Board & Staff

Board and Staff

The Board

Our Board of Directors is a “working board” that meets once a month, and each director is generally on at least one committee that meets either ad-hoc or on a monthly basis. The board is a diverse group of folks of all ages and walks of life – including foresters, college students, teachers, lawyers, accountants, and caretakers. All skills and viewpoints are welcome and necessary to represent our community and keep UPLC on track with our mission. Board meetings occur on the second Tuesday of each month, from 7-9 PM, and are held at various places in Marquette and occasionally in Munising as several of our board members are from Alger County.

If you would like to learn more about serving on the Board or joining a committee, the best way to learn more is to come to a board meeting and listen to what we’ve got going on. Call us at (906) 225-8067 to find out more!


President

Dan Watkins

Dan first gained an appreciation of protected lands growing up in western Washington state. He continued to develop his love and respect for the outdoors as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Kenya, and later as a graduate student in Colorado and Idaho. Now, as a practicing physical therapist in the Marquette area, Dan works toward the betterment of his community by promoting fitness and functional independence. He feels privileged to work with the Board of Directors at UPLC to reinforce the connection between human health and the natural environment.

Vice President

Marc LaBeau

Growing up with a father in the military offered a lot of moving and exploring of the US and following his own stint in the army, Marc completed a B.S. and M.S. at NMU in biology. He has continued in biology by teaching at Bay de Noc Community College in Escanaba for over 20 years. When he’s not in the classroom he is likely to be found on any body of water seeking fish, or on the trails running and hiking and skiing, or in the fields and forests hunting mushrooms or birds. These activities and the life-long explorations around the country have provided the impetus to help keep undeveloped lands available for people to explore and enjoy.

Secretary

Chelsea Bromley

Chelsea is a lifelong Michigander and outdoor enthusiast, currently residing in Marquette, Michigan. With a background and education in the arts from the University of Michigan (B.A.) and Eastern Michigan University (M.A.), it was her love of nature, wildlife, and conservation that lead her to service for the UPLC in 2016. Chelsea currently works as a creative professional, enjoys yoga, hiking, fly-fishing, and photography, and is rarely found without a book on hand, even while kayaking.

Treasurer

Robb Ferguson

Robb became a permanent resident of the UP 34 years ago when he accepted the job of Munising City Attorney. He continues in that position, happily, but his practice focus is in land and real estate matters. The soft spot he has for wild land first began to develop when, as a boy, he hunted and fished with his father, uncles, and cousins around his home town, Traverse City. But watching Traverse City develop and grow left him with the strong feeling that some land must be kept off the table, so far as development is concerned, so there will always be green places for trees to grow, wildlife to prosper, and people to recharge. He is a long-term believer in the goals and mission of the UPLC. He provides his rather deep experience with real estate law to the organization on a pro bono basis. He was very pleased to be asked to become a member of the Board of Directors and looks forward to also serving the UPLC in that capacity.

Board Members (alphabetical)

Adam Berger

Adam holds a Ph.D. in social anthropology and an MA in educational psychology. He is interested in place-based education, and the connection between schools and environmental nonprofits in the Upper Peninsula. Professionally, he has worked in educational and nonprofit sectors, including at a major foundation in NYC. Adam owns a cabin surrounded by the Ottawa National Forest and has a lifelong interest in preserving the biological diversity of the Northwoods ecosystem.

Mark Ehlert

After receiving a degree in Microbiology from Michigan State, he pursued a career in Medical manufacturing and was away from Michigan for 37 years. Upon their return, he and his wife Sandy settled on the shores of Lake Superior and wake up each day to the unique splendor and moods of the Lady of the Lake. Mark has a passion for the land around him and relishes the chance of sharing that with his grandchildren as they visit and enjoy their time in the woods. In his spare time, he enjoys cross country and backcountry skiing, hiking when the bugs aren’t too bad, travel to new countries and continuing to dabble in helping start-ups in medical manufacturing.

Lora Loope

After growing up in Traverse City Lora studied biology at Alma College (B.S.) and NMU (M.S.). Now retired from Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore where Lora served as an aquatic ecologist, she values natural habitats and admires UPLC’s vision and efforts. She participates in Alger Conservation District’s stream monitoring program and Michigan DNR’s frog-and-toad survey and enjoys cross-country skiing, hiking, reading, and singing with the Marquette Choral Society.

Caden Reed

I grew up in Saginaw, MI with a large fascination in the outdoors and keeping it clean. I moved to Marquette, MI to attend Northern Michigan University and get closer to the wilderness. Since, I have received my Associate degree in Outdoor Recreation and Leadership Management and am currently working on my Bachelor’s in Biology. I found out about the UP Land Conservancy from the new Conservation Crew I joined on campus. My goal in life is to do whatever possible to benefit the preservation of diverse ecosystems globally, in hopes that the natural world can continue to thrive as it deserves.

Brock Robinson

I have been interested in the outdoor environment and conservation since childhood spending my summers wilderness canoeing. I am now more than one year retired from nearly 30 years practicing medicine in Green Bay. My specialty is Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, a diverse field that focuses on maximizing function. In my earlier years, I worked as a hospital medical director and had lots of experiences working with groups. However, I have had only minor experiences being on boards of directors. In addition to outdoor activities, I enjoy woodworking, dancing and playing Irish drum, the bodhran. Together with my wife, Jane Blameuser, and my two adult sons, I own property at AuTrain Bay which is under conservation easement with UPLC since 2007.

Other board members: Sam Kapp – bios coming soon!


Staff

Executive Director

Andrea Denham

A perennial outdoor adventurer, Andrea joined us in 2015 after years of traveling, environmental education, and guiding others in outdoor recreation. She’s lived in Minnesota, Yosemite National Park, Alaska and has traveled many places in Europe-but keeps on feeling called back to Lake Superior and the wilderness of the Upper Peninsula. With a degree in Outdoor Recreation Leadership and Management from Northern Michigan University, she brings her experience in outreach and education to join UPLC as we protect the land we all love for generations to come. Andrea also pursues painting and various forms of creative art when she’s not out exploring with her dog.

Lands Program Manager

Brian Liesch

Hydrologist, Park Ranger, and Cheesehead, Brian has worked at several National Parks and National Forests across the country with jobs such as Backcountry Ranger and Hydrologist. Brian joined the UPLC in 2019 as the Lands Program Manager after working as a Hydrologist with the Payette National Forest in Idaho. He fell in love with the Lake Superior Region at a young age and his passion for protecting the Upper Peninsula was reinforced while working at Isle Royale National Park. When not exploring the Upper Peninsula he can be found mountain biking, rock climbing, whitewater kayaking and collecting any cool rocks along the way.

Office Manager

Adina Daar

A lifelong learner and ever-curious naturalist, Adina grew up in Florida where love and respect for nature and wildlife were cultivated at a young age. She moved to the Upper Peninsula in 2018 and quickly became involved with the UPLC as an ‘Enthusiastic Supporter’ before joining as the Office Manager. Before life in the UP, Adina traveled the world as a research consultant helping companies develop and improve many of the products and services we interact with every day. In 2016 she fell in love with the emerging discipline of Biomimicry (which is looking to nature for inspiration for solving big challenges) eventually receiving a degree and professional certification in the area. She brings a wide array of experience to work for the UPLC and is passionate about supporting mindful and future-focused conservation efforts.

Stewardship Intern

Paige Whaley

Hello! My name is Paige Whaley and I am a MARESA intern at UPLC and a senior at Marquette Senior High School. I enjoy swimming competitively and in Lake Superior, art, and hiking with my dog on local trails in my free time. I hope to study environmental science in college, travel around the world and have a job that helps preserve the beautiful earth for the future.