Research and Innovation Advisory Committee


The purpose of the initiative that gave way to the Research and Innovation Advisory (RIA) Committee is to advance our goals of conservation, research, and environmental education. The RIA Committee will help facilitate the development of our research program by generating several research prospectuses relevant to the research possibilities on our property. Each member of this committee brings a unique perspective and a wealth of knowledge and expertise.

Research and Innovation Advisory Committee Members

  • Eric Anctil –
  • Nick Balster –
  • Thomas Browne –
  • Kenneth Cameron –
  • Joel Donna –
  • David Greenwood –
  • Steve Hollenhorst –
  • David Karowe –
  • Steve Kerlin –
  • Rick Lindroth –
  • Monica Lobenstein –

  • Gretchen Meyer –
  • Brant Miller –
  • Rebecca Power –
  • Dan Preston –
  • Osvaldo Sepulveda Villet –
  • Janet Silbernagel-Balster –
  • William Strosnider –
  • Liz Sutton –
  • Phil Townsend –
  • Lee Vierling –
  • Luke Zoet –
  • R Justin Hougham –


Dr. Eric Anctil is an Associate Professor in the Department of Education at the University of Portland College of Education. His scholarship includes working with schools at all levels – educators, parents, and the broader public – to explore students’ relationship to technology both in and out of the classroom. His research has included exploring the social aspects of technology and how it affects how we find and share information.

Dr. Nick Balster is an Associate Professor in the Department of Soil Science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison College of Letters and Science. He is interested in the interactions between plants and soil biota that control the cycling of energy and materials. He studies these interactions within a variety of settings, including forests. He also studies the scholarship of teaching and learning related to environmental education.

Thomas Browne is the Senior Assistant Dean for the College of Agricultural & Life Sciences (CALS) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is also the the CALS Minority/Disadvantaged student coordinator, where he serves as a leader in recruitment and retention programs. He is passionate about being a reliable resource for all students, especially as they navigate the academic and future career fields. He also serves as a an advisor for the Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Related Sciences (MANRRS) student organization.

Dr. Kenneth Cameron is the Department of Botany Chair and a Professor of Botany at the University of Wisconsin-Madison College of Letters and Science. He is also the the Director of the Wisconsin State Herbarium, where much of his research is based. He primarily studies the systematics, evolution, structure, and conservation of orchids (Orchidaceae). His fieldwork has taken him to Mexico, Ecuador, Tasmania, Borneo, China and New Caledonia, where he has studied several fascinating plant groups.

Dr. Joel Donna is an Associate Professor of Teacher Education at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls College of Education and Professional Studies. His specialty is preparing elementary and high school teachers to teach science by having their students do science. He has developed curriculum and taught science from elementary to college-aged learners in formal and informal settings. His research explores how curriculum materials can be designed to support teacher learning.

Dr. David Greenwood is the Canada Research Chair in Environmental Education and a Professor of Environmental Education at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, Ontario. His scholarship, teaching, and activism revolve around place-based, environmental, sustainability, and holistic education. His latest work involves using creative forms of experiential learning that inspire deep reflection and foster feelings of connectedness to the land.

Dr. Steve Hollenhorst is the Dean of the Huxley College of the Environment at Western Washington University. He is the founding director of the McCall Outdoor Science School (MOSS) and the university’s Building Sustainable Communities Initiative. His research and outreach work are in the areas of land use policy and management; land trusts and conservation easements; and environmental leadership.

Dr. David Karowe is a Professor of Biological Sciences at Western Michigan University College of Arts and Sciences. He is an instructor at the University of Michigan Biological Station where also he co-directs their Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program. His primary research interest is global change ecology. He and his students investigate the potential ecological consequences of elevated atmospheric carbon dioxide across multiple trophic levels.

Dr. Steve Kerlin is the Director of Education at the Stroud Water Research Center, a non-profit in Pennsylvania that seeks to advance knowledge and stewardship of freshwater systems through research, education, and restoration. His research interests are in environmental and science education, technology to enhance and extend outdoor education, educator professional development, and inquiry-based teaching and learning.

Dr. Rick Lindroth is a Professor of Entomology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison College of Agricultural & Life Sciences. His research interests are broad in the field of chemical ecology, including basic and applied ecology, ranging from the organismal to ecosystem level. His lab explores how genetics, environment, and their interaction govern plant growth and defense traits, and influence trophic interactions. He is specifically interested in understanding the effects of global change on plant-insect interactions.

Monica Lobenstein is the Learning Resources Specialist for Positive Youth Development at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, in the Division of Extension. Her role is to help colleagues identify and/or develop high quality learning resources for working with volunteers and youth. She is also an experienced Youth Development Educator with a demonstrated history of working with young people, volunteers, and community partners.

Dr. Gretchen Meyer is the Field Station Director of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee College of Letters and Science field station, and an Adjunct Associate Professor of Biological Sciences. She is a plant ecologist with extensive experience studying forests. Her research interests include plant-animal interactions, plant reproductive ecology, and conservation biology.

Dr. Brant Miller is an Associate Professor of Curriculum & Instruction at the University of Idaho College of Education, Health, and Human Services. His work focuses on technology integration and impacts, science teacher professional development, and culturally derived and sustaining approaches to STEM education. He is interested in engaging students and teachers in meaningful experiences that teach about important aspects of the world they live in.

Rebecca Power is the Water Resource Specialist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Division of Extension. She is Director of the North Central Region Water Network and provides leadership for a national training program for conservation professionals. She works with a diversity of partners to address water resource management issues using science, local knowledge and effective public engagement methods.

Dr. Dan Preston is an Assistant Professor of Forest & Wildlife Ecology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison College of Agricultural & Life Sciences. His research focuses on the ecology and conservation of freshwater ecosystems. He is interested in the links between environmental change, species interactions, and ecosystem functioning, specifically within the context of parasites and invasive species.

Dr. Osvaldo Sepulveda Villet is an Assistant Professor of Freshwater Technology at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee School of Freshwater Sciences. His research focuses on urban and intensive aquaculture of Great Lakes fish species, population genetics of native species in the context of climate change, and the development of novel therapeutic and probiotic agents to reduce the incidence of early-life mortality and disease of cultured fishes.

Dr. Janet Silbernagel-Baster is a Professor of Planning & Landscape Architecture at the University of Wisconsin-Madison College of Letters and Science. Her landscape conservation lab focuses on building tools for community engagement, spatial literacy, scenario design, and evaluation for landscape conservation. Trained as a landscape ecologist, she works on regional conservation strategies using geospatial analysis and cultural insights.

Dr. William Strosnider is the Director of the Baruch Marine Field Laboratory at the University of South Carolina Belle W. Baruch Institute for Marine and Coastal Sciences. His research has focused on water quality issues and advancing sustainable solutions to restore ecosystems and safeguard human health, often in international contexts. As the director of the field laboratory, he is particularly interested in improving coastal water management.

Liz Sutton is the Outreach Program Manager at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee School of Freshwater Sciences. She developed the outreach department within the School of Freshwater Sciences while working as the assistant director and STEM Specialist for UWM College for Kids. She has spent her career working to engage and inspire young people through STEM and environmental science education.

Dr. Philip Townsend is a Professor of Forest & Wildlife Ecology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison College of Agricultural & Life Sciences. His research answers questions about watershed hydrology, forest ecosystem dynamics, and insect disturbances in forests using satellite remote sensing and imaging spectroscopy. His specialties also include spatial analysis and quantitative methods, including hydrological and terrain modeling.

Dr. Lee Vierling is the Department Head and Professor of Global Ecology at the University of Idaho College of Natural Resources. His scholarship interests include global change, landscape ecology, remote sensing, habitat conservation, and biosphere-atmosphere interactions. He is also interested in science outreach and communication.

Dr. Luke Zoet is an Assistant Professor of Geoscience at the University of Wisconsin-Madison College of Letters and Science. He also holds appointments in Geological Engineering and the American Indian Studies Program. His primary field of research focuses on understanding the physics of glacier motion, at the intersection of glaciology and glacial ecology. He also studies coastal processes using a range of new field and modeling techniques.

Dr. R Justin Hougham is an Associate Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Division of Extension. He is the Director of Upham Woods and the Environmental Education State Specialist. His research interests are focused in environmental education, specifically in data literacy, scientific storytelling, and the integration of STEM curriculum in an outdoor field setting.