Our Board & Staff

Staff

Doug Niemela

Executive Director

With the mindset of a curious explorer, Doug strives to find ways to build bridges that bring together diverse groups of people to better our whole community and create social change. Doug joined MEF in 2018 after four years as National Campaign Manager for the Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters and two years as Executive Director for Northeastern Minnesotans for Wilderness, the lead organization for the Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters. There Doug raised millions of dollars and worked with over 300 partner groups to help protect Minnesota’s crown jewel. Prior to this Doug worked on issue campaigns ranging from statewide legislative and ballot initiatives to national legislative efforts. Doug also has a strong background in candidate campaign work having worked for congressional, gubernatorial, and presidential candidates over the course of his career.

Mallory Forseth

Associate Director

Mallory has over 10 years of experience in program design, management, evaluation, and fundraising in the nonprofit and public sectors. She has devoted the last five years of that work to making food systems more equitable and sustainable in the US and abroad, with work ranging from proposal development and program evaluations of multi-million dollar agricultural development projects in Latin America and Africa, to designing and managing programs for small urban farms, markets, and food justice organizations in Denver, CO and Minneapolis, MN. Mallory holds an MA in International Development from the Josef Korbel School of International Studies with concentrations in Program Evaluation and Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security. In her free time, she enjoys practicing yoga, making tasty meals with farmers market fare, and exploring our state’s stunning parks and natural areas with her dog Bug.

Lindsay Anderson

Digital Media & Marketing Intern

Lindsay joins MEF as a Digital Media & Marketing Intern for Fall 2020. This comes after serving
a term with the Minnesota GreenCorps and graduating from UW- River Falls with a degree in
Marketing Communications. Lindsay’s passion for the environment and community shine
through her enthusiastic approach to her work here in Minnesota. Utilizing her communication
and relationship building skills, Lindsay likes to engage her peers and communities in making
changes to live more lightly on the earth. She is beginning her career centered on climate
change adaptation and mitigation, environmental justice, sustainability, and community
engagement. You may see her out hiking in and out of the Metro area, participating in
community groups, or answering questions about recycling.

Board of Directors

Board roles are uncompensated volunteer leadership positions. Board members are elected to three-year terms, and officers are nominated and elected annually. We are always looking for passionate people to fill vacancies and add depth and breadth to our board and its committees. For more information about board and committee roles and how to get involved, contact Executive Director Doug Niemela – doug.niemela@mnenvirofund.org.

Rylee Hince, President

Executive Director, Lake Pepin Legacy Alliance

Rylee Hince is the Executive Director of the Lake Pepin Legacy Alliance. She received her Master’s Degree in Public Policy from the Humphrey School of Public Affairs, with a focus on water resources in Minnesota. In 2017 Rylee was appointed by Governor Mark Dayton to represent environmental organizations on Minnesota's Clean Water Council. Rylee currently serves as chair of the Minnesota Environmental Fund’s Board of Directors and formerly served as Treasurer for the Minnesota Conservation Federation.

Kim Lawler, Vice President

Minnesota Director of Philanthropy, Trust for Public Land

Kim became the Minnesota Director of Philanthropy at The Trust for Public Land in December 2018. Prior to TPL, Kim served for seven years as the Director of Development and Communications at Tree Trust, another MEF member organization. With over 25 years of experience in fundraising, communications and nonprofit management, Kim’s nonprofit experience ranges from health to arts to youth development to environment. She feels fortunate to express her passion for the outdoors by raising funds at TPL to create parks and protect land for people to ensure healthy, livable communities for generations to come. Prior to TPL and Tree Trust, Kim managed the “people” side of Dakota County Parks where she oversaw recreational programming, environmental education, event planning, and marketing. She has a degree in Speech Communications from Iowa State University and has called Minnesota home since 2000. Seldom idle, Kim can be found hiking in regional parks, paddling on local lakes, and attending her daughter’s college running meets. Kim has a passion for building relationships and thrives on making connections to educate others on the benefit of open space to make our world a better place!

Megan Kuhl Stennes, Secretary

Neighborhood Air Lead, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency

A graduate in environmental studies from the College of Saint Benedict, Megan has worked in both social justice at Cretin-Derham Hall and environmental initiatives at Dakota County. She works with local governments, community leaders and businesses throughout Minnesota. She enjoys backyard and worm composting and is happy to teach others about it!

Greta Wallgren, Treasurer

Account Director, Acoustic

Greta Wallgren has focused on product, financial and customer analytics in her corporate retail career, now at Acoustic. She brings a strong background in data analytics and financial metrics and years of experience leading and directing teams. Greta holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business from Gustavus Adolphus College and has taken continuing executive education courses at the University of St. Thomas and the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management. Greta enjoys cooking, golfing, traveling and spending time outdoors with her kids. Passionate about clean water and waste reduction, she discovered the Minnesota Environmental Fund when researching environmental choices for workplace giving.

Christina Hausman Rhode, Past President

Executive Director, Voyageurs National Park Association

Christina has been the executive director of Voyageurs National Park Association since 2014. She feels privileged to connect partners, donors, new visitors, and volunteers to Minnesota’s Voyageurs National Park. Christina has over 12 years experience working in development and communications in the nonprofit industry and has previously worked for The Nature Conservancy and the Hennepin Health Foundation. She holds a bachelor’s degree in biology and political science, and a minor in journalism from Augustana University in Sioux Falls, SD. Christina is a graduate of the Institute of Executive Leadership Development at the University of St. Thomas and is currently enrolled in the National Park Foundation’s National Park’s Friends Leadership Institute. In 2016, she was recognized with a Midwest Region Champion Award from the National Park Service. On her days off you can find her taking photos, attempting new recipes, enjoying live music, or traveling.

Risikat Adesaogun, At-large

Press Secretary and Deputy Communications Director, Office of Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon

Risikat Adesaogun is the Press Secretary and Deputy Communications Director at Office of Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon. Risikat’s current work involves coaching private and public officials on how best to communicate complex issues to general audiences and promoting social and environmental justice through research and targeted outreach. She liaises with representatives from local, state, and national media outlets and conducts demographic research of residents living in areas of concern for environmental justice initiatives. Risikat holds a Masters in Strategic Communication Management from Concordia University-St. Paul and a Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Anthropology from the University of Northern Colorado.

Hannah Frawley, At-large

Born in Minnesota, Hannah Frawley grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area ‒ a playground for the outdoor enthusiast – and graduated from California State University in Chico. Hannah brings experience in event coordination, marketing, communications and fundraising with The Marine Mammal Center in the San Francisco Bay area and SynMedia Marketing Group. As Development and Volunteer Coordinator at Wilderness Inquiry, Hannah worked with over 400 volunteers to create meaningful experiences for participants in the outdoors, while also providing the WI donor community opportunities to see their mission in action. She is passionate about her connection to the community and loves exploring the Twin Cities' natural and urban environments. Hannah enjoys hiking, biking, running, reading long novels, baking pies, collecting vinyl records, and Lego (master building/ creation). She is thrilled to make a measurable difference by connecting people from all walks of life to nature.

Karen Solas, At-large

Habitat Management Consultant

Karen Solas is a private habitat management consultant with extensive experience at both the nonprofit and government levels in program management, partnership development, and community engagement. Karen coordinated volunteer ecological restoration projects and educational and interpretive programming as Friends of the Mississippi River’s Stewardship Coordinator. She directed the Minnesota GreenCorps program, a statewide environmentally focused AmeriCorps program which implements community-driven, needs-based sustainability initiatives. She also served as Environmental Justice Analyst at the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, where she worked to address disparities in environmental protection and barriers to participation in decision-making processes. Karen also works on outreach, diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives as a board member for YMCA Camp Northern Lights and a member of Friends of the Mississippi River’s working group.

Maia Wahlberg, At-large

Grants Manager, Wilderness Inquiry

Maia is a native of Saint Paul who grew up camping on the North Shore of Lake Superior. As a lifelong outdoor enthusiast, she is passionate about preserving Minnesota’s unique outdoor spaces for generations to come. Maia brings a diverse array of experience in fundraising, government relations, and project management to MEF. In her roles as Grants Manager and Trip Director for Wilderness Inquiry, Maia manages a grants program that raises more than $1.3mill per year from corporate, foundation, and government donors, and connects more than 300 individuals of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities to multi-day adventures on the St. Croix and Namekagon rivers annually. Maia enjoys hiking, canoeing, and rock climbing in her spare time and loves sharing these activities with friends and family.