Chris Anderson, Executive Director
Chris Anderson has been the Executive Director for Iowa County Conservation Board since May 2017. Chris was born, and largely raised in Iowa with a few years spent in Montana during his childhood.
Chris sought a career in natural resources because of his love of working with people, the natural world and the words of Aldo Leopold. In the forward of his seminal work A Sand County Almanac Leopold said:
“We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect.”
People are part of the natural landscape, not an invasive species. The key to conserving our natural resources is not in keeping people away from them, but it is in demonstrating the importance of caring and good stewardship through wise use. Chris’s approach to management of resources, whether trees, prairies, staff, or volunteers is an ecological one. Each part of an ecosystem, organization, or partnership is equally important and must be nurtured to perform at peak function.
Chris has an AAS in Wilderness Management from Vermilion Community College In Ely, MN and a BS in Conservation Social Science/Natural Resource Recreation & Tourism with a minor in Anthropology/Archaeology from University of Idaho in Moscow, ID. Chris has worked as a Wilderness Ranger in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area for the U.S. Forest Service, Park Aide for Whitman County Parks, Recreation & Fair at Kamiak Butte County Park near Palouse, WA, Naturalist and Missouri River Outdoor Expo Coordinator for Nebraska Game & Parks Commission at Ponca State Park, Ponca, NE, Program Coordinator for Black Hawk CCB at Hartman Reserve Nature Center in Cedar Falls, IA, Naturalist-Ranger for Tama CCB at Otter Creek Lake & Park near Toledo, IA.
In addition to his professional life Chris has an amazing family and loads of obscure hobbies. In his free time Chris is a blacksmith, a bowyer, a traditional archer, a greenwood worker, a hunter, a birdwatcher, an avid reader, a painter, and the list goes on…
Phil DeJarnatt, Park Ranger
Mary Bulger, Naturalist
Mary has been the Naturalist with Iowa County Conservation since November 2016. Mary grew up in a small rural eastern Iowa community. This gave her lots of time to spend outdoors and enjoy all the wonders nature has to offer. Her family spent endless hours fishing, camping, gardening, and just enjoying the nature. Through spending most of her youth in nature, she developed a love for it as well as for animals. This is what led Mary to her chosen career path as a Naturalist!
After graduating high school Mary attended Kirkwood Community College, and earned her parks and natural resources degree. While attending Kirkwood she did an internship and then worked part-time with the MacBride Raptor Project (MRP). There she gained experience working with birds of prey, she assisted with rehabilitation and care of wild injured and resident non-releasable raptors, presented educational programs with and about raptors, and participated in raptor research projects. She loved working with and caring for these beautiful birds.
After graduating from Kirkwood Mary worked seasonal and part-time naturalist jobs for a few years, and then decided to return to college to get her bachelor’s degree from the University of Iowa in environmental science with a minor in education. While perusing her degree she worked four summers with the UI Summer Wildlife Camps where she spent time outdoor with kids of all ages teaching about nature, and doing fun outdoor recreation activities. She also started working at the MRP again, continuing to teach about and care for Iowa’s birds of prey.
After graduation she accepted a conservation education position with Muscatine County Conservation (MCC). This was a full-time volunteer position through the AmeriCorps national volunteer service program, that she worked for two years, then continued to work part-time with MCC for an additional two and a half years. At MCC she was able to expand her knowledge and experience within conservation education, worked with and cared for resident education wildlife, and was mentored by two great naturalists!
She accepted her first full-time permanent naturalist position with Lee County Conservation. After educating the citizens of Lee County for three and a half years, Mary was fortunate to accept a position closer to home with Iowa County Conservation.
Working with many different organizations has given her lots of great experience in the conservation education field. It has allowed her to spread awareness, appreciation, and good stewardship for the outdoors. Mary is very excited to have this wonderful opportunity to serve the people of Iowa County by educating them about nature. She looks forward to meeting you at one of our parks or schools!
When not working Mary enjoys spending time with her friends and family, listing to music, gardening, creating art, and volunteering with various groups in Iowa County.
Shelley Berger, Office Assistant
Shelley Berger has been with ICC since 2014 and brings 20+ years of bookkeeping and secretarial experience with her from helping her husband, Craig, run their family business, the Marengo Body Shop. Most days you can find her at the Lake Iowa Nature Center office pitching in with anything and everything office related to help free up the rest of the staff to tend to our 14 conservation and recreation properties. She has also been seen mowing the campground, helping with prescribed burns or building fence and helping wrangle children at the Williamsburg Junior High Volunteer Day, Creepy Camping and the Iowa County Outdoor Adventure.
When she is not at work Shelley can be found on her farm with her husband, Craig, her two children, Tanner and Eli, and their cow/calf herd, chickens, cats and her 2 dogs. She also enjoys all the wildlife that visit the Berger farm, from the chorus of frogs that serenade every summer to the Bald Eagles that visit each winter. She loves visiting her older children, Bailey in Olympia, Washington and Gage in Wheaton, Illinois. In the summer you can find her and her family at a National Park adding to their spotters list of wildlife.
Cecilia Hagen, Ranger/ Naturalist
Cecilia Hagen is excited to be returning to work for Iowa County Conservation! Her college summers were spent working for the park in different seasonal positions. She graduated from the University of Iowa with a degree in Geographical and Sustainability Sciences. After college, she worked for a few different places before the Ranger/ Naturalist position opened up. She is ready for this new and challenging chapter of her conservation career.
When not working she is outside horseback riding, putting together IKEA furniture, or creating a meal for six (when it only needs to feed two). She loves talking about her horse- Sam, Dog- Dundee, and two guinea pigs- Ginger and Cilantro. Look for her bright red hair (not a beard) and say hello!
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