Steve Woods – Executive Director
Steve Woods joined Freshwater in December 2013 as executive director. He is a civil engineer who previously was one of two assistant directors of the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources, a $60 million a year state conservation agency. From 1987 to 1999, he was a consulting engineer in the Minnesota office of MWH, a global environmental consulting company. He also worked two years as a research analyst in the former Division of Waters in the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. He earned a bachelor’s degree in agricultural engineering from the University of Minnesota, and a master’s degree in public administration from Hamline University. Learn a bit more about Steve by reading a Star Tribune interview published shortly after he was appointed.
Or read a short Q-and-A in which he reveals he’s an extrovert, a cyclist, a sailor, and an optimist about Freshwater Society’s ability to protect Minnesota’s water.
Brian Bohman – Research and Policy Intern
Brian joined Freshwater Society in March 2016 as a research and policy intern. He graduated from Saint John’s University in 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in natural science and is currently a master’s candidate in the Water Resources Science graduate program at the University of Minnesota where he is researching strategies to reduce nitrate leaching to groundwater. He grew up in the Twin Cities, and from a young age has been in love with all things related to water. Brian enjoys swimming, canoeing, traveling, playing board games, and spending time with his family and friends.
Deirdre Coleman – Program Coordinator
Deirdre Coleman has been with Freshwater Society for three years and has a bachelor’s degree in biology, society and the environment. As a program coordinator she works on a number of Freshwater’s programs, mainly the Master Water Steward Program. Dedicated to water in her career as well as personal life, Deirdre is usually found in town or up north on some body of water when she is not in the office.
Julie Fliflet, CPA – Director of Finance and Administration
Julie has over 20 years of experience working with nonprofit organizations and has specialized in the nonprofit sector for her entire career. She is a CPA, and started her career in public accounting working as an auditor in the nonprofit division for a large CPA firm, then subsequently held positions directing the finance and administration activities for several nonprofits in the Twin Cities metro area before coming to Freshwater Society.
Carrie Jennings – Research and Policy Director
Carrie joined Freshwater Society in 2016. She has been a field geologist for 24 years, 22 of those with the Minnesota Geological Survey and two with the DNR, Division of Lands and Minerals. For the last two years she was the science reports lead for the County Geologic Atlas program at the DNR. She applies her understanding of glacial geology and landscape evolution to shape policy and technical approaches for managing surface water and groundwater, avoiding hazards, and using resources wisely. Carrie and her husband live on a 120-acre farm which is primarily in a permanent conservation easement through the Dakota County Farmland and Natural Areas Program. Livestock is limited to a dozen chickens, a dog and a couple of cats. She has twice been elected town board supervisor and served on the planning commission for Eureka Township.
Jen Kader – Program Manager
Jen Kader joined the Freshwater Society team in September 2015 as program manager with a background in community organizing and environmental work. She received her bachelor’s degree in international relations from Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa, as well as a certificate in community-based development from Colorado State University. Currently, Jen is pursuing a master’s degree in urban and regional planning from the Humphrey School for Public Affairs with a concentration in community-based resiliency. She is also a graduate of the 2013 class of Master Water Stewards. Beyond the office, she enjoys gardening, cooking, canoeing, biking, playing lots of ping pong and Scrabble (and the Tuba!), and is active in her neighborhood.
Peggy Knapp – Special Projects
Peggy Knapp grew up in the mountains of Washington State, on the Columbia, Wenatchee, and Icicle rivers. After a career as an improvisational comedian, science journalist and environmental educator, Peggy joined Freshwater Society in 2011 as the director of programs, leading the organization’s citizen engagement initiatives. She spends every possible moment gardening, biking, baking, and trying to learn to play ukulele.
Connie Lanphear – Communications and Program Manager
Connie joined Freshwater Society in 2016 after 12 years working in communications, management, and development for several environmental nonprofits. She manages general communications and the annual Weatherguide almanac calendar. Connie holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a master’s degree in liberal studies with an arts and literature concentration. She loves to travel with her two daughters and spends as much time as possible biking, dancing, practicing yoga, reading, cooking, and making art.
Shanti Penprase – Minnesota GreenCorps Member
Shanti is our 2016-2017 Minnesota GreenCorps member, focused on the Master Water Stewards program. A 2016 graduate of Carleton College, she holds a bachelor’s in geology; her undergraduate research focused on hydrology, geochemistry, and soil science. Shanti’s interest in water started at an early age through her love of water polo, swimming, and kayaking. When not focused on water, Shanti enjoys traveling and exploring local history. In addition to visiting over 20 different countries, she has studied abroad in Paris and New Zealand.
Alex Van Loh – Program Assistant
Alex joined Freshwater Society in September 2015 as a Minnesota GreenCorps member focused on the Master Water Stewards Program. In fall 2016, he became a program assistant and expanded his work to include supporting all programs. He has a degree in biology from the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University. Before coming to Freshwater Society, he spent a year living abroad in Germany, teaching English through the Fulbright Program. Outside the office Alex enjoys making music, running, sampling craft brews, and all things comedy.
Theresa Wondra – Administrative Assistant
Theresa joined Freshwater Society in July 2016. She communicates with our members, donors, and sponsors and also assists in raising money for various programs. Theresa holds a bachelor’s degree in environmental studies with a biology focus, and a minor in geography. She studied abroad on a Semester at Sea voyage, and also with School for Field Studies in Bhutan, where she researched perceptions of climate change and flood preparedness in the Chamkhar Valley. She has a background in customer service and has worked in the field – monitoring water quality and implementing land restoration plans. Theresa loves making art, is passionate about the outdoors, and is always plotting her next travel adventure. She can often be spotted hiking, foraging, camping, and exploring with her camera.
Leslie Yetka – Director of Programs; Director, Master Water Stewards Program
Leslie joined Freshwater Society as a program manager in July 2016 and took over as director of programs in 2017. For the past eighteen years, she has worked in education, community engagement, and public planning with a focus on water resource management, sustainable landscape practices, and community resilience to climate change. She has been fortunate to engage with a variety of audiences, including private landowners, businesses, nonprofit groups, technical professionals, and community groups working to protect our environment. Leslie has a bachelor’s degree in biology from Macalester College, and a master’s degree in horticulture with a minor in water resources science from the University of Minnesota, and spends most of her time (when not chauffeuring the kids) either reading a good book, spending time outdoors, or dreaming of mountains in Montana.