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Wisconsin DNR Educators

Wisconsin DNR educators are dedicated to teaching Wisconsin's residents and visitors about the natural world. DNR educators offer field trips to school groups, lead nature hikes, and provide programs on topics ranging from ecology, geography, wildlife biology, history and cultural studies to all areas of outdoor recreation and outdoor skills and safety.

DNR Education ProgramDNR educators provide a wide range of environmental education and outdoor skills lessons that will last a lifetime.

DNR educators are located around the state. During summer, many additional properties have part-time naturalists or volunteers to staff nature centers and lead programs.

Quinn Brownell - Sandhill State Wildlife Area

Quinn Brownell

Quinn Brownell

Quinn works in the Bureau of Wildlife Management as a Natural Resources Educator. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Forest Recreation from the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point with minors in both Soil Science and Environmental Education and Interpretation. At Sandhill Wildlife Area, Quinn leads public workshops and school field trips, and makes self-guided materials. Quinn loves teaching and providing new and exciting ways for visitors to recreate their local natural environment. When not at work, you can find Quinn camping, hiking, paddling, rock climbing, disc golfing, and tree climbing.

Quinn's passions include outdoor recreation, outdoor skills, canoeing, kayaking, hiking, camping, backpacking, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, leave no trace, habitat management, forestry, tree identification, forest products, tree ecology, math in nature, forest measurements, renewable energy, wildlife viewing, deer, bison, turtles and frogs.

Property: Sandhill State Wildlife Area

Contact: Email or call 715-884-6335

Sam De Roche - Mead State Wildlife Area

Sam De Roche

Sam De Roche

Sam De Roche is the Senior Educator stationed at the George W. Mead Wildlife Area. Sam directs and develops educational programming for school groups, visitors to the Mead Education and Visitor Center and groups of all interests. Sam is the former Outreach Specialist and Program Manager of the Central Wisconsin Environmental Station, a field station of the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, and former instructor of the practical capstone course in Environmental Education and Interpretation majors and minors in the College of Natural Resources. As a developer of programming for all ages, Sam leans into the creative process of innovation. Sam is a passionate contributor to the field of environmental education, sustainable programming and systems, and human engagement within sustainable educational spaces.

Property: Mead Education and Visitor Center (Mead Wildlife Area)

Contact: Email.

Lauren Finch - Crex Meadows State Wildlife Area

Lauren Finch

Lauren FinchLauren Finch.

Lauren works in the Bureau of Wildlife Management as a Natural Resources Educator. She spent much of her life exploring and studying Wisconsin's natural resources, especially the Glacial Lake Grantsburg properties in Burnett County. When not at work, you can find her outdoors; hunting, fishing, kayaking, bird watching, hiking and more. During summer, Lauren dedicates much of her time to catching the ever-elusive 50-inch musky! When fall arrives, she fills her weekends with waterfowl and deer hunting. Lauren is excited to share her love for Wisconsin and passion for natural resources and conservation.

Lauren's passions include wildlife identification, wildlife biology and ecology, conservation, habitat, hunting, fishing, wildlife management practices, outdoor recreation, natural history, animal sign, forestry, the geology of the great lakes region, history of Crex Meadows and surrounding areas (wildlife and habitat), DNR career opportunities, GPS/orienteering, pollinators.

Property: Crex Meadows State Wildlife Area

Contact: Email or call 715-463-2739 (office), 715-641-0406 (cell)

Liz Herzmann - Horicon Marsh State Wildlife Area

Liz Herzmann

Liz Herzmann

Liz has worked for the DNR as a Wildlife Conservation Educator at the Horicon Marsh State Wildlife Area since 2009. She earned a B.S. from Carthage College in Biology, Geography and Environmental Science and an M.S. in Environmental Education from Concordia University, Mequon. She worked for the Lorado Taft Field Campus in Oregon, IL, where she realized that outdoor and environmental education was the career for her. Liz is an avid birder and member of the Horicon Marsh Bird Club. She enjoys sharing the beauty and wonder of Wisconsin's natural resources, especially Horicon Marsh. She enjoys birding, hiking, kayaking, camping, fishing, hunting, geocaching and gardening in her spare time.

Liz's passions include backyard birding, fall migration, history, ecology and management of Horicon Marsh, marsh ecology, wildlife and habitat management, tracking, winter wildlife survival, exploring Horicon Marsh, wonders of wetlands, the mighty monarch, birding by ear, nest box treasures (cavity-nesting birds), planting for wildlife with natives, skins skulls and scat, waterfowl ID, owl prowl, turning your classroom inside out: the benefits of outdoor learning.

Property: Horicon Marsh State Wildlife Area/Horicon Education and Visitor Center

Contact: Email or call 920-387-7893 (office), 920-210-9054 (cell)

Sue Johansen-Mayoleth - Devil's Lake State Park

Sue Johansen-Mayoleth

Sue Johansen-Mayoleth

Sue is the Naturalist at Devil's Lake State Park and started at the park in 2010. Before coming to Devil's Lake, she worked at Havenwoods State Forest in Milwaukee. Her career as a naturalist began in 1994, and she has been providing education in our state parks ever since! Sue loves working as a naturalist because it allows her to share her love of nature with the visitors to the park. When not working, she is often hiking, exploring, and photographing other state parks, natural areas and national parks with her husband.

Sue's passions include wildlife, bats, snakes, turtles, frogs, kayaking, outdoor recreation, hiking, leave no trace, introducing people to hiking in parks and the outdoors, birds and birdwatching, nature photography, Wisconsin geology, the geology of Devil's Lake, reptiles and amphibians, frogs, nature discovery, bats and white-nose syndrome, history of Devil's Lake, effigy mounds at Devil's Lake.

Property: Devil's Lake State Park 

Contact: Email or call 608-356-8301, Ext. 140

Scott Johnson - Rhinelander (Parks and Recreation)

Scott Johnson

Scott Johnson

Scott graduated from the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point's College of Natural Resources, studying forestry, parks and recreation, land use planning and resource management. Scott has worked as a naturalist for the City of Janesville and at Wyalusing and Pattison state parks where his educational programs focused on topics such as bird migration hikes, invasive species eradication with kids and the natural history of the Mississippi River by canoe. Scott has run summer camps, including leading adventure trips on the Flambeau River, the Lower Wisconsin and the Apostle Islands. Scott has also worked at Trees for Tomorrow and as executive director at the Outdoor Skills and Education Center (Plymouth) and the Central Wisconsin Environmental Station (CWES), where he helped manage their undergraduate environmental education/interpretation practicum program. Scott moved to the Northwoods in 2015 and has spent the last seven years as Director of Treehaven before joining the DNR in 2022. Scott enjoys hunting, fishing, camping, silent sports, and Wisconsin history in his free time.

Contact: Email or call 715-281-8995.

Jessica Knackert - Milwaukee Service Center (Wildlife)

Jessica Knackert

Jessica Knackert

Jessica is the Milwaukee Wildlife Conservation Educator for the Bureau of Wildlife Management. She started with the DNR in 2021 as a Volunteer Coordinator with the Snapshot Wisconsin project, where she led educator engagement and outreach efforts throughout the state. She received a B.S. in Life Sciences Communication and Zoology, with a minor in Environmental Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Jessica is most interested in creating meaningful and inclusive opportunities for all communities to engage with Wisconsin wildlife. She feels exceptionally fortunate to serve the people in her hometown of Milwaukee by providing educational outreach on urban wildlife coexistence and conservation. Jessica enjoys hiking, kayaking, paddle boarding, and reading in her free time.

Jessica's passions include urban wildlife, carnivores, predator/prey relationships, trophic cascades, trail cameras, wildlife research, climate change, environmental justice, renewable energy, sustainability, science communication and indigenous knowledge.

Property: Milwaukee Service Center

Contact: Email or call 608-267-0866.

Mia Noel - Havenwoods State Forest

Mia Noel

Mia Noel

Mia Noel joined the DNR in July 2022 as the Natural Resources Educator at Havenwoods State Forest. She was raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She has worked in education and outreach for the last 20 years, starting as an AmeriCorps Volunteer at Camp Minikani in Hubertus, Wisconsin. She has taught and engaged participants from preschool through older adulthood throughout her career. She is excited to share a love of outdoor recreation, education and crafts with others, especially the community around Havenwoods. She appreciates the variety of topics she learns about and teaches through field trips, public programming and special events. In her downtime, she enjoys being active in her community, hiking, winter sports, exploring Wisconsin and traveling abroad.

Topics Mia is passionate about: health and wellness in the outdoors, winter activities, outdoor skills, history, and sustainability.

Property: Havenwoods State Forest

Contact: Email or call 414-527-0232

Joan Voigt - Wild Rose Fish Hatchery

Joan Voigt

Joan Voigt

Joan has served as a Naturalist Guide for the Wisconsin DNR Wild Rose State Fish Hatchery since 2008 when the new Education Center was opened. Joan managed the new education center as exhibits were planned and installed. She developed an education program on Wisconsin fisheries, food chains, life cycles and aquatic invasive species for school and community groups. Joan conducts tours of the state-of-the-art bio-secure hatchery and explains Wild Rose Hatchery's role in enhancing the state's fishery for anglers to enjoy. Joan has a hands-on philosophy and assists in the hatchery's production with fish propagation, collecting eggs at rivers, fish rearing, taking weight counts, feeding fish in the hatchery and stocking fish in Wisconsin waters. In addition, she served as Natural Resource Educator at Wisconsin DNR Mead Wildlife Area from 2018 through 2022. In the past, she has also served as Outreach Educator for the federally endangered Karner Blue Butterfly program, as a Visitor Services Associate at Peninsula State Park and Park Specialist at Mill Bluff State Park. Joan holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point in communication, with an emphasis on public relations and a minor in forestry recreation.

Joan's passions include DNR hatchery fish production, great lakes salmon and trout, Wisconsin lake sturgeon, fish stages of development, wetlands – benefits, water quality indicators, aquatic invasive species, tree identification, math in nature/measuring trees, forest products, animal tracking, winter ecology – animal adaptations, bird beak buffet, life cycles: butterfly, frogs, turtles, food chains.

Property: Wild Rose Fish Hatchery Education Center

Contact: Email or call 920-622-3351, Ext. 209 (office); 920-765-3317 (cell)

MacKenzie Center Staff

Mackenzie Center Staff

Mackenzie Center

The MacKenzie Center is an environmental education and outdoor skills center located in Poynette, Wisconsin, just 20 miles north of Madison. Since 1961, the center has provided learning opportunities for youth and adults on topics such as pond and stream study, forestry and woodcutting, and shelter- and fire-building. In addition, the center hosts a popular wildlife exhibit with 13 species of native Wisconsin wildlife in residence.

MacKenzie Center staff members are passionate about the natural world and are eager to share that passion with people of all ages. Presentations are available in Spanish upon request. Staff member interests include aquatic ecology, wildlife ecology, entomology, birding, forestry, survival skills and outdoor recreation. Work is underway to adapt programming to virtual platforms to continue the MacKenzie Center's rich environmental and outdoor education heritage.

Property: Mackenzie Center

Contact: Email or call 608-635-8105.

Division of Forestry

Division of Forestry

Division of Forestry

The Division of Forestry is dedicated to stewardship of the 17 million acres of forests in Wisconsin and the myriad ecological, social and economic benefits they provide. Outreach staff and educators have expertise in forest health, invasive plants, fire prevention, wildfire protection, urban forests, forest products, silviculture and forest ecology.

More information: Wisconsin DNR - Division of Forestry

Contact: Kirsten Held, Forestry Outreach Specialist,608-219-9605

Outdoor Skills Trainers and Recruit, Retain and Reactivate (R3) Program

Outdoor Skills Trainers and Recruit, Retain and Reactivate (R3) Program

Outdoor Skills

The primary duties of DNR Outdoor Skills Trainers include:

  • Training and teaching volunteer instructors in safety courses (Gun and Bow Hunting Education; Snowmobile, Off-Highway Vehicle, Boating Use), 
  • Leading safety courses when necessary in areas that do not have volunteer instructors, and;
  • Providing support for DNR-led programs teaching people how to hunt, fish, trap and shoot.

The goal of the R3 program is to Recruit, Retain and Reactivate hunters, anglers, trappers and shooting sports participants.

More information: Wisconsin DNR - Outdoor Skills and R3 Program