Deb Ryun, Executive Director
Deb Ryun has been the Executive Director of the Wild Rivers Conservancy since October 2009. She has 25+ years of experience with management and coordination of multi-stakeholder initiatives; watershed-level planning; and implementation of on-the-ground projects to protect land and water. Deb provides overall leadership for and management of the Wild Rivers Conservancy. She is the public face of the Conservancy and represents the organization before various audiences. During the open water season, Deb spends much of her free time enjoying all that the Namekagon and St. Croix Rivers offer.
Email: dryun (at) wildriversconservancy.org
Nicole Biagi, Outdoor Educator
Nicole grew up in St. Paul, Minnesota and Hudson, Wisconsin, spending the majority of her summers swimming, kayaking, and occasionally camping on the St. Croix River. She then went to the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities for her B.S. in Fisheries Wildlife and Conservation Biology. Before accepting this position with the Wild Rivers Conservancy, Nicole worked in many different seasonal positions as a biological science technician and as an environmental educator. Along the way, Nicole found her passion for youth education and hopes that as the new Outdoor Educator for the Wild Rivers Conservancy, she can help reach new audiences and expand on the incredible partnerships that have already been made throughout the watershed.
Email: nbiagi (at) wildriversconservancy.org
Bethany Cox, Director of Development
Bethany Cox is the Director of Development at the Wild Rivers Conservancy. She has been with the Conservancy since September of 2019 and brings with her years of entrepreneurial and nonprofit experience. Bethany is looking to creatively engage more of the community to not only support the Namekagon and St. Croix Rivers but also to bring more individuals and families to the rivers to experience the natural beauty this national park provides. Bethany grew up experiencing the lakes and rivers in Wisconsin from a canoe and is looking forward to exploring the Namekagon and St. Croix Rivers with her own family.
Email: bcox (at) wildriversconservancy.org
Nikki Henger, Forestry Program Coordinator
Nikki grew up in Ohio and went to the University of Dayton for her B.S. in Environmental Biology. She continued her education in NY and enrolled in a dual degree program with State University of New York-Environmental Science and Forestry and Syracuse University. There she obtained an M.S. in Forestry and Natural Resources Management and an MPA and also completed a thesis on Emerald Ash Borer state management plans. During her free time, she enjoys backpacking, canoeing, and exploring new areas.
Email: nhenger (at) wildriversconservancy.org
Jennifer Lutz, Business Manager
Jenn started with the Wild Rivers Conservancy in May of 2021 as the Business Manager. Before starting with the Conservancy, Jenn supported a variety of businesses from managing a private practice medical office to overseeing a thriving e-commerce business as the operations manager. She enjoys a hands-on approach to management which has contributed to the cultivation of a diverse administrative skill set. An Osceola resident, Jenn is active in her community and enjoys spending time with her family exploring all of the parks, trails, and waterways this area has to offer.
Email: jlutz (at) wildriversconservancy.org
Sophia Patane, Communications Coordinator
Sophia graduated from Hamline University in St. Paul, Minnesota with an M.F.A. in Creative Writing in 2019, as well as a B.F.A. in Creative Writing and a B.A. in Psychology in 2016. Prior to joining the Wild Rivers Conservancy in March 2020, she served as the Assistant Managing Editor and Communications Assistant for the Creative Writing Programs at Hamline University and completed an internship at Graywolf Press. Sophia is responsible for developing the communications and social media strategy for the Wild Rivers Conservancy. She grew up on the shores of a lake in northwest Iowa and hopes to magnify the myriad voices and stories that make the St. Croix River and its watershed a vital place to protect for future generations.
Email: spatane (at) wildriversconservancy.org
Katie Sickmann, Invasive Species Coordinator
Katie Sickmann recently graduated from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls with a B.S. in Biology and Field Biology. She worked with the Prior Lake-Spring Lake Watershed District prior to joining the Conservancy. Katie has extensive experience with water quality monitoring, invasive species education, and management. Katie has spent many summers at her family’s cabin just outside of Spooner, WI and loves to kayak the Namekagon whenever she can get the chance. She works closely with our many partners to prevent and control the spread of invasive species.
Email: ksickmann (at) wildriversconservancy.org
Wendy Tremblay, Community Engagement Coordinator
Wendy grew up in Stillwater and attended UW-River Falls for her B.S. in Elementary Education. Before starting as the Community Engagement Coordinator with the Wild Rivers Conservancy in May of 2021, Wendy worked in the environmental education field for over 12 years as a naturalist, teacher, and program coordinator. When not at work, you can find Wendy in her backyard native garden, on a hiking trail, or exploring the beauty of the St. Croix Valley with her two sons often by her side. Wendy is looking forward to helping guide our outdoor and education programs, supporting interns, and growing our volunteer community.
Email: wtremblay (at) wildriversconservancy.org
Jeremiah Walters, Naturalist
Jeremiah graduated from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls in the spring of 2020 with a B.S. in Conservation. Jeremiah interned with the Wild Rivers Conservancy for two summers before coming on full-time. While attending the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, Jeremiah was involved in many aspects within the St. Croix River watershed, and he is now involved in many areas of the programs the Wild Rivers Conservancy has to offer. Jeremiah is eager to learn more about the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway and inspire others to explore this wild and scenic river national park.
Email: jwalters (at) wildriversconservancy.org
Kate Wright, Donor Engagement and Events
Kate grew up on the St. Croix River and enjoys our watershed year-round by skiing, paddling, and hiking with her dogs. She studied Business Law and Environmental Studies at the University of St. Thomas, earning her B.A. Kate joined the Conservancy team in March of 2017 focusing on donor relations and database management. Since then, her duties have expanded to include our in-house marketing, brand management and visual design, and event management. Kate is a NOLS Leave No Trace Master Educator and MN Master Naturalist. Outside of the office, Kate serves on the Board of Directors for the Deer Lake Improvement Association.
Email: kwright (at) wildriversconservancy.org
Monica Zachay, Director of Programs
Monica Zachay is the Director of Programs at the Wild Rivers Conservancy. She began her work at the Conservancy in 2012, serving as the first program staff to protect water quality. She has been instrumental in growing all of the current programs at the Conservancy and became the first Director of Programs in 2020. Monica holds a Bachelor of Science in Natural Resources with emphases in forestry and environmental education from the University of Minnesota–Twin Cities, and a Master of Public Affairs from the University of Missouri–Columbia.
Email: mzachay (at) wildriversconservancy.org