Taylors Falls, MN and Atlanta, GA
Brynn has worked for the last nine years in sustainability. She currently works for Best Buy on their environmental sustainability team, where she develops programs to bring about change and to help connect customers with sustainable products. She has lived next to the St. Croix River for several years and is passionate about protecting the lands and water. She brings experience with email marketing, social media, and other digital efforts through story‐telling. Along with her husband and young daughter, Brynn loves to travel and has been to more than 20 National Parks. She lives part‐time in Taylors Falls, MN and part‐time in Atlanta, GA.
Brian Alton (Past Chair)
St. Paul, MN
Brian D. Alton is a member with McClay • Alton, P.L.L.P. law firm and is a member of both the Minnesota and Wisconsin State Bar Associations. Brian served as a member of the St. Paul Board of Zoning Appeals, and on the City of St. Paul Planning Commission for 11 years, 4 of those years serving as Chairman. Brian is currently a member of the City of St. Paul Charter Commission. Brian and his wife, Bonnie, live in St. Paul, and enjoy a retreat home on the Trade River in Wisconsin. Brian said, “I have lived within 20 miles of the St. Croix all my life. The river has always important to me: as a child growing up nearby and now as an owner of property in the watershed. I have a strong interest in the preservation and management of the river”.
Sally Arneson is a retired teacher currently living in Stillwater with her husband Steve. As an educator she was involved in a number of environmental education initiatives. She recently became a Master Water Steward and has a keen interest in local botany. During the past several years she has participated in the design and implementation of native plant restorations on the Middle St. Croix River and in Pierce County, Wisconsin. She enjoys exploring woodlands, spending time in and by the water, traveling and relaxing at her cabin on the river.
Doug’s love of the St. Croix is one of the things that brought him to Minnesota more than forty years ago. As a Minnesota Assistant Attorney General, he helped defend the constitutionality of Minnesota statutes, including the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, enforced the state’s consumer protection laws, and fought the tobacco industry. Today, he leads the Public Health Law Center at Mitchell Hamline School of Law, helping community leaders advance health equity and strengthen the nation's laws to reduce tobacco use, promote healthier diets, and encourage more active lives. He likes to slip his kayak into the river in downtown Stillwater early in the morning when no one is looking.
George Boody recently retired as Executive Director of the Land Stewardship Project after 27 years, but continues work in a part-time capacity with his work on the Chippewa 10% Project estimating changes to watershed-level ecosystem services from diversifying farms, soil health, the Root River and other special projects. He has deep professional and volunteer experience with water quality, government relations, sustainable agriculture and watershed organizing. George and his wife, Ann live in south Minneapolis and spend their free time gardening, cross country skiing, canoeing and enjoying being grandparents.
Deborah Borek, M.D.
Debbie is a retired pathologist who first saw the St. Croix River 5 1/2 years ago when her fiancé Dave Wiseman brought her to his home on River Street in Osceola. She fell in love with the river and has since spent many hours hiking, kayaking, canoeing, and birding on the St. Croix and Namekagon. She has served on numerous hospital committees and a couple of medical Boards. Debbie has a long-standing interest in prairie conservation and has obtained a conservation easement on a small native prairie she owns in Kansas. She and Dave divide their time between Osceola and Kansas City.
Retired attorney and business owner for whom land acquisition and government regulation has been the common thread. Was an employee of the MDNR rivers programs in the 1970’s and 80’s. Served for many years as Chair of the Land Acquisition Committee of Minnesota Parks and Trails Council. Founding board member of Standing Cedars Community Land Trust on the St Croix River. Bill is an avid paddler, cyclist and skier. He has enjoyed many hours kayaking the backwaters of the St Croix and the Apostle Islands. Bill brings, to the Board, a keen awareness from the river user’s perspective. Bill and his wife, Ginny Clapp Buell, live in Grant, MN where they enjoy the outdoors and time at the family cabin on the St Croix River in Scandia, MN.
Katelyn Claeys (Treasurer)
Katelyn Claeys is a CPA at H.B. Fuller in Vadnais Heights with 7+ years of accounting and financial statement experience. Katelyn has been an outdoorswoman her whole life and enjoys several outdoor activities: hiking, biking, canoeing, kayaking, snowshoeing, snowboarding, birding, gardening and fishing. She also likes learning about local plants, wildlife, geology, and local and Native American history. Katelyn and her husband, Joe, do many of these activities together and visit the St. Croix area often. The area is special to them as their first date was canoeing from Taylors Falls to William O'Brien and they were engaged at Taylors Falls in 2019.
St. Paul, MN
Chad Dayton began his professional career as a professor of English & Writing before transitioning to outdoor education in 2010. He has since worked in the outdoor, environmental, and educational sectors in a variety of roles including field instructor, wilderness medicine instructor, college professor, and national program manager. Currently the owner/principal of Outdoor Solutions, LLC, Chad also serves on a number of non‐profit, environmental and educational Boards and Advisory Councils including National Park Trust, National Parks Conservation Association, Northland College, Dodge Nature Center, and Friends of the Mississippi River.
Marine on St Croix, MN
Loralee DiLorenzo feels fortunate to live on the bluffs of the St Croix River in Marine on St Croix, which has enhanced her family's quality of life immeasurably. She is an inveterate volunteer, focusing more on volunteer opportunities in the St Croix River Valley recently. She enjoys being on the river on her pontoon, paddle-board, canoe, skis and feet. Loralee has experience in grant-writing, strategic planning, communications, governance, leadership development and fundraising.
Jim is Of Counsel at Frederickson & Byron law firm in Minneapolis where he specialized in closely-held business litigation and real estate condemnation. He is a graduate of Yale and University of Virginia School of Law. He has served on numerous boards, including Cantus, Advocates for Human Rights, Call for Justice, Citizens League and People for Parks. Jim has been hiking along, paddling and camping on and near the St. Croix, Namekagon, Snake & Kettle rivers since the 1960’s. Jim lives in Grant, Minnesota with his wife, Dee.
Craig is a recent retiree from 3M where he was a Corporate Scientist and Carlton Society inductee. During his career, he was a leader in commercialization of novel processes, with an emphasis on solvent elimination and sustainability. He lives on the St Croix river and appreciates the value of such a remarkable natural asset. As a board member, Craig is leveraging on his corporate experience in myriad ways: to enhance scope and reach, build team and community cohesion, grow and preserve our resources, and improve communication and education. He also serves on the board of Open Door Community Theatre, which serves the east Twin Cities metro area. Craig and his wife Monica greatly appreciate all that the rivers have to offer, especially sailing and boating on the St Croix.
Doug was a partner of the Wolff, Oppenheimer & Donnelly law firm in St. Paul, specializing in corporate transactions, including business and organizational law. He was also head of finance and a member of the board at Aetrium, Inc., a small public manufacturing company. He is a graduate of Dartmouth and Harvard Law. He has served as past Chair of The Partnership Plan in Stillwater school district and Treasurer of Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy. Doug is very interested in invasive species work, phosphorous mitigation activities and protecting the St Croix and watershed. Doug lives in Stillwater with his wife, Paula.
Andrea Jorgenson is the Community Service Manager with Xcel Energy for Western Wisconsin, serving Polk, St. Croix and Pierce counties. Andrea serves on the Boards of Polk and Pierce County Economic Development Corporations and is a Committee Chair for the St. Croix County EDC. With extensive work experience as a Director for the Hudson Area Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau, she now serves as a Board Member of the Somerset Chamber of Commerce. Andrea and her husband, Jon, moved to Hudson WI with their 4 children in 2007 after enjoying years in Red Wing, MN. "We followed the beauty of the Mississippi up-river to the magical St. Croix. There is something special about the charm of these rivertowns that inspires creativity and an inclination to explore their landscapes and protect the surrounding ecosystems."
Betsy Kremser (Secretary)
Betsy Kremser retired after 20 years as a planner/policy analyst for the Anoka County Community Health Department, following an early career working in public affairs for the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce and Honeywell, Inc. A graduate of Carleton College (economics) and William Mitchell College of Law (JD), she served on the board of Summit Brewing Company and currently is a member of the board of trustees of the Wilberg Memorial Public Library of Osceola. She is an avid paddler, skier, hiker and traveler. Returning to live on the bluff of the St. Croix River where she grew up, Betsy especially enjoys sharing her part of the river valley with family and friends.
Sarah started her career as a prairie horticulturist, and environmental scientist working in waste management and sustainable systems infrastructure for the government, and then moved on to brownfield and superfund remediation and redevelopment in the private sector, and is currently a practicing environmental and real estate attorney. Sarah participates in ongoing volunteer legal work, has experience in environmental education, working with the MPCA and Minnesota Zoo, and a strong water quality interest.
Stuart Neville (Vice Chair)
Stu Neville has worked as a fly-fishing guide in Hayward, WI for six years. He spends over 100 days a year sharing the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway with clients and friends. This hands-on, immersive experience gives him a unique and important perspective on what's actually happening on the Riverway. He graduated from St. Olaf College, majoring in environmental studies with emphasis on environmental policy. He volunteers for the Namekagon River Cleanup every spring, and has lived on the Namekagon in Hayward since 2016.
Amy Short is Regulatory Affairs and Sustainability Specialist at 3M where she supports product environmental and safety stewardship and ensuring manufacturing regulatory compliance. She also serves on the Green Chemistry team. Previously, she worked at the University of Minnesota as a Sustainability Director. Amy has deep experience in systems thinking, environmental education, storm water permits, waste and wastewater treatment and regulatory affairs. The beauty and diversity of the St Croix never fails to astonish Amy, and she looks forward to contributing toward protecting and celebrating it. Amy lives in Woodbury, Minnesota.
Marine on St Croix, MN
Kristina works at Hillcrest Development as the Director of Sustainability. She has a background with the MN DNR and deep experience as a volunteer and board member.
Tom Swain (Chair)
Mendota Heights, MN
Tom Swain currently works as Distributor Development Managing Director at Toro Company where he has worked in various roles for 30 years, including as President of MTI Distributing. Tom served on the board of Camp Widjiwagan for 13 years and ran the annual fund 2 of those years. He served on the board of Blue Plus (Blue Cross/Blue Shield) for 5 years. Tom holds an MBA from the Carlson School. He and his wife Laura, 3 grown children and 1 grandchild enjoy spending time at their family cabin on the St Croix in Scandia. Tom enjoys staying informed and engaged in current events and in his work and looks forward to being able to contribute his time, energy and business perspective to the efforts of Wild Rivers Conservancy.
Mary Uppgren is a Marketing Services Global Content Development Lead at Accenture where she utilizes her skills in communications, strategy, management, technology and consulting. She has deep international business and living experience. Mary’s ability to work with all levels in an organization, collaborative style, ability to see the big picture and also deliver results will serve Wild Rivers Conservancy well. Mary is a lifelong St. Croix River supporter and enthusiast, having spent much of her life living along its banks. With her husband, David Drysdale, she is an avid kayaker and boater. She is an active sportswoman. Mary lives in Stillwater, Minnesota.
Brian Van Abel
Brian is the Chief Financial Officer at Xcel Energy, which has a long history of supporting the Conservancy. He is an expert on financial matters as he has spent the last ten years at Xcel Energy in various financial roles including Treasurer and Senior Vice President of Finance. Brian grew up visiting the St. Croix River with his family and is now in a position to give back to the river that his two daughters (7 and 5) enjoy very much. He also serves on the board of Avivo, a Minneapolis-based non-profit focused on providing job training, mental health, and recovery services, and ending homelessness.
Being on our Board of Directors is a great way to get involved with the mission of the Wild Rivers Conservancy. The Nominating Committee of the Wild Rivers Conservancy welcomes you to consider filling out our board application, whether for yourself, or as as a referral.