There are many roles within the board but our overall goal is to oversee the operation and management of the organization.
Meetings are held virtually at 6:30 p.m.
Would you like to run for the MNA board?
Becky Pollack, President / 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.
Michael Harrison, Vice President / St. Paul School of Northern Lights
Hello! My name is Michael and I am the new vice-president! I am very excited to be starting this new adventure on the MNA board. I started my naturalist career as a summer intern at Dodge Nature Center, and from there I went to work at Dakota County Parks as a seasonal naturalist for the past four years. Currently, I have been working as an environmental educator at St Paul School of Northern Lights, I started there at the end of August. In my free time I love spending time outside and hanging out with my reptilian children (Fred and George are my corn snakes, Atlas is my map turtle, and Sapphira is my red eared slider).
Stephanie Rathsack, Secretary / Cannon River STEM School
Elizabeth Sheppard, Treasurer / Staring Lake Outdoor 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.
Benjamin Vogel, Communications Coordinator / Bartlett Tree Experts
Rachel Giemza (she/her), Professional Workshop Coordinator / Wolf Ridge ELC
Mary Burch, Conference Co-Coordinator/ Westwood Hills Nature Center
Eva Clelland, Conference Co-Coordinator / Ney Nature Center
Hi there! My name is Eva and I am currently the Programs Coordinator at Ney Nature Center in Henderson.
Alex Colling, Member-At-Large / Ney Nature Center
I currently work as the Resource Manager at the Ney Nature Center on the bluffs of the Minnesota River Valley near Henderson. I am excited to serve on the Board of Directors for the Minnesota Naturalists’ Association. I was born and raised in southern Minnesota developing a deep connection to the Big Woods and Ravines of the Minnesota River Valley, so it became natural to make it my profession! I received a B.S. in Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences from South Dakota State University (Go Jacks!) in 2019 and a MAED in Natural Science and Environmental Education from Hamline University in 2021. I have been a member of MNA since I was a Junior in college and firmly believe in the importance of community around our field. I, just like many naturalists, have a mile-long list of outdoor hobbies but especially love snowshoeing in the winter and fishing in the
Erica Northwick, Member-At-Large / Dallas County Conservation
With my recent move, this will be my last year on the MNA Board of Directors. I will serve the organization to the best of my ability until the very end, along with the Conference Planning Committee. I plan to be at the 2022 Annual Conference in November, so feel free to say hi if you see me!
Savannah Maiers, Member-at-Large / Osprey Wilds ELC