Hello Prairie Enthusiasts! We are Dan, Diane, Jerry, and Joe, and we are the people working for you and TPE as the Chapter Support staff. As you may have heard, we are taking a big leap forward in 2020, adding significantly to our capacity to address the mission of educating, protecting, and restoring the native prairies, savannas, and associated natural communities of our region. The overall goal is to drive growth in membership, volunteer engagement and funding for our mission. We are enthusiastic about our new staff members (Dan and Diane) and hope you will be too! We also wanted to reintroduce you to Jerry and Joe, longtime TPE staff members who each now have slightly different roles.
Dan Carter, PhD, Landowner Services Coordinator
Dan lives for the prairie and knows the prairie inside and out. He is a plant ecologist who has been involved with prairie restoration, reconstruction, management, and protection as an educator, researcher, planner, and volunteer. Dan has extensive experience in natural area assessment and field botany. His PhD is from Kansas State University in prairie restoration ecology.
One of Dan’s favorite quotes is: "A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability, and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise." Aldo Leopold in The Land Ethic, A Sand County Almanac
Dan started in May in a full time position that is fully funded by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) grant for the next three years. He will be managing all contact and support of private landowners, working in close cooperation with the chapters to implement the goals of the grant to restore and improve pollinator habitat on private landowner properties, with a particular emphasis on working lands.
Dan is available to private landowners to help assess the potential to restore, reconstruct, or improve prairies, savannas, and associated ecosystems on their properties and to provide support with management plans, funding, and finding the necessary resources. Feel free to contact him with any such requests or other technical questions on his mobile at 319-321-6513, or by email at [email protected]
Diane Hills, Outreach and Development Coordinator
Diane is passionate about connecting people with nature and with others who delight in the wonders of our native ecosystems. She has a BS in Landscape Architecture from UW-Madison with a specialization in Natural Area Restoration and Management. She worked in the WDNR Bureau of Endangered Resources and helped to conduct the original WI Natural Heritage Inventory. She worked as the volunteer coordinator for TPE's Empire-Sauk Chapter. Diane also has extensive experience as a landscape architect, sustainability campaign manager, fundraiser, and Master Naturalist instructor. Her personal interests are hiking, canoeing, biking, gardening, and all things natural.
Diane joined the staff in April as the full-time Outreach and Development Coordinator. Half of her time is funded by the National Fish and Wildlife (NFWF) grant to develop landowner targeted educational and outreach programs. The other half is funded by TPE to work with our chapters and members to develop and publicize outreach events as well as support our organization’s many fundraising efforts.
Diane says, "The Prairie Enthusiasts would not be here today without the efforts of the grassroots volunteers who founded the organization and the hundreds that have contributed countless hours and resources to carry on its legacy. My hope for the future is to cover more ground by growing our membership and welcoming new volunteers to share their time and talents to spread the prairie enthusiasm.”
Diane believes we all need to stand up for people and our natural environment. If you are looking for resources or support in ways to advocate, educate, or engage people in the preservation of our precious prairie communities, Diane is happy to help. You can reach her on her mobile at 608-239-4699 or email her at [email protected]. She always enjoys talking to TPE members and getting new ideas for attracting people to get more involved in what we do.
Jerry Pedretti, Bookkeeper and Administrative Coordinator
Jerry grew up in Genoa, WI, along the Mississippi River. He is a small business owner and has been the Town of Genoa Clerk for 15 years and has worked with TPE for the past 5 years. Jerry lives on 86 acres along the Mississippi and Bad Axe Rivers in Genoa. When he’s not shuffling papers at one of his clerk jobs, or one of the non-profits (he works for three) you'll find him working in his yard, gardening, hiking in the woods – or you won't find him at all because he’s off somewhere on a motorcycle searching for the other side of the mountain.
Jerry says “I believe that life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the things that take our breath away, and that every day you do not learn something new is a day wasted.”
Jerry knows his way around financials. He stays very busy handling all donations and other income, paying the bills, and producing financial reports for the Board and chapters. He is also responsible for managing TPE’s member and contact information in our NationBuilder database, the administrative aspects of land protection projects, and anything else needed to keep the TPE office running smoothly. This is clearly a man who is not afraid of hard work!
If you want to know more or have a question or request regarding TPE financials, memberships, or our other administrative processes, give Jerry a call at 608-638-1873 or email him at [email protected]
Joe Rising, Communications Coordinator
Joe loves to get out on the prairie. His goal is to get to know and photograph all of TPE preserves. He has a good start as he has been with TPE for almost 7 years. Environmental and social justice has always been close to Joe's heart and communicating for nature is at the core of his non-profit advocacy. He currently serves as a board member with Community Conservation, Inc. and has been for the last 8 years.
Joe enjoys his role at TPE supporting the enthusiastic, caring and committed TPE membership and volunteers. He works in collaboration with many volunteer writers, photographers, editors and social media managers as a supportive overall editor and publisher of our communications channels, including the eNews, social media like Facebook, the website and the Prairie Promoter. As editor, he helps to develop, collect, and refine great written pieces and images from across the organization. As publisher, he helps to make sure the right content is delivered to the right channel at the right time.
Joe's TPE claim to fame came last year when The Land Trust Alliance adopted a quote from him in their promotional materials. “Our land trust is glad to be a part of the accredited land trust community. We are all stronger together, aligned in our approach, and able to relate to each other better knowing we speak the same language of best practices." It’s like TPE made the cover of the Rolling Stone and is now in the national land trust spotlight!
Feel free to contact Joe with your prairie stories and photos at [email protected], or call him at 608-638-1873.
Like the prairie, TPE is growing stronger. With a skilled and experienced staff reaching out across our service area, we are now able to serve the chapters and members with greater capacity. We have secured a very supportive grant that will help create a new set of services for private landowners. We all stand ready to help you carry out the TPE mission with Grassroots Conservation in Action!