Current MBS Staff

Complete contact information for MBS staff

Derek Anderson

Derek Anderson has been working with MBS as a Botanist/Plant Ecologist since 2007. He leads monitoring and survey activities related to the Minnesota's federally listed plant species (dwarf trout lily, western prairie fringed orchid, prairie bush clover and Leedy's roseroot. He has led small white lady’s slipper surveying and monitoring activities across the state since 2012. He assists MBS botanists and ecologists with rare plant surveys and vegetation monitoring  statewide. He manages rare plant data submitted to the department from both internal and external sources. He is interested in Great Plains species at the edge of their range western Minnesota, prairie bank easements of the Tallgrass Aspen Parkland, and under-surveyed species of wetlands and river systems.

2024 Field Season: Botanical and native plant community surveys and rare plant monitoring in the Prairie Parkland, Tallgrass Aspen Parkland and the Eastern Broadleaf Forest Provinces.

Previous Field Seasons: Prairie Parkland Province and Tallgrass Aspen Parklands Province. Dodge, Freeborn, Mower, Steele and Waseca Counties.

Alaina Berger

Alaina Berger has worked with MBS since 2019 as a plant ecologist focused on completing Native Plant Community mapping in north-central and south-eastern Minnesota. She assists on projects that utilize vegetation data to detect trends in native plant communities with changing environments and climate. In previous work at the DNR, Alaina worked on Ecological Classification System training and development of management applications within the DNR Division of Forestry Ecological Land Classification Program.

Holly Bernardo

Holly Bernardo has been the MBS Plant Survey Supervisor since 2022. She worked in academia prior to joining the DNR. She held research positions with U.S. Geological Survey’s Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Station and Washington University in Saint Louis. She holds a Master’s degree focused on plant-insect interactions and Doctoral degree focused on rare plant population dynamics. Before taking on a supervisory role, her field work had two main foci, applied and research-based natural resource management in grasslands and rare plant species demography and conservation.

Melissa Boman

Melissa Boman has been working with MBS as a mammal survey specialist since 2016. She is the lead for monitoring and survey activities related to bats and small mammals. Bat work has included statewide acoustic monitoring for the North American Bat Monitoring Program, locating maternity roosts for the federally-endangered Northern Long-eared Bat, winter surveys to monitor the spread of White-nose Syndrome in hibernating bats, and investigating strategies for improving the use of bat boxes as a conservation tool. Small mammal work has included county surveys for rare species such as Northern Bog Lemmings, Woodland Jumping Mice, and Prairie Voles.

2024 Field Season: Norman, Clay, Polk, Wilkin, Fillmore, Pine, St. Louis, Nicollet counties.

Previous Field Seasons: Carlton, Clay, Cook, Goodhue, Fillmore, Morrison, Lake, Lake of the Woods, Nicollet, Norman, Pine, Olmstead, Polk, Roseau, Scott, St. Louis, Washington, Winona, Houston counties.

Bruce Carlson

Bruce Carlson has supervised MBS since 2015. He was a plant ecologist/botanist for MBS from 1997-2007 with fieldwork in north-central and northeast Minnesota. From 2007-2015 Bruce was the DNR NE Regional Plant Ecologist, a position in which he delivered and interpreted MBS data and analysis to land management and land-use decisions in northern and northeastern Minnesota.

Previous Field Seasons: North-central and northeast MN.

Karen Cieminski

Karen Cieminski has been the manager of the MN DNR rare species databases since 1997. She is responsible for administration of the Natural Heritage Information System’s Biotics and Native Species Observation databases, and management of the statewide data they contain. The Natural Heritage Information System Data Manager position was incorporated into MBS in 2020.

Nathan Dahlberg

Nathan Dahlberg works on the new Ecological Monitoring Network project, assessing overall trends in native plant communities statewide. He has previously worked monitoring coastal wetlands along Lake Michigan and Lake Superior with the University of Wisconsin Superior. Additionally Nathan has worked as a freelance botanist, contracting with the DNR working in Pine County, surveying vegetation in the St. Louis River estuary (Duluth/Superior), and designing a database that compiles over 10 years of vegetation data from 16 projects in the St. Louis River estuary.

2018 Field Season: Statewide- Aitkin, Becker, Beltrami, Brown, Cass, Chippewa, Clay, Crow Wing, Douglas, Fillmore, Hubbard, Itasca, Kanabec, Kandiyohi, Koochiching, Mahnomen, Meeker, Morrison, Olmsted, Pennington, Pipestone, Polk, Pope, Sherburne, St. Louis, Swift, Wilkin, Yellow Medicine.

Bob Dunlap

Bob Dunlap has been working as a zoologist and data specialist with MBS since 2015 with an expertise in Minnesota birds. During the month of June, he’s usually out in western Minnesota’s prairies conducting bird surveys as part of a long-term grassland monitoring study. When he’s not afield, Bob is part of the Natural Heritage Information Systems team that manages data on rare species in the state.

2024 Field Season: The western MN prairie counties.

Previous Field Seasons: Beltrami and Lake of the Woods counties.

Nicole Gerjets

Nicole Gerjets MBS Bee Biologist, started working for MBS in 2017 for the statewide bee survey, taking inventory of Minnesota bees. Her work focuses on conducting field surveys and identifying bees statewide.

Jen Gillen

Jenn Gillen has been working as a zoologist and data specialist with MBS since 2015. As part of the Natural Heritage Information System’s data team, she works on database management and data design.
When not knee deep in spreadsheets and data tables, Jenn can be found knee deep in rivers and wetlands, waist deep in prairie grasses, or fully immersed in forest habitat to conduct surveys on turtles, bats, bees, and/or butterflies.

Previous Field Seasons: Herpetology surveys (turtles, snakes, mudpuppies, salamanders), bee and butterfly surveys, acoustic bat monitoring, bat hibernacula monitoring, and bat mist net surveys.

Dustin Graham

Dustin Graham has been a plant ecologist with MBS since 2014. His work focuses on updating NPC mapping in the prairie region. His field work consists of visiting areas not captured in a county's baseline surveys.

2018 Field Season: Ottertail, Wilkin, Grant and Douglas counties.

Previous Field Seasons:  Minnesota's prairie region.

Carol Hall

Carol Hall has led MBS amphibian and reptile surveys since 1991, working statewide collecting baseline herp data. Beyond the MCBS baseline surveys, additional projects focused on salamanders and seasonal wetlands, rare grassland snakes, and river turtle conservation. Many projects have involved collaborative efforts with colleagues both within and outside the DNR including the Nongame Wildlife Program, SNA Program, Parks and Trails, and the Minnesota Zoo.

Rebecca Holmstrom

Rebecca Holmstrom has been working as a plant ecologist and botanist for MBS in the northeastern part of Minnesota since 2007.

2018 Field Season: Rare plant monitoring in the Littlefork-Vermilion Uplands Subsection.

Previous Field Seasons: St. Louis, Lake, Cook, Carlton, and Pine counties

Evan Host

Evan Host began his career with MBS as a volunteer in 2017, moving on to a student worker and soon after progressing to his current role as a plant ecologist. His work primarily focuses on completing NPC mapping in north-central Minnesota. Evan occasionally assists other plant ecologists with NPC ground-truthing and with Ecological Monitoring Network surveys.

Previous Field Seasons: Statewide, North-central Minnesota.

Jason Johnson

Jason Johnson has worked with MBS as a plant ecologist/botanist since 2007. He currently coordinates mapping across DNR divisions in the Native Plant Community database, MBS data delivery in the Minnesota Conservation Explorer web app, and managing special projects within the program. Before joining MBS Jason worked for the DNR Division of Forestry's Ecological Land Classification Program and the Minnesota Conservation Corp.

Previous Field Seasons: Wadena, Hubbard, Pine, Kanabec, Crow Wing, Aitkin, and Clearwater Counties, as well as forays in the Border Lakes Subsection.

Kyle Johnson

Kyle Johnson has been surveying Lepidoptera (moths and butterflies) since 1990— at the age of five— but didn't join MBS until 2009. His field work has focused on the Laurentian Mixed Forest and Tallgrass Aspen Parklands provinces, but he is currently working to expand surveys across the state.

2018 Field Season: Statewide.

Tom Klein

Amy Kendig began as a biometrician and wetland research scientist with MBS in 2022. She helps MBS staff design and analyze studies, such as the Ecological Monitoring Network and rare plant population monitoring. She also contributes to the Wetland Status and Trends Monitoring Program, the Wetland Hydrology Network, and Minnesota’s National Wetland Inventory.

Tom Klein

Tom Klein, information officer/web manager/graphic artist, has worked for MBS since 1989. He designs publications and materials related to MBS activities, and manages the MBS web pages within the MN DNR's website. He also coordinates accessibility compliance for the program.

Rachel Kranz

Rachel Kranz joined MBS in 2022 as the bee and pollinator assistant. Her work consists of conducting field surveys of native bees throughout the state and producing products surrounding plant-pollinator interactions.

Krista Larson

Krista Larson is a nongame research biologist and has assisted MBS staff with amphibian and reptile surveys since 2009 before officially joining the program in 2023. Recent field projects include coordinating a volunteer loon monitoring program, statewide mudpuppy surveys, Blanding’s turtle monitoring, and implementing Minnesota’s conservation plan for wood turtles.

2024 Field Season: rare turtles in southern Minnesota and other various amphibian and reptile survey work in Southeast Minnesota.

Jeff LeClere

Jeff LeClere has worked for MBS as an amphibian and reptile zoologist since 2008, and as an MBS contractor for twelve years prior. For several seasons he conducted statewide surveys for all of Minnesota's amphibian and reptile species. Recent field season projects (in southeastern, northeastern, and west-central Minnesota) focused on western rat snakes, gopher snakes (bullsnakes), plains hog-nosed snakes, eastern hog-nosed snakes, North American racers, five-lined skinks, spotted salamanders and four-toed salamanders. Some of this work involved using radio-telemetry and drift fences. 

2024 Field Season: southeastern Minnesota focusing primarily on Blanding’s turtles, and including some work with gopher snakes (bullsnakes), plains hog-nosed snakes, eastern hog-nosed snakes, North American racers and timber rattlesnakes.

Previous Field Seasons: Statewide with recent focus on Swift, Chippewa, Yellow Medicine, Redwood, Renville, Pine, Carlton, Wabasha, Winona, Fillmore and Houston counties.

Jeff Lee

Jeff Lee has been working as a MBS plant ecologist and botanist since 2012. He lives in Duluth and works primarily in northeastern Minnesota conducting rare plant and native plant community surveys. His current projects include plot sampling for the Ecological Monitoring Network and collaborating with USFS and NRCS to develop a vegetation-soil classification on the Superior National Forest. Previously, Jeff worked for Michigan’s natural heritage program.

2024 Field Season: Ecological Monitoring Network plots in northeast Minnesota. Relevé plot and soil sampling in the Superior National Forest, Lake and Cook counties. Soil pit descriptions for wetland monitoring sites, statewide.

Previous Field Seasons: Border Lakes and Littlefork Vermilion Uplands ECS Subsections of Koochiching County. Border Lakes, Laurentian Uplands, and North Shore Highlands ECS Subsections of St. Louis, Lake, and Cook Counties.

Michael Lee

Michael Lee began his tenure with MBS on the small mammal crew at Camp Ripley in 1992. He evolved to an MBS botanist/plant ecologist in 1993 working in Dakota County. Since then he has conducted botanical and ecological surveys throughout much of the state though his efforts have been focused in the forested regions (Eastern Broadleaf Forest and Laurentian Mixed Forest ECS provinces).

2024 Field Season: botanical surveys and rare plant monitoring in southeast, central, and northeast Minnesota. Focal areas include High and Outstanding Biodiversity Sites and areas with very limited past survey in the Blufflands, mesic woodlands in northwest Minnesota, Scientific & Natural Areas in the southeast and northeast parts of the state, Kabetogama Lake and Kabetogama Peninsula in Voyageurs National Park, Brule-Cherokee portion of the BWCAW, Greenwood fire area, and sand and gravel bars and mud flats along major rivers.

Geographic Area of Expertise: Dakota, Fillmore, Wabasha, Winona, Houston, Stearns, Todd, Wadena, Becker, Hubbard, Carlton, Pine, St. Louis, Lake, Cook, Kanabec, Koochiching, Lake of the Woods, Mille Lacs, Benton, Morrison, Aitkin, Crow Wing, Cass, Kandiyohi counties.

Deanna Leigh

Deanna Leigh joined MBS in 2023 as the community science coordinator. Currently she leads the MN PlantWatch program, training volunteers to survey for rare plants across the state. This program is a collaboration with the Plant Conservation Program at the University of Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. Before joining MBS, she worked as a resource specialist for the DNR Parks and Trails division, conducting habitat management in central Minnesota state parks.

2024 Field Season: Statewied.

Eric Ogdahl

Eric Ogdahl joined MBS in 2022 and works primarily on the statewide Ecological Monitoring Network and completing baseline NPC mapping in north-central Minnesota. He previously worked in consulting, conducting a variety of botanical surveys and monitoring throughout the upper Midwest. He first worked with MBS as a volunteer in the 2010s, assisting with surveys in the Border Lakes subsection.

Ethan Perry

Ethan Perry lives in Duluth and has been a plant ecologist for MBS working in forests, bogs, swamps, meadows, and lakes throughout northeast and northcentral Minnesota since 2004. He documents rare species occurrences, evaluates the condition of plant communities, and produces map layers of vegetation types.

2024 Field Season: Ecological Monitoring Network plots in northern MN, vernal pool sampling in northern Aitkin and western Carlton Counties, hemlock seedling inventory, continued mapping of native plant communities.

Previous Field Seasons: Itasca County, northern Cass County, Leech Lake Reservation, southern St. Louis County, southern Koochiching County, Boundary Water Canoe Area Wilderness.

Jessica Petersen

Jessica Petersen began working as a research scientist for MBS in the summer of 2018. She leads terrestrial insect surveys and monitoring, primarily bees and butterflies. Many projects are collaborative with Nongame Wildlife Program and other partners.

All Field Seasons: Statewide

Katie Reisinger

Katie Reisinger began working for MBS in 2022 as a seasonal botanist on the Ecological Monitoring Network (EMN) team. Following the field season, Katie took on a Plant Community Specialist role working to complete baseline NPC mapping and continuing to support EMN. Katie assists other MBS botanists and plant ecologists with vegetation surveys when possible.

Courtney Millaway

Courtney Schirmers joined MBS as an aquatic botanist in 2017. Her work focuses on aquatic botanical surveys throughout the state and includes collaboration with the DNR’s Lake Ecology Program.

2024 Field Season: rare plant and general botanical surveys on lakes and select river stretches primarily in southern and north-central MN.

Previous Field Seasons: rare plant and general botanical surveys on lakes in Anoka, Chisago, Kandiyohi, Le Sueur, McLeod, Meeker, Pope, Ramsey, Rice, Stearns, Steele, Stevens, Swift, Waseca, Washington and Wright counties as well as in Voyageurs National Park.

Welby Smith

Welby Smith has worked as the State Botanist in the DNR since 1979. His work encompasses all naturally occurring vascular plant species throughout the state. He specializes in field studies of rare and endangered species and has prepared field guides to the identification of orchids, trees and shrubs, sedges and rushes; and most recently, ferns and lycophytes of Minnesota.

All Field Seasons: Statewide

Steve Stucker

Steve Stucker has been leading MBS' bird surveys since 1990.

2018 Field Season: Border Lakes Subsection; Dodge, Faribault, Freeborn, Mower, Steele, Waseca counties.

Previous Field Seasons: Most recently Dodge, Faribault, Freeborn, Mower, Steele, Waseca counties, the southeastern Blufflands, Minnesota River Valley counties, Mille Lacs Uplands, Itasca County.

Daniel Wovcha

Daniel Wovcha has been a plant ecologist with MBS since 1991. In addition to plant community survey work, Daniel has worked on several MBS publication projects, including Minnesota's St. Croix River Valley and Anoka Sandplain: A guide to native habitats and the three-volume series Field guides to the native plant communities of Minnesota. He also has a role with MBS' current publication project: a book on the native habitats of northwestern Minnesota’s Red River Valley and Aspen Parkland region.

Previous Field Seasons: assistance with Border Lakes subsection surveys; assistance with prairie monitoring in west-central Minnesota; MBS plant community surveys in Carver, Hennepin, Scott, Wright counties.

Former MBS Staff

Norm Aaseng

Norm Aaseng was a plant ecologist/botanist with MBS from 1990 to 2017. Norm had previously been the DNR's Peatland Ecologist from 1979-1989. Most recently, he managed the plant (MnTaxa) and vegetation plot (Relevé) databases. His field work was primarily in Roseau and Pine counties; but he also assisted with surveys throughout northern Minnesota.

Chel Anderson

Chel Anderson has worked as an ecologist and botanist in Minnesota since 1986. Her MBS work was in the Northern Superior Uplands Section, as well as the Northern MN and Ontario Peatlands Section.

Amy Arndorfer

Amy Arndorfer worked as a Bee Survey Specialist with MBS from 2016-2018, and worked primarily in the Minnesota's prairie regions. Her fieldwork contributed to the goal of creating a state species list for bees.

Laura Bosacker

Laura Bosacker worked on the new Minnesota Ecological Monitoring project, assessing overall trends in native plant communities statewide. Previously she worked in consulting, performing wetland delineations, rare plant surveys, vegetation monitoring and other botanical surveys throughout northern Minnesota, as well as in North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Wyoming.

Crystal Boyd

Crystal Boyd joined MBS in 2013 after working with the Minnesota State Wildlife Action Plan. She initiated MBS’s native bee surveys and compiled the first comprehensive state species list of bees. She also served on the Interagency Pollinator Protection Team and contributed to the 2017 Minnesota State Agency Pollinator Report. Please visit this webpage to learn more about Crystal's grassland bee project. In 2018, Crystal transitioned to a new position as the Pollinator Programs Manager for the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. Her field season work was in the Prairie Parkland Province, Tallgrass Aspen Parklands Province, and Eastern Broadleaf Forest Province.

Carmen Converse

Carmen Converse was the survey's creator and face of the program from its beginning in 1987 through spring 2015. Carmen performed prairie survey work for MBS in western Minnesota in MBS's early years.

Robert Dana

Robert Dana started working with MBS as a plant ecologist in 1987 and was the Prairie Ecologist for the Natural Heritage and Nongame Research Program between 1991 and 2007. Robert is an entomologist by training and conducted insect surveys for MBS, along with prairie vegetation monitoring work for the Landowner Incentive Program.

Margaret Edwards

Margaret Edwards began work for MNDNR as a zoology data specialist in 2009, before joining MBS (2012-2021), where they were responsible for data management, MBS database design, and field work. They now lead the DNR's Community Science Program.

Lawson Gerdes

Lawson Gerdes was the MBS Northern Coordinator until her retirement in spring 2016. She was also a plant ecologist with MBS from 1999. Her work area was the Laurentian Mixed Forest Province, which includes most of the northern forested part of the state.

Lynden Gerdes

Lynden Gerdes performed botanical surveys for MBS from 1999 until his retirement in 2016. His floristic fieldwork was focused in Lake, Cook, St. Louis, and Itasca counties of the Laurentian Mixed Forest Province.

Fred Harris

Fred Harris served as a plant ecologist/botanist for MBS from 1992-2024, working in counties concentrated mainly in northwestern Minnesota, the Minnesota River valley, and the Prairie Coteau. He led extensive research into the effects of patch-burn grazing on the native (and invasive) plant communities in Minnesota's prairie region.


Andrew Herberg

Andrew Herberg worked as an Animal Survey Specialist with MBS from 2015-2019. His work focused on monitoring the spread of White-nose Syndrome in our state's hibernating bats, conducting surveys for small mammals and rare non-game fish, and assisting with amphibian and reptile surveys.

Courtney Kerns

Courtney Kerns joined MBS in May 2012 as a plant ecologist/botanist and worked in Aitkin, Koochiching and Lake of the Woods counties in northern Minnesota through 2016.

Adam Maleski

Adam Maleski joined MBS in 2015 after working on Camp Ripley animal surveys, ranging from bats to bears to hawks to turtles. He  netted and radio-tracked Northern Long-eared Bat females, conducted small mammal surveys, and assisted with other MBS animal surveys in Beltrami, Koochiching and Lake of the Woods counties.

Brett Nagle

Brett Nagle Worked for MBS as a zoologist/ichthyologist from 2008-2014 conducting non-game fish surveys as well as assisting with small mammal surveys in Cook, Dodge, Itasca, Lake, Mower, and Steele counties.

Stacey Olszlewski

Stacey Olszewski worked as an MBS plant ecologist from 2008–2010 doing field surveys in Cass County and assisting with follow-up surveys in Roseau and Pine counties.

Erika Rowe

Erika Rowe worked for MBS as a plant ecologist/botanist from 2002-2022. Up until 2017, her work was focused on counties in the north-central region of Minnesota, where the prairie, patterned peatlands, and Laurentian mixed forest convene. She has also worked in the Blufflands region of southeast Minnesota doing focused vegetation surveys. Beginning in 2017, she coordinated the Ecological Monitoring Network (EMN), a project that is establishing long-term vegetation plots statewide to achieve a broader understanding of potential changes taking place across all of our native plant communities as a result of habitat fragmentation, climate change and the spread of invasive species, to name a few.


Janeen Ruby

Janeen Ruby worked as a plant ecologist with MBS from 2009-2014 during which she conducted surveys for selected rare plants in southwestern Minnesota, native plant community inventory in Martin, Murray, and Nobles counties, as well as prairie monitoring in southern Minnesota. In addition to plant community survey work, Janeen entered data for various MBS projects, including the relevé database. She was the project manager for the MNTaxa project (MNDNR's list of the vascular plant species that have been documented in Minnesota). Janeen previously has worked for the Wisconsin DNR and the Missouri Conservation Department.

Nancy Sather

Nancy Sather has worked as a MBS ecologist since 1991, and concurrently as a Botanist/Ecologist with the Minnesota Natural Heritage Program from 1987-2008. She has served on federal Recovery Teams for three federally listed species: the dwarf trout lily (Erythronium propullans), the prairie bush clover (Lespedeza leptostachya), and as the team leader for the western prairie fringed orchid (Platanthera praeclara) Recovery Team. She surveyed Martin, Cottonwood, Jackson, Lyon, Murray (part), Nobles (part), Mahnomen, Polk (east), and Marshall counties for MBS.

Amanda Stoltzfus

Amanda Stoltzfus worked with MBS from 2006-2009 and from 2012-2015. She conducted moth surveys and assisted with fish, snake, turtle, dwarf trout lily, mudpuppy, mammal, and butterfly surveys.

Hannah Texler

Hannah Texler was the MBS Plant Survey Supervisor since 2015-2020. She oversaw the work of the plant ecologists and botanists for the program, and was the project manager for the statewide Minnesota Long-Term Ecological Monitoring. She also worked as a plant ecologist/botanist for MBS from 1990 to 1995, when she surveyed counties in the southeastern part of the state. Between 1995 and 2015, she served as the regional plant ecologist for southeastern and east-central Minnesota, and from 1985 to 1990, she worked for the Scientific and Natural Areas program.

Amy Westmark

Amy Westmark worked for MBS as a zoology data assistant from 2013-2015. She was responsible for data entry, data management and animal field surveys.

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