OUR TEAM

Our staff is small, but our reach is broad. The combined experience and vision of our staff, partnered with the exceptional hands-on efforts of our volunteers, make it possible to live out our mission.

Kristin Gies

Kristin Gies

Executive Director

Kristin received an AS in Landscape Horticulture from MATC; a BS in Botany from Concordia University; and a MS in Environmental Science from Concordia University.

Since 2007, as the director of the Mequon Nature Preserve, Kristin is living her dream – giving back to the community she grew up in and a career that she is passionate about. With Kristin’s leadership, MNP offers a series of educational programs to students K5-college and have helped over 10,000 low income children annually experience the outdoors and learn about nature ‘up close and personal’ – free of charge. It is rewarding to be able to go into work every day knowing that you are helping children who have never experienced the world without concrete learn about nature and all its wonders.

Kristin is married to Michael Gies and has two children, Gavin and Adia.

Mary Osmundsen

Mary Osmundsen

Director of Development

Bio coming soon

Cory Gritzmacher

Cory Gritzmacher

Director of Restoration and Operations

Cory joined MNP as the Director of Restoration and Operation in 2017 but has been in the Green Industry for over 20 years. He graduated from MATC with a degree in Landscape Horticulture in 1998. Prior to his position at MNP he owned and operated Second Nature Landscape Company.

Cory has brought a wealth of knowledge and experience to MNP. He is a past president of the Wisconsin Arborist Association, an ISA Certified Arborist, and has served on a number of forestry-related committees over the past 20 years.

Cory enjoys family vacations to Colorado with his wife Andrea and two boys Caleb and Ryan.

Jason Nickels

Jason Nickels

Director of Education and Research

Jason received a BS in Life Science Education from Martin Luther College, New Ulm, MN in 2002, and a MS in Environmental Education from Concordia University – WI, Mequon, WI, in 2015.

After graduation he began teaching in 2002 at Lakeside Lutheran High School in Lake Mills, WI. At Lakeside he took on many roles: teaching biology and human anatomy / physiology, serving as the head coach of the wrestling program, and advising the school’s Affinity Club (a service organization).

In June of 2011 Jason joined Mequon Nature Preserve’s staff and now serves as the Director of Education and Research. During the school year he takes thousands of students on nature walks in his new 444-acre classroom.

Jason lives in Milwaukee with his wife, Becky, and his two children, Madelynn and Sawyer.

Kelly Winkler

Kelly Winkler

Marketing and Development Manager

Jamie Schiesel

Jamie Schiesel

Restoration and Education Technician

Jamie graduated from the University of Wisconsin- Whitewater with a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science. Through there in 2016 he collected data on Yellow Bellied Marmots at the Colorado Mountain Research Station in Nederland. In the summer of 2017 and 2018 he was an intern at MNP.

His love for the environment stems from trips up north with his father and grandfather. Jamie enjoys climbing mountains in Colorado every year and fishing with friends and family in the summer. He is grateful for the opportunity to work at MNP after growing up next door and frequenting it as a boy.

Amanda Neimon

Amanda Neimon

Restoration and Development Technician

Amanda received a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science from Saint Louis University in May 2018. While at SLU, she was an active member of Alpha Phi Omega National Service Fraternity.

She was a summer intern at MNP in 2017 and 2018. She loves that she has the ability to have a job where she can work outside. She credits her love for the environment through the backpacking and canoeing trips throughout the country during her summers in high school. In her free time, she enjoys going to her family’s lake home in Lac du Flambeau and walking her dogs.

Nick Gall

Nick Gall

Restoration and Research Technician

Nick started out at MNP as an intern in the summer of 2017 between his junior and senior year of college. He graduated in May of 2018 from the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point with a BS in Wildlife Management and Ecology. He was an active member in the UW-Stevens Point student chapter of The Wildlife Society and the Fire Crew where he participated in numerous research project.

His love for the land stemmed from his background in farming, and spending time in the outdoors with his family. He enjoys hunting and fishing in his free time along with playing with his and his fiancé’s dog, Kai. Nick looks forward to continuing his learning of land restoration and research techniques along with being a part of MNP’s bright future.

Louise

Louise

Resident Tortoise

Louise is commonly known as an African spurred tortoise (Centrochelys sulcata) or Sulcata tortoise. Her native range would be the southern half of the Sahara Desert in Africa. The Sulcata tortoise’s lifespan can range anywhere between 50 to 150 years, but most captive individuals live to around 50. Most of her diet is various grasses and vegetables. Fruits are ok but should make up a very small proportion of her diet. (Strawberries are her favorite treat!)

These tortoises were pretty common in the pet trade but many places have stopped selling them because so many owners look to give them up after a few years. Why? Besides the fact that they can outlive their owners, the Sulcata tortoise could grow over 30″ long and weigh over 200 pounds!

Tilia

Tilia

Conservation Ambassador

Tilia is the newest addition to the family at MNP. After her training, Tilia will become the first on-staff conservation dog in the state of Wisconsin and will also be a conservation ambassador, joining MNP staff on field trips at the preserve.

Follow Tilia on her MNP Instagram (tilia_mnp) to see what she’s up to!