Meet the WAEE Team

2019 Board of Directors

Justin Hougham – Chair


Upham Woods, Wisconsin Dells

Dr. Justin Hougham is faculty at the University of Wisconsin- Extension where he supports the delivery of a wide range of science education topics to K-12 students, graduate students, and in-service teachers. Justin’s scholarship is in the areas of place-based pedagogies, STEM education, and education for sustainability. Justin has taught 17 different undergraduate and graduate courses as well as instructed over 1000 days in the field.He continues to teach courses, clinics, and trainings that develop pedagogies in experiential education. Justin is currently the Director for Upham Woods Outdoor Learning Center, an environmental education facility 1 hour from Madison, WI.  Justin’s projects and research in the areas of energy literacy as well as in the use of technology in place-based environmental education can be found in journals and in conference presentations throughout the U.S.


Zaynab Baalbaki


Escuela Verde, Milwaukee

Zaynab Baalbaki is extremely passionate about social justice, especially in education. This passion stems from various personal experiences. She attended UW-Madison, where she majored in Elementary Education and Sociology and minored in Educational Policy Studies and Chican@ & Latin@ Studies. She attended graduate school at the University of Pennsylvania and Marquette University in College Student Personnel Administration. She had opportunities to work abroad in England and Kuwait.

Currently, Zaynab is an advisor at Escuela Verde, located in Milwaukee, WI. Escuela Verde is a project-based public school that focuses on social justice, sustainability, and peace. Her four year tenure there has provided many opportunities to take students outside the walls of a school building. She loves going camping with students. Zaynab is involved with local organizations as the education chair for the Milwaukee Urban League Young Professionals. Trying new restaurants and traveling are two of her favorite pastimes.


Jason Dropik – Secretary


Indian Community School, Milwaukee

Jason P. Dropik is the Head of School at the Indian Community School near Milwaukee, WI. A member of the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Ojibwe he serves urban American Indians in the Milwaukee metro area. Jason graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in Elementary Education. Jason received his Master’s degree in Administrative Leadership from Concordia University. While serving in education, Jason has been dedicated to providing opportunity and experience for youth from urban and suburban settings to engage in environmental education. He has had the chance to be on dozens of outdoor education experiences as a part of developing and connecting curriculum to authentic experiences. Whether it is connecting under-water robotics to wild rice on tribal reservations, traveling with students to Costa Rica to explore the rainforest, or exploring the grounds near his school Jason believes in fostering a sense of inquiry and action in students and the staff he serves. Jason’s connection to the environment is grounded in Native Traditional Teachings that the decisions we make should positively impact those to come seven generations from now. This grounded view works in collaboration with current technology and real-world applications to provide students with the opportunities to explore, understand, and creatively solve problems to protect the earth that we are borrowing from those yet to come. 
When Jason is not working, he enjoys spending time with his family, camping, skiing, fishing, hiking, canoeing and playing sports. His wife Jamie is a second-grade teacher at the Indian Community School, and he has three children. 
Deanna Erickson


Lake Superior National Estuarine Research Reserve, Superior 

I am the education coordinator at the Lake Superior National Estuarine Research Reserve, a NOAA-led partnership with the University of Wisconsin Extension dedicated to research, education and stewardship of Lake Superior estuaries. In my work, I lead the Rivers2Lake education program, which mentors teachers in inquiry and place-based learning, and operate the Lake Superior Estuarium, an interpretive center that tells stories of the St. Louis River Estuary. I hold a Bachelors of Science from UW-Stevens Point in Environmental Education and a MEd from the University of Minnesota Duluth in Environmental Education. I have worked as an educator, field researcher and administrator since 1998. Professionally, I have written for Green Teacher, Childcare Exchange and the Journal of Environmental Education. Previously I served on the board of the National Estuarine Research Reserve Association and was a founding board member of Northland Paddlers Alliance in Duluth, MN where I live.  If you can’t find me, I’m probably out in my kayak on the Lake.


Becca Franzen – Chair Elect


UW-Stevens Point, Stevens Point

As an Associate Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, Becca works to inspire undergraduate and graduate students in environmental education. She teaches courses in foundations of environmental education, environmental education methods, environmental issues and investigations and more.  Her research focuses on pre-service teacher education in environmental education and environmental literacy. 

Before, during, and after earning her B.S. from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, Becca worked in varied roles at environmental education centers and camps for people with disabilities. Seeing a need to better connect with local communities, Becca went back to school for a Master’s degree in Human and Community Resources. She then completed her doctorate degree in Curriculum and Instruction with a Specialization in Social Studies, Science, and Environmental Education Integration from Northern Illinois University.


Maria Moreno


Earth Partnership, Madison

Maria Moreno, a cultural anthropologist by training, is working with the Undergraduate Certificate in Global Health program and as a multicultural outreach specialist for the Earth Partnership (EP) program. She joins the undergraduate certificate team to develop curriculum and courses, document impact and help manage  the program. At EP, she develops curricular materials and outreach programs centered on ecological restoration for youth, college students, community members and professional development for teachers. She also designs, teaches and supervises field courses as well as domestic and international internships on environmental education. She leads Earth Partnership Global Initiatives in Mexico, Nicaragua, Dominican Republic, Ecuador and Puerto Rico.


Betsy Parker – Past Chair 


Aldo Leopold Nature Center, Monona

I am a long-term member of WAEE and past Board member (2004-09). I was awarded the WAEE Aldo Leopold Award for service to the organization in 2012 for advocating for Wisconsin Children’s Outdoor Bill of Rights and piloting the Wisconsin “Master Naturalist” program. I was WAEE’s liaison to the Wisconsin Environmental Education Board and functioned as the project coordinator for Wisconsin’s Plan for Environmentally Literate and Sustainable Communities. I am a non-formal educator at the Aldo Leopold Nature Center (since 2000) and am currently inspiring parents and teachers at my children’s school to earn the Green & Healthy School Certificate. My philosophy on EE is multi-fold: hands-on teaching and learning with children, encouraging policy that supports this, and uniting EE agencies to reach these common goals.


Eleva Potter


Conserve School, Land O’ Lakes

I teach teenagers about Environmental Stewardship at Conserve School and couldn’t be more grateful for such a unique position! I especially enjoy delving into environmental ethics, eating local foods and sharing unique opportunities with the students. I attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison and earned a degree in Environmental Studies. After finishing school I traveled to the Pacific Northwest to explore sustainable living, organic farming and conservation work. I was brought back to the Mid-West to spend a year as a naturalist at Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center in Finland, Minnesota and earn a Master’s in Environmental Education from the University of Minnesota-Duluth. I’ve recently been working on injecting indigenous perspectives on the environment into our curricula. I love sharing spicy food, adventures, and books with all of the interesting people I meet that share my passion for outdoor and environmental education


Skylar Primm – Treasurer


High Marq Environmental Charter School, Montello

Once, I was a geologist. As an environmental educator, I now get to indulge my love of science and nature while preparing the next generation of leaders. Born and raised in New Orleans, I earned my BS in Geology there before moving to Madison, where I received my MS in Geology from the University of Wisconsin, followed by teacher certification from Edgewood College. The first time I set foot in a classroom as a student teacher, I knew that I had found my calling. Since that time, I have taught exclusively in project based learning schools, beginning at TAGOS Leadership Academy in Janesville before joining High Marq Environmental Charter School in 2011. In 2017, I was honored with a Herb Kohl Educational Foundation Fellowship in recognition of my teaching, leadership, and service. I have a passion for writing, which is nourished by my ongoing involvement with the Greater Madison Writing Project. As a board member and part of our NAAEE ee360 team, I am excited to help further WAEE’s development as a diverse, resilient organization.


Jessica Kuzniewski – Student Board Member



I have always been passionate about environmental conservation, but I have more recently delved into the field of environmental education. After recently becoming an assistant teacher at Yahara River Learning Center, a nature-based school, I have seen the positive impacts of incorporating the environment into the classroom. I am also interning with Nature Net this summer, which is a leading voice in environmental education. Their engagement in providing resources for environmental educators demonstrates how important it is to make these connections between parents, educators, students, and environmentalists. I believe that these experiences will give me unique insight to both the administrative and scholastic aspects of environmental education, and I would love to further my involvement in this field as a member of this board.

Join the Board

Student Board Member Nomination

WAEE Administrator

Lynn Karbowski

Lynn Karbowski has been the WAEE Administrator since 2014.  She enjoys working for the WAEE board and helping with events, Winter Workshop being her favorite. Lynn enjoys spending time with her children and grandchildren, gardening, and reading. She works part time for WAEE and part time for the Aber Suzuki Center on the UWSP campus.

We would like to extend a tremendous thank you to the 2018 outgoing Board members: Nathan Larson, Community GroundWorks, Chrystal Seeley-Shreck, UW Technical Schools, and Joella Zocher, Escuela Verde. Their outstanding dedication to strengthening environmental education for all in Wisconsin is greatly appreciated!

We would also like to thank our out-going Awards Committee Chair Emily Brown, and current Awards Committee Chair Molly McKay. You can join a committee here.

Want to become part of the Board of Directors? Take a look at the elections for board members.

See what our Board of Directors has been up to.