Brad Jensen, Executive Director, ext. 18
Brad, who grew up in the thumb area of Michigan, joined Huron Pines in 2001 as the Watershed Coordinator and in 2003 became the Executive Director. After spending several years on the east coast and in Hawaii working in environmental education, Brad found his niche in northern Michigan. He oversees the Huron Pines staff, works closely with our Board of Directors and is responsible for overseeing projects, administration and fundraising. He earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Conservation from Northern Michigan University and holds a Master’s in Education from Minnesota State University. Brad lives in Alden with his wife where he enjoys kayaking and being outdoors.
Lisha Ramsdell, Associate Director, ext. 29
Lisha, a native of Otsego County, joined Huron Pines in 2004. She earned her Bachelor of Science Degree in Conservation from Northern Michigan University and went on to the University of Illinois in Springfield to focus on Environmental Policy. Lisha is responsible for building new program initiatives, developing projects and providing guidance and direction to the project managers. Lisha resides in Gaylord, is an avid bird hunter and also enjoys camping and kayaking.
Shelby Bauer, Stewardship Team Lead, ext. 13
Shelby grew up on a farm in a very small town outside of Lansing. She spent her summers at her grandparents forest property in Mio where she fell in love with Northern Michigan and developed her desire to work in the field of conservation. Vowing to move up north one day, her wish came true in 2017 when she moved to another small town outside of Gaylord. She joined Huron Pines in 2017 as a seasonal stewardship technician, and now coordinates invasive species management at Huron Pines. Shelby earned her Bachelor of Science degree from Michigan State University in Fisheries and Wildlife with a concentration in Wildlife Biology and Management. When not fighting invasive species, Shelby enjoys writing, painting, and going on outdoor adventures with her husband Ken.
Colby Chilcote, Marketing Director, ext. 10
Colby Chilcote comes to Huron Pines after a decade at Google where she worked in marketing and advertising helping small businesses and nonprofits build an online presence. Colby holds a bachelor of arts from Adrian College, and a master of fine arts from the University of Notre Dame. Colby lives in Grayling where she enjoys exploring the woods and fresh water with her husband and two sons.
Abigail Ertel, Community Program Lead, ext. 14
Abby, who was born and raised in New Brunswick, Canada, joined Huron Pines in 2010 as the Watershed Project Manager and now leads our Kirtland’s Warbler Initiative. Prior to coming to Michigan, she lived in North Carolina working for the North Carolina Coastal Federation. After relocating to Michigan in 2006 she served as a Huron Pines AmeriCorps member through HeadWaters Land Conservancy. She earned her Master’s in Geography from Ohio University and also holds a Certificate in Conservation Biology. Abby resides in Grayling with her husband and two children, and she can often be found in the kitchen cooking or outside distance running.
John Frye, Habitat Project Manager, ext. 17
Growing up in rural northeast Michigan, John has spent his entire life immersed in Michigan’s natural resources. Nearly all of his family members have worked either as farmers or in the woods industry, and all of them have been avid outdoorsman. John has the rare privilege to say that he is the son of a logger and a farmer’s daughter. By joining Huron Pines, John is excited for the opportunity to share his life experiences and environmental ethics with an organization that shares those same values. His goal is to develop long-lasting relationships with landowners, helping to develop and protect their lands. When not in the office, you can find him sharing time with his wife gardening, biking, hiking with their dogs, or camping.
Josh Leisen, Watershed Project Manager, ext. 16
Josh grew up exploring the natural wonders of the Driftless Area near his hometown of Red Wing, MN. Climbing limestone bluffs and fishing its multitude of rivers—from the barge-traveled Mississippi River and its warmwater tributaries to coldwater trout streams—instilled in him a deep appreciation for and desire to protect our natural resources. Josh achieved his bachelor’s degree in geography from the University of Minnesota-Duluth before earning his master’s in geography from the University of South Carolina. Josh joined the Huron Pines staff in 2013 after serving as a Watershed Technician through the Huron Pines AmeriCorps program. In his current role as a Watershed Project Manager, Josh coordinates many of our river restoration projects. He has also been involved with a variety of Huron Pines wildlife habitat and community engagement projects. An avid multi-species angler, Josh has caught well over 350 species of fish from five continents, three oceans and many states across the country. Josh now resides in Gaylord, MI.
Samantha Nellis, Watershed Planner, ext. 31
Samantha, a Midwest native, joined the Huron Pines staff in 2019 as a Watershed Project Manager after spending two years in Alaska. Samantha works with Michigan coastal communities to develop programs that reduce stormwater runoff and improve water quality. Samantha is passionate about conserving wild places, protecting overlooked species and enjoying clean water. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Biology from Northland College in Ashland, WI and a Master’s in Environmental Science and Policy from the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. Outside of the office she enjoys camping, canoeing, skiing and biking with her husband and two children.
Jill, originally from Chelsea, Michigan, joined Huron Pines in 1997. With her experience at Huron Pines, she will often be the person you talk to when you call us, connecting you to the right person or program. Jill spent all of her childhood summers in northern Michigan and finally settled in Grayling. “The smell of the pine trees and the soft sand between your toes is something I’ve always loved. It doesn’t get any better when you can work for an organization that helps preserve the experience.” With a Bachelor of Music Degree from the University of Michigan, Jill believes that learning to get it exactly right, not just close, is a skill you can apply to anything and enjoys utilizing those detail skills on her work at Huron Pines. She resides in Grayling with her husband.
Sarah Topp, Huron Pines AmeriCorps Coordinator, ext. 30
Sarah Topp grew up in Gaylord, MI and earned a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Northern Michigan University in December 2013. After spending some time with seasonal jobs including two internships with the Pigeon River Country Association and a summer of building trails with the Southwest Conservation Crew in Colorado, Sarah served as a Huron Pines AmeriCorps member with Michigan United Conservation Clubs in 2015. Before joining Huron Pines as the Huron Pines AmeriCorps Coordinator, she was coordinating volunteers for MUCC’s On the Ground Program. Sarah resides in Gaylord and enjoys hiking the forests with her dog, mountain biking, fishing, and hunting upland birds, small game and deer.
Emily Vogelgesang, Environmental Education Coordinator, ext. 15
Emily Vogelgesang grew up in the panhandle of Florida. She joined the Huron Pines staff as Environmental Education Coordinator in 2017 after serving with the Huron Pines AmeriCorps program. Emily earned her Bachelor of Science in Biosystems Engineering from Auburn University. Prior to moving north, she lived and worked in Atlanta, Georgia as a private consultant for the Department of Transportation. Outside of the office, Emily can be found kayaking, watching Auburn football and learning all of the snow based recreation activities.
Jennie Zoll, Director of Finance and Administration, ext. 12
Jennie, who grew up in Fowlerville, Michigan, joined Huron Pines in 2013 as the AmeriCorps Coordinator. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education with a Science Minor. She then returned to Fowlerville to teach elementary school for 11 years. She earned her Masters in Education from Marygrove College. After recently relocating to Mancelona, Michigan, she was ready for a new career using her love of nature! Being an outdoor enthusiast she is often found on a lake, river or trail. She enjoys all outdoor activities especially snowmobiling in the winter. She enjoys the northern Michigan life with her husband Mike and their dog.
Huron Pines AmeriCorps 2019
Serena is a Huron Pines AmeriCorps member serving at Huron Pines as the Environmental Education Specialist this year. Originally from the Lansing area, Serena moved to Mackinaw City in 2014 with her husband and two children in order to pursue her undergrad degree at Lake Superior State University. She recently graduated LSSU with a bachelor’s in Fisheries and Wildlife Management, concentrating in Fisheries. During her time at LSSU she fell in love with Lake Sturgeon and dedicated her senior thesis research project to assessing a portion of the Au Sable River for suitable sturgeon spawning habitat. Inspired by her own young, school-age children, Serena is very passionate about outreach and connecting kids with nature. In her down-time she enjoys photography and spending time with her family playing in the water, snow and forests of Northern Michigan.