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 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!

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president

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 life-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 please to be asked to become a member of the Board of Directors and looks forward to also serving the UPLC in that capacity. 

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Brock Robinson

vice president

I have been interested in the outdoor environment and conservation since childhood spending my summers in the 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 doctor and had lots of experiences working in 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 bodhram. Together with my wife, Jane Blameuser, and my two adult sons, I own properly at AuTrain Bay which is under conservation easement with UPLC since 2007. 

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Mark Ehlert

treasurer

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 debate in helping start-ups in medical manufacturing. 

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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 Easter 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. 

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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.​

 Board Members  

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Board Member

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. 

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Marc Labeau

Board Member

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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Sam kapp

Board Member

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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board member

drew weesen

Drew spent the first 25 years of his life in the UP before heading out west to work for the National Park Service.  A Michigan Tech grad and outdoor enthusiast, Drew lived in 3 National Parks over the years: Isle Royale, Rocky Mountain and Grand Teton National Park. It was in Jackson, Wyoming where he met his wife, also a UP native, and where they shared many adventures traveling the world and the American West. After almost 20 years away they returned to Marquette with their 2 year old daughter where they live now on Brickyard Farm. They have since welcomed a son to this world and are looking at adding chickens soon, too.  A rescue dog named Sheela keeps tabs on the whole operation.  When not tending to the gardens or animals they enjoy hiking, fishing, biking and exploring together. 

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craig wiseman

Board Member

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 dog Rossi in Marquette Township. 

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Lane whitcomb

Board Member

Lane joins us as a student board representative from NMU, where she is currently studying Political Science with a minor in Sustainability. Growing up, Lane spent countless hours immersed in the outdoors hiking, backpacking, and fishing. She served two years on the Michigan DNR Youth Conservation Council, is an active Trout Unlimited member, and has interned for multiple conservancies in the Northern Lower Peninsula. You can find her mountain biking, tossing a frisbee, and freighter watching in her free time.

Staff

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andrea denham

Executive Director

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 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 whens she's not our exploring with her dog. 

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Emily Ruonavaara

Administrative & Communications Manager

Emily grew up in St Charles, IL sharing her passion for the outdoors with others. Her life long curiosity lead her to study Environmental Science with a concentration in natural resources at Northern Michigan University. She is excited to transfer her administrative and outreach experience to help further advancement at UPLC. In her free time, Emily and her dog can be found mountain biking, trail running, or exploring the shoreline of Lake Superior. If you see her on the trails be sure to ask her about her favorite places to explore!

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Clare Fastiggi

Lands Program Manager

Clare first moved to Marquette in 2016 to study Ecology at Northern Michigan University. Her studies in the upper peninsula deepened her interest and love for the surrounding area and its many habitats. After graduating in 2018 with a BS in Biology, she held field jobs out west and in Michigan focused on both avian and bat research. She enjoyed traveling for work and leisure throughout the country, as well as internationally. The draw of the north-woods brought her back to Marquette, where she now enjoys her time birding, gardening, fly-fishing, and exploring with her pup. She is excited to be a part of the UPLC and share in its mission of conserving the precious habitats that the UP holds. 

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Emilyn Staat

Stewardship Intern 

Emilyn is this year's Stewardship Intern and came to Marquette in 2018 to study Environmental Science at Northern Michigan University. After spending time outdoors hiking and exploring, they fell in love with the UP and wanted to help preserve it. They switched their major to Ecology and graduated in 2021. They hope to further their education in conservation biology and focus on habitat restoration. In their free time, you can find Emilyn hunting for mushrooms and walking around bogs.