November 2017 Director’s Update

A Plate Full of Thanks

My Thanksgiving plate was full this year, and for that, I am grateful. I am grateful to all of the people who made the meal possible – the turkey farmer, the cranberry grower, and how could I forget our Wisconsin cheese producers? Then there is my sister’s friend, now my friend too, who shared her family’s delicious Nigerian fish stew, and my husband’s north Indian dal and seasoned rice. While I fondly remember Thanksgivings at home with the simpler Midwestern menu, I am grateful for the eclectic mix of flavors we now have at our table. Finally, I am grateful for the time my sister and I spent together baking pumpkin pie, though I must confess I’m not as grateful for the pie still tempting me from my refrigerator!

In this newsletter, we share stories with you about people and projects that are accomplishing all kinds of things on the front lines of water research, education, and management. There are also folks behind the scenes who make immeasurable contributions. This month, I want to extend a special thank you to someone who’s leaving his current role with the Network as well as the folks who provide support for the North Central Region Water Network.

Who are the people in your professional life that deserve extra thanks? We’d love to hear from you in the comments.

Joe Bonnell, The Ohio State University – Joe Bonnell is one of the longest serving extension water coordinators in the North Central Region. At the end of this year, he will embark on a new adventure and career with his family in the Dominican Republic. During his time in Ohio, Joe trained and mentored hundreds of watershed leaders and made substantial contributions to our understanding of the core knowledge and skills that are necessary for watershed leaders to be successful.

Jamey Burns, University of Wisconsin – Jamey helps keep the North Central Region Water Network website up and running and created the Soil Health Nexus website. Jamey comes from a graphic design background but loves the technical aspect of web development. He loves the pace at which the industry progresses and he is always learning new skills. When not in front of a computer screen, Jamey enjoys photography, screen printing, woodworking, skiing and especially spending time with his family.Sarah Congdon, University of Wisconsin – Sarah is a Senior Artist at the UW Environmental Resources Center (ERC). She brings visual life to North Central Region Water Network reports, fact sheets, and websites. Sarah combines an artistic eye with a talent for communicating ideas clearly and elegantly. She makes the most challenging job seem easy!

Janice Kepka, University of Wisconsin – Janice’s expertise in instructional design makes the North Central Region Water Network’s signature webinar series possible. She has a knack for explaining educational technology to a diversity of users, and she combines her technical skills with a love of conservation and agriculture. Janice manages family farmland in southwest Minnesota, a responsibility that enhances her appreciation of the ongoing need to engage and connect farmers, landowners, conservationists, and citizens in a common goal to protect natural resources.

Brian Kline, University of Wisconsin – Brian grew up on the shores of Lake Winnebago in Oshkosh. He seamlessly blends his love for Wisconsin’s natural resources with his support for ERC programs, including the North Central Region Water Network. He keeps our budgets on track and provides critical human resources services with a can-do attitude carried over from his time in the U.S. Marine Corps and private industry.

Martha Martin, University of Wisconsin – Martha keeps us organized and does it with a sparkle of humor that makes the most mundane tasks more fun. She and our colleague Leah Leighty at CALS Conference Services are the reasons our events run smoothly and on budget. She is an extraordinary editor. She keeps us on track by taking notes for our meetings and reminding us if we’ve missed a “to-do” or are about to miss a deadline.  Who could ask for more?!

Amber Mase, University of Wisconsin –  Amber helps all of us in the North Central Region Water Network measure and communicate the impact of our programs. While some of us avoid evaluation like we avoid the last of the leftover turkey, Amber provides a helping hand and a good dose of laughter to get us through.

Anne Nardi, University of Wisconsin – Anne is the newest addition to our team. With a diverse communications background, she has been learning lightning-fast what the North Central Region Water Network is all about. Anne is doing great work to support Network members addressing climate, soil health, manure and nutrient management, watershed management, stormwater, youth water programming, and a host of other issues.

Hunter Reed, University of Wisconsin – Hunter is a senior at the University of Wisconsin-Madison studying communication arts, digital studies and environmental studies. He has experience in journalistic writing, editing and online production through his work at the Badger Herald student newspaper. As an undergraduate, Hunter helped fill a short-term gap in our communication team and did amazing work to keep us up and running. Thank you, Hunter!


Rebecca Power, Network Director

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