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staff & 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 5:30-7:30 PM, and are typically held at our office in Marquette with remote options available.

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.

UPLC is Accepting
Applications to join
Our Board of Directors in 2024!

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Board Members 

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Mark Ehlert

president

After receiving a degree in Microbiology from Michigan State, Mark 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 debate in helping start-ups in medical manufacturing. 

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Marc Labeau

vice president

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 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. 

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craig wiseman

treasurer

Craig grew up on the outskirts of the City of Marquette. Near his childhood home, he spent countless hours exploring the swamp, fir stands, and maple forests. His parents instilled a love of outdoor recreation in him with many skiing, fishing and camping trips across the UP and Western part of the country. In 2010, he graduated from Northern Michigan University with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering Technology and has worked in the Medical Device Manufacturing industry since. He resides in and around the community he grew up in to continue to pursue his passion for the local outdoor recreation opportunities and tend to his hobbies. He currently resides with his wife and his dog Rossi in Marquette Township. 

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Sam kapp

Secretary

Sam Kapp joined the UPLC as a student board member in 2018, helping to organize events between Northern Michigan University's Conservation Crew and the conservancy. He graduated in 2021 from Northern Michigan University, earning a BS in history. Sam is the recipient of the Grace Magnaghi Grant, which he has used to research female-led labor actions in the Midwest. Recently, the board of directors voted to establish him as a proper member as a result of his graduation. Sam's interest in conservation was instilled upon him by his grandparents at a very early age, joining the board to facilitate this passion. While not currently residing in the Upper Peninsula, he is still enthusiastic about its preservation and has planned many visits. 

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Adam Berger

Board Member

Adam holds a Ph.D. in social anthropology and an M.A. 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. 

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Adam Jones

Board Member

Adam moved to Marquette in 2001 to attend Northern Michigan University. He fell in love with the land and water and decided to find a way to stay. He got a job in construction and purchased land north west of Marquette and has been building a homestead since 2011.  Adam joined UPLC in 2020 because of his love for the land and desire to help protect it for future generations. He also enjoys primitive skills, exploring, cross country skiing, kayaking, hiking, and learning more about the natural world around him.​

Mike O'Sullivan

Board Member

Residing on the Forestville Basin alongside her husband, Todd, and their 13-year-old cat, Links, Mike has called this tranquil area home for over three decades. Originally hailing from Oakland County, she and her husband pursued higher education at NMU and subsequently decided to establish roots in the Upper Peninsula. Their shared passion for land conservation led them to acquire 120 acres of wilderness in Baraga County during their early thirties, where they erected the most secluded log cabin in the region. Eventually, they transitioned from this property to their current home. Devoted to giving back to her community, Mike firmly believes land conservation is critical for the future of the U.P. and our planet as a whole.

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Logan Hawley

Board Member

As a native of Western Michigan, Logan grew to love the outdoors after a move out of the suburbs to a small wooded lot south of Grand Rapids. He found his passion for natural resources during a trip to the vast wilderness of the Porcupine Mountains where he was awestruck by the diverse landscapes to be found within our state. He continued that love for the outdoors and Upper Peninsula by completing his Masters of Forestry with a focus on Water Resource Management from Michigan Tech. His past and current work have earned him experience in coastal wetland protection and restoration for critical species habitat. Logan is currently working for a natural resource non-profit in the Lower Peninsula, but his love for the Northwoods connected him to the important land protection work conducted by UPLC. In his free time, Logan enjoys hiking, fishing, and looking for the hidden gems found throughout the state.

Staff

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John Frye

Executive Director
John@uplandconservancy.org

Growing up in Northeast Lower Michigan, John developed a passion for the outdoors and natural spaces. After acquiring a degree in Forestry from Michigan Tech, John began his land trust journey working as a Land Steward for HeadWaters Land Conservancy in the lower peninsula. Not too long after, he was called back to the U.P. where he obtained a degree in Environmental Studies and Sustainability from Northern Michigan University, expanding his knowledge about land conservation and how to ensure equal access for everyone. During this time, John also served as a Board Member for UPLC (foreshadowing, perhaps?).


Jump forward a decade, after traveling throughout the Midwest, John returned to the Keweenaw. John worked with the Keweenaw Land Trust while earning graduate level credits towards a degree in Environmental Policy from MTU, engaging in the discussion about renewable energy and land use policy. John's journey to UPLC has been filled with great experiences that he is excited to share and implement in his new role as Executive Director. In his free time, John can be found with his wife and two dogs where they (not so much the dogs) enjoy gardening, planting trees, making maple syrup or roasting coffee, hiking, biking or running singletrack, and chasing the ever elusive walleye. John always welcomes a conversation about your journey with nature so please call, email, or just drop in!

Clare Fastiggi

Lands Program Manager
clare@uplandconservancy.org

Clare first moved to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula in 2016 to complete her university studies in Ecology at Northern Michigan University. After graduating, she traveled and worked field jobs locally and in the western states with a focus on avian and bat research. The draw of the northwoods brought her back to the U.P. where she joined the UP Land Conservancy in 2021. Among the roles of land stewardship, she particularly enjoys the opportunity to connect with UP communities and partners in the shared love of the land and water. At UPLC, she hopes to work with partners and data-driven tools to identify priority conservation lands in the UP, in particular along its water systems. In her time outside of work, she’s out exploring the UP with her partner, Abraham, and her pups,Tsuga & Ernie, or tending to her garden and chickens. 

Hannah Boyd

Administrative & Communications Manager
hannah@uplandconservancy.org

Hannah describes her career in a quote from the Grateful Dead: “What a long, strange trip it’s been". Before joining the UPLC team in 2022, she worked various environmental jobs throughout Michigan from mosquito monitoring to invasive plant management, as well as in the non-profit sector as a behavioral health grant writer. In 2020, she earned her B.S. in Biology from Northern Michigan University, concentrating her academics in the field of aquatic ecology. Today she continues her passionate pursuit of freshwater conservation and resource management while bringing her administrative skills to the UPLC table.

If you see her cycling around town, she’s likely on her way to the nearest food truck or brewery. Don't be a stranger- stop by and say Hi!

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Emilyn Staat

Lands program assistant
emilyn@uplandconservancy.org

Emilyn grew up a troll in West Michigan and first came to Marquette in 2018 to study at Northern Michigan University. During their time at NMU, they fell in love with the harsh winters and beautiful ecology of the Upper Peninsula. They have an intense passion to protect the UP from the threats it faces and want to help preserve it for future generations. After graduating in 2022 with a degree in Ecology, they became the summer intern here at UPLC, where they got to explore even more of the Upper Peninsula. Now, they get to continue to help protect the UP as the Lands Program Assistant. In their free time, you can find Emilyn ogling at the local flora, chillin at the Crib, or haunting bogs.

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Will Sharp

Land and Community Steward
intern@uplandconservancy.org

Will Sharp was born in Licking County, Ohio to the slow creeks and sycamore trees. As a child he recalls his best memories as days ending with green knee stains and hands filled with blackberries. Imagination and wonder were always close at hand, and as an adult connecting with the richness of the more-than-human world has been a healer and life-force for Will. He graduated from Ohio State University in 2021 with a degree in Rural Sociology and Art. Following graduation he was on a fellowship with the school researching and making art about remediated coal lands in Southeastern Ohio. He was then awarded a grant to work on another project about creating new myths, imaginations, and stories connected to waterways, greenspaces, and parks in Columbus, Ohio. 

He followed his love of water north to the Upper Great Lakes, arriving to the hemlock groves and south shores of Lake Superior in the fall of 2023. Since then, he has worked as an artist, publisher, arborist, and carpenter, attempting to place-make and learn to belong to a community and land. Will enjoys book-making, gardening, embodied movement, and spending slow days with his partner, Sarah. He will be attending Northern Michigan University in the fall of 2024 to get his Master of Social Work, with the goal of becoming an eco-therapist, a conduit to the healing available to all of us in the blue, green, in-between, enchanted places that we all deeply love. Will holds deep reverence for communities and organizations thoughtfully relating to land, and is overjoyed to be working with the Upper Peninsula Land Conservancy this summer.  

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Braden Kowalski

Stewardship & Monitoring Intern
monitor@uplandconservancy.org

Growing up in the Twin Cities in Minnesota, Braden Kowalski has always cherished his access to the outdoors. Upon graduating highschool, Braden moved up north for college at University of Minnesota Duluth, where he first fell in love with Lake Superior. Over the next four years, he would find any excuse to get outside and enjoy the lake and the wonderful outdoors. In college, Braden worked with Conservation Corps Minnesota Iowa as a field crew member and leader, spending his summers outside all across northern Minnesota. After graduating college with a degree in computer science and a passion for conservation, Braden moved to Marquette with a desire to combine the two. In his spare time, you can find him biking around town with his girlfriend, playing pinball at the Ore Dock, or reading a good fantasy novel.

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