2015 Planned Keynote Presenters

WATER- Rod Olson

Wounded Water by Rod Olson, MD 
Red Cedar River Partnership and co-chair of the Red Cedar Watershed Conference
Rod Olson, MD has worked as a family doctor and emergency physician in Rice Lake, Wisconsin for 35 years. He grew up on a farm in central Minnesota and married in 1969. He and his wife, Carol, raised two boys and took them on many camping and canoeing trips. He is energized by nature and especially drawn to water. He worked with neighbors and a DNR Lake Protection Grant restoring the algae choked Desair Lake. In 2013, he received the Wisconsin Lakes Stewardship Award. For sharing his collected data from the Red Cedar River, he received a good neighbor award from the Tainter Menomin Lake Association. As a member of the Red Cedar River Partnership and co-chairman of the Red Cedar Watershed conference, he sees a great future in collaboration between scientists and farmer-lead councils to solve water and soil issues.He believes "the water will run clear someday. The soil on our fields will become healthy. A thousand rain gardens and detention ponds will protect our rivers and lakes. And our grandchildren will be grateful".  


Farming For the 21st Century: Understanding the Principles of Soil Health by Ray Archuleta,
Conservation Agronomist
NRCS East National Technology Center, in Greensboro, North Carolina
Ray Archuleta is a Conservation Agronomist/Soil Health Specialist for the Natural Resource Conservation Service East at National Technology Service Center, located in Greensboro, North Carolina. Ray teaches soil health and the principles of agroecology throughout the country. He utilizes biomimicry strategies to restore soil function on rangeland, forest land and agroecosystems.
He has 29 years of government service. He has lived and worked for Natural Resource Conservation Service in four different states. He is also a Certified Professional Soil Scientist with Soil Science Society of America. He also served two years in Guatemala working as Livestock Specialist in the Peace Corps. He has an A.S. in Livestock Science from North New Mexico College and later he earned his B.S. in Agricultural Biology from New Mexico State University.

PEOPLE- Sean7crop

Active Citizenship by Sean Kershaw, Executive Director
Citizens League of Minnesota

Sean Kershaw became just the sixth Citizens League Executive Director in its 62-year history, in 2003. Sean has been a member of the Citizens League Board of Directors since 1996, and co-chaired the Citizens League's 50th Anniversary report on Doing the Common Good Better prior to becoming the Executive Director.
Before joining the Citizens League, Sean was Deputy Director for the City of Saint Paul's Department of Planning and Economic Development (PED), where he had worked for 11 years. During his tenure, Sean chaired then Mayor Norm Coleman's e-Government initiative and coordinated his information technology, charter school, and education initiatives. Prior to that, he was planning coordinator for the Public Housing Authority in his hometown of Omaha Nebraska. 
During his tenure, membership in the Citizens League has doubled; revenue has tripled, and the organization is implementing an innovative new model for public policy called "civic policy making". Accomplishments include helping to make significant reforms to the mental health and healthcare systems, hundreds of millions of dollars for transit and road improvements, and leading a coalition to help pass the "Dream Act".
Sean is passionate about active citizenship, civic organizing, and good public policy.He is a founding member of the Active Citizens School, a young-adult civic leadership program, and is currently part of the Minnesota Active Citizenship Initiative.Sean is on the Board for the Nonprofits Assistance Fund, Chairs the Development Committee for his church, and sometimes tries to teach Sunday school to small children.
Sean and his husband, Tim Hawkins, live in Saint Paul with their two kids, Aidan and Grace, and their dogs Pearl and Patrick.


 2015 Planned Breakout Session Presenters

Andy Bendsend, AB Farms, AB Ag Services, Inc. and AB Seed & Consulting Inc.
Topic: Why Change? A Closer Look at the Impacts of 25 Years of Farming with Less Tillage
He is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, with a major in Agricultural Education and minor in Farm Mgt.  He is a member of Alpha Gamma Rho Alumnus, and has served on the Fraternity Alumni Board of Directors.
AB Seed and Consulting, Inc which operates as a sales representative for DuPont/Pioneer.   Agronomy consulting, soil sampling, nutrient management planning, grain marketing, sustainability advice, and Ag business feasibility are all within the scope of its service offering to area producers.
He has served as President of the Wisconsin Soybean Association in 2009 and served on the Board of Directors from 2004-2012.  He has been actively involved in policy work with the American Soybean Association serving as a substitute on the ASA Board.  In 2012 Bensend was elected to the Wisconsin Soybean Marketing Board and is responsible to his peers for oversight of the Wisconsin soybean check off funds.

Jay Michels, CPESC, Erosion & Sediment Control Specialist with 
Emmons & Olivier Resources, Inc.
Topic: Minimal Impact Design Standards: taking urban management to the next generation
Jay Michels is a Project Manager with Emmons & Olivier Resources in Oakdale, MN. He is a Certified Professional in Erosion and Sediment Control with over 30 years of experience in construction management, erosion control and stormwater managementThe emphasis of his work is in low impact development project design, project management, storm water pollution and erosion and sediment control planning and implementation, ordinance and storm water policy, program and outreach and education development.  Jay is known for his work throughout the upper Midwest and Canada as an educator on low impact development, storm water management and erosion and sediment control.

Nels Paulson, Associate Professor, Sociology; Director, LAKES REU with University of Wisconsin- Stout

Topic: LAKES REU Project (Linking Applied Knowledge in Environmental Sustainability Research Experience for Undergraduates)
Nels Paulson is an Associate Professor of Sociology at University of Wisconsin-Stout.  His research focuses on the environment and civil society.  Past research projects on civil society include disaster relief and religion, hunting as a substantive issue among international environmental organizations, and the place of indigenous groups in global environmental advocacy and governance.  


John Kettenacker, 60 cow dairy farmer that has been no-till for 10 years
Aaron Dietsche, dairy and cash crop farmer
Ben Mrdutt, grazier and member of the Hay River Farmer Lead Council
Topic: Farmer panel

Daniel Zerr, Natural Resources Educator with University Of Wisconsin-Extension
Topic: A Phosphorus Management Plan for the Red Cedar River System

Daniel Zerr is a regional natural resource educator with UW-Extension, based in Eau Claire.  He has been working on Red Cedar River water quality and other regional water quality issues since taking this position in 2008.  Previously he worked as a researcher at the University of Missouri, and as an environmental scientist for the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.  He has a MS in environmental science from Indiana University, Bloomington, IN, and a BS in biology from Northern State University in Aberdeen, SD.


Elizabeth Katt-Reinders, Director, Policy and Communications with Clean Lakes Alliance
Topic: Fundraising and Recruiting Business to Support Watershed Efforts
Elizabeth Katt-Reinders is the Director of Policy and Communications at the Clean Lakes Alliance, a non-profit organization in Madison, Wisconsin that works to improve water quality in the Yahara River watershed. Elizabeth has worked extensively on environmental and water resource issues for well over a decade in both the public and private sectors, and currently works with elected and non-elected government officials, farmers, businesses, and a wide variety of other stakeholders on policy and implementation initiatives to reduce phosphorus-loading into surface waters.

Randy Hoffman, former Natural Areas Ecologist with the WI Department of Natural Resources

Topic: Historic Ecology of the Red Cedar River Basin
Randy recently retired from the Wisconsin DNR after 29 years. He worked his entire career in  the State Natural Areas program. Randy has inventoried all 673 State Naturals Areas and hundreds of other natural areas. He also authored the book Wisconsin's Natural Communities

Elizabeth Wheeler, staff Attorney with Clean Wisconsin
& Amber Meyer Smith, Director, Programs and Government Relations with Clean Wisconsin
Topic: Water Ethics, the Passion and Commitment and What is Happening in Madison Concerning Water Quality
Elizabeth studied environmental biology at Beloit College, and then earned her J.D. from Pace University School of Law. While studying at Beloit, Elizabeth traveled to China where she was inspired to commit her life to working for strong environmental policies.
Before joining Clean Wisconsin, Elizabeth interned with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation's Wetland division, the Blacksmith Institute (working on international environmental justice), and the State of Wisconsin Department of Justice-Environmental Protection Unit. Prior to becoming the Staff Attorney, she coordinated a network of over 120 organizations working on climate change issues in the Midwest.
Elizabeth is an officer on the Board of Directors for the League of Women Voters – Wisconsin and also participates in the State League's legislative committee. She has taught CLEs in the areas of renewable energy and navigable waterway permitting, and regularly speaks on current trends in Wisconsin environmental law. She also serves on the Board of Directors for the Environmental Law Section of the State Bar of Wisconsin.

Amber is responsible for leading the air and water programs at Clean Wisconsin. She develops the overall direction and long-range strategy to accomplish the organization's clean air and clean water mission. Amber also serves as Clean Wisconsin's principal government liaison and directs policy formation and advocacy for the organization. Prior to joining Clean Wisconsin, Amber served as a policy analyst for State Senator Bob Wirch (D-Kenosha) for six years and then as legislative liaison at the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resource for four years. Amber is a Fox Valley native who earned her bachelor's degree in political science from UW-Madison

Aaron Thompson, Assistant Professor of Natural Resource Planning; Land Use Specialist with the Center of Land Use Education, at the University of Wisconsin- Stevens Point
Topic: Use of Social Data in Land Use Issues
Dr. Aaron W. Thompson is a landscape planner whose work focuses on using applied social-ecological science research to achieve better decision making at the interface of land use planning and natural resource management.  Currently, he is an Assistant Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point and a land use specialist with UW-Extension.  In this role he works to support collaborative, stakeholder-driven planning by consulting with state and local governments, land trusts, and community organizations.