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Staff Bios

Ron LawrenzRon Lawrenz
Director
Ron's ethic and interest in nature was first kindled as a child in the dune country along the southeast shores of Lake Michigan. He attended Michigan State University and in 1970 and graduated with a B.S. in Limnology and Fisheries Biology. He was subsequently accepted into graduate school at Central Michigan University where he earned a M.S. in Aquatic Ecology (Biology) in 1975. While in graduate school, Ron was appointed the first Director of the CMU Elk River Aquatic Ecology Field Lab. He moved to Minnesota in 1975 where he was subsequently employed for 14 years as a Research Scientist and Director of the Surveys and Review Unit for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. In 1989 he accepted the position as the first Director of the St. Croix Watershed Research Station, a new environmental research facility owned and operated by the Science Museum of Minnesota. In 1999, Ron accepted a promotion to become Head of the Science Division for the Museum in St. Paul. In 2006 he was appointed as the third Director of the Lee and Rose Nature Center. Ron has over 32 years experience in field research and directing natural history based programs. His special interests include paleoecology, aquatic ecosystems, geology, and promoting the development of a public appreciation for nature.

Julie GrecianJulie Grecian
Assistant Director
Julie began working at Warner Nature Center in 2005 after moving to Minnesota from Chicago, Illinois. She earned a bachelor's degree in Public Policy/Environmental Science and Management from Indiana University and a master's degree in Environmental Studies from University of Illinois at Springfield. Julie brings a variety of experiences from the environmental policy and education fields to Warner Nature Center, including state and local government, international non-profits, nature centers, science museums, and environmental corporations. Julie coordinates all education programs at the nature center, including the volunteer and internship programs. Julie enjoys spending time reading, kayaking, birding and traveling with her husband and daughters.

Kelly AmothKelly Amoth
Interpretive Naturalist/Collections Coordinator
After graduating from the University of Georgia with degrees in English and Ecology, Kelly began her foray into environmental education teaching at Rock Eagle 4-H Center in central Georgia. Feeling the need to experience a real winter, she decided to move to north of the 45th parallel and become a graduate naturalist at Wolf Ridge ELC. The first northern Minnesota winter was an adventure and solidified her passion for teaching outside, no matter the climate. Kelly spent a year at Carpenter Nature Center working as a member of AmeriCorps. She then returned to the North Shore for a second year at Wolf Ridge. With three Minnesota winters under her belt, she is really looking forward to cross country ski season. If not having adventures geocaching, or watching college football during the fall, you'll be likely to find Kelly knitting or running, but never both at once as it is too dangerous. Kelly is really excited about joining the Warner team and having the opportunity to work with the raptors and continue teaching!

Kathy FesteKathy Feste
Interpretive Naturalist/Exhibits Coordinator
Kathy has been a naturalist at Warner Nature Center since 1995. She has a B.S. in Natural Resource Management/Environmental Education and Interpretation from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. Kathy worked as a park ranger for the National Park Service for 13 years before coming to Warner Nature Center. At Warner, she devotes part of her time to teaching environmental education classes and part of her time to exhibit design and development, and computer graphic design projects. Kathy's special areas of interest include kayaking, wilderness skills, backpacking, block printing, and mosaics.

Paul SmithsonPaul Smithson
Interpretive Naturalist/Avian Coordinator
Paul has over 10 years of experience working in outdoor and environmental education settings, he started at Warner Nature Center in September 2004. Between stints as an educator at Camp Olson YMCA, Wolf Ridge ELC, Fort Edmonton Park, and Quarry Hill Nature Center he has also worked as a biological technician on projects ranging from songbird surveys in the jack pine forests of WI, to root analysis of prairie plants in Alberta, Canada. At Warner, Paul is responsible for the bird banding program, raptor program and the natural history collection that Warner houses in the Trailside Museum. During the school year, Paul focuses on teaching and his avian duties. During the summer he teaches summer camps.

Rosanne LofgrenRosanne Lofgren
Office Coordinator
Rosanne comes to Warner nature Center with over 15 years of administrative experience working at the American Composers Forum, Wilder Forest and in hospital scheduling. Coordination has always appealed to her and she applies her experience to the support of staff and programs at Warner. She's always lived a life in appreciation and respect of the environment and has never forgotten her first encounter with an owl one early snowy winter morning while cross country skiing as a child. She looks forward to supporting the programs for the school groups as the children learn and explore at Warner creating their own memories.

Sean GokeySean Gokey
Site Manager
Sean became the Site Manager for Warner in January 2014. He is excited to help preserve and restore all the great resources at Warner Nature Center. During 2013, Sean worked as part of a crew for the Minneapolis Parks and Rec Board as an Environmental Restoration Technician in the city parks. Before that he served in the Conservation Corps of Minnesota for two years doing restoration work in the metro parks. He was also part of a program that works with urban youth in job skills training while also connecting them with the natural resources in their communities. He has a background in a summer camp setting as an instructor and administrator along with many years of hard labor landscaping. Prior to these experiences, Sean attended UW-Eau Claire studying Political Science and Midwestern Environmental Issues. When he has the chance Sean loves to fish and hunt. He also enjoys spending time hiking or snowshoeing along the Mississippi or doing anything on the water.

Anne CammackAnne Cammack
Family Program Coordinator
Growing up camping and exploring the North Woods, Anne has always had a passion and respect for the outdoors and the environment. Since graduating from Colby College with a degree in history/environmental studies, Anne has spent the past eight years devoted to inspiring youth to appreciate and enjoy the natural word around us. She has worked with families and youth in Washington State, Colorado, and North Carolina in a variety of child care fields including environmental education, pre-school, afterschool, summer camps, ski-school, and teen clubs. Anne develops and teaches the family programs at Warner. When Anne is not busy at work or being a mom, she enjoys camping, hiking, reading, and canoeing/kayaking.

Krista BillerbeckKrista Billerbeck
Outreach Naturalist
Krista joined the Warner community in 2013. Prior to being the Outreach Naturalist and Natural History Instructor at Warner, she worked for Three Rivers Park District for four years. Krista also gained experience at Aldo Leopold Nature Center in Wisconsin and Shenandoah National Park in Virginia. She graduated with degrees in Environmental Studies and Hispanic Studies from St. Olaf College. Krista enjoys bringing natural history instruction into classrooms and community events around the area, as well as working with children in the fantastic natural resources found at Warner.

Emily HouserEmily Houser
Natural History Instructor
Emily is excited to join the Warner Nature Center team as a Natural History Instructor. She has worked for Three Rivers Park District as a naturalist and farm educator for the past year and was previously an intern at Rocky Mountain National Park. Emily graduated from Carleton College with a degree in Environmental Studies with a focus on Food and Agriculture. When she is not adventuring in nature with kids, Emily enjoys exploring; watching bugs; and growing, cooking, and eating food.

Geoff UrbanGeoff Urban
Natural History Instructor
Geoff began his outdoor career right here at Warner in the summer of 1989 as the animal caretaker/groundskeeper after completing his B.S. in Renewable Natural Resources from the University of Arizona. He has worked on a part-time basis almost every year since, teaching mostly during the summer program at the nature center. He has also developed and taught programs for the Girl Scouts and the Edina Public Schools. During the school year, Geoff can be found leading groups for the Saint Paul Public Schools program at Valley Branch. Fishing is a past time favorite, along with playing sports (especially hockey) with his son.

Megan StrikeMegan Strike
Natural History Instructor
Megan's greatest love is nature and she has thirty years of experience as an interpretive naturalist. She was the Director Naturalist at Maplewood Nature Center for three years followed by 15 years as the Director Naturalist at Tamarack Nature Center with Ramsey County Parks and Recreation. Withdrawing from full time service for family, Megan shifted to Warner Nature Center as a part time interpretive naturalist in 1997. She has taught school groups, scouts, public programs, and birthday parties on many topics. Megan has a Landscape Architect degree from the University of Minnesota specializing in parks and recreation. Megan and her husband Chuck operate Balsam Tree and Shrub Care, a local tree care company. She enjoys spending time canoeing, sailing, skiing, hunting, and many other outdoor activities.

Kelly VanBoovenKelly VanBooven
Volunteer Coordinator
Kelly is excited to be joining Warner Nature Center as the Volunteer Coordinator. Her excitement for animals has led her on many adventures including working at the Gibbon Conservation Center in Santa Clarita, CA, at the Racine Zoo in Racine, WI, and at Zoo Atlanta in Atlanta, GA. She has also worked in a variety of natural biology fields including animal training, animal care, teaching, program development, and volunteer management.

Kelly graduated from Northland College in Ashland, WI with a degree in biology. In her free time she enjoys baking, photography, reading, sports, kayaking, camping, hiking, and crafting.

Mick KellyMick Kelly
Custodian
Mick has worked at Warner for 7 years. He previously retired from Deluxe Check Printers where he worked for 29 years. Mick is married with 4 kids and 9 grandkids. He enjoys all outdoor activities.