Wisconsin's Green Fire Staff
EXPERIENCE: Fred Clark joins Green Fire as our first Executive Director from a 30-year career in Wisconsin conservation. Fred was previously the director of The Forest Stewards Guild – a national organization dedicated to sustainable forestry and forest science. He has worked as a forest ecologist for Wisconsin Chapter of The Nature Conservancy, as a forester for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, and as a consulting forester and owner of a forestry contracting business. He was appointed by both Governor Doyle and Governor Walker to the Wisconsin Council on Forestry from 2004 – 2014. He served three terms as a Representative to the Wisconsin State Assembly between 2009-2014 representing Sauk and Columbia Counties, and he has served on the Assembly Committees on Forestry and the Environment, and the Committee on Natural Resources.
EDUCATION: Fred received a B.S. from Michigan State University in 1985, and an M.S. in Forest Science from the University of Wisconsin – Madison in 1992.
PERSONAL: Fred lives in Bayfield, Wisconsin. His son Joe is a graduate of the UW-Stevens Point in the Conservation Law Enforcement program. He enjoys hunting, sailing, maple sugaring, and volunteering.
EXPERIENCE: Paul joined Green Fire in October of 2018. He works closely with Green Fire’s work groups and volunteer members to share their expertise and knowledge with policy makers and their staff and other conservation and environmental groups statewide. Paul started his career as a legislative aide to the Chair of the Senate Natural Resources and Energy Committee. He was the Legislative Liaison for the Department of Natural Resources for over 34 years. He has worked to pass hundreds of new laws including the Acid Rain law, Recycling Program, the first Groundwater bill in the United States, the Stewardship Program, numerous deer and wildlife management program changes and air quality standards for the state. He has also directed legislative affairs for the Nature Conservancy of Wisconsin. Continuing his work with many former colleagues in and around state government is one of the most satisfying parts of his job.
PERSONAL: Paul is married to his artist wife Kathleen and spends time at art shows and galleries with her, marveling at people who have talent. His daughter Priya, who turned out to be interested in all sports, allowed him to see the state’s venues for basketball, softball, soccer, and tennis. There are a lot of venues. His golden retriever Harper and black cat Barlioz welcome him when he returns home.
Senior Water Resources Specialist
EXPERIENCE: Nancy Larson has been with Wisconsin’s Green Fire since it formed in 2017. She currently focuses on special projects, having served as Assistant Director until 2021. Nancy retired from Wisconsin DNR after 27 years with the state of Wisconsin. Her background in aquatic ecology and interest in communications led her to positions including Deputy Director of the Bureau of Watershed Management, Northern Water Program Leader, and UW-Extension Natural Resource Educator. Prior to that, she worked for the state of Minnesota and EPA contractors. Nancy spent a good portion of her career working to protect the greatest lake in the world– Lake Superior. She was recognized for her work with partnerships in 2003 with the DNR’s Rebecca Wallace award.
EDUCATION: Nancy has a B.A. from St. Olaf College and M.S. from the University of Minnesota in biology.
PERSONAL: Nancy lives in Drummond where she splits her time between being in town and at her cabin in the woods built by her late husband John Spangberg (also retired DNR), where she indulges her love of writing.
Ruth Ann Lee
EXPERIENCE: Ruth Ann joins Green Fire with over 20 years of management and administrative experience with non-profit conservation and environmental education organizations. She has a long history with the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation (WWF) and currently serves WWF as the Business Manager; where she handles the financial administration of the organization, including the Wisconsin Green School Network (WGSN). In the years that WWF operated the MacKenzie Center in Poynette, WI., Ruth Ann served as Director and Lead Educator. Ruth Ann has also served on Boards of statewide groups such as the Wisconsin Environmental Education Board (WEEB) and the Wisconsin Association for Environmental Education (WAEE). In addition, Ruth Ann works with WGSN on initiatives that include Project WET and Project WILD, national wildlife and water curriculum and works to build the facilitator network and programs on a statewide basis.
EDUCATION: Ruth Ann received a B.S. in Natural Resource Management with an emphasis in Environmental Education from U.W. Stevens Point in 1997.
PERSONAL: Ruth Ann lives in Poynette, WI with her husband Dan and two daughters. In her free time, she is involved teaching at church, and serves as the President of the Friends of the MacKenzie Center. She enjoys spending time with her family, enjoys the outdoors, and organizing.
EXPERIENCE: Sarah Peterson joins Green Fire as our first Science Director from a career in coastal ecology, community-based conservation and science engagement. She works closely with Green Fire’s working groups to advance science programming for the organization. Prior to joining the team, Sarah was a Project Manager for the American Geophysical Union’s (AGU) Thriving Earth Exchange Program. There, she managed and facilitated community science projects across the United States, including many with environmental justice communities. Prior to AGU, she coordinated the Chesapeake Bay Sentinel Site Cooperative with Maryland Sea Grant Extension. There, she directed a network of scientists and managers dedicated to integrating local observations from across the Chesapeake Bay to improve planning and management decisions regarding sea level rise and coastal wetland loss. Sarah is an alumna of the prestigious Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship, class of 2014.
Sarah is an experienced facilitator and workshop designer who is passionate about science engagement with all types of communities.
EDUCATION: Sarah holds a B.S. in Environmental Science from the University of Vermont and a M.S. in Conservation Biology and Sustainable Development from the University of Wisconsin – Madison.
PERSONAL: Sarah lives in Madison with her husband Tim and son Otto. She enjoys discovering new recipes, hiking, camping, and vegetable gardening.
Climate Science Fellow
EXPERIENCE: Heather has spent the last 15 years working as a wildlife and conservation biologist, with specialties in landscape ecology, large carnivores, geographic information systems (GIS), and biodiversity. Heather has worked for various universities, state agencies, and tribal governments, and most recently in a joint research position between UW-Stevens Point and the US Forest Service.
EDUCATION: Heather holds a B.S. in Animal (Wildlife) Ecology from Iowa State University and M.S. in Conservation Biology from Central Michigan University. Heather is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in Educational Sustainability, focusing on nature connection, whole-systems conservation, and community engagement.
PERSONAL: Heather grew up in the farming landscape of Iowa, creating a passion for prairie restoration and sustainable agriculture. Through this, Heather spends time converting her yard to native pollinator habitat and is in the beginning stages of developing a small permaculture-based hobby farm in northern Wisconsin. Heather enjoys these hobbies, as well as hiking, camping, and paddling the lakes with her husband Joe Orlovsky, two young sons, and two old dogs.
Communications and Membership Fellow
EXPERIENCE: Jenny joins WGF as the Communications and Membership Fellow after working as WGF's Communications Assistant during the summer of 2021. Jenny has been a part of WGF's Aspiring Conservation Professionals Work Group since its creation in the fall of 2020 and has collaborated with fellow work group members to expand WGF's social media presence. Jenny holds experience in large carnivore conservation, policy development, and large landscape conservation, and is particularly interested in communicating about conservation to diverse audiences.
EDUCATION: Jenny holds a B.S. in Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology from North Carolina State University and a M.S. in Environmental Conservation from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She most recently completed her master's capstone project working with the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission creating communication materials amplifying the Ojibwe perspective on the gray wolf.
PERSONAL: Jenny grew up in a rural county outside of Williamsburg, Virginia on the Chickahominy River. Growing up where seeing a herd of deer in her yard and bald eagles soaring overhead was an everyday occurrence, wildlife conservation was a natural career choice for her. Jenny now lives in Middleton with her husband, Owen, and enjoys hiking, biking, traveling, and spending time enjoying the beauty of Wisconsin!