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The Minnesota Naturalists’ Association (MNA) exists to advance
natural and cultural resource interpretation 
for the purpose
of fostering wise stewardship of all resources.

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.

Meetings are held virtually at 7:00 p.m.

Next Meeting: Tuesday, August 20, 2024

If you are interested in attending, please email Cristina Palmisano ( at least 3 days before the meeting date for the meeting link. 

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 >>

Cristina Palmisano, President/ Lowry Nature Center 

I have been an interpretive naturalist in Minnesota for over 20 years. I began my career at Dodge Nature Center as an intern and currently work for Three Rivers Parks at Lowry. My passions include creating outdoor opportunities for autistic audiences and I hope to grow more of these types of programs throughout the region. I also work closely with Hamline University, both as a continuing education instructor and student. 

Brett Sieberer, Vice President/ Lowry Nature Center

Hi, my name is Brett Sieberer. I've been a naturalist for 22 years. I've enjoyed spending time outside since my mom started kicking me out of the house when I was young. The state of Minnesota is my favorite place in the whole wide world, and I love that I get to share it with people on a daily basis. Some of the people who have influenced me in my life are Steve Irwin, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Michael Scott. Looking forward to carrying the MNA flag onwards for the next four years.  It's going to be an amazing adventure. Also, if you happen to see Bigfoot, let me know. 

Stephanie Rathsack, Secretary / Cannon River STEM School

Secretary Stephanie here on my second term on the MNA Board! I’ve spent my entire career in the amazing state of Minnesota, gaining experience while working at Nature Centers, RELCs, museums, and schools. I graduated from the University of Minnesota Twin Cities with a Bachelor of Science in Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology, working at both the Bell Museum of Natural History and at the Monarch Butterfly Lab. And while I’ve always been drawn to the forests and lakes of central and northern Minnesota (spending almost the entirety of my childhood at Springbrook Nature Center), after graduating, I headed south and worked at Eagle Bluff Environmental Learning Center where my passion for the outdoors grew even more, surrounded by amazing people and the beauty of bluff country. Now, as the full time School Naturalist at the environmentally focused Cannon River STEM School, I enjoy the best of both worlds when it comes to environmental education--I work with grades K through 8, and on any given day you'll find me and my students hiking, composting, tagging monarch butterflies, snowshoeing, skiing, beekeeping, maple syruping, gardening, and so much more! I hope to use my time on the MNA board to help create opportunities that will foster meaningful connections between Naturalists of all backgrounds and workplaces.

Becky Pollack, Treasurer / Ney Nature Center

I am currently the Executive Director of the Ney Nature Center in Henderson, MN. I am a graduate of Mankato State University, Mankato with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Geography and minors in Earth Science and Geology. I began working with Ney Nature Center 10 years ago scheduling and teaching naturalist programs. My background with project based learning, love of the natural world and experience in non-profit management made for an easy transition to Executive Director. My connection to the Ney Nature Center and love of the outdoors goes back to 1995, when the deformed frogs were found by my fellow classmates from the Minnesota New Country School. As students, we worked closely with scientists, the media, and local environmentalist to bring awareness to the water quality issues that harm the frogs and other wildlife. My husband, Nick, and I have two kids, Greg (16) and Sami (13) and many family pets. Recently we have begun rasing a heritage breed of pigs (Red Wattle) in a non-confinement, pasture style setting, fulfilling my husband’s lifelong goal of being a farmer. 

Molly Dulka, Communications Coordinator / River Bend Nature Center

I am originally from the Twin Cities, but lived in Chicago while attending Loyola University where I graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science.  I've worked for multiple organizations such as Three Rivers Park District, City of Richfield’s Wood Lake Nature Center, and Minneapolis Parks and Recreation before landing at River Bend Nature Center in Faribault. My favorite part of being a naturalist is getting people excited about being outdoors and learning about nature. In my spare time, I like to try new restaurants, go kayaking around the chain of lakes or hiking at state parks.

Rachel Giemza (she/her), Professional Workshop Coordinator / Wolf Ridge ELC

As a more or less native Minnesotan, being outside and exploring was my favorite activity growing up. I’ve been a naturalist for about 7 years at various nature centers around the Twin Cities and I've loved every minute. It's shown me that our field is diverse and there’s such variety to the different programs we can do, that they don’t have to have the traditional format. I’ve been honored with working with some truly amazing people and educators, who inspire me to continue to think outside the box and never stop learning.  My goal as the Professional Workshop Coordinator is to facilitate learning opportunities and promote discussions on how to change and keep our field as naturalists growing. In my downtime, I enjoy hiking, gardening, playing dungeons and dragons, reading, and crocheting, hanging out with my leopard gecko Yarrow and corn snake Spaghetti.

Erin Tone, Conference Co-Coordinator/ Lake Superior Zoo
I grew up in Northfield and attended Gustavus Adolphus College, where I earned a B.A. in Biology and Environmental Studies. After graduating, I attended UST and earned an M.A. and teaching licensure in secondary science teaching. I've had internships working with animals and wildlife, worked as a middle school science teacher, and most recently as a naturalist. My favorite part of being a naturalist is getting outside and sharing her love for animals and the natural world with others! In my free time, I like to hike, spend time with family and friends and take trips up the North Shore with my husband and golden retrievers, Turk and Walleye.

Megan Beatty, Conference Co-Coordinator / Dodge Nature Center

Throughout college at University of Wisconsin, River Falls - where I achieved a BS in Industrial & Organizational Psychology -  I worked in various roles at Camp St. Croix in Hudson, Wisconsin. I had the pleasure of guiding various canoe trips to the BWCA throughout this time and fell in love with the idea of teaching alongside nature. I am currently wrapping up a year-long fellowship at Dodge Nature Center and looking for more opportunities to grow. MNA has been a great way to build even more perspective in the field and I’m looking forward to my first term on the board!

Katie Frías, Member-at-Large 1/ Three Rivers Parks District at Richardson Nature Center

My path into the field of environmental education started working as an intern the summer before my freshman year of college. In those summers I spent interning, I discovered a deep passion for working outdoors and connecting people to nature. I studied English Literature at the University of Minnesota. In my free time I enjoy hiking, beading, and going to new coffee shops.

Elizabeth Sheppard, Member-At-Large- 2/ Ney Nature Center

My love for nature was fostered by my grandfather who worked with The Nature Conservancy. I grew up in WI and spent summers with him in Iron County. I graduated from UW - Stevens Point with a B.S. in Wildlife Management.  After volunteering with The Raptor Center as an education crew member for 4.5 years, I went back to school to become a teacher. I volunteered at Richardson Nature Center from 2015 to 2017. I started at Staring Lake Nature Center in 2015 as a volunteer and have been working there as a Naturalist since 2017.  

I have worked as a summer camp counselor for The Boys and Girls Club of Greater Milwaukee and a field research assistant as a seasonal throughout the US. I love working with our preK programs, am passionate about program modifications to be more accessible by all learners, and have found MNA to be an invaluable resource, both personally and professionally. I am excited to serve my first term as Treasurer on the MNA Board.

Morgan Heier

Morgan Heier, Member-At-Large 3/ River Bend Nature Center
I grew up in Bismarck, North Dakota where I first discovered a love for animals and the natural world. I lived in a small city so nature was never too far away. I graduated from the University of Mary in Bismarck, ND with a degree in Biology Education and became a certified teacher. I moved to Minnesota to pursue a job as a middle school science teacher. After a few years of teaching I discovered the Naturalist field and have never looked back. I have been a Naturalist fellow for Dodge Nature Center, and a seasonal naturalist at Lowry Nature Center and Harriet Alexander Nature Center. I currently work as the program and engagement coordinator at River Bend Nature Center in Faribault, MN. My favorite part about being a Naturalist is opening people's eyes to the beautiful intricacies in the natural world around them. 

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