We are thankful to benefit from the services of our outstanding board members.
Ann Rogers - Co-Chair
Greg Reisig – Co-Chair
June Thaden – Secretary
John Nelson – Treasurer
Bob Marshall - Emeritus
Ken Smith - Emeritus
Ann Rogers - Co-Chair
Mother, grandmother, teacher, former Traverse City Commissioner, member of NMEAC for over 35 years, and a board member since 1997.
My life-long love of the forests and waters of Michigan carried over into many environmental activities with students including participation in the very first Earth Day activities in 1970, scientific trips aboard the Inland Seas, and even encouraging a student protest to protect trees around Norris School from being cut for a parking lot.
It was a privilege to participate in the world Climate March in NYC in 2014 and to host numerous speakers who have come here to share their expertise on the Climate Crisis and the imperative to embrace green energy.
Greg Reisig – Co-Chair
Greg Reisig helped form Fen’s Rim Publications in 1990. The small Elk Rapids-based company published The Lake Country Gazette from 1990-2000. As editor and assistant publisher he wrote over 200 stories about northern Michigan most of them based on conservation/environmental work, land use and water quality in the region.
He was a founding board member of The Watershed Center and served from 1994-2004 on the board of the Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy.
Beginning in 2001 Greg tracked two major wetland violations close to Grand Traverse Bay by developer Bill Clous. He worked to create greater community awareness of these violations and developed continuing communications with both the Department of Environmental Quality and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers urging them to enforce both state and federal wetland laws at both sites. In July of 2001, he was responsible for bringing both Congressman Bart Stupak and Governor-elect Jennifer Granholm to view wetland violations at the Elk Rapids Preserve development site.
Prior to 1990, Greg taught English and Communications at a suburban Chicago high school for twenty years. He has been a member of NMEAC since the 1980s.
June Thaden - Secretary
Growing up in a family who camped, and valued the outdoors, she learned how important our earth is in our lives. This knowledge has guided her life. Music, playing ‘cello in many orchestras, has been her lifelong vocation. When her four children were grown, she moved to Traverse City in 1980 to be a librarian at Northwestern Michigan College.
Bicycling was her passion for years, advocating for cyclist’s rights, helping organize the Cherry Capital Cycling Club and evolving into working with the League of Michigan Bicyclists and the League of American Bicyclists in leadership roles. In those years she also volunteered for about 20 years with LMB weeklong bicycle tours. She has also enjoyed many month long camping tours on my bicycle with loaded panniers in several countries both solo and with another person.
During the 80s she served on the board of the Michigan chapter of the Rails-to-Trails organization, which led to helping found the early organization that evolved into Traverse Area Recreation and Transportation Trails (TART). She was very honored when she was one of the three who received TART’s first Mudgett Awards. Backpacking in Michigan with friends and about 800 miles on the Appalachian Trail with her son was her joy for years.
John Nelson - Treasurer
John grew up in Traverse City. His roots are five generations deep in the Leelanau County region. John graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy and served five years of active duty and 15 years in the Naval Air Reserve to retire as a Commander in 1986. John received a Masters in Science Education from the University of Michigan in 1971. He taught in the public schools of South Portland, Maine for 28 years, retiring in 1997.
While living in Maine for thirty years, he raised a very special daughter with his wife Lynne.
John served the community of Freeport, Maine for seventeen years as a local elected official. He served on the school board for three terms, chairing the board for two years. He was elected to the Town Council for three terms and chaired the Council for two years. The Greater Portland Council of Governments honored him in 1993 as the region’s citizen of the year. John served on the Governor’s Regional Transportation Advisory Council in Maine from 1992 to 1996.
John returned to Traverse City in 1997 to live with his wife Lynne. He is very involved in local civic issues. He serves on the Garfield Township Planning Commission, sits on the Boards of Directors for The Watershed Center Grand Traverse Bay and the Northern Michigan Environmental Action Council. John is also the chair of the Coalition for Sensible Growth. Lastly, John has served as the Grand Traverse Baykeeper since January 2001. He is presently a trained and certified mediator with the Conflict Resolution Service of Traverse City.
Cathie grew up on West Grand Traverse Bay loving the water and trees that surrounded her. She graduated NMC with a medical assisting degree and earned her BS in Computer Science from Central Michigan University in 1979. Cathie lived 25 years in the Keweenaw Peninsula of Upper Michigan appreciating the natural forests and waters of the rivers and Lake Superior. She raised three daughters before returning to Traverse City in 2005 to be closer to family. Her greatest joy is spending time with her two granddaughters and grandson.
Cathie has been involved with several grassroots campaigns concerned with threats to our natural environment. She is greatly concerned about our water quality, river and lake setbacks, and leveling of our trees for development.
Linda grew up in Traverse City and is both delighted and dismayed by the environmental changes since. She graduated from Traverse City Senior High School, Northwestern Michigan College, and Northern Michigan University with a BS in Criminal Justice. Her background includes working for several social services agencies in the area, and she was juvenile probation officer/court administrator in Leelanau County and director of a domestic violence shelter in Alpena, MI. She retired as a private court and divorce mediator. Long involved with peace and justice issues and groups, she previously served on the Traverse City Human Rights Commission and as board president for Conflict Resolution Services.
Bill Gittlen grew up in Detroit and now lives with his wife on Old Mission Peninsula. He is a retired Emergency Medicine physician, having practiced in northern California for 30 years. When younger, he had the good fortune of undertaking slow travel to over 70 countries, climbing mountains, exploring natural areas, and studying history, religions, and local cultures. He is the author of one book: “Discovered Alive, The Story of the Chinese Redwood”. In 2013, he trained with Al Gore to give Reality of Climate Change presentations. Now he actively volunteers with TC Indivisible, the Sierra Club, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, 350.org, GTRLC, TCFF, and TC100 with the goal of protecting and preserving the health and well-being of all of us and the miraculous environment upon which we depend.
Bill Hansen is retired and lives with his wife near Williamsburg. He has been a Michigan resident for over 35 years and chose to retire here to pursue a lifelong interest and love of the natural environment. He received a Masters degree from the School of Natural Resources at the University of Michigan with an emphasis on Environmental Education.
Soon after receiving his degree he became Executive Director of an environmental education center in the Lansing area where he served for 12 years.
His background also includes a BA degree in psychology and religion as well as an advanced degree in theology and ten years of employment in a hospital psychiatric unit.
Since moving to the Grand Traverse region eleven years ago, Bill has found NMEAC to be one of the most effective voices for fostering the preservation of the natural ecosystems of northern Michigan so the negative impact of growth and development can be minimized.
Bill was a volunteer instructor on the Inland Seas Education Association’s schooner schoolship and has crewed on the schooner Madeline of the Maritime Heritage Association.
Tom is an elected official and activist. Elected to a seat on the Grand Traverse Board of Commissioners in 2016. NMEAC awarded Mair with Environmentalist of the Year - Golden Beaver Award for his avid work behind the scenes to protect and preserve the natural environment. Tom, with the mentorship of Tom Shea and others, strives to do more and show others what can be accomplished with patience and perseverance. Currently, Mair is working to realign Brownfield Plans with focus on the natural environment including ridding blight & contamination, as well as turning brown into green and managing erosion & stormwater.
I’m John McDonald and I grew up in Detroit. I left the city to attend Central Michigan University for a bachelor’s degree in Sociology and Economics. As a certified teacher with very few teaching jobs available I decided to seek employment as a social worker. I returned to Central to obtain my Master's degree and LPC credentials, and have worked as a counselor for well over thirty years. I’ve lived in the Traverse City area for thirty-five years and want to protect it from overdevelopment and the accompanying pollution.
Traveling throughout Europe, Scandinavia, Iceland, New Zealand and many other countries I had witnessed a care of the land not found in the U.S.A.
I’ve lived in the Traverse City area for thirty-five years and want to protect it from overdevelopment and the accompanying pollution.
As citizens, we need to take action to save our country and our world from unbridled capitalism, climate change and the destruction of our natural resources.
Bill Scharf taught biological and conservation sciences at NMC from 1964-1991. Since retirement, he has been faculty at the University of Nebraska, Western Maryland College, and LSSU in Sault Ste Marie. He has written more than 80 peer-reviewed publications on ecological and natural history subjects. He was a Board member of NMEAC in the mid-80s, consulted with hydro-electric dam operators in Nebraska, was a consultant to the Boardman River Dams Committee, and chained himself to a tree to protest NMC building placement.
I retired from the Flint School system and SEIU union in 2004 and moved to Northern Mi. I am a daughter of Labor
organizers and protectors of the planet. I have followed in their footsteps and have lived my life as a activist. Living and working in Flint I have experienced first hand how corporations can pollute and then desert the community. I have a responsibility to my children, grand children and all children to stand up to the polluters and protect the Environment for future generations.
After leaving Ann Arbor, where he was a special education teacher for 20 years and earned two degrees in Education from the University of Michigan, Charlie immigrated north to become a fly fishing river guide on the Manistee, AuSable, and Pere Marquette Rivers. Recently he has retired from that profession as well. Since coming to the North Country, he has become involved with several environmental organizations—the Anglers of the AuSable, Upper Manistee River Association, Sierra Club-Clearwater Conservation Committee, and NMEAC. His major concerns center around preserving the water quality of Michigan’s lakes, streams, and groundwater. With the advent of climate change and over-population, our water is a virtual goldmine of unprecedented proportions.
First and foremost Susan Wheadon sees herself as a grandmother who is very concerned about how the continuous damage done to the environment will harm her grandchildren and generations to come. She would like them to have clean air and water and access to all that is beautiful about the planet. Susan feels a personal responsibility to do what she can to make a difference. Growing up near the Love Canal and in an area where nuclear waste has impacted her hometown has made her more aware of this responsibility.
Bob Marshall - Emeritus
Ken Smith – Emeritus
Ken has been on the NMEAC board since 1986. He served as NMEAC chair from 1989 to 1992, then again from 1995 to 2003. He currently serves as NMEAC’s Executive Director on a volunteer basis. In 1996 he helped to found the Coalition for Sensible Growth, which has mobilized more than 600 businesses, town planners, local officials, community groups and grassroots environmental activists to combat urban sprawl and build stronger communities in the Grand Traverse region.
A former senior engineer for General Motors, Ken is president and CEO of The Resource for Great Programs, Inc., a national consulting firm dedicated to providing strategic support to networks of community-based organizations working in areas having a great impact on our society. He holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Engineering and a Ph.D. in Urban, Technological and Environmental Planning from the University of Michigan.