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Board of Directors

As a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, Marsh Haven Nature Center is overseen by a Board of Directors, along with an Executive Director who manages daily operations. Our board is very diverse with education, sales, and manufacturing backgrounds. All board members are dedicated volunteers at Marsh Haven Nature Center and work diligently to further the mission of this community-supported nature center.

RENEE WAHLEN

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Renee Wahlen came on board as the executive director in October 2011. She worked closely with Marsh Haven’s founder and first director, Lawrence Vine, until the Vines’ relocation to Arizona. With a bachelor’s degree in Communications, Renee had worked in print media for over ten years. During that time she started the Wisconsin Windstar Connection, an environmental education organization, and introduced the EARTHcamp program to the state. EARTHcamp is a daycamp program for youth with an environmental focus. Renee attended the EARTHcamp Leader’s Training in Old Snowmass, Colorado and has led EARTHcamps for almost ten years.

After receiving her Master of Arts degree in Transpersonal Psychology, with a concentration in ecopsychology, Renee pursued her interest in environmental work. Ecopsychology is the study of the connection between humans and nature using a psychological foundation. She has taught psychology courses at the technical college level.

Renee is a Certified Interpretive Guide through the National Association of Interpreters, holds a permit through U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service for educational raptors, is a member of the Wisconsin Association of Environmental Educators, and attended trainings through Project WET & Project WILD, Flying WILD, Leopold LEP, and Land Ethic Leaders, World Bird Sanctuary’s Avian Training Workshop, Natural Encounters, Inc., and Living & Learning with Animals through Dr. Susan Friedman’s Behavior Works.

MERLE SCHOUTEN

President

I was born in Waupun, the son of Harvey and Geraldine Schouten in 1944. We moved to a farm near Waupun when I was very young. We then moved near Brandon. My dad suffered a heart attack and then we moved to Brandon. I attended school in Brandon, graduating from high school in 1962. I started working for National Rivet and Manufacturing. In 1965, I was drafted into the United States Army. I served in Fort Knox, Kentucky; Fort Sill, Oklahoma; and Schoefield Barracks, Hawaii. In 1966, the 25th Infantry Division was assigned to Cu Chi, Vietnam. I served one year in Vietnam with the 13th Artillery and was discharged in March of 1967. I returned home and married my wife, Dorothy, in August of 1967. We have three children – two boys and one girl and four grandchildren. I worked as a tool and die maker for National Rivet for 44 years, retiring in 2007. I am very active in my church and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6709. I also enjoy spending time at Marsh Haven Nature Center.

DAVID GERBER DVM

Vice President

I graduated from Purdue University in 1976, moved to Columbus, and began practice with the Columbus Veterinary Hospital working with farm animals, horses, and companion animals.  In 1987, I founded the Columbus Countryside Veterinary Clinic. I’m married, have four grown children, and eleven grandchildren. In my spare time, I enjoy tennis, camping, canoeing, and of course, spending time with our fabulous grandchildren.

I met raptor rehabilitator Barbara Harvey, and over the years provided veterinary care for many of her injured birds of prey. I have a deep appreciation for wildlife and especially raptors. I feel honored to be able to provide veterinary care for them.  In November of 2018, I joined the board of directors at Mash Haven Nature Center.

SALLY SCHOENIKE

SECRETARY

I am excited to be on the Marsh Haven Nature Center Board of Directors. I served as the Dodge County 4-H and Youth Development Agent with UW-Extension for 32 years. This allowed me to work with youth and adults in a variety of leadership development and educational programs with the goal of positively impacting their lives and the community. Learning by doing is a key element in 4-H and this is echoed in the educational programs at the Nature Center. Marsh Haven is truly one of the best kept secrets in the area. I enjoy working with our enthusiastic Board of Directors, our passionate volunteers and our dedicated director to promote this special place where nature is appreciated, conserved, and celebrated.

LIZ ROY

TREASURER

My name is Liz Roy and I am a “retired” (although I usually say that I flunked Retirement 101) 3rd grade teacher from the Oakfield School District. I still substitute and volunteer there, as well as teaching summer school. I have a passion for anything science and/or nature related and Marsh Haven is a wonderful place to experience both.  I’ve been hanging around Marsh Haven for at least 15 years, and have met so many really neat people. So many wonderful things happen here and it’s fun to be a part of them.

MARK SCHOENICK

Board Member

Born in Wausau but raised in Waupun. After high school I moved back to Wausau and worked there for 11 years. Beautiful country up there.

Then I started working for the state and was fortunate to live in many cities where there were nature centers. After moving back to Waupun and winding down my career, I started volunteering at Marsh Haven Nature Center. Been here ever since.

So many wonderful visitors that make Marsh Haven Nature Center “The Place To Be!”