views of the estuary area

Reserve Manager

Dr. Erika Washburn

Starting October 1, 2013

Photo of Dr. Erika Washburn Erika comes to the University of Wisconsin-Extension from Michigan where she worked as a Coastal Conservation Planner with The Nature Conservancy. Prior to that, she worked as the Lakewide Management Plan Coordinator for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). She also has experience working for th e Environmental Protection Agency and Great Lakes Historical Society. Erika conducted her doctoral research at the University of New Hampshire and has expertise in multi-disciplinary work and integrated, collaborative natural resource management. Her dissertation focused on land use decision making and participatory action research in coastal watersheds, for which she was awarded NOAA's Walter B. Jones Award for Excellence. Her experience with NOAA and the NERR system also includes time as a NERR Social Science Research Fellow, in addition to time as a Knauss Sea Grant Fellow. She has an impressive record of accomplishments and has worked across the nation and internationally, including time in the Netherlands and Denmark.

Interim Assistant Reserve Manager

Becky Sapper

Photo of Becky Sapper As a familiar face to Lake Superior NERR, she works together with staff and partners to implement the Reserve's management plan and is assisting in the public involvement and capacity building efforts related to the Lake Superior NERR. Becky provides a linkage between the Lake Superior NERR and Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center in Ashland, where her office is located. Becky came to Wisconsin in 1991 to attend college. She attended both Northland College (Ashland) and the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point in order to receive her Bachelor degree with a dual major in Wildlife and Biology. She worked on stewardship, land protection and education efforts in northern Wisconsin for ten years with The Nature Conservancy before accepting a position with the University of Wisconsin-Extension in 2007. Becky's previous role with UWEX focused on providing logistical support and facilitation during the designation process for the Lake Superior NERR. Becky and her husband enjoy casting a line in the lake with their two children.

Education Coordinator

Deanna Erickson

Photo of Deanna EricksonDeanna Erickson serves as the LSNERR Education Coordinator.  As the Education Coordinator, Deanna plans, implements and evaluates the LSNERR education program through on-site and educational outreach activities and through the development of educational facilities including the LSNERR Science & Interpretive Center, and reserve trails and exhibits.  Deanna works with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and other Research Reserves to collaborate on national estuary and coastal ecosystem science curriculum.  Deanna will also be working closely with the community through advisory committees, education institutions and individuals to fulfill the Reserve's education objectives.  Deanna holds a Bachelors of Science from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point in Natural Resource Management and is completing a Masters in Education from the University of Minnesota-Duluth in Environmental Education.  She has worked as an educator and administrator in outdoor and environmental education for the past thirteen years, for organizations that include the Audubon Society, The Nature Conservancy, Student Conservation Association, The Four Corners School of Outdoor Education, The Whale Camp in New Brunswick, Canada and as the Director of Outdoor Education at Pathfinder Ranch, a residential outdoor education program near Idyllwild, CA.  Additionally, she is an American Canoe Association certified sea kayak instructor and a kayak guide in the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore.

Research Coordinator

Dr. Shon Schooler

Portrait image of Dr Shon Schooler.Dr. Shon Schooler serves as the LSNERR Research Coordinator. As the Research Coordinator, Shon is responsible for the research program at the LSNERR.  He interacts with advisory committees, research institutions and individuals to fulfill the research objectives of the Reserve.  In addition he serves as a liaison with the scientific community, promoting data utilization and acts as the primary contact for scientists performing research in the Reserve.  Shon collaborates with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and other Reserves on research initiatives across the NERR System.

Shon grew up in central Wisconsin on a small farm where he spent the long summer days in the grass watching insects (when not baling hay). He followed up on this interest, receiving a Bachelors in Environmental Science from the University of Wisconsin Madison in 1994. He then moved to Oregon where he received a Masters of Science in 1998 and a Doctorate of Philosophy in 2003 from Oregon State University. He was then awarded a Post-doctoral Fellowship in Brisbane Australia with the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), where he was granted tenure in 2007.  His research has focused on the ecology of aquatic ecosystems and the impact and management of invasive aquatic organisms. Over the past 15 years he has published over 30 peer-reviewed papers in journals and books and has given over 50 public presentations. He enjoys many outdoor activities including; hiking, camping, backpacking, cross-country skiing, and canoeing.

Monitoring Coordinator

Tracey Ledder

TraceyTracey serves as the Lake Superior NERR Monitoring Coordinator. She provides oversight for the System Wide Monitoring Program as well as other water quality monitoring programs, including summarizing the data for Lake Superior NERR staff, researchers and the public. Tracey has a broad background in the environmental sciences, but water resources and societies interaction with water are her favorite topics. She has sixteen years of experience in water quality monitoring and environmental assessment in Northern Wisconsin.


GIS Volunteer

Mary Munn

Mary is a lifelong naturalist with a B.S. in Biology and minors in both Chemistry and GIS. She has worked in the environmental field for over 15 years for government and industry. Her work included toxicology, surface and wastewater analysis, research and process improvement in an industrial setting, assisting with the development of a stormwater utility, and work in ambient air quality. Mary is currently volunteering her GIS skills at the Lake Superior NERR. She is helping to organize data for researchers and preparing maps for NERR programs.

Current Student Interns

Undergraduate GIS Intern

Christopher Anderson

Christopher Anderson is The NERR's GIS/mapping specialist as well as assistant web developer and undergraduate researcher. He attends the University of Minnesota Duluth majoring in Computer Science with minors in Geographic Information Science, and Art. He has participated in extra circular clubs on campus such as the Student Sustainability Coalition, the ACM club, the Art Club, the Student Design Coalition, as well as the North Shore Climbers; and has held leadership positions within a number of them. Christopher is interested in how technology, particularly computers, can be used to advance our understanding of natural systems. He is also interested in robotics, computer vision, geospatial computing, and artificial intelligence. In his free time he enjoys rock climb climbing, camping, canoeing, kayaking, cooking, and reading.

Undergraduate Research Interns

Jessica Jongquist

Jessica is a senior at University of Minnesota Duluth majoring in English.  I grew up on a small lake in Northwestern Minnesota and enjoy spending time near, in, and on the water.  I’ve witnessed how freshwater lakes and wetlands can have a spectacular impact on wildlife and plants; maintaining freshwater quality is integral to the influence these wetlands provide for both nature and public alike.  I’ve attended tours opf the WLSSDas well as performed an in-class presentation involving human impact on water quality.  At the Lake Superior NERR she iscurrently working on an in-the-field “pocket” guidebook for invasive plant species in freshwater wetlands in Northeastern Minnesota and look forward to broadening my knowledge of freshwater life in future endeavors.

Joe Ripley

Joseph Ripley is a sophomore chemistry majorr at UWS. He was born in Missoula, MT, raised in a small town in northern MN, lived in New York City for six years, and now calls the Iron River, WI area home. His hobbies include backpacking, biking, horseback riding, running, and playing with his dog. He is interested in learning about the environment,, issues with environmental impacts, and ways that he can make a difference.




Past Student Interns

Undergraduate Research Intern

Jessy Carlson

Jessy is a student of biology at the University of Wisconsin in Superior.  After she graduates this spring, she plans to continue to study wetland habitat preservation science in order to provide policy makers with quality data that will inform their decision-making process.  As NERR’s research intern, she is currently investigating the effects of sedimentation on Loosestrife biocontrol mechanisms.  When she is not working with Loosestrife and Loosestrife beetles, Jessy enjoys exploring the Lake Superior shorelines and nearby forests of the Twin Ports area by foot, canoe, bike, dogsled, and ski.

Undergraduate Research Intern

Seth Bliss

Seth Bliss is a student at UW-Superior. He worked to help set up our SWMP program and out invastive species manaual.

Undergraduate Education Intern

Rita Skolasinski

Rita is a student at the University of Minnesota Duluth, and will be graduating this spring in Elementary Education with an Endorsement to teach Middle School Earth and Life Science. After graduation Rita hopes to find a teaching position along the North Shore in a formal school setting or in an outdoor classroom somewhere along Lake Superior. As the education intern at LSNERR, Rita is helping with research to develop the Reserve's educational programs as well as implementing future programs. While educating future generation is a huge passion for Rita, everything she does is driven by her love of the outdoors. "Every season there is something fascinating going on! Whether that means grabbing a friend to explore some new neck of the woods by snow shoe, or heading off to the BWCA for a week of paddling. The amazing thing about life is that it is everywhere!"

Updated: 01/09/2013