Meet the staff

We’ve got an awesome crew of individuals at Riveredge working to help bring the great outdoors to families, schools, and neighborhoods, and we want to let you know a little more about them. In this edition of our new feature, Meet The Staff, find out whose passion is dark chocolate, who thru-hiked the whole Ice Age Trail, and whose superpower involves smiles.


Carrie Hiestand
Inquiry-Based Curriculum & Instruction Manager

What do you do at Riveredge? As the Inquiry-Based Curriculum & Instruction Manager, I work with a team of dedicated educators to provide inquiry learning experiences for students of all ages. Venture out into the forests and prairies of Riveredge and you may find me in the midst of students testing soil, sketching tree frogs, and humming to slugs! Come along to follow your innate curiosity and connect with nature.

What do you like to do when not at Riveredge? When away from Riveredge, one can find me exploring the good land of Milwaukee! I love to kayak, garden, cook (although I can never follow a recipe!) and hike. While exploring new places, I could take 100 pictures where others might only take a handful. Lastly, I love to try new tasty foods- I guess you could say that I have adventurous taste buds!

What are you most passionate about? Experiences that allow people to realize that we are part of Earth’s ecosystems, not separate from them. Also, dark chocolate.

What words do you try to live your life by? “My work is loving the world.” – Mary Oliver


Natalie Dorrler 
Associate Director of Development

What do you do at Riveredge? I share the stories of Riveredge in order to inspire others to ‘join the movement’! By writing grant proposals and corporate sponsorship requests, I help acquire funding that is essential to the success and growth of Riveredge.

What’s one thing most people don’t know about you? I thru-hiked the whole Ice Age Trail in the summer of 2014. The Ice Age Trail Alliance and all their volunteers are another amazing community of people who work to protect and share our wonderful Wisconsin resources!

What’s your supowerpower? Making something out of nothing (think MacGyver).

What words do you try to live your life by? “Keep on rockin’ in the free world.” 


Lauren Wendland
Lead Environmental Educator

What do you do at Riveredge? I am an educator.I teach kids about nature and how it’s connected to every aspect of our lives.

What do you like to do when not at Riveredge? I love the outdoors. I need to move; I run, bike, hike and do yoga. It’s like brushing teeth…a daily routine. In my limited downtime, I like to read and watch old movies.

What’s the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen? The ruins in Tulum, Mexico overlooking the ocean.

What’s your superpower? I can make a kid smile.

What words do you try to live your life by? “When we tug at a single thing in nature, we find it attached to the rest of the world.” John Muir

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