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St Croix River Association To Protect, Restore, and Celebrate the St. Croix River and its Watershed

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Deb Ryun, Executive Director

Deb Ryun, has been the Executive Director of SCRA since October 2009. She has 25 years of experience with management and coordination of multi-stakeholder initiatives; watershed-level planning; and implementation of on-the-ground projects to protect land and water. Deb provides overall leadership for and management of the SCRA. She is the public face of the Association and represents the organization before various audiences. During the open water season, Deb spends much of her free time enjoying all that the Namekagon and St. Croix Rivers offer. Email:

Bethany Cox, Director of Development

Bethany Cox is the Director of Development at the St. Croix River Association. She has been with the St. Croix River association since September of 2019, and brings with her years of entrepreneurial and nonprofit experience. Bethany is looking to creatively engage more of the community to not only support the Namekagon and St. Croix rivers but also to bring more individuals and families to the rivers to experience the natural beauty this National Park provides. Bethany grew up experiencing the lakes and rivers in Wisconsin from a canoe and is looking forward to exploring the Namekagon and St. Croix rivers with her own family. Email:

Nichole Henger, Forestry Program Coordinator

Nichole grew up in Ohio and went to the University of Dayton for her B.S. in Environmental Biology.  She continued her education in NY and enrolled in a dual degree program with State University of New York-Environmental Science and Forestry and Syracuse University. There she obtained an M.S. in Forestry and Natural Resources Management and an MPA and also completed a thesis on Emerald Ash Borer state management plans. During her free time, she enjoys backpacking, canoeing and exploring new areas.  Email:

Laura Istel, Naturalist

Laura graduated from Western State Colorado University in 2018 with a degree in Outdoor Recreation and Environmental Education. Born and raised in Marine on St. Croix, her inherent respect for the rivers inspired her to relocate home within the St. Croix Watershed. Laura hopes to actively engage people of all ages to develop a greater awareness, appreciation and understanding of  the watershed. Laura joined The St. Croix River Association in 2019, as a Naturalist, building lifelong connections to the environment through education, exploration and play within the St. Croix Watershed using Rivers Are Alive K-12 environmental education programs in partnership with the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway (National Park Service). Email:

Emilee Martell, AmeriCorps VISTA Steward

Emilee is a life-long river rat with a long family history on the lower St. Croix River, and loves summer kayaking and winter hiking. She earned B.A.s in English and Environmental Studies from St. Olaf College, and spent the year after graduation serving as a full-time volunteer at a community garden in Denver, Colorado. During college, Emilee participated in SCRA’s summer internship program as a park guide, and is excited to return as an AmeriCorps VISTA to engage with businesses in the watershed to improve engagement and stewardship. Email:

Jane Rice, River Connections Guide

Jane graduated from the University of Iowa in 2019 with a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication and a Certificate in Sustainability. After graduation, Jane spent the summer interning at Canyon Field School in Grand Canyon National Park, teaching local kids and teens about the park’s natural wonders. Jane joined the St. Croix River Association in September 2019, as the River Connections Guide. In her position, she hopes to help new and diverse audiences discover the Riverway and explore the amazing recreation opportunities it has to offer. Email:

Iskra Rood, Communications and Events Coordinator

Iskra graduated from the University of Bradford, UK with a M.A. in International Development Management and a B.A. in Communications from Bangkok University International College. Iskra joined SCRA in July of 2017, assisting with administrative duties and is also now overseeing SCRA’s communications efforts, website development, social media as well as event coordination and office management. Iskra is still new to the paddling game and she’s working her way through it. Email:

Katie Sickmann, Invasive Species Coordinator

Katie Sickmann recently graduated from the University of Wisconsin- River Falls with a B.S. in Biology and Field Biology. Prior to accepting the Invasive Species Program Coordinator position with SCRA she worked with the Prior Lake- Spring Lake Watershed District. There she gained experience with water quality monitoring, invasive species management, education and outreach, and maintaining BMPs and restoration sites. Katie has spent many summers at her family’s cabin just outside of Spooner, WI and loves to kayak the Namekagon whenever she can get the chance. She works closely with government agencies and other stakeholders such as outfitters, marinas and bait shops, and those engaged in preventing and controlling the spread of invasive species. Email:

Jaime Souza, Education and Outreach Coordinator

Jaime graduated from the University of Wisconsin River Falls with a M.S. in Curriculum and Instruction (Elementary Education, grades K-8). Starting with SCRA on July 6 in 2017, Jaime has paddled most of the Riverway and began work on growing the Rivers Are Alive K-12 environmental education program in partnership with the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway (National Park Service).  Jaime has also worked hard to initiate a volunteer-driven adventures and outings program called SCRA Outside, which offers pedals, paddles, hikes and more throughout the watershed in all seasons. Jaime oversees the summer internship program and supports the hiring, recruitment and supervision of our summer interns. Email:

Kate Wright, Marketing and Development Coordinator

Kate grew up on the St. Croix River and enjoys our watershed year round by skiing, paddling, and hiking with her dogs. She studied Business Law and Environmental Studies at the University of St. Thomas earning her B.A. Kate joined the SCRA team in March of 2017 focusing on donor relations and database management. Since then, her duties have expanded to include our in house marketing, event coordination and supervising SCRA’s first AmeriCorps VISTA position. Kate serves on the Board of Directors for the Deer Lake Improvement Association and is currently pursuing a Master’s degree. Email:

Monica Zachay, Land and Water Program Director

Monica Zachay is the Land and Water Program Director at the St. Croix River Association. She has been with the St. Croix River Association since 2012, working to develop the SCRA's Land and Water Program, which strives to protect and restore the water quality of the St. Croix, realizing its connection with land use. Monica holds a Bachelor of Science in Natural Resources from the University of Minnesota, and has extensive experience in multi-stakeholder project leadership, land restoration, and hydrological modeling of lakes and streams. She is currently working on her Master’s in Public Affairs from the University of Missouri – Columbia. Email: