Bio coming soon
Koffi Kpachavi is the Executive Director of the Grand Traverse Conservation
District. Koffi who has been a leader in the non-profit sector for over 25 years
assumed leadership of GTCD on May 6, 2019.
Much of his career has been with the YMCA, leading camps and youth
programs in various parts of the country: Camps Mason, Ockanickon,
Matollionequay in New Jersey, Camp Colman in Washington State, Camp
Loma Mar in California and Camp Echo in Michigan. Most recently he has
worked at TrueNorth community Services in Fremont, Michigan where he
supervised an afterschool program for several local school districts. The
program was funded through the 21 st Century Community Learning Centers, a
federal grant administered by the Michigan Department of Education. Koffi
holds a BA in English and French literature from the University of Lome in
Koffi and his wife Teresa have three boys: Arnaud, Ian and Yannick. Arnaud,
the oldest, is a Conservation Officer for the Minnesota Department of Natural
Resources. Ian is in graduate school at the University of Wisconsin, Madison,
and Yannick studies information technology systems at Ferris State University.
Teresa works remotely for Stanford University managing online courses for the
Continuing Studies program.
When he is not working, Koffi is passionate about environmental issues and is
involved in Apiculture. He is the founder and former president of the Fremont
Area Bee Club. He is also an enology enthusiast with a focus on geology and
wine-grape growing around the world. He co-leads educational sessions in
France and the US. Koffi and Teresa own and operate a small hobby farm
following sustainable practices in Beulah, where they test the use of Biochar for
carbon sequestration and soil amendment. Koffi who is a life-long learner
enjoys reading, music, running and has coached High School Track/Cross
Linda, a Michigan native originally from St. Joseph, spent her working life in Midland. She retired from Midland Public Schools after a 33 year career that began as a kindergarten teacher and ended as the associate superintendent for finance, facilities, and operations. While in Midland, Linda held leadership positions on a variety of boards including a credit union, a community foundation, and an arts organization. She was also an enthusiastic warrior against invasive species for the Little Forks Conservancy, a role she has brought with her to Traverse City where she is the treasurer of TART Trails and a member of its Leelanau Trail invasive species team.
Linda earned her A.B. in education from the University of Michigan and an M.B.A. from Central Michigan University. She and her husband, Dan, moved to Traverse City in 2016 and are now enjoying outdoor activities year-round, including exploring northern Michigan’s many Conservancy protected properties.
John was born in Dowagiac and grew up a free range kid, fishing, biking, swimming, hunting and hiking the surrounding lands. That adolescent experience left him with a deep appreciation of woods and water and the ability to access the land.
He attended Western Michigan University and graduated with a B.S. and M.A. in Political Science.
Based in Chicago, he has spent 35 years on Wall Street representing money managers such as Nicholas Applegate, Alliance Bernstein, and Eaton Vance. He spent the last 10 years as a Senior Vice President for the Roosevelt Investment Group, a small investment boutique which is the former family office of the descendants of President Teddy Roosevelt.
In 2013, John and his spouse Rebecca relocated to Traverse City full time so they could live where they have vacationed many times.
Now fully retired, John is Treasurer for the Board of Trustees for Peninsula Community Library and sits on the Board of Directors for Groundwork Center for Resilient Communities.
He resides with his spouse Rebecca on Old Mission Peninsula. With his free time, he enjoys bicycling, fishing, photography, sporting clays and hiking the wonderful trails found on the GTRLC properties.
Perry and his wife Cathy are Michigan natives who were raised in the Detroit area and grew to love Northwest Michigan from an early age. They loved the area so much that in early September 2001, to the dismay of family and friends, they took a leap of faith and moved the family to Traverse City without employment. Perry has been an avid outdoorsman his whole life thoroughly enjoying the trails, woods and beaches of Northwest Michigan but his foremost passion is steelhead fishing. He is honored and excited to be part of such a dedicated and focused team as well as to provide leadership and support to GTRLC’s important mission.
Perry has been involved in the investment field for over 25 years and currently serves as Wealth Management Investment Director for West Shore Bank. He has been an active member in the local community and has served as a board or committee member for several local non-profits. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Ferris State College and a Master’s in Finance degree from Walsh College.
Alena is a Michigan resident with ties to the east coast and an ever-growing affection for the Traverse City region, an area she and her spouse Andrew have chosen for its sense of community, beauty and resilience. Professionally, she supports nonprofits as a strategic consultant with CCS Fundraising and is exceptionally lucky to work with a wide range of clients including cultural institutions, universities and environmental organizations.
Prior to landing in Michigan, Alena spent years in the Hudson Valley, New York and in Connecticut involved in sustainable agriculture and regional food systems.
Alena earned a bachelor’s degree from Barnard College, Columbia University, and completed several years of study in France while living abroad.
She and her spouse also own and operate Cherry Basket Farm, a historic property and seasonal event space in Leelanau County where they aim to contribute to the beauty and health of the region. The agricultural operations underway are driven by climate considerations and efforts to model the wildlife-friendly land management practices they hope to see in the county, state and country.
Don is the cofounder and former owner of Black Star Farms, a winery, distillery, inn, restaurant and working farm in the Grand Traverse region. Don and his wife Marylou reside in Traverse City and have two adult children. Both Don and Marylou grew up in Connecticut but have summered in Leland with other family members for over 40 years, moving full time to this area in 1998. They are long time members of the Leelanau Conservancy and active supporters of numerous environmental based organizations.
Don earned his BS degree from the School of Hotel Administration at Cornell University, followed by five years in the U.S. Navy and 30 years in international and national marketing and sales of spirits and wines. They have lived in the Caribbean, Latin America, Canada, Europe and the United States, and Don retired President of U.S. operations of Allied Domecq Spirits (formerly Hiram Walker Company).
While building Black Star Farms, Don was appointed to two terms as a Commissioner for the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development by Governors Granholm and Snyder and served as President and Board Member of the Leelanau County and Grand Traverse regional EDCs. Black Star Farms was the 100th MAEAP certified farm in Michigan. Don has actively supported farmland and farmer preservation efforts by working with townships, the local food network and Grand Traverse Food Shed Alliance.
John and his wife Lynn grew to love the Northwest corner of Michigan through years of vacationing at the Watervale Inn on Lower Herring Lake. They are returning to Michigan after a stint of living on Manhattan in New York City. John and Lynn – who have four adult sons all of whom are Eagle Scouts – will be spending the majority of their time at their home on Platte Lake in Benzie County.
John proudly served as Chair of GTRLC's Board of Directors from 2018-2021, and has been for decades active in non-profit and tax exempt organizations including leadership roles in educational, church, and community service organizations. As a Scoutmaster of a Boy Scout Troop in Southeast Michigan, John earned most of the Boy Scout awards an adult leader can earn for training and leadership. The Troop was involved in camping and conservation projects throughout Michigan and the United States. BSA Troop Eagle Projects included planting thousands of dune grass plants to prevent erosion along the Lake Michigan shoreline in Benzie County and clean-up operations at the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.
John brings to the Board a unique blend of commitment to conservation and nature coupled with a proven track record of leadership in the arenas of legal governance and risk management. John has over 35 years of experience as an attorney working on corporate transactions, corporate governance, acquisitions, capital finance, compliance, and business ethics. John recently retired from AlixPartners LLP, a global business consulting firm, where he was General Counsel, Secretary and chaired its global Risk Management Committee. Before holding those positions John spent two decades in private law practice and also for 10 years held the positions of General Counsel and Secretary at Champion Enterprises, a company traded publicly on the New York Stock Exchange.
John is an adjunct faculty member at Wayne State University Law School and has taught a variety of business planning and tax courses. He is also a guest lecturer at Fordham University Law School in New York. He previously served on the faculty of Walsh College of Business and Accountancy, and was for several years a guest lecturer at the University of Michigan Law School, conducting a seminar on crisis management for the general counsel.
John holds a bachelor’s degree from Kalamazoo College and a J.D. with honors from Wayne State University Law School. He received his LL.M. in Taxation from the University of Florida Law School where he graduated first in his class and was awarded the Mershon Sawyer Award for outstanding scholastic achievement.
John is the Past-Chairperson of the Taxation Section Council of the State Bar of Michigan and has authored and co-authored numerous articles in the fields of taxation, business planning, and mergers and acquisitions
John is elated to be a member of the Board of the Conservancy and appreciates the responsibilities of trust and stewardship that go with that role.
JoAnne Cook, a member of the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa/Chippewa Indians, is from Peshawbestown, Michigan. Her previous professional experience includes one term on Tribal Council (2012-2016) and with Tribal Courts as a Tribal Court Judge for two tribal communities (1994-2011). She received her Business Administration degree from Ferris State University and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Wisconsin School of Law.
JoAnne was involved in the organization and development of two alternative courts: Peacemaking and Healing to Wellness Court (Drug Court). The alternative courts utilize tradition and culture which allows for healing and restoring balance for those involved. She has begun consulting with native and nonnative communities who are either developing Peacemaking or a Healing to Wellness Court.
She believes tradition and culture is vital to the Anishinaabe way of life and has continued her learning about the 3 Fires people. JoAnne has presented to various communities on the way of life and culture of the Odawa. In addition, she previously taught Business Law for Northwestern Michigan College (NMC) and a course at NMC Extended Education, titled Native Law and Culture. JoAnne is currently teaching a short course, History of the Anishinaabek for NMC Extended Education.
Becky Ewing began her work at Rotary Charities of Traverse City in 2008 as the Program Officer, becoming Associate Director in 2013 and Executive Director on July 1, 2018. Her responsibilities included managing the grants portfolio; working with the Board and committees of Rotary Charities and Rotary Camps & Services; and participating in various community initiatives. She is a 2017 fellow with the Grantmakers for Effective Organizations (GEO) Change Leaders in Philanthropy, a national program for senior philanthropic leaders involved in change efforts. In 2021, Becky received the Russell Mawby Award for Philanthropy from the Council of Michigan Foundations.
Before joining Rotary Charities, Becky developed partnerships and programs for the Great Lakes Water Studies Institute at Northwestern Michigan College. In addition, she has worked with the Traverse City Area Chamber of Commerce on smart growth issues. Before that time, Ms. Ewing co-owned an environmental consulting firm for 15 years.
Becky has lived in Traverse City for 50 years, served on nonprofit boards and worked as a community volunteer. Her degrees include a B.S. in Biology and a B.A. in Literature, both from Grand Valley State University. On Big Ten game day, she bleeds green – being the daughter, sister, mother and mother-in-law of MSU grads. She is an avid runner, reader, meditator and connector. Having grown up in a family that camped, hiked, and explored; one of her favorite things is to be in nature, looking for morels, rocks, fish and birds.
After her retirement in June 2021, Becky and her husband Bob took an extended van trip to visit national parks in the southwest. Currently, she continues to give back by mentoring young professionals in the nonprofit sector; serving on the Author Selection Committee for the National Writers Series; and co-facilitating the Child Caring Now initiative, a 5-county, systems-based approach focused on increasing the quality and quantity of early childhood care and learning.
Clifford G. Fox, CFA
Cliff grew up in Maryland, enjoying the rivers, mountains and caves of the mid-Atlantic region while spending summers with his grandmother on Platte Lake in Benzie County. He attended the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, earning a B.S. in Economics in 1981. While working in New York City, he attended evening classes and received an MBA from the Stern School of New York University in 1984. That year Cliff also earned the right to use the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation. After forty years in the investment world managing growth stock portfolios and raising a family with his wife Norma in Connecticut, he recently retired and became a Michigan resident and now spends much of the year on Platte Lake. He enjoys hiking, bicycling, snow and waterskiing and is trying to learn to play bridge.
Jim grew up on a lake near Cadillac with an appreciation and passion for the natural resources of the region. He and his wife Diana moved to the Old Mission Peninsula in 1985 with their two daughters, who have returned to the Peninsula and Harbor Springs to raise their families. Their grandchildren are now the sixth generation to live in the region. Hiking, boating, biking, skiing and fishing, continue to be favorite family recreational pursuits. Jim is a graduate of Michigan State University and before retirement was the founder and president of media companies operating in Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin. He has served as a director on a variety of non-profit, professional and corporate boards. Huckle stated, “It is a privilege to have the opportunity to add my support to further the mission of the Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy.”
Ray Kendra is the owner and principal architect at Environment Architects in Traverse City, Michigan. He was fully engaged with the Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy through the process of designing the Conservation Center at Mitchell Creek Meadows: The Don and Jerry Oleson Nature Preserve. After completing this amazing project and getting to know the team, Ray wanted to continue to contribute to the organization in a meaningful way and joined the board at the end of 2023. In addition to the Conservation Center, his regional work of note includes the Historic Barns Park Cathedral Barn, Botanic Garden and Visitor, the Grand Traverse Bay YMCA, the Commongrounds building and the new Traverse City Senior Center.
Originally from the Detroit Area, Ray attended Lawrence Technological University, and on an extended honeymoon in Bozeman, Montana, he completed his Master's Degree in Architecture at Montana State University. The past 25 years of his career have been in Traverse City.
Ray loves off-grid adventures in Ontario, Canada, and is an avid fisherman who spends a great deal of time in wild places.
Chip has served as the executive director of Camp Arcadia, a Lutheran family resort on the shores of Lake Michigan in Arcadia in Manistee County since 2000. As a teen he came to Camp Arcadia as a teen camper eventually served on staff with his future wife, Sarah. They married in 2000 and raise three children, daughters 13 and 11 and a son aged 6. The GTRLC's properties near Arcadia are an important part of their lives. Springtime wild flowers, hikes to Arcadia Dunes, Baldy, mountain bike trips to the St. Pierre Trails and Glacial Hills, cross country skiing and snowshoeing highlight their year. Chip and Camp Arcadia were helpful in the Conservancy's Coastal Campaign. Chip, a graduate of Michigan State University, serves as the vice chair of the Manistee County Community Foundation and has served on the Arcadia Planning Commission. He and his wife are also very involved in their church and the local community center. Chip is passionate about protecting precious land and making it available for everyone to access.
Paul retired as President and CEO of Lucite, International, in 2016 after a 30+-year career, which included positions with Dow Chemical and private equity firm Bain Capital. He and his wife Paula have owned property in northern Michigan for 25 years and have settled permanently in the Traverse City area. Paul served as a board member and president of United Way of Northwest Michigan and on the board of Northwest Michigan Supportive Housing. He grew up camping and fishing in northern Michigan and is now an avid hiker and kayaker. Paul is also an active volunteer with the Conservancy, working with the staff and other volunteers to build and maintain trails, remove invasive species, blaze trails, and plant trees. He looks forward to working on future Conservancy projects and continuing his commitment to protecting and preserving our region’s natural resources.
Barbara Nelson-Jameson is a Park Planner and was Michigan Program Director for the National Park Service - Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance Program. Barbara assisted communities and organizations working to protect rivers, develop non-motorized trails, conserve open space, and preserve our natural and cultural heritage. Ms. Nelson-Jameson has been instrumental in efforts such as The Automobile National Heritage Area, Southeast Michigan Greenways Initiative, The Detroit Heritage River Water Trail, The Downriver Linked Greenways Initiative, Iron Ore Heritage Trail, Oakland County BlueWays, Cass River Water Trail, Flint River Water Trail, Fred Meijer River Valley Rail Trails, and Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail. She’s worked with the GTRLC on the Traverse City to Charlevoix Trail and the Northwest Michigan Greenways Plan.
Ms. Nelson-Jameson has worked at Isle Royale National Park, Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore and Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. She has served on the boards of The Leelanau Conservancy, Michigan Trails and Greenways Alliance, Land Information Access Association, and The Heart of the Lakes Center. Barbara received a Bachelor’s of Science in Outdoor Recreation Planning and a Master’s of Science in Natural Resource Management from the University of Michigan, School of Natural Resources and Environment.
Annie Olds is a Business Development Manager at Venture North Funding & Development having recently made a big career shift. This follows her recent role as Northwest MI-SBDC Regional Director and Business Consultant where she led a team of small business consultants providing support to early stage entrepreneurs to that of larger companies looking to expand and grow their operations. During her tenure as a consultant, Annie worked with more than 500 start-up and existing businesses, assisting them to capture more than $26M in capital formation, and supported 54 of those clients to launch their new businesses.
Having grown up in and played a very active role in her family's business, Shetler Family Dairy, from start-up to early-growth to the wind down and sale of a successful operation, she credits this lifetime of experience for growing her passion for small business. Annie earned both an MBA in Strategic Management and BAS in Management with specialties in Human Resources and Small Business Management from Davenport University, as well as an AAS in Business Administration from Northwestern Michigan College. She also became a Certified Business Business Consultant via Grand Valley State University and certainly considers herself a lifelong learner.
She and her husband, Justin, own Pine Ridge Farm, a small-scale 126-acre farm in Kalkaska Co. where they custom raise beef and pork for private sale and have plans to eventually process their own maple syrup. And in their limited spare time, they enjoy camping in their 1961 Overlander Airstream with their two young children, Luke and Evelyn.
Susan Palmer, her husband Tom and her family fell in love with the water and land of northern Michigan when they first began to come 45 years ago for summer vacations. Palmer family values align with GTRLC mission which is why Susan is happy to join the board. She is the former development director at the Toledo Museum of Art where she is a current board member and Docent. She also serves as Secretary on the University of Toledo Foundation Board and the Toledo Community Foundation Board.
With her husband Tom she is a co-chair of the United Way of Toledo Tocqueville campaign. She has a daughter and son in law and three grandchildren.
Kevin is a native Michigander—born in Detroit, raised in the southeastern corner of the state, and educated at Albion College (A.B.) and the University of Michigan (J.D.). He retired in 2013 after 25 years as a partner specializing in commercial litigation in the Chicago office of Latham & Watkins. Kevin came to appreciate northern Michigan’s character and the Conservancy’s role in protecting it during annual vacations at Watervale Inn on Lower Herring Lake. He and his wife Lisa now spend as much time as possible at their home in Acme Township. They have three adult children and three grandchildren. As one of his daughters is quadriplegic, Kevin is especially sensitive to and appreciative of the Conservancy’s commitment to developing universally accessible trails. Apart from his work on behalf of the Conservancy, Kevin enjoys caring for his daughter; cheering on Michigan football; chasing the Peloton (as AcmeDynamite): taking liberal arts classes at the University of Chicago’s Graham School (where he serves as a member of the Graham School Advisory Council and the Chair of the Basic Program Fund Development Committee); and, whenever possible, watching the sun set over East Bay and Old Mission Peninsula.
After a career at the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, Maureen retired to northwest Michigan, and began a second career of community involvement. A longtime supporter of the Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy, she has a strong interest in protecting and restoring the region's spectacular natural areas. Maureen began her career at Mott in 1983, and from 2005 until she retired in 2012 was the Senior Vice President for both Programs and Communications. She was part of the management team that worked to help GTRLC acquire the wonderful preserve at Arcadia Dunes. Maureen and her husband Paul live in Traverse City's Midtown neighborhood, and keep a small cabin on Lake Superior in Baraga County. An avid hiker and outdoors person, Maureen brings her passion for northwest Michigan and its environment and people to her work on the Conservancy board.
Dr. Terrie Taylor is the first “second generation” board member of GTRLC. Her mother, LouAnn Taylor, served on the inaugural board in 1991 and helped to imbue Terrie with an appreciation for land protection as well as an understanding of all that is required to acquire and protect property in perpetuity. A University Distinguished Professor at the College of Osteopathic Medicine in Michigan State University, Dr. Taylor divides her time between Michigan (July – December) and Malawi (January – June). In Malawi, she provides clinical care to children with severe malaria and tries to understand how that disease wreaks havoc on those tiny patients. While in Michigan, she again divides her time – between the home she shares with John Robert Williams on the shores of Grand Traverse Bay in Traverse City, and the campus of Michigan State University. She is a bicycle commuter in all three settings, and enjoys being outdoors whenever possible, whether it is climbing Mt. Mulanje in Malawi or exploring the nooks and crannies of the many properties protected over the years by the Conservancy.
Advisory Committee Members
Fund Development Committee
Betsy is originally from the Detroit area and grew up volunteering with her mother, preserving land for the Audubon Society and the Nature Conservancy. She has lived on Old Mission Peninsula for 35 years with husband, Scrub, and three children. She is an avid outdoors person and has covered almost every inch of the state. She feels very aware of Michigan’s geography and the threats against it. Betsy has been a board member with various community groups in this area and the Upper Peninsula. As past chair of West and Northern Michigan Planned Parenthood and current member of Michigan League of Conservation Voters she is used to keeping abreast of Michigan’s political climate. Her background is in retail and marketing, most recently for a regional bank. She is looking forward to working with the Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy, particularly in helping further the communities’ support of this great organization.
Regional Forest Protection Program
Since 2021, Ellie has served as the District Forester for Leelanau, Grand Traverse, and Benzie Conservation Districts with the Forestry Assistance Program. She provides a free resource for private landowners by offering technical assistance through one-on-one site visits and educational programs. Ellie previously worked with CAKE CISMA out of Antrim Conservation District as a resilient habitat technician monitoring invasive species presence, where she fell in love with the landscape as she surveyed different wetland and forest ecosystems. This experience was her reward for graduating with an MS in Forest Resources from Clemson University. Her thesis was on understory management practices and environmental education strategies for a longleaf pine restoration project in Camden, South Carolina.
Originally from Erie, Pennsylvania, Ellie grew up on a small family farm with her two brothers and spent much of her time outside and playing sports. She graduated from Clarion University of Pennsylvania in December 2016 with a BS in Environmental Biology and a BSe in Secondary Biology Education. Before starting graduate school in January 2019, she lived in seven states holding various environmental education and field technician positions.
Ellie frequently collaborates with local and state organizations through her work, and she is an active member of the community. She hosts and assists with tree plantings, field days, botanizing hikes, and other events for the public. She serves on the board for the Michigan chapter of the Society of American Foresters (SAF), is recognized as a Candidate Certified Forester by the same entity, and received the Technician of the Year award at this past year's Michigan Association of Conservation District's Fall Convention. Along with this, Ellie is a member of the Michigan Botanical Society, serves on the board of Traverse City Ultimate (frisbee), is a Big Sister, and plays the occasional open mic night at her local brewery.
Jason M. Kimbrough
Regional Forest Protection Program
Jason M. Kimbrough, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) District Conservationist, grew up in a small town in southern Ohio and studied Forestry at Purdue University while specializing in forest soils.
Jason has worked in five USDA/NRCS service centers across Indiana and Michigan, assisting landowners and land users in developing conservation plans and installing conservation practices through multiple Farm Bill Conservation Programs.
Collaborating with conservation partners to conserve land is Jason’s favorite part of being a District Conservationist.
Jason lives in Traverse City with his wife and two kids. He enjoys planting trees, building habitat, composting, weight training, fishing, hunting, dog training, and building and fixing things.
Dr. Steven Kraft
Land Committee, Regional Forest Protection Program
Dr. Steven Kraft is retired Chair of the Department of Agribusiness Economics and former Co-
director of the Environmental Resources and Policy PhD program at Southern Illinois
University--Carbondale. He provided mediation services to all USDA cooperators in Illinois
through the Illinois Agricultural Mediation Project. These services were provided in cooperation
with the SIUC School of Law. After retirement, he was asked to help guide the development and
implementation of the Professional Science Master’s Program in Advanced Energy and Fuels
His specialty areas are soil and water conservation policy, watershed planning, ecosystem
services, and natural resources economics and policy. While at SIUC, he obtained over $4.5
million in research grants from sources such as NSF, USDA, the Joyce Foundation, The Nature
Conservancy, and the Illinois Council on Food and Agricultural Research among others. Recent
publications include The Law and Policy of Ecosystem Services (Island Press, 2007) with JB
Ruhl and Chris Lant. He taught farm management, natural and environmental economics and
policy, and social perspectives on environmental issues. He earned his a masters and doctorate
degrees from Cornell University in 1976 and 1980 respectively. Before graduate school, he was
a Peace Corp Volunteer in Bolivia and India. He has a BA degree from American University in
Washington, DC with double majors in international relations and economics. He has an
extensive agricultural background. He speaks Spanish and Quechua.
Dr. Kraft was named a fellow of the Soil and Water Conservation Society in recognition of his
contributions to soil and water conservation policy through his research.
Fund Development Committee
Royce Ragland resides full time in Elk Rapids. Before retiring, her professional life focused on management training and education in universities, state and federal governments, and private organizations.
She has a longstanding interest in volunteerism and public service organizations. Her northern Michigan board service has included the Botanic Garden, Land Use Institute/Ground Works, Munson Hospital Foundation,
FLOW, Grand Traverse Regional Community Foundation, Munson Hospital Foundation, P45 Theater, and Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy. She currently chairs the Elk Rapids village planning commission,
and is a founder and chair of Green Elk Rapids, an environment-focused community group. Favorite activities include gardening, kayaking, and hiking along Lake Michigan.
Her academic background includes degrees in education, corrections, and economics. She and her husband Ken Bloem have two daughters and two grandchildren.
Land Committee, Regional Forest Protection Program
Mike, a Maine native, was introduced to this wonderful area by his wife, Anne, in 1979 and vacationed with their family on Glen Lake annually. They built a home on Sleeping Bear Bay in 2014 and moved to Traverse City from Dexter, MI in 2018 to enjoy all this region has to offer in every season.
Mike retired from a twenty-three-year career in the investment management industry with a focus on global timberland and farmland investing for institutional investors. Mike has a strong-sustained yield and land conservation background and is dedicated to preserving natural resources through sustainable, multi-use practices.
After retiring from Hancock Natural Resource Group in 2018, Mike formed an advisory firm, Pine Haven Advisors LLC, and works with corporate, investment management, family office and other institutional investor clients on acquisitions, structuring, capital raising and investment strategy projects in the real asset classes of timberland and farmland globally.
Mike earned a B.S. in Forest Utilization from The University of Maine at Orono in 1979 and an MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management in 1986. He has served on the boards of the Sanford/Springvale YMCA and The United Way of York County, as a member of the Sanford Rotary Club and as the President of the Sleeping Bear Gateways Council from July 1, 2018 until June 30, 2022. He also supports the Great Lakes Incubator Farm initiative sponsored by the Grand Traverse Conservation District.
Regional Forest Protection Program
A native of Michigan, Josh’s work experience includes forest inventory and timber sales, invasive species management, herbaceous vegetation surveys, wildlife surveys and monitoring (including birds, small and large mammals, terrestrial and aquatic arthropods, fish, and reptiles and amphibians), stream monitoring, management plans for forests and other habitats, research, and education. Josh received a B.S. in Applied Ecology and Environmental Science and M.S. in Forest Ecology and Management, both from Michigan Technological University. He also received his Ph.D. in Forestry from Purdue University. Josh is a Certified Forester with the Society of American Foresters, Certified Wildlife Biologist with The Wildlife Society, and Certified Commercial Pesticide Applicator in the categories Forestry, Right-of-Way, and Aquatic. Josh has worked as a forester in the Forestry Assistance Program (FAP) for the Manistee and Mason-Lake Conservation Districts since 2014. In his free time, Josh can be found playing his guitar, practicing martial arts, or enjoying the great outdoors.
Fund Development Committee
Fred and his wife Barbara have been married for over 50 years and have three children and ten grandchildren.
He earned both a Bachelor of Arts in Economics, with honors and distinction, and a Juris Doctor from the University of Michigan.
A private corporate and real estate attorney for over 30 years, Fred concentrated on business and real estate development and finance with a special focus on public and private partnerships for community economic development that leveraged private investment with local, state and federal government programs.
In 1998, he left the law practice to become the President of the Miller Foundation, a $30,000,000 private foundation located in Battle Creek, Michigan.
In 2004, Fred left the Miller Foundation to become President of the Michigan Foundation for Education Leadership in Lansing, Michigan a nonprofit corporation formed as a collaboration among 16 public and private education and business associations that organized and held the annual Governor’s Education Summit.
Past Board Members
Reg Bird (deceased)
Robert Curran (deceased)
Frances Eaton (deceased)
Wallace Edwards (deceased)
Conrad Friedemann (deceased)
William Good (deceased)
Suzanne Goodell (deceased)
Ward Griffen (deceased)
Jim Hinkamp (deceased)
Alice Hinkamp (deceased)
John Hood (deceased)
Charles Kehr (deceased)
Marilyn Doty Larson (deceased)
Shirley Leete (deceased)
Karl Luedtke (deceased)
T. Grace Macdonald (deceased)
Foster McCool (deceased)
Shirley McNally (deceased)
Richard O’Dell (deceased)
Thomas Palmer (deceased)
Allen Pecar (deceased)
Harlan “Pete” Peterson
Greg Reisig (deceased)
Mollie Rogers (deceased)
Richard Smith (deceased)
Virginia Sorenson (deceased)
Lou Ann Taylor (deceased)
William Weiss Jr.