Board of Directors

There are many roles within the board but our overall goal is to oversee the operation and management of the organization. We set and execute strategic visions and goals, manage finances, plan events, handle membership and registrations, communicate with members and represent the interests of the membership.

Would you like to run for the MNA board?
Being a part of the Minnesota Naturalists’ Association board of directors is a great way to give back to the interpretive community in Minnesota.  
Read on to see if it is right for you and how to run >>

Kirk Mona, President / Lowry Nature Center
I’m an alumni of the University of Minnesota a degree in Environmental Studies, Youth Development and Outdoor Program Management. I’ve been the field for almost 20 years teaching at Warner Nature Center, Tamarack Nature Center and Underwater World. I facilitated adventure learning, environmental education and team building programs at YMCA Camp Ihduhapi, was the Program Director at Camp Elk River for The Girl Scout Council of Greater Minneapolis, and managed youth development and enrichment programs for St. Louis Park Schools. I’m currently an interpretive naturalist at Lowry Nature Center with Three Rivers Park District. While interested in all aspects of natural history, my particular areas of interest include ornithology, paleontology, and astronomy. I maintain the website and my writing is featured in magazines and news outlets. I’m looking forward to helping MNA evolve and serve naturalists in the state.

Lisa Gilliland, Vice President / Wargo Nature Center
Greetings! I have been in the field for over 25 years, which totally and unfortunately truthfully ages me, and a member of MNA for most of those years. I was actually the MNA Treasurer for two cycles back in the dark ages. I am currently the Program Supervisor - Operations for the Wargo Nature Center with Anoka County Parks and have been in various permutations of this position for 20 years. Before settling in at Wargo, I was the Director of the Harriet Alexander Nature Center, Program/Camp Director for Camp Fire and Program/Camp Director for the Girl Scouts. In my non-nature center life, I have two sons in their twenties who are both great wilderness trippers and both (currently!) living at home and it's great (really!), I do some triathlons and running events throughout the year, ride my horse, Eddie, as much as possible, and do all of those outdoor things. I am looking forward to the next two years with MNA!

Victoria Thompson , Secretary / Lowry Nature Center
After a misplaced seven years as a climate change policy consultant, I discovered that my real life's work was in interpretation, and found a welcoming place to start my new career here in Minnesota, having moved here from Boston in late 2012. For the last three years or so I've been making the rounds as a seasonal naturalist, so far at Richardson, Springbrook, Eastman, and Harriet Alexander nature centers. Currently I'm a farm educator at Gale Woods Farm in Three Rivers Park District. I love being able to spark and nurture kids' love of the outdoors and being in a career where each day brings something fresh. I have a B.A. in Biology and a Master’s of Environmental Management. Outside of work, I enjoy hiking, exploring the city by bike and foot, reading, cooking, and gardening.

Julie Grecian, Treasurer / Warner Nature Center
In January 2005, I was hired as the Education Coordinator at Warner Nature Center and a few years ago became the Assistant Director. My husband and I moved to Minnesota from Chicago in fall 2004. Prior to working at Warner, I enjoyed working in a variety of professional experiences, including state and local government, international non-profits, nature centers, science museums, and environmental corporations. I earned my bachelor’s degree in Public Policy/Environmental Science and Management from Indiana University and a master’s degree in Environmental Studies from University of Illinois at Springfield. At Warner Nature Center, I coordinate the education and volunteer programs and truly value the MNA network for professional development, networking and support in our work. I enjoy spending time with my husband, two daughters and son, reading, kayaking, birding, baking and traveling!

Meagan Keefe, Communications Coordinator / Dakota County Parks
I moved out to Minnesota 20 years ago to get a Biology degree from the College of St. Benedict and fell in love with the state. My professional naturalist career began as a naturalist fellow at Eagle Bluff, where I was also introduced to this neat organization known as the Minnesota Naturalists' Association. I have been a member most years since then and previously served on the board as a member-at-large. I have since been a rather nomadic naturalist, working at several RELCs in MN and NC, as a school naturalist in southern MD, and finally at county parks in VA and now back in MN. MNA has been a source of knowledge, education, professional networking and good times and I am looking forward to serving this great organization and its awesome members again over the next two years. On my off time I can be found birding, kayaking or doing a snow dance!

Eric Vehe, Professional Development Workshop Coordinator / Wargo Nature Center

I am a graduate of the University of Minnesota Duluth with a bachelor's in Recreation/Outdoor Education and the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse with a master's in Recreation Management. Before entering the naturalist world I worked in the recreation field as a climbing instructor, sea kayak guide, trip leader, and program coordinator. As a naturalist I have worked for Three Rivers Park District, Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board, and Wargo Nature Center. This is my first term on the board. I am excited to continue sharing the great wealth of knowledge found in the naturalist community through professional development and training programs. In my spare time I enjoy getting outdoors in just about any capacity, but especially while canoeing, backpacking, and birding. I hope to meet as many people as possible at workshops during the next two years!

Ashley Smith, Conference Coordinator / Kroening Interpretive Center
I am currently an Interpretive Naturalist with the Three Rivers Park District at Kroening Interpretive Center, but it took me several years to get here. I started this journey of turning my love of the outdoors into a career at Concordia College, where I majored in Biology and Religion. After graduating from Concordia, I continued my education at Melbourne University in Australia and got a master’s degree in Environmental Education. It was there that I got my first naturalist job (talk about a fish out of water!) and really knew that it was the first job for me. Since graduating and moving back to Minnesota I have been a seasonal naturalist at many different parks, including: Dodge Nature Center, Dakota County Parks, Springbrook Nature Center, Long Lake Conservation Center, Lowry Nature Center, and the Outdoor Recreation School. I am so excited to be a part of the MNA Board. It, and the people that are a part of it, have greatly helped me in getting me to where I am now. I am very much looking forward to being able to give a little something back. In my spare time I like to read, do nature photography, and playing really nerdy board games with my friends.

Alisha Paplow, Member-at-Large 1 / Prairie Ecology Bus
I'm a naturalist at The Prairie Ecology Bus Center in Lakefield (Southwest), MN.  I always thought about being a science teacher, but wanted to spend my days outdoors.  This led me down the path to be a naturalist. My first encounter with Minnesota Naturalists Association was when I attended the annual conference at Shetek.  I thoroughly enjoyed the conference and everyone there.  Since then I look forward to the conferences each year.  I'm helping with the planning of the conference this year and have been interested in being more involved with the organization.  I am looking forward to be a part of the board by stepping in as a member at large for the remainder of the year.

Sharon Stiteler, Member at Large 2 / Birdchick
Sharon Stiteler was given a Peterson Field Guide to Birds when she was seven years old and snapped, she loves birds, it's just the way she's wired. Since 1997, she has made it her goal to get paid to go birding. She runs popular birding, and has been in the Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, All Things Considered and on NBC Nightly News as well as making regular appearances on Twin Cities' TV and radio stations. She's an international speaker and her writing can be found in several publications and online including WildBird Magazine, Outdoor News, Birds & Blooms, Minnesota Public Radio and National Audubon. She wrote the books Disapproving Rabbits, City Birds/Country Birds and 1001 Secrets Every Birder Should Know, is #32 in the Geek A Week Trading Card set and works as a National Park Ranger. When she's not digiscoping or banding birds, she's a blue ribbon beekeeper. You can find her on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram under Birdchick.

Mary Burch, Member at Large 3 / Dodge Nature Center
I graduated this past spring with a degree in Environmental Education from the U of M and am currently very excited to be working as a naturalist fellow with Dodge Nature Center. My past work and volunteer experience has included stints with Warner Nature Center, Lowry Nature Center, and the Raptor Center. Although I think everything about my job is awesome, I especially love working with education animals and anything and everything to do with plants. When I'm not working or playing outside I love reading, cooking, fostering rescue dogs, and spending time with my friends and family. I'm really looking forward to helping out with MNA for the next few years!       

Cody Rossetti, Member-at-Large 4/ Wargo Nature Center
Hello! I am currently a naturalist with Wargo Nature Center where I teach programs for children, adults, and families. Additionally, I have 5 years of interpretive experience from working at Tamarack Nature Center, the International Wolf Center, and Barrier Island Education Program. Besides education, I have also worked as a field biologist studying birds and crayfish, though not at the same time, and as an administrator organizing international internships. I look forward to joining in the board for the next two years and helping grow MNA as resource for Minnesota environmental educators and naturalists, as a forum for discussion and learning between professionals, and as an organization that advances environmental education in Minnesota.


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