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Wisconsin DNR Naturalists and Virtual Learning

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Wisconsin DNR naturalists are passionate environmental educators who are dedicated to teaching Wisconsin’s residents and visitors about the natural world. Naturalists 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 naturalists are located at different properties around the state. During summer, many additional Wisconsin state park system properties have part-time naturalists or volunteers to staff nature centers and lead programs.

How to request a virtual class with a DNR naturalist

While property offices are closed, if you are an educator interested in scheduling a virtual class, please reach out to one of the DNR naturalists below via their contact information and the desired topic you would like to cover. Naturalist schedules vary and they will work with you directly to best meet the needs of your request. 

Andy Brawn - Havenwoods State Forest

Andy Brawn

Andy BrawnAndy Brawn.

Andy has been an educator of environmental education and outdoor skills at Havenwoods State Forest since 2015, leading organized school field trips, public events, and providing care for the resident wildlife ambassador within the nature center. Recently adding Park and Recreation Specialist duties to his assignment, Andy is well versed on the ins and outs of the forest! With a Bachelor of Science in Wildlife Ecology from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, and substantial involvement in Boy Scouts of America, nature has always been a significant part of his life. In his spare time, Andy enjoys venturing out hiking, biking and exploring for reptiles and amphibians.

Topics Andy is passionate about: Snakes, Turtles, Frogs, Salamanders, Coyotes, Bats, Deer, Pond Macroinvertebrates, Outdoor Skills, Geocaching, Orienteering.

Property: Havenwoods State Forest

Contact: Email or call 414-527-0232

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 catch 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 about natural resources and conservation!

Topics Lauren is passionate about: Wildlife Identification, Wildlife Biology and Ecology, Conservation, Habitat, Hunting, Fishing, Wildlife Management Practices, Outdoor Recreation, Natural History, Animal Sign, Forestry, 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 HerzmannLiz 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. In her spare time, she enjoys birding, hiking, kayaking, camping, fishing, hunting, geocaching and gardening.

Topics Liz is passionate about: Backyard Birding, Fall Migration, History, Ecology and Management of Horicon Marsh, Marsh Ecology, Wildlife and Habitat Management, Tracking, Winter Wildlife Survival, Explore 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-MayolethSue 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.

Topics Sue is passionate about: 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, 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

Pamela (Pam) Resech - Mead State Wildlife Area

Pamela (Pam) Resech

Pam ResechPam Resech.

Pam has been at the Stanton W. Mead Education and Visitor Center since 2005. She started out as a volunteer educator through the UWSP Environmental Education program. In spring 2006, she was hired by the DNR as an LTE Naturalist guide. In spring 2007, she was hired into another LTE position as a Wildlife technician. She worked with the Friends of the Mead/McMillan Association to help fundraise for the permanent Wildlife Educator position. Pam was hired into this full-time position in the fall of 2008. She is a DNR employee, but her wages are paid from the Mead-Witter Trust Fund. Being a Wildlife/Environmental Educator is more of a calling than a job to Pam. She is very passionate about teaching others about the great outdoors. Some of her hobbies include, native gardening, plant, tree and bird Identification, horseback riding and camping, hiking, biking, swimming, snowshoeing and snowmobiling in winter, also traveling and enjoying nature across the United States, and of course, taking photos of everything outdoors!

Topics Pam is passionate about: Birds (especially owls, songbirds and waterfowl), Native Prairies and plants, Butterflies and Moths, Mammals of Wisconsin and North America, Snowshoeing and Winter Tracking, Nature Journaling and Phenology Nature Hikes, Wildlife Management, Importance of Wetlands, Wetland Invertebrates, Forestry and Tree Identification, Renewable Energy, Winter Survival, Orienteering.

Property: Stanton W. Mead Education and Visitor Center (Mead Wildlife Area) 

Contact: Email or call 715-457-6771 ext. 2 (office), 715-315-9393 (cell)

Jackie Scharfenberg - Kettle Moraine State Forest - Northern Unit

Jackie Scharfenberg

Jackie ScharfenbergJackie Scharfenberg.

Jackie has been in the environmental education field for more than 40 years. She knew in junior high school that she wanted to be a naturalist, so began her education and experiences in the environmental education field. She earned a B.S. degree in biology from Northland College and after graduation, worked for the Girl Scouts – Great Blue Heron Council, managing the council’s summer camp programs and later the Chinook Program Center. Then it was onto a season as a naturalist at Retzer Nature Center, a part of the Waukesha County Parks System. In 1993, she was hired as the Assistant Superintendent/Environmental Education Specialist at Havenwoods State Forest in Milwaukee. Twenty-four years ago, she transferred to the Kettle Moraine State Forest - Northern Unit. Jackie still works at the Northern Unit teaching people about the natural wonders of the Kettle Moraine and how to enjoy time in the great outdoors.

Topics Jackie is passionate about: Ice Age Geology, Outdoor Skills, Natural History, Tracking, Birds, Water Life, Forests and Trees, Prairies and Wild Animals.

Property: Kettle Moraine State Forest – Northern Unit

Contact: Email or call 920-533-8322 (office), 920-579-6479 (cell)

Joan Voigt - Wild Rose Fish Hatchery and Mead Wildlife Area

Joan Voigt

Joan VoigtJoan Voigt.

Joan has served as 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 to enhance the state’s fishery for anglers to enjoy. Joan has a hands-on philosophy and assists in the hatchery 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 has served as Natural Resource Educator at Wisconsin DNR Mead Wildlife Area since 2018, especially during the school year, teaching wildlife education programs, such as pond study, forestry, animal tracking, life cycles, wildlife adaptations, habitat management, and renewable energy. In the past, she has also served Wisconsin DNR as Outreach Educator for the federally endangered Karner Blue Butterfly program, as 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 in Public Relations and a minor in Forestry Recreation.

Topics Joan is passionate about: 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 and Mead Wildlife Area 

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

MacKenzie Center Staff

Mackenzie Center Staff

Mackenzie CenterMacKenzie 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 provides learning opportunities for youth and adults on topics, including pond and stream study; forestry and woodcutting; and shelter- and fire-building. In addition, the Center hosts a popular Wildlife Exhibit with thirteen 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 currently underway to adapt programming to virtual platforms in order to continue the MacKenzie Center’s rich heritage of environmental and outdoor education.

Property: Mackenzie Center

Contact: Email or call 608-635-8105.