Staff and leadership
Scott Fulton, President Scott, a biotech entrepreneur by day, lives in Middleton, WI and has been a member of the Empire-Sauk Chapter since 2002. He enjoys all aspects of TPE, but is especially interested in outreach, communications and organizational development.
Caroljean Coventree, Vice President and represents the Chippewa Savannas Chapter. The horizons of an Iowan farmstead shaped my youth and connected me to landscape, wind, and sky. On my journeys I have lived among the Saharan sands and Florida’s flowers, but those early connections eventually brought me home to eighty acres in northwestern Wisconsin. Here I shepherd a forest, prairie, and wetland, as well as the fauna each shelters. Thank goodness! By formal training I’m a lawyer and writer; by curiosity, a life-long birder, beekeeper, insect enthusiast, and such a deep tree lover that I named myself after them.
Alice Mirk, Treasurer and represents the Glacial Prairie Chapter. Alice was one of the original founders of The Prairie Enthusiasts over 30 years ago. She has a background in public policy, legislative action and grant writing in a career with the State of Wisconsin that spanned 25 years. In her career she managed budgets, planned and managed projects, planned and performed quality assurance and quality improvement activities, and managed staff state wide. In the early years of development of the Prairie Enthusiasts, she was treasurer, board member and membership coordinator.
Jim Rogala, Secretary and represents the Coulee Region Chapter. Jim is an aquatic ecologist with the U.S. Geological Survey in La Crosse, Wisconsin. He spends much of his free time restoring hill prairies on his property. "I find TPE to be perfect outlet for sharing knowledge among those of us dedicated to prairie and savanna restoration".
Jack Kussmaul, Past President Jack is a lawyer in Lancaster, Wisconsin, when he is not working on natural restoration on his own property. "I am awed by TPE's ability to acquire properties worthy of protection. I just wish we were as good at collecting endowments to support these properties!"
Board of Directors
Gary Eldred (emeritus) Gary is one of the founding members of TPE.
Jerry Newman represents the Prairie Bluff Chapter. He is retired from a varied work life of management, farming and sales. "Retirement freed me to pursue my interests in history and photography and it wasn't long until I realized how well prairies completed that package. Photographing prairies, their flora and fauna and also the people who care for them has proven to be a satisfying creative outlet. It is equally satisfying to put the camera down and engage in the necessary work of caring for prairies. I hope my work and my photos can awaken and inspire others.
David Hamel represents the Prairie Sands Chapter.
A long-time activist, David has served on the board of directors of The Wisconsin Nature Conservancy, (Madison) Capitol Community Citizens, Madison Rivers and Lakes Commission, Invasive Plants Association of Wisconsin, and is a founding director of The Madison Trust for Historic Preservation and the Wisconsin Wetlands Association. David and wife, Shelley, live with some Karner Blue butterflies on 120 diverse acres in Marquette County where they retired after careers in engineering, manufacturing, yacht skippering, and truck driving.
Richard Henderson represents the Empire Sauk Chapter. Rich is an ecologist with the Wisconsin of Natural Resources Bureau of Integrated Science Services (formerly Research). Rich has 33 years of experience in natural area inventory, assessment and management of prairie, sedge meadow, oak savannah and oak woodland ecosystems. Rich is a past president of TPE and an originator of the Military Ridge Prairie Heritage Area, which includes more than 50,000 acres of grasslands in Dane and Iowa counties in southwest Wisconsin. Henderson also has served as the leader and motivator of several projects for The Nature Conservancy, namely the prairie preserves known as Spring Green, Schluckebier, and Black Earth Rettenmund.
George Howe represents the Minnesota Driftless Chapter. George Howe works as an environmental consultant, educator, film producer, and land conservationist in the “Driftless Area” of the Upper Midwest. Previously, Howe served as Conservation Director for the Mississippi Valley Conservancy, where he directed a program that permanently protected nearly 14,000 acres of natural lands, including some of the most rare natural communities in America. Howe has also taught science and education at both the University and High School levels, and previously worked for 14 years as a research scientist for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, publishing 21 scientific articles in eco-toxicology. Recently, Howe co-produced the Emmy award- winning science documentary film, “Mysteries of the Driftless,” and is currently a co-owner of, and film producer for the “Driftless Environmental Education Project,” and is working to produce a feature length documentary film that tells the full story of the amazing Driftless Region.
Evanne Hunt represents the St. Croix Valley Chapter. Evanne is a technical communication professional concentrating in technical writing for computer software applications. "Prairies and oak savannas are our rainforests, our redwoods, our coral reefs. But, because they are in our backyards, we don't "see" them. They are just as worthy of our concern and protection."
Linda Lynch represents the Southwest Chapter. Linda is the Executive Director for Riverland Conservancy, a non-profit land trust with preserves in Wisconsin and Iowa totaling over 1800 acres. Also on the Board of Directors for Southwest Badger Resource Conservation and Development (RC&D). She's the sole proprietor of a small farm in southwest Wisconsin.
Deanna Pomije represents the Many Rivers Chapter as a remote liaison, as she lives one hour north of the Twin Cities. She has worked in Soil Conservation in MN & WI for 18 years. She feels a spiritual connection to prairies and promotes their preservation and enhancement. She is glad TPE is there; where she can meet other prairie-minded people.
Jim Rachuy represents the Northwest Illinois Chapter. He is a grassland ecologist and computer scientist. He is a long-time member of The Prairie Enthusiasts and a founder of 4 conservation organizations in Jo Daviess County, Illinois. He and his wife Rickie live in rural Stockton, Illinois.
Joe Rising, TPE Communication Coordinator. Joe seeks to keep the TPE communication channels open and productive. Feel free to contact him with your questions, concerns and suggestions. Communication has always been an integral part of Joe’s non-profit and advocacy work. He has written for numerous publications and professionally. He enjoys working for the prairie and supporting the caring and committed TPE membership.
Jerry Pedretti, Bookkeeper. Jerry grew up in Genoa, WI along the Mississippi River. He is a small business owner and handles his family's bookkeeping, and the Town of Genoa Clerk for the past 15 years.