What’s New in the Watershed: Staff Update

The Wild Rivers Conservancy office is brimming with activity now that summer is in full swing. Whether we’re getting our toes wet in river water or in the office, our staff are working hard to create remarkable river experiences and to protect the outstanding natural resources we all enjoy on these wild and scenic rivers.

Get the inside scoop on what we’re working on and looking forward to this season!



Taylor Siddons, Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) Seasonal

“While I’m from this area, I haven’t worked in such proximity to the river. So the idea of deepening my connection with the St. Croix watershed is very exciting. I’m looking forward to gaining on-field experience and utilizing as much time as I have here.”

Jenn Lutz, Business Manager

“As a new staff member, it's been really exciting to see all the great things that we’re doing. I look forward to continuing to develop our business workflow, preparing for our Annual Fundraiser—our hootenanny!—in September, and assisting with the planning of our August 3-Day paddle. It will be my first time paddling on the Namekagon, and I’m eager to experience this river.”

Kayaks on the riverbank of the Namekagon on a sunny dat with blue skies. Photo: conservancy Paddle Participant
Ready for an an adventure on the Namekagon! (Photo: Conservancy Paddle Participant)
A group of kayaks on the water in front of pines. Photo: Nikki Henger
Girl Scouts practicing new paddling skills! (Photo: Nikki Henger, Wild Rivers Conservancy)



Jeremiah Walters, Naturalist

“I’m looking forward to our Wednesday night paddles at Wisconsin Interstate State Park. These drop in programs are for anybody—they don’t need any previous kayaking experience. They will get to paddle around Lake O’ the Dalles and hang out with me for a few hours as they learn at their own pace! It’ll be super fun.”

Nicole Biagi, Outdoor Educator

“I’m also looking forward to some of our “Learn to Paddle” events coming up this summer with different partner groups! We’re working with the Girl Scouts and Valley Friendship Club. And in addition to events, I’m looking forward to working with Wendy to develop more Rivers Are Alive programs. We’re doing a lot of learning and organizing to expand this area of our work.”



Wendy Tremblay, Community Engagement Coordinator

“I have been enjoying coordinating the Vets on the River program, and I’m really looking forward to seeing all the participants out on the river. I’m also really looking forward to the upcoming Namekagon Clean Up on September 11 in Hayward!


Katie Sickmann, Invasive Species Coordinator

“I’m excited to get back out with partners on the water to do sampling for spiny waterflea and veliger tows. We’re also working on a couple of exciting, innovative projects that everyone will hear more about soon! And it’s fantastic to have our interns at in-person events, building partnerships and educating people across the Riverway and watershed about invasive species.”


Monica Zachay, Director of Programs

“Seeing everyone out and about is thrilling. Last year, there was a lot of, “Now what?” Now, everyone is out there and thriving. We’re resuming to a new, better normal.


Deb Ryun, Executive Director

“It’s great to be out doing programming again. It’s wonderful to see all the events and activities we’re engaged in throughout the watershed. We’ll be at the Stillwater “Bridge The Valley” events August 14-15, and the Hayward Lumberjack festival in July. Plus all our on-river outings. It’s so fun to see happy people enjoying the Riverway."

A veliger tow in progress. (Photo: Sophia Patane, Wild Rivers Conservancy)
A veliger tow in progress. (Photo: Sophia Patane, Wild Rivers Conservancy)
All smiles at the Spring Gathering! (Photo: Gerritt Bangma)
All smiles at the Spring Gathering! (Photo: Gerritt Bangma)

Nikki Henger, Forestry Program Coordinator

“I’m excited to have more in-person meetings. I have a few in-person events in July, including a walk with the Minnesota Women’s Woodland Network (MNWWN) on Monday, July 19 at the Arcola Bluffs Trail. It will be so nice to walk with everyone and talk to them in person!”


Kate Wright, Donor Engagement and Events

“For me, the excitement comes from all these great opportunities during the summer to get people back together. It’s the highlight of my week to see smiling faces and people connecting with the rivers. We have an incredible lineup of events and I’m super excited for our programs as we plan into the fall.”


Bethany Cox, Director of Development

“It was great to be back with our people at the Spring Gathering. And I’m looking forward to rounding out the season on Thursday, September 9 with our annual fundraiser, “Forever Wild”!”


Sophia Patane, Communications Coordinator

“I can hardly wait for us to get everybody back together in the fall to get wild for our rivers! I’m also excited for all our members to see our beautiful annual report, showcasing all the work they helped us accomplish in 2020.

Expand your Riverway experience this summer by joining us for an upcoming event, including our Learn to Paddle events, our Women’s Woodland Walk, and our Hudson Bay Bound Presentation in Hayward!

If you would like to support Wild Rivers Conservancy’s important conservation work, please donate today.


Header Photo: Craig Blacklock

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