating to inadequately regulated use of free roaming dogs to hunt wolves; ongoing collaborations with wildlife biologists, advocates, state park activists, and conservationists to advance science-based wildlife policies in keeping with Public Trust principles. Beginning in 2014, she began work with UWM’s School of Freshwater Sciences, teaching graduate level water law and environmental justice classes and serving as a Center for Water Policy Water Fellow.  

EDUCATION: University of Michigan, B.A. 1989;  Harvard Law School, JD 1992

PERSONAL: An avid nature enthusiast, Jodi begins every day with a walk along Lake Michigan or the Milwaukee River in the happy company of her two dogs.  Together with her husband Dan and four children, she enjoys family time spent playing Catan, eating delicious food (à la Dan), traveling to beautiful places, or simply hunkering down with a good book. Jodi is active in the Milwaukee community, and is a proud supporter of a number of local and state organizations as an involved board and committee member.

Jodi Habush Sinykin

Shannon Thielman

EXPERIENCE: Shannon Thielman serves on Wisconsin’s Green Fire’s Communications Committee, Environmental Education Work Group, and Environmental Rules Work Group. Shannon worked for the WDNR for 5 years in the 1990s as a special consultant on the Crandon Mine Environmental Impact Statement. She specialized in interpreting scientific reports for the average reader and coordinating public input sessions. She then spent 3 years as the Statewide Land Use Coordinator for the WDNR, heading an interdisciplinary and interregional land use team and developing guidance on important land use issues. She next served in the US Peace Corps in Panama and taught environmental education and reforestation in elementary schools there. Upon return, she decided to go back to school for nursing and thus began the journey to merge her interests in public health and environmental policy.

EDUCATION: Shannon holds two Bachelor's degrees: Political Science from UW-Madison and Nursing from UW-Green Bay, in addition to her Masters in Urban & Regional Planning, emphasis in Land Use Planning, from UW-Madison.

PERSONAL: Shannon is a retired nurse living in rural Marathon County with her 7 year old son, whom she is raising as a budding naturalist. The out of doors has long been a passion for her. She is an avid supporter of the Natural Resources Foundation and has been “schooled” by many of the field trips experienced with them. She is a reader of natural history, and loves solitary meandering in wild areas. She interprets what she sees through her camera and is an amateur photographer and poet. She began hunting two years ago with her father and is proud to put meat on the table. She is a delegate to the Conservation Congress.

shannon-thielman

Outgoing Board Member

Tom M. Hauge

EXPERIENCE: Tom Hauge currently chairs the Wildlife Work Group. Tom retired from WDNR after serving 24 years as Wildlife Management Program Director. During his 37 year career in wildlife conservation, Tom gained first-hand experience with the changing Wisconsin landscape from both a literal habitat perspective and in the context of social and political change.

EDUCATION: Tom is a graduate of the UW-Madison (B.S.-1975, M.S.-1979). His graduate research involved studying the population dynamics of a moose population in Northern Alberta, Canada.

PERSONAL: Tom lives in Prairie du Sac, WI with his wife, Mary Jon and their 11-year old yellow Labrador Maggie. Retirement priorities include an apprenticeship in household management, reconnecting with the local Sauk County conservation groups, and spending as much time outdoors as possible.

Thomas M. Hauge