Instructor Biographies

Danielle Bell 

Danielle graduated from UW-Milwaukee with a dual degree in Conservation and Environmental Sciences and Architectural Design. Over the past 10 years, she has gained extensive experience working in the green industry on various size restoration projects in wetlands, prairies, and woodlands. Restoring and protecting native plant communities from the attack of invasive species has given her the knowledge to understand how plants and wildlife interact. These experiences inspired her to start her own native landscape company replacing sterile lawns with beautiful, diverse, healthy landscapes. In 2019 she became certified a Wisconsin Master Naturalist and volunteers her skills and time for various citizen science programs throughout the state.

Shannon Davis-Foust

Shannon has her Ph.D. in Biological Sciences from UW-Milwaukee and has widespread interests in native and invasive species, habitat restoration, and reconnecting people with nature.  She presently teaches courses at UW Oshkosh in Biology and Environmental Studies, is an Affiliate of the Sustainability Institute of Regional Transformations organizing outreach events on environmental topics, and advises the Student Environmental Action Coalition and Sustainable Beekeeping Club.

Emily Henrigillis 

Emily is the owner of The Plant Gal.  She has a Masters degree in Environmental Science and Policy and has been working on Wisconsin’s Lakes since 2011.  She is completely in love with Wisconsin’s native plant communities. She recently worked at the Fox-Wolf Watershed Alliance on water quality education and outreach. Rain gardens are one of the easiest ways to do your part at home to protect both waters near and far. Her technical background, combined with outreach and education training, should make for a fun course to learn how to design a rain garden!

Frank Kirschling 

Frank has his BS in Forestry UW-Madison 1994. While working on this degree, he worked on oak regeneration and fungal tree disease projects.  He has volunteered at High Cliff State Park on the Board of Directors for The Friends of High Cliff and on forest and prairie restoration projects for 20 years. He has helped coordinate and plant tens of thousands of native trees, planting a prairie, controlling invasive plants, correctively pruning some of the planted trees, protecting planted trees from deer and doing other maintenance issues. While working as a DNR Forester, he worked mainly in private and public land management as well as wildland fire control and prescribed burning.

David Langner 

David Langner has his associates degree from Fox Valley Technical College as a Natural Resources Technician. He began teaching edible plants programs 6 years ago at Bubolz Nature preserve for their advanced summer camp. He has also taught multiple public edible plant programs in the Fox Valley area along with having written a short edible plant cookbook.

Emma Neuman 

For the past 6 years Emma has been managing terrestrial invasive plant species on Heckrodt’ s property. The management is based on the Heckrodt Habitat Management plan with hundreds of volunteers to help remove and treat these invasives. She has attended multiple Upper Midwest Invasive Species Conferences continuing to learn best management practices and is certified with DATCP in the following categories: 2.0 Forestry, 5.0 Aquatic & Mosquito, and 6.0 Right of Way and Natural Areas. 

Jim Perry  

Jim Perry is Campus Executive Officer and Dean Emeritus of the University of Wisconsin-Fox Valley (now UWO-Fox Cities Campus) where he was also Professor of Biological Sciences. All of his undergraduate and graduate study was in the biological sciences, with his doctoral degree in botany and plant pathology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Selected by his students as “Teacher of the Year,” he taught a wide variety of courses, including those focusing on mycology when a professor of biology, wildlife and fisheries at Frostburg State University in Maryland. He’s the author of a number of books focusing on helping students gain an understanding and appreciation of the natural world. He currently serves on the board of the statewide non-partisan Wisconsin’s Green Fire: Voices for Conservation. He and his biologist wife Joy live on a retired dairy farm in rural Winnebago County, where they have recreated native prairies on 24 acres of their forty.

Randy Powers 

Randy is a reconstruction ecologist & nature photographer. He is the owner of Prairie Future Seed Company (1987 – present) and holds Masters’ Degrees in both Botany & Zoology. His educational background and 40+ years of hands-on prairie restoration experience puts him in an elite class of botanists.  He has been giving educational seminars and teaching college level courses in environmental science for over 30 years. Randy has consulted on many projects for the DNR, Milwaukee Audubon Society and a variety of nature centers and other non-profit organizations over the years. He presently offers guidance on the Buffalo Speaks project at Horicon Marsh for Milwaukee Audubon Society. His company manages a privately owned sixteen-acre virgin prairie remnant with a known diversity of 326 native species, second only to Chiwaukee Prairie in diversity in S.E. Wisconsin.  Randy’s most recent projects are the in-depth study of pollinator biology and documenting Wisconsin’s Moths.

Jeff Steele

Jeff has over 10 years of experience teaching nature courses around Madison, WI.  His background is in Restoration Ecology from UW-Madison and he’s passionate about restoring our native ecosystems. Jeff is the secretary of the Wild Ones-Madison Chapter and Co-Chair of the Friends of Starkweather Creek.

Paul Whitaker

Paul is a Professor of Biology at UW Stevens Point in Wausau and is a founding board member of the Monk Botanical Gardens in Wausau. During his graduate work in entomology at UW-Madison, he studied how pest and beneficial insects in agricultural crops are influenced by the surrounding non-crop habitats. He has been a frequent presenter to Master Gardeners and other groups on topics ranging from insect biology and management, basic botany, weed biology and management, climate change, pollinator decline, biodiversity and other topics.

Back to the Wisconsin Native Plant Certification homepage