2018 Southern WI Restoration Field Day Experts

Want to learn more about the amazing folks presenting at this year’s Restoration Field Day? You’re in luck!


Andrew Struck, Planning And Parks Director- Ozaukee County
Presenting: Ozaukee County Aquatic Connectivity and Habitat Restoration – Adaptive Management to Meet Multiple Goals

Andrew Struck has a M.S. in Applied Ecology/Regional Planning from Indiana University – Bloomington, a B.S. in Molecular Biology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and more than 20 years of planning and restoration experience. He is the Director of the Planning and Parks Department for Ozaukee County and specializes in regional planning, natural resource planning, management, protection and restoration, education, park and open space design and implementation. He has lead collaborations with numerous governmental agencies, non-governmental organizations and private sector firms on planning and natural resource design, management, protection, education and restoration projects including: the USEPA, NOAA, USFWS, USFS, WDNR, Wisconsin Coastal Management Program, WisDOT, NFWF, and other conservation organizations. He is the Program Director and main point of contact for the Ozaukee Fish Passage Program and currently serves as a member of the WDNR Fish and Wildlife Technical Team and Citizen Advisory Committee Leadership Team for the Milwaukee River Estuary AOC. Andrew also served as Program Director for the nationally recognized, USEPA-funded sustainable brownfield redevelopment of the Menomonee River Valley in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Andrew serves on several planning and environmental nonprofit organizations Board of Directors including officer positions (e.g., President, Treasurer, etc) and received the Conservationist of the Year award from Gathering Waters in 2013.

Bill McNee, Forest Health Specialist – Wisconsin DNR
Presenting: Forest Health and Ecological Restoration Success, Parts 1 and 2

Bill McNee is a DNR Forest Health Specialist stationed in Oshkosh. He began working for the DNR in 2001 as a gypsy moth suppression coordinator based in Green Bay, and has been in his current position since 2013. He primarily works with the detection and management of non-native insects and diseases such as emerald ash borer, gypsy moth and beech bark disease. He currently serves on the executive committee of the National Gypsy Moth Management Board. Bill received a PhD in Entomology from the University of California at Berkeley.

Carrie Hennessy, Horticulturalist & Landscape Designer- Johnson’s Nursery
Presenting: They’re Here, They’re Deer (Creating Deer Resistant Landscapes)

I grew up in southern Wisconsin, just one mile from my grandparents’ dairy farm. Being able to run freely around the rolling hills and farmland of Green County instilled a deep love of nature at an early age. But it wasn’t until my parents gave me my own raised bed in our family vegetable garden and for flowers and herbs that I realized a whole world of horticultural potential! Every year I could change the design and experiment with new culinary herbs and flowers. A chance encounter with a Horticulture major when I was in high school inspired me to turn my love of gardening and design into a career. I received a bachelor’s degree in horticulture and a minor in art at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. My varied work experiences include time at several renowned botanical gardens (such as Olbrich Gardens, The Paine Art Center & Gardens, and the Better Homes & Gardens Test Garden) and four years as the designer and lead foreman for a small landscape company in Oshkosh, WI. I was thrilled to join Johnson’s Nursery in the spring of 2008. I knew first-hand how great their plant material was and that I’d be surrounded by incredibly knowledgeable people who enjoy plants as much as I do. As the Retail department’s lead Horticulturist and Designer, it is my mission to approach each client’s landscape needs with enthusiasm and to help make their landscape a unique reflection of their own aesthetics, whether they just need a single shade tree installed or a complete redesign. As a professional horticulturist and designer, I enjoy speaking publicly on a variety of horticultural topics to local garden clubs, libraries, and educational institutions. In addition, I host the Johnson’s Nursery online web-series “The Dirt” and “Carrie’s Quick Tips” which show that gardening doesn’t have to be overwhelming or complicated. It’s easy to take control of your own yard, with a few professional tips. In my spare time, I like working in my own garden, creating new & exciting container displays with each changing season, reading, hiking, trying new recipes, visiting new places, and going to Brewers baseball games with my husband.

Clayton M. Frazer, Senior Ecologist – Eco Resource Consulting
Presenting: Native Broadcast Seeding

Clay received his Bachelor of Science in Zoology/Wildlife Ecology from Southern Illinois
University at Carbondale in 1996. Following a two-year Peace Corps Volunteer post in West
Africa working in the agro-forestry sector, he began his professional career as a Wildlife
Technician for The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. This work led to a position
with Pheasants Forever in Southeast Wisconsin as a Grassland Ecologist where he facilitated
more than 6,000 acres of reconstructed prairie. In 2008, Clay came on board with EC3
Environmental Consulting Group as a Project Manager. And in 2012, Clay accepted a position
as a Senior Ecologist with Eco-Resource Consulting, Inc. He has a strong background in native
plant ecology, invasive species management, comprehensive land management, and project
planning/design. Through the design and implementation of adaptive management
approaches, Clay has accrued 20 years of “hands-on” knowledge base in native plant
community management and now oversees business and new project development at ERC, one of the fastest growing ecological consulting and restoration firms in the Midwest.

Cory Gritzmacher, Director of Habitat Restoration and Operations- Mequon Nature Preserve,
Jason Nickels, Director of Education and Research- Mequon Nature Preserve
Laura Holder, Co-founder and Executive Director- Midwest Conservation Dogs
& Tilia, Conservation Ambassador – Mequon Nature Preserve
Presenting: Conservation Dogs Part 1 and 2

Cory has been in the Green Industry for over 20 years. He graduated from MATC with a degree in Landscape Horticulture in 1998. He has been an ISA Certified Arborist for over 15 years.  Cory is a past president of the Wisconsin Arborist Association and has served on a number of committees over the past 20 years. Prior to his position at Mequon Nature Preserve he owned and operated Second Nature Landscape Company. Cory enjoys family vacations to Colorado with his wife Andrea and two boys Caleb and Ryan.

Jason received a BS in Life Science Education from Martin Luther College, New Ulm, MN in 2002, and a MS in Environmental Education from Concordia University – WI, Mequon, WI, in 2015. After graduation he began teaching in 2002 at Lakeside Lutheran High School in Lake Mills, WI. At Lakeside he took on many roles: teaching biology and human anatomy / physiology, serving as the head coach of the wrestling program, coaching varsity and junior varsity football as a defensive coordinator, advising the school’s Affinity Club (a service organization) and taking care of Lakeside’s internal courtyard and ponds. In June of 2011 Jason joined Mequon Nature Preserve’s staff and now serves as the Director of Education and Research. During the school year he takes thousands of students on nature walks in his new, 444-acre classroom. When not teaching kids, he spends his time performing land restoration tasks in the prairies, wetlands and forests of Mequon Nature Preserve. Jason lives in Milwaukee with his wife, Becky, and his two young children, Madelynn and Sawyer.

Laura’s lifelong fascination with canines, especially their unique ability to work alongside humans, inspires her every day in the field. She loves training and deploying the MCD canine teams to support clients in their critical conservation efforts. Driven by her boundless curiosity about how dogs think, learn and detect scent, Laura has spent more than a decade as a professional in the fields of scent-detection, nose work and dog training. She is a Certified Nose Work Instructor (CNWI™) through the National Association of Canine Scent Work (NASCW) and a Certified Professional Dog Trainer – Knowledge Assessed (CPDT-KA) through the CCPDT. Laura has also trained for obedience and agility. In addition to co-founding Midwest Conservation Dogs, Laura is also owner of Connecting with Dogs, co-founder of the Force Free Trainers of Wisconsin, and has a long list of continuing education credits. Her Labrador Retriever, Ernie, is her current canine partner for detection work. She continues to “play” K9 Nose Work with her title-winning German Shepherd Dog, Oscar, as much as she can.

Tilia is the newest addition to the family at Mequon Nature Preserve. After her training, Tilia will become the first on-staff conservation dog in the state of Wisconsin and will also be a conservation ambassador, joining MNP staff on field trips at the preserve. Follow Tilia on her MNP Instagram (tilia_mnp) to see what she’s up to!

Craig Maier, Coordinator- Tallgrass Prairie & Oak Savanna Fire Science Consortium
Presenting: I’ll Give It to You ‘Trait’ – Native and Non-native Plant Adaptations to Fire

Craig Maier is the coordinator of the Tallgrass Prairie and Oak Savanna Fire Science Consortium, a knowledge exchange funded by the Joint Fire Science Program (www.firescience.gov). The consortium’s mission is to accelerate the awareness, understanding, and application of fire science, and he partners with researchers, land managers, and staff from institutions, agencies, and NGOs across the Midwest. Craig grew up in southern Wisconsin and has earned a B.S. in Geoscience from Northland College and a M.S. from the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies at the UW-Madison. He has experience with prescribed fire, prairie restoration, managed grazing, and oak ecosystem restoration from work with the Aldo Leopold Foundation, The Nature Conservancy’s Baraboo Hills Project, UW Madison’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, and MacLeish Heritage Farms.

Drew Ballantyne, Owner of Woodland Restoration LLC & Southeastern Wisconsin Invasive Species Consortium Board Director
Presenting: Giant Hogweed

I received Bachelor’s degrees in Environmental Science with an emphasis in Water and Life and Geography from Carthage College.  Then I received my Masters’ in Forest Science from Michigan Technological University in 2010. I have done research or worked all across the Great Lakes region.  Shortly after starting a PhD program at Michigan State my advisor recommended I get more land management experience and see how I like it. Since then I have worked for an ecological restoration company, a golf course performing ecological restoration, and numerous sites with my own business.  From those I have obtained pesticide applicator licenses, chainsaw safety training, and wildland fire training certificates. I enjoy working outside restoring Wisconsin’s native ecosystems both for clients as well as on my wife and I’s own properties. When I am not in prairies, savannas, forests, or wetlands, you can usually find me on the golf course or at a restaurant.  I am always looking to network with more folks as well as on the lookout for the next areas that have potential to be high quality natural areas.

Matt Smith, Land Manager – Riveredge Nature Center
Presenting: Review of herbicide application equipment and tactical approaches

Matt Smith is the Land Manager for Riveredge Nature Center based in Newburg, Wisconsin. Mr. Smith has 13 years of experience in the field of ecology and restoration. Prior to employment with Riveredge, Mr. Smith has worked as a Consulting Ecologist for Eco-Resource Consulting, Land Manager for National Audubon at the Schlitz Audubon Nature Center, a restoration technician for Tallgrass Restoration LLC, a Conservancy Steward for the Sand County Foundation, a Technician through Seifert Field & Forest, a certified Arborist and Cultural Landscape Specialist for Green Tree-Tree Care and Consulting, and a plant surveyor for NatureServe. Mr. Smith’s work has led him to practice restoration throughout the Midwest, experiencing first hand its wide variety of diverse environments and conditions. Mr. Smith’s work has allowed him to play an active role in projects on large and small scales in the public and private sectors.

Melissa Curran, Environmental Scientist – Stantec Consulting Services
Presenting: Midwest Orchid Conservation Project

Melissa Curran is an Environmental Scientist with Stantec Consulting Services, specializing in botanical surveys and restoration ecology.  Over the last 11 years, she has completed numerous natural resource assessments, rare plant surveys and restoration projects throughout the Midwest.  She has documented dozens of new rare plant populations and is currently working on reintroducing orchid species to restoration sites throughout Wisconsin.

Michelle Stowers: Nursery Ecologist-  Agrecol LLC
Presenting: Introduction to Agrecol’s Native Vegetated Mat (NVM)

Michelle was raised on a farm in South Central Wisconsin. Her passion for our native flora and fauna started young and has carried through the present. She holds a B.S. in Biology with an emphasis in Field Ecology and a minor in Environmental Studies from UW-Whitewater. Michelle has worked with Agrecol, a native seed and plant nursery since 2016. As the Nursery Ecologist, one of the many hats she wears is oversight of the Native Vegetated Mat (NVM). Ms. Stowers is especially passionate about stopping the decline of the Monarch butterfly population. She hand raises caterpillars through metamorphosis and releases hundreds of Monarchs each year.

Peter Ziegler, Project Manager- EC3 Environmental Consulting
Presenting: Forestry Mowing- Taking the sweat out of woody invasive removal.

Peter Ziegler from a young age was introduced to many outdoor activities growing up in the
country outside of Slinger in Washington County. Coming from a conservation minded family. Peter was hooked on restoration at a young age when he saw the success a wetland restoration
can provide to wildlife and the land. Peter has over 18 years of natural resource restoration and
management experience across the upper Midwest, and takes great pride he is close to where he grew up and able to utilize his skills to restore the natural habitat in the area. Peter currently
manages the state wide habitat program for a non-profit, Wisconsin Waterfowl Association,
specializing in wetland restorations; as well as managing restoration projects for EC3
Environmental Consulting. His experience comes from a diverse background working from
North Dakota to Iowa and from Native shoreline, prairie and wetland restoration to invasive
species management. Peter’s diverse restoration management background is recognized as he
participates on land management advisory committees for multiple non-profit organizations.
EC3 is a full line restoration, land management and consulting company.

Ryan Wallin, Stewardship Director – Ozaukee Washington Land Trust
Presenting: GIS Collector’s Best Attributes for Stewardship

Born and raised in the Milwaukee Metro area, BS from Stevens Point – Wildlife Ecology and Management, MS from American Public University –Environmental Policy and Management, worked for Native American Fish and Wildlife Society as a CWD Biologist 07-12, Washington Department of Natural Resources as Fish and Wildlife Biologist II 12-16, and came to OWLT in January 2016.

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