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Staff &
Steering Committee


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Cindy Becker

SDG Project Manager

Cindy brings to her position as project manager and conservation liaison 20 years experience in conservation, private lands, and plant community ecology, restoration, and management. She has co-authored and developed “Reading the Driftless Landscape: A primer for landowners” (2012), Conservation Programs and Partners in SW WI (2020), and the website (2020).

o. 608.930.3252  c. 608.425.0464

Steering Committee

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Katherine Abbott

Iowa County Land Conservation Department

Katie has dedicated her career to conservation and the belief that profitable farms and businesses can coexist with healthy soil, water, and wildlife.  In her words “everyone in a community is better off when they do. It’s a privilege to be able to work with the great people in this area to protect our shared natural resources and find creative solutions to challenges.”.  She has worked in Iowa County for over 15 years helping farmers and landowners with conservation programs, and currently serves as the County Conservationist for the Iowa County Land Conservation Department.


Debra Behrens

The Prairie Enthusiasts

Debra has been the Executive Director of The Prairie Enthusiasts since 2020. She brings more than 25 years of nonprofit leadership and development experience. Debra has an entrepreneurial approach to solving problems, focusing collective energy and building momentum. She’s passionate about saving the rare biodiversity and beauty of ecosystems in the Upper Midwest, and is actively restoring prairie and oak savanna at her homestead outside of Viroqua. 


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Jennifer Filipiak

Driftless Area Land Conservancy

Jennifer is the Executive Director of the Driftless Area Land Conservancy (DALC). Filipiak brings more than 15 years of project management experience in conservation and sustainable agriculture having previously worked with organizations such as the Illinois Stewardship Alliance, The Nature Conservancy of Iowa, and the Lake County (Illinois) Forest Preserve District.

o. 608.930.3252    c. 608.642.8737

Jim Giocomo

American Bird Conservancy

Jim is the Central Region Director at the American Bird Conservancy.  He leads and coordinates ABC's conservation programs and projects in the region and works to build high level relationships with public and private partners and conservation stakeholders. 


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Sara Kehrli

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

Sara has worked for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources for the past 18 years. For 16 of those years, she was a field wildlife biologist, and responsible for habitat management on 25,000+ acres of state-owned lands in Columbia Co. She grew to really love prairie and oak savanna habitat restoration during her time as a wildlife biologist. Currently, Sara is the Southern Area Field Operations Team Leader for the Bureau of Natural Heritage Conservation, and oversees field staff managing State Natural Areas and rare species for approximately the southern 1/3 of Wisconsin. 


Michele Kille

The Nature Conservancy

Michele is the Strategic Partnerships Manager for Wisconsin and a member of TNC’s Land Strategy Team. She works collaboratively to support planning and strategy development aimed at increasing the pace and scale of protection of climate-resilient lands and waters across the state. She also assists colleagues and partners in identifying and evaluating Local, State, and Federal public funding opportunities and leads the development of grant proposals for priority land protection projects. In addition, Michele currently serves the Vice Chair of the Upper Mississippi River and Great Lakes Region Joint Venture Management Board. She is excited about helping to advance regional migratory bird habitat conservation goals and to strengthen connections with a more diverse set of partners implementing habitat projects on the ground.


Marty Moses

Pheasants Forever

Marty is a native of Ohio but has been working as the Wisconsin State Coordinator for Pheasants Forever over the past seven years. Prior to this role, he delivered Farm Bill conservation programs to private landowners for eight years in Wisconsin and Colorado. Marty has a M.S. in wildlife ecology from New Mexico State University and received his B.S. in natural resource ecology from the University of Idaho.  Marty lives at Cliffbrake Farm on the edge of the Driftless in Sauk County with his wife and son where they can be found hiking, tramping, hunting, foraging, gardening, clearing, burning, or just plain sitting around.


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Kelly VanBeek

US Fish and Wildlife Service

Kelly is a wildlife biologist with the US Fish and Wildlife Service's Migratory Bird Program, stationed in Madison, WI. Much of her work is focused on grassland bird conservation across the Midwest. Kelly has experience in land management, avian monitoring and research, science-based planning, and conservation in agricultural systems.


o. 608.238.9333, ext. 31011   c. 612.398.5755

Kurt Waterstradt

US Fish and Wildlife Service

Kurt is the State Coordinator for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Partners Program, a position he has held since 2009.  He received a B.S. Degree in Wildlife Biology from University of Idaho, 1990.  He served in active duty with the U.S. Army from 1990-1993, and served as Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Army Reserves from 1993-2013.  

o. 608.745.4041   c. 608.444.9013

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