Staff

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Deb Ryun, Executive Director

Deb Ryun has been the Executive Director of the 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 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

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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 Conservancy, Nicole worked in many different seasonal positions as a biological science technician and as an environmental educator. As the Outdoor Educator for the Wild Rivers Conservancy, Nicole enjoys leading K-12 field trips, kayaking programs, and a wide variety of community events throughout the St. Croix River watershed.
Email: nbiagi (at) wildriversconservancy.org

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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

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Nikki Henger, Forestry Program Coordinator

Nichole 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 the 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

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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

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Hanna Mierow, Administrative and Member Support

Hanna grew up in Osceola, WI and joined the Conservancy team in November of 2021. She graduated from University of Wisconsin - Green Bay in 2017 with a degree in Public Administration and Political Science and a minor in Environmental Policy and Planning. During her free time, she enjoys hiking, camping, kayaking, and spending time outside with family and friends. Hanna is looking forward to applying her experience and knowledge to this position and learning more about the St. Croix and Namekagon Rivers.
Email: hmierow (at) wildriversconservancy.org

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Katie Sickmann, Invasive Species Coordinator

Katie Sickmann graduated from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls in 2018 with a B.S. in Biology and Field Biology. Prior to accepting the Invasive Species Coordinator position with the Conservancy, she worked with the Prior Lake- Spring Lake Watershed District. There she gained experience with water quality monitoring, invasive species management, education and outreach, and maintaining BMPs and restoration sites. 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 government agencies and other stakeholders such as outfitters, marinas, and bait shops, and those engaged in preventing and controlling the spread of invasive species.
Email: ksickmann (at) wildriversconservancy.org

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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

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Jeremiah Walters, Naturalist

Jeremiah graduated from the University of Wisconsin River Falls in the spring of 2020 with a Bachelors of Science degree in Conservation. Jeremiah interned with the 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, similarly, Jeremiah will be involved in many aspects of the multiple programs the 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.
Email: jwalters (at) wildriversconservancy.org

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Kate Wright, Marketing 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 marketing, visual design, and event management. Kate serves on the Board of Directors for the Deer Lake Improvement Association as the chair of the environmental committee focusing her efforts on AIS strategic planning and supervising the Clean Boats Clean Water internship program.
Email: kwright (at) wildriversconservancy.org

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Monica Zachay, Director of Programs

Monica has been with the Conservancy since 2012, working to develop the Land and Water program, which strives to protect and restore the water quality of the St. Croix, realizing its connection with land use. Monica holds a Bachelor of Science in Natural Resources from the University of Minnesota and has extensive experience in multi-stakeholder project leadership, land restoration, and hydrological modeling of lakes and streams. She is currently working on her Master’s in Public Affairs from the University of Missouri – Columbia.
Email: mzachay (at) wildriversconservancy.org