Glen Chown

Executive Director

Glen Chown

Executive Director
glenchown@gtrlc.org

Glen is the founding Executive Director of the Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy. In this position he oversees the Regional Conservancy’s efforts to protect scenic, natural and farm lands in Antrim, Benzie, Grand Traverse, Kalkaska, and Manistee Counties. Since the Conservancy’s founding in 1991 by Rotary Charities, more than 39,000 acres of land and over 119 miles of shoreline along the region’s scenic rivers, lakes and streams have been forever protected. Glen is a member of the Land Trust Alliance’s Leadership Council as well as a founding board member of Michigan’s Heart of the Lakes Center for Land Conservation Policy. He holds Bachelor and Masters degrees in Natural Resources from the University of Michigan. Glen lives in an historic farmhouse on the Old Mission Peninsula with his wife, Becky, and their sons, Martin, William and Leonard where he enjoys hobbies including playing the piano, barn restoration, studying American history and growing Riesling grapes.

Katie Lowran

Assistant to the Director

Katie Lowran

Assistant to the Director
klowran@gtrlc.org

Growing up downstate, Katie’s love of the outdoors was enriched by living on Lake Sherwood and camping throughout the United States National Parks system with her family every summer. Katie attended Michigan State University where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and has a true passion for inspiring and connecting people. Before joining the Conservancy team, Katie worked in local government as the Administration Manager for Grand Traverse County and most recently as the Deputy City Clerk for the City of Traverse City. Katie also served as the Traverse Area Chamber of Commerce Vice Chair for the Leadership Committee and is a Leadership Grand Traverse graduate. Katie is thrilled to be working alongside an amazing team of staff, board members and volunteers who value nature not only for its own sake, but also for the quality of life is provides people. In her free time, Katie enjoys life in the outdoors with her three children, running, road biking, skate skiing and attending Michigan State Football / Basketball games

Anthony Rupard

Director of Development

Anthony Rupard

Director of Development
arupard@gtrlc.org

A native of Lexington, Kentucky, Anthony spent summers throughout his youth with his cousins in Pentwater, Michigan where he developed a love for the lakeshore and national forests along Lake Michigan. He has worked professionally in higher education for the past 14 years in various roles at Lee University (TN), Georgetown College (KY), and most recently as the Director of Development for Northwestern Michigan College. His wife Natalie and their two children live on Old Mission Peninsula and routinely enjoy the trail systems near the lighthouse and Pelizzari Nature Preserve.

Birgit Yetter

Director of Finance & Administration

Birgit Yetter

Director of Finance & Administration
birgit@gtrlc.org

Birgit has been with GTRLC since 1992 and oversees the financial and administrative management of the organization. Born and raised in Germany, Birgit moved to Traverse City in 1990 and later earned a B.S. in Accounting from Ferris State University. She has two grown children, Shawn and Serena, and enjoys hiking, cross-country skiing, canoeing and aspires to be a world-traveler.

David Foote

Director of Stewardship

David Foote

Director of Stewardship
dfoote@gtrlc.org

David Foote spent his early years in the woods and dunes of Hazelhurst, a small community on the shore of Lake Michigan founded by several important leaders of the early conservation movement. His entire career has been in land conservation and land management. Early on he was the supervisor of a large municipal beach in southwestern Michigan, an intern with both the U.S. EPA and the Escambia County Parks Department, and a park ranger with the Florida Park Service. He then worked as a natural resource specialist with the Land Preservation team in Broward County (the greater Fort Lauderdale area) who were building a $200 million bond-funded program to acquire conservation land and parks. Most recently David has worked for the South Florida Water Management District where his duties included wetland restoration, building and sustaining partnerships, writing management plans, public outreach, regional planning, and legislative work. He earned a B.S. from the University of West Florida in Environmental Studies/Natural Resource Policy, and a M.S. from Florida State University in Executive Management of Non-Profit and Public Organizations. In 2014 he earned a Juris Doctor from the Florida International University College of Law and became a member of the Florida Bar. In his free time, David enjoys sailing, swimming, painting, and spending time with his wife and three children, Talula, Petra, and Trey.

Jennifer Jay

Director of Communications & Engagement

Jennifer Jay

Director of Communications & Engagement
jjay@gtrlc.org

Growing up in Petoskey, Jennifer’s appreciation for our freshwater paradise began early and deepened after living for a time in the Arizona desert. Jennifer has a passion for connecting people to each other and to their environment in support of protecting and caring for our natural resources. Before joining the Conservancy team, Jennifer was the project manager for the Boardman River Dams Committee. She has served on the board of the Grand Traverse Conservation District since 2007. Jennifer lives with Evan, a writer, with whom she enjoys urban farming and restoring their 100 year-old home.

Jesse Wolff

Director of Land Protection

Jesse Wolff

Director of Land Protection
jwolff@gtrlc.org

Jesse has more than 20 years of experience in nonprofit leadership, investment management, and corporate finance. Before joining GTRLC, Jesse was the Director of Program Related Investments for the Colorado Health Foundation, the nation's 5th largest health focused private foundation with $2.4 billion in assets. He also served as president and CEO for other nonprofits, including Goodwill Industries of Denver, The Kempe Foundation and Community Shares of Colorado after a 15-year career in investment portfolio management, corporate finance, treasury, and banking. Jesse has served on boards such as University Prep charter school, Colorado Children’s Trust Fund, Denver Office of Strategic Partnerships, and Social Venture Partners Denver.

Jacob Bournay

Land Stewardship Specialist

Jacob Bournay

Land Stewardship Specialist
jbournay@gtrlc.org

Born and raised in Michigan’s great southwest Jake grew up exploring the region’s natural beauty, agricultural richness and productive forests. His passion for the out-of-doors quickly turned into a career when he began working at Warren Dunes State Park as a teenager. Both work and recreation have helped him appreciate Michigan’s natural features and wildlife and has taken him to every corner of the state. Jacob holds a B.S. in Forestry from Michigan State University. While attending college, Jacob worked as a student employee in the department of Forest Entomology and worked for three years after graduating as a research technician. Jacob met his future wife while working with her in the forest entomology lab. She went on to finish medical school and accepted a residency position at Munson Medical Center in Traverse City.The area’s recreational opportunities and family connections to the region made for an easy decision to relocate. After the move Jacob worked on a certified organic farm and as a cellarman at a local brewery while searching for work in his field. He was thrilled to accept an internship with the Conservancy and even more excited when asked to stay on with the organization. When not working Jake can be found with his wife out on the trail, hiking, biking, paddling, or skiing.

Drew Broadway

Administrative Assistant

Drew Broadway

Administrative Assistant
dbroadway@gtrlc.org

Drew Broadway is a Traverse City native who grew up taking full advantage of our region’s opportunities to hunt, fish and enjoy the great outdoors. After graduating from NMC and then earning a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Ferris State University, Drew joined the Conservancy as a Fund Development intern. He joined the staff full time in 2015 and serves as Administrative Assistant. When he’s not at work, Drew loves to spend time with his family, friends and dog, Rooney.

Art Bukowski

Communications & Outreach Specialist

Art Bukowski

Communications & Outreach Specialist
abukowski@gtrlc.org

A native of the Detroit area, Art earned a journalism degree from Michigan State University and moved to Traverse City in 2007 to work as a reporter for the Record-Eagle. He joined GTRLC in 2015 after more than five years at the paper and nearly three years as an account manager for a pair of marketing and communications agencies.

Art is an avid fisherman and outdoorsman who deeply values the Grand Traverse Region’s unique collection of natural resources and outdoor opportunities.

Chris Garrock

Conservation Easement Steward

Chris Garrock

Conservation Easement Steward
cgarrock@gtrlc.org

Chris grew up in Traverse City spending much of his youth camping, biking, and exploring the natural wonders of our region. He graduated from Michigan State University with a degree in Fisheries and Wildlife with a Water Sciences concentration. Previous to joining GTRLC as a full time staff member, he served as a Huron Pines AmeriCorps member and later a Land Specialist. He has also held positions with the Invasive Species Network and the Grand Traverse Conservation District. Chris is excited to be working with easement owners to further the mission of the Conservancy and improve conservation in the region.

Marissa Garrock

Charitable Giving Specialist

Marissa Garrock

Charitable Giving Specialist
mgarrock@gtrlc.org

Marissa grew up in Traverse City working summers at local farms and sharing her love of the region with residents and tourists alike. She moved to Colorado after high school where she earned her B.A. in Strategic Communication from the University of Denver, with a minor in Environmental Science. She studied abroad in Italy, spending four months studying various topics like photography, recreational use in national parks and the slow food movement. Marissa enjoys kayaking, hiking, traveling and camping.

Barb Heflin

Charitable Giving Specialist

Barb Heflin

Charitable Giving Specialist
bheflin@gtrlc.org

Inspired by the beauty of the pristine places the Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy has helped to protect and the sanctuary those places provide, Barb is passionate about the work of preservation and land protection. Barb has worked in business development and sales for IBM and holds a Master’s degree in Business Administration from Michigan State University. She loves being in the woods with her husband, Bob, and their dog hiking, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing and finds joy in gardening, cooking , reading and music.

Steve Lagerquist

Land Stewardship Specialist

Steve Lagerquist

Land Stewardship Specialist
slagerquist@gtrlc.org

Steve is a native of Northern Michigan who grew up on High Lake in Traverse City. His time in the area cultivated his passion for wildlife and biology and ultimately influenced his educational path later in life. After attaining both a B.S. and M.S. in Biology/Zoology at Portland State University, Steve returned to the Traverse City area to be near family and to re-immerse himself into Northern Michigan living. Steve worked for the GTRLC as a seasonal employee for two years before joining full-time in early 2009. A diverse work background, including bicycle mechanic, electrophysiology/neural development research technician, biological science technician for USFWS, and carpenter/remodeler has provided Steve a wide range of skills which serve him well in the world of Land Stewardship.

Vic Lane

Senior Conservation Project Manager

Vic Lane

Senior Conservation Project Manager
vlane@gtrlc.org

Vic earned a B.S. in Fisheries and Wildlife from Michigan State University, which he has put to use in a variety of arenas. Before joining the Regional Land Conservancy in 2003, Vic worked as a Stewardship Specialist for the Little Traverse Conservancy in Harbor Springs and, prior to that, as a Wildlife Assistant for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources at their Traverse City Field Office. He has also held various short-term positions that included tracking radio-collared moose in the Upper Peninsula and conducting biological surveys. Vic’s duties at the Regional Conservancy include managing the organization’s conservation easement stewardship program as well as the sustainable forestry program. A Frankfort native, Vic is very excited to be part of a team working to protect the natural places he enjoyed as a child. Vic lives with his wife, Holly, and two daughters, Robin and Aeslyn, on a small farm in Leelanau County.

Angie Lucas

Senior Land Steward

Angie Lucas

Senior Land Steward
alucas@gtrlc.org

Angie is the project manager for the Dryhill Grassland Project at Arcadia Dunes, and assists volunteers with invasive species removal efforts, vegetation monitoring, and rare plant surveys on GTRLC Nature Preserves. She has a passion for botany and has been dedicated to protecting natural areas from non-native invasive plants for over a decade. After graduating from Northern Michigan University, she worked on vegetation and mapping projects at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Seney National Wildlife Refuge, Hiawatha National Forest, and Pinnacles National Monument in California. She coordinated volunteers as the greenhouse manager for the Hiawatha National Forest native plant program, and was program director at the Clear Lake Education Center. Prior to arriving at GTRLC, she worked with The Nature Conservancy, Marquette Conservation District, Superior Watershed Partnership, and various federal natural resource agencies to formalize a Cooperative Weed Management Area to promote invasive plant awareness in the central Upper Peninsula. Angie grew up on a dairy farm which instilled her with an appreciation of farming and enjoyment of nature.

Barb Mort

Donor Relations Specialist

Barb Mort

Donor Relations Specialist
bmort@gtrlc.org

Barb was born in Hamtramck and spent her childhood summers at her family’s cottage on Lake St. Clair. Her deep appreciation for clean water began when the lake experienced catastrophic mercury poisoning. Her family moved to Traverse City when she was ten, and since then, she has enjoyed the rivers, lakes, and woods of northern Michigan skiing(all kinds), kayaking, hiking, cycling and camping. Barb attended Northwestern Michigan College and went on to earn her bachelor’s degree in business administration. She has an extensive public relations and marketing background and has worked in the health, education, energy, and printing industries. Most recently, she owned and operated a promotional calendar business, which she sold in 2008. Barb says it may have taken a long time, but she has found her passion in farmland protection and land preservation. She and her husband of 28 years, Greg, have two sons – Mitch, a sophomore at Michigan State University, and Jackson, an eighth grader at TC West, as well as two dogs, Rosie and Ladie.

Mike Okma

Manager of Easement Stewardship

Mike Okma

Manager of Easement Stewardship
mokma@gtrlc.org

A native of Northern Michigan, Mike grew up in Suttons Bay, spending his time outside hiking, sailing and riding bikes. He graduated from Michigan Technological University with B.S degrees in Applied Ecology and Wildlife Management. Mike joined the Conservancy team in 2006, and works with conservation easement owners throughout GTRLC’s service area. Mike, his wife Daniele and their two children can be found hiking, cycling, or spending time outdoors with family and friends.

Kathy Partin

Information Systems Manager & Administrative Coordinator

Kathy Partin

Information Systems Manager & Administrative Coordinator
kpartin@gtrlc.org

Growing up in Pontiac, Michigan, Kathy enjoyed weekends and vacations at their family cabin in Grayling where she credits her parents for instilling her with a deep passion for the outdoors at a young age. In her teenage years Kathy’s family relocated to Grayling where she attended High School. After graduation Kathy worked in Petoskey for a time then moved to Traverse City where she worked for 13 years at a local non-profit.

Kathy enjoys photography, woodworking, fishing, hiking, kayaking and playing hockey. She also enjoys spending time with her family and has a special place in her heart for her nieces and nephews. Kathy and her Yorki-poo, Maggie Mae, belong to the Teacup Dogs Agility Association (TDAA) and participate in local as well as national agility trials.

Kathy is excited to be part of the GTRLC team and welcomes the opportunity to contribute to the success of the organization whose mission she passionately believes in.

Kate Pearson

Senior Charitable Giving Specialist

Kate Pearson

Senior Charitable Giving Specialist
kpearson@gtrlc.org

A lifelong resident of Traverse City, Kate brings to her position a deep love of the region and appreciation for the wonderful people who make up our community. Kate’s interest in land stewardship and preservation was ignited while studying in Krakow, Poland, where she observed first-hand the positive influence that good community planning can have on the quality of life for future generations. Kate earned a B.S. in Community Development from Central Michigan University. Before joining the Regional Land Conservancy, she was the Visitor Center Manager for the Traverse City Convention and Visitors Bureau. Kate enjoys outdoor recreation of all kinds, making art, reading, and creative writing.

Eran Rhodes

Misty Acres Farm Assistant

Eran Rhodes

Misty Acres Farm Assistant
erhodes@gtrlc.org

Eran grew up in a small village in northern Israel, and moved to the Chicago area at age 13. In 2006, he got his first internship on a farm and hasn't looked back since! He and his then-fiance recently bought 68 acres in rural Benzie county and built a 35-foot wooden yurt there. They got married, and are beginning the process of starting their farm along with their 9 month old daughter, Linden, and Sheeba the dog. In his role at GTRLC, Eran provides critical assistance with Misty Acres farm operations.

Nate Richardson

Communications & Volunteer Program Specialist

Nate Richardson

Communications & Volunteer Program Specialist
nate@gtrlc.org

As a native of Traverse City, Nate grew up on the base of Old Mission Peninsula and remembers when Pyatt Lake became the Conservancy’s first protected property in 1991, as well as skiing, hiking and exploring for hours “in his backyard,” which is now Pelizzari Natural Area. These experiences as a youth and living for many years away from the area galvanized Nate’s commitment to return to this special place and make it home. He is thrilled to be a part of team dedicated to keeping northwest Michigan amazing. Nate holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and Communication Arts from Aquinas College and a Masters degree in Landscape Architecture from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Nate has worked as a Landscape Architect and Designer, graphic designer, furniture designer, and a disability examiner for the State of Michigan. He loves design, words, and most things outdoors. If you would like to volunteer time with GTRLC please contact him.

Laura Rigan

Farmland Protection Specialist

Laura Rigan

Farmland Protection Specialist

Born and raised on the Old Mission Peninsula, Laura spent most of her time outdoors and developed a passion for the land. This lead her to pursue a B.S. in Environmental Policy and Science from George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, where she was a member of the Women's Volleyball team. She also attended the Smithsonian-Mason School of Conservation in Front Royal, Virginia.

During her college summers, she was a stewardship intern at GTRLC and has worked as a MAEAP technician at the Grand Traverse Conservation District prior to this.

She enjoys all outdoor activities and working on her family's vineyard on Old Mission with my husband, Peter, and dog, Odin.

Chris Sullivan

Senior Land Protection Specialist

Chris Sullivan

Senior Land Protection Specialist
csullivan@gtrlc.org

Born in Wisconsin, Chris first moved to Traverse City when he was four years old. He received a B.S. in Natural Resources from the University of Michigan, and has worked as a Research Assistant in limnology for the University of Michigan and with threatened/endangered salmon and trout stocks for the U.S. Forest Service in the Pacific Northwest. Chris moved back to Traverse City to join the Regional Land Conservancy in April 1999. After seven years as the Conservancy’s Director of Stewardship, Chris now focuses on land protection efforts in Benzie and Manistee Counties. Chris lives in Traverse City with his wife, Ali, and two sons, Riley and Owen and enjoys most outdoor pursuits in his spare time.

Jon Throop

Land Stewardship Specialist

Jon Throop

Land Stewardship Specialist
jon@gtrlc.org

Spending his formative years canoeing, camping and hiking in Northwest Lower Michigan, Jon quickly realized his passion for the natural environment. While completing his B.S. in Conservation Biology at Lake Superior State University, Jon was fortunate enough to intern with the conservancy for three consecutive field seasons, eventually leading to a permanent position on the stewardship team. Jon performs a variety of tasks at the conservancy including invasive species removal, trail building/maintenance, geographic information systems management and anything that needs doing!

Todd Vigland

Land Protection Specialist

Todd Vigland

Land Protection Specialist
tvigland@gtrlc.org

A native of Benzie County, Todd grew up sailing Crystal Lake and hiking Lake Michigan dunes. Todd completed a bachelor’s degree at Michigan State University in Landscape Architecture which included a semester of study in Europe and later returned to MSU for a masters program in Urban and Regional Planning. In the early 90’s, Todd began his career at GTRLC doing seasonal stewardship work for three years. He then headed to Maryland, where he spent four years preserving farmland and critical Chesapeake Bay shoreline at the Eastern Shore Land Conservancy. Thankfully, he returned to GTRLC in 2002 and now focuses primarily on preserving the best of the Chain of Lakes and Jordan River watersheds. Todd resides in Traverse City with his wife Susan where both can often be found on a trail or in a boat.

Americorps Staff

Sam Griffin

Huron Pines AmeriCorps Member

Sam Griffin

Huron Pines AmeriCorps Member
sgriffin@gtrlc.org

Samantha grew up in southeast Michigan. She received her B.S. in Fisheries and Wildlife Management from Lake Superior State University. During that time she was a seasonal inter for the Grand Traverse Watershed Center, and completed a senior thesis on Common Raven feeding behavior. She is very eager to put her new skills to use as an AmeriCorps member serving with the Stewardship team at GTRLC. On her free days she spends her time on her SUP board exploring the many lakes of Northern Michigan.

Alyson Oostdyk

Huron Pines AmeriCorps Member

Alyson Oostdyk

Huron Pines AmeriCorps Member
aoostdyk@gtrlc.org

Alyson Oostdyk grew up in northern New Jersey where she attended Ramapo College and earned a B.S. in Integrated Sciences. After working in sustainable trail design and building in New York State, she knew working outdoors and hands on was her calling. She looks forward to working hard and leaning a lot during her time serving at the GTRLC. In her free time she can be found kayaking, reading, playing basketball, or continuing her lifelong quest of hiking in all 59 national parks (26 and counting!).

Wade Gibson

Huron Pines AmeriCorps Member

Wade Gibson

Huron Pines AmeriCorps Member
wgibson@gtrlc.org

Wade Gibson was born and raised in Dubuque, Iowa. He received his B.A. in Music and B.S. in Hospitality Management from Iowa State University where he was heavily involved with marching band and Drum Corps. After focusing and finding his life path, Wade went back to school and earned his B.S. in Environmental Science from the University of Dubuque. While in school Wade performed water quality research on an eastern Iowa watershed including sampling for heavy metals. This past summer he was a wildlife technician for the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources in Cedar City, Utah where he trapped and relocated Utah Prairie Dogs. He also volunteered for an AmeriCorps Conservation Corps based in Hurricane, Utah. Having never been to northern Michigan before, Wade is very excited to begin an adventure with Huron Pines AmeriCorps. While serving as a stewardship technician for the GTRLC, Wade will be involved with multiple projects including invasive species management, trail building and maintenance, and volunteer engagement.

Autumn Wonnacott

Huron Pines Americorps Member

Autumn Wonnacott

Huron Pines Americorps Member
awonnacott@gtrlc.org

Autumn Wonnacott grew up outside Ann Arbor, MI and graduated from Michigan State University in 2014 with a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Biology/Zoology. For the last two years, she has been working at the Howell Nature Center teaching a variety of outdoor and environmental programs to different age groups because she believes it is so important to connect children with nature. Although environmental education is so important, she realized she wanted to be out in the field doing the hard work to conserve and protect our environment. She is beyond excited to be serving at the Grand Traverse Land Conservancy and getting the opportunity to work out in the field and learn from those working at GTRLC.

Derek Brinks

Huron Pines Americorps Member

Derek Brinks

Huron Pines Americorps Member
dbrinks@gtrlc.org

Derek Brinks was born in Chicago, but his family moved to Grand Rapids, Michigan when he was eight years old. Young Derek developed his love of the great outdoors from the many summer camping trips his family went on around the Great Lakes. Derek graduated from Calvin College in 2012 with a double major in Environmental Science and German. After college, Derek worked briefly in Eco-restoration, before leaving to study for a year in Germany with the Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange for Young Professionals, during which he interned at a brewery in Hamburg. After Returning from Germany, Derek worked for Booking.com’s German customer service, before leaving to build houses with his father. Derek is excited to be back in the conservation field serving with AmeriCorps and GTRLC

Kevin Drotos

Huron Pines Americorps Member

Kevin Drotos

Huron Pines Americorps Member

Kevin Drotos earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Environmental Studies, with a focus in Resource Policy and Management, from the University of Michigan-Dearborn in August 2016. He is looking forward to expanding his knowledge on environmental conservation and stewardship while serving as an AmeriCorps member at the Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy.

Andrew Grossmann

Huron Pines Americorps Member

Andrew Grossmann

Huron Pines Americorps Member
agrossman@gtrlc.org

Andrew Grossmann was raised in a small town outside of Kalamazoo called Gobles for the greater part of his childhood. Taking every opportunity to hike, fish, and camp his curiosity and love of nature grew, and he was fortunate enough to spend summers as a nature and canoeing instructor at VanBuren Youth Camp. He attended Lake Superior State University in pursuit of a degree in Conservation Biology in order to better preserve America’s natural resources for present and future generations. Andrew is looking forward to serving at Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy and helping in their mission to protect the lands of Northern Michigan.

Michelle Jacokes

Huron Pines Americorps Member

Michelle Jacokes

Huron Pines Americorps Member
mjacokes@gtrlc.org

Michelle Jacokes earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Food Industry Management from Michigan State University in December of 2015, as well as a minor in Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems. Since that time she lived in Western Massachusetts working as a Harvest Crew Leader at Red Fire Farm, a 150+ organic fruit, vegetable and flower farm. Michelle is excited to promote sustainable programs, and efforts that involve Michigan’s bountiful, and beautiful natural resources. While her passion for natural resources started in sustainable agriculture, it has since broadened to learning, promoting, and strengthening conservation initiatives across many different facets.

Some of her interests include hiking, running, skiing, and being an adventurer of the great outdoors! Michelle looks forward to being more involved in sustainable agriculture initiatives while serving with the GTRLC, as well as developing more knowledge of environmentally involved conservation efforts.