Staff Profiles

 

Evelyn Ravindran, Director

Evelyn is an enrolled member of the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community (KBIC) and has worked in the KBIC Natural Resources Department (NRD) for the last twenty-nine years.  In her career within the department she has served as a technician, specialist, fishery/nursery manager and has been the director since June 2018. During these years, she has served on Community committees including the Tribal Natural Resources, Cultural, Parks and Recreation, Economic, and Treaty Rights as well as the Fisherman’s Memorial and Tribute Working Group. She has also enjoyed working on external advisory boards for the Wisconsin Sea Grant Agency, Keweenaw Bay Ojibwa Community College Environmental Sciences Program, and Michigan Technological University School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science. 

Evelyn's current committee service includes the Buffalo Reef Taskforce, Michigan Wild Rice Team, Committee for Michigan’s Mining Future and the Torch Lake PAC. Additionally, she participates in work groups and research which provide opportunities to share KBIC stewardship principles and concerns for the protection of the Lake Superior basin communities. 

In her time away from work she enjoys seasonal gathering activities and spending time on the water with her family and friends including her mother, four children and three grandchildren. 

Evelyn can be reached at eravindran@kbic-nsn.gov or (906) 524-5757 ext.11


Karen Andersen, Aquatic Invasive Species Specialist

Karen AndersenKaren has worked for KBIC-NRD for 10 years. She began as the Greenhouse/Plants technician, propagating native plants as part of the Sand Point Restoration Project. The Sand Point project has been successful in that it is a source of food and habitat for wildlife. Karen’s current position is the Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) Specialist responsible for implementing the Aquatic Invasive Specie Adaptive Management Plan (AISAMP). Major goals of the AISAMP include: prevention of new AIS introductions, control of existing AIS, and mitigation caused by impacts. Karen collaborates with the KB-NRD fisheries department and other state, local, and federal agencies.

Karen has earned an A.S. in Environmental Science (KBOCC), a B.S. in Psychology (NMU), and is currently a graduate student studying Holistic Health (WMU). Karen likes to go hiking, swimming, reading, and crafting in her spare time. 

Karen retired from NRD in March, 2020. Congratulations, Karen!


Stephanie CreeStephanie Cree, Water Resources Specialist

Stephanie is an enrolled member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa and is the Water Resources Specialist for the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community Natural Resources Department. Stephanie began working for the Department in 2014 as the Air Quality Specialist then moved into the Water Resources Specialist position in June 2016. The Water Resources Specialist is responsible for water quality monitoring and program planning within and around the KBIC Reservation. These efforts include surface water monitoring in rivers and streams, inland lakes, Lake Superior, wild rice beds, ground water monitoring, and private drinking water (wells).

Stephanie moved to the Upper Peninsula in 2011 from Billings, Montana where she was employed with the federal government working with tribes in Montana and Wyoming. When she has time to travel, Stephanie enjoys visiting Montana to spend time with her son and daughter.

Stephanie can be reached at scree@kbic-nsn.gov or (906) 524-8701 ext. 1


placeholderShannon DesRochers, Great Lakes Resource Specialist

 

Shannon can be reached at sdesrochers@kbic-nsn.gov or (906) 524-5757 ext.24

 


Lyndon Ekdahl, Systems & Facilities Coordinator

 

Lyndon can be reached at lekdahl@kbic-nsn.gov or (906) 524-5757 ext.31

 

 


Jaren Forcia, Water Resources Technician

 

Jaren can be reached at jarenf@kbic-nsn.gov or (906) 524-8701 ext. 2

 

 


Stephanie CreeSerene Gauthier, Environmental Response Specialist

Serene is the Environmental Response Specialist for the KBIC Natural Resources Department. She obtained her degree in Environmental Science at Keweenaw Bay Ojibwe Community College. Since 2016, Serene’s work with the NRD encompasses manoomin, aquatic invasive species, and water quality. Her current position, which is land and waste-related, has become one her favorite positions within the department. The Environmental Response Program is responsible for Spill Response, Brownfields, Open Dumping, and implementing a Tribal Recycling program. Serene is also a member of KBIC Waste Advisory Board.

Serene enjoys spending time outdoors with her family participating in hunting, fishing, and gathering. As a KBIC tribal member she exercises her treaty rights and works to protect the lifeways of her Ojibwe culture by carrying on these traditions.  

Serene can be reached at sgauthier@kbic-nsn.gov or (906) 524-8701 ext.3

 


Zelina HuhtaZena Huhta, Lake Superior Program Coordinator

Boozhoo. My name is Zena Huhta and I am honored to be working for the KBIC Natural Resources Department as the Lake Superior Program Coordinator.  I am a KBIC Tribal Member and have lived on the Keweenaw Bay Indian Reservation my whole life. I attended Keweenaw Bay Ojibwa Community College where I obtained two Associate of Science Degrees, one in Liberal Studies and one in Business Administration. I enjoy learning and believe you are never done learning in life. 

I am the proud mother to my son Joshua Huhta.  We live on our small hobby farm where we spend most of our free time with our beloved animals.   In my free time I enjoy riding my horses, running with my dogs and quality time with my family and close friends. I would like to say Miigwech to my Tribal Community for the ability to work for them; it is an honor.

Zena can be reached at zelina.huhta@kbic-nsn.gov or (906) 524-5757 ext.22

 


Erin JohnstonErin Johnston, Wildlife Biologist

As the Wildlife Program Lead for the KBIC Natural Resources Department, Erin is responsible for management and oversight of projects and surveys related to wildlife, habitat, and wetlands within the L’Anse Indian Reservation. Current projects and long-term monitoring efforts focus on bats, waterfowl, herptafauna, and wolves.  The Wildlife Program continues to grow and diversify as we build capacity and strengthen partnerships.  Erin’s professional affiliations include the Michigan Wetland Association, Intertribal Chronic Wasting Disease Working Group, and Partners for Watershed Restoration.

Erin grew up in East Lansing, Michigan and started her academic career at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor in 2001.  After two years at U of M she transferred to Northern Michigan University to pursue a degree in wildlife biology.  After graduating from NMU in 2006 with a bachelor’s degree in Wildlife/Ecology, she went straight to graduate school at the University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point.  Her graduate work focused on understanding hunter risk perceptions associated with chronic wasting disease. 

Upon graduating with her master’s degree in Natural Resources Management in 2008, Erin moved back to the UP where she took a job as the Environmental Science Department Chair for the Keweenaw Bay Ojibwa Community College. In early 2011, she took a position with the KBIC Natural Resources Department as the Lake Superior Program Coordinator and moved into the Wildlife Program in 2016.

When she’s not working, Erin enjoys exercising in her basement, running outdoors, and spending time in nature with her husband and two young daughters.

For more information about the Wildlife Program or Erin’s publications, please contact her at ejohnston@kbic-nsn.gov or (906) 524-5757 ext.20

 


Jane KahkonenJane Kahkonen, Air Quality Specialist

Jane is the Air Quality Specialist for the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community’s Natural Resource Department. She received her Environmental Science degree from the Ojibwe Community College where her Capstone Project focused on local plant phenology in relation to climate change. Jane continues her education, specializing in air quality, at the Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals at Northern Arizona University and through the EPA’s Air Pollution Training Institute. 

Jane works with the KBIC community providing indoor air quality assessments targeting health related air quality issues within homes, schools, and tribal facilities. Her role as air specialist includes drafting comment letters on state air permits, federal air rules and regulations, and researching air pollutants and emissions that affect the Ceded Territory of 1842.

Jane works with Superior Watershed Partnership monitoring the air quality at the Eagle Mine and shares work days with the State of Michigan Air Quality Division. She is also a member of the KBIC Committee on Alternative and Renewable Energy, overseeing energy assessments of tribal facilities for energy cost savings and emission reductions.

Jane can be reached at jkahkonen@kbic-nsn.gov or (906) 524-8701 ext. 4


Patrick LaPointe, Fisheries Field Technician

My name is Patrick LaPointe and I am the KBIC-NRD Fisheries Field Technician. I am an enrolled KBIC tribal member. I began working with the KBIC-NRD in 2011. Since 2012 I have worked in the discipline of field fisheries. I assist with a wide range of fisheries assessments that associate with walleye, lake trout, lake whitefish, lake sturgeon, brook trout and other species.

My hobbies include spending time with my family, deer hunting, planting food plots and spending any time possible in the outdoors. 

To reach Patrick, please email plapointe@kbic-nsn.gov or call 906-524-8200

 


Gene Mensch, Fisheries and Wildlife Biologist

Contact Gene at 906-524-8200 or email gmensch@kbic-nsn.gov


Dione Price, Environmental Specialist

Dione is the Environmental Specialist for the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community Natural Resources Department where she assists with various environmental disciplines including pollution prevention, historical contamination, waste management, renewable energy, brownfields, recycling, National Environmental Policy Act reviews, and human and environmental health within the reservation and ceded territory. Dione is a member of KBIC’s Waste Advisory Board, Chair of the Committee for Alternative and Renewable Energy, and Vice-Chair of the Torch Lake Public Action Council.

Dione was born in L’Anse, MI and grew up in Keweenaw Bay and Liminga. Dione received her Bachelor of Science in Animal Science from the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources at Michigan State University and additional undergraduate work in human health from Finlandia University. Prior to KBIC, Dione worked for 9 years in land, waste water, and bio solids management. She also has vast experience in crop production and animal health and nutrition.

In her spare time, Dione operates a farm in Keweenaw Bay that produces homegrown beef, poultry, eggs, and hay. Her passion remains within the equine field where she shares her love of horses with her young daughter.

Dione can be reached at dprice@kbic-nsn.gov or 906-524-8701 ext. 5


Dave pulling loosestrife at the head of the bay, including the smells of organic muck and duck poo
Dave Runquist, Invasive Species Coordinator

Dave is the invasive species coordinator at KBIC’s Natural Resources Department, where he directs the removal of invasive terrestrial plants, including the restoration of native plant communities at Sand Point restoration area, has oversight of the Community Garden, and is an active member of KBIC’s Fire and Emergency Management as a wildland firefighter.

Dave graduated with a Bachelor’s degree with a plant science focus from University of Wisconsin – Superior. He then worked for the Wisconsin Department of Transportation as a wetland delineator in the northwest 20 counties of Wisconsin, among other distinctions in the field. He helps remove and control invasive terrestrial plants to enhance and sustain the resources of the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community by promoting the stewardship needed to prevent and control invasive species.

Dave is a plant enthusiast, metal detectorist, SCUBA diver, and kayak builder from Duluth, MN.

To contact Dave please email drunquist@kbic-nsn.gov or call (906) 524-5757 ext. 28


Karena Schmidt, Ecologist

Karena is the ecologist for the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community Natural Resources Department. She began her work for the NRD in the summer of 2017. She likes her air clean, her waters pure, summers cool, and forests old. Within her oikos are lichen and fungi of intricate beauty, orchids of the boreal sort, increasingly fertile garden soils, trees that have grown very old, dark fruits, buzzing invertebrates pollinating alluring blossoms, microbes in the compost heap keeping life’s circle in motion, wetland teas that energize and heal, vertebrates beckoning with new pathways to follow, and manoomin telling vivid stories to guide her with teachings on how to reciprocate the many gifts from the Earth.  Writing, braiding sweet grass and inspiring youth to be awed in nature are favorite activities.

Karena can be reached at kschmidt@kbic-nsn.gov or (906) 524-5757 ext.30

 


Joe Schutte, Operations & Compliance Specialist

Joe can be reached at jschutte@kbic-nsn.gov or or (906) 524-5757 ext.13


David Seppanen, Hatchery Foreman

David can be reached at dseppanen@kbic-nsn.gov or (906) 524-5757 ext.19


Kyle Seppanen, Wildlife Coordinator

Kyle is an enrolled member of the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community and is the Wildlife Technician for the KBIC Natural Resources Department. Kyle began working for the Department in 2012. His responsibilities include field data collection for projects and surveys related to bats, wolves, water-fowl, wild rice, and herptiles. Kyle also assists the Fish Hatchery and Water Programs when needed. When he’s not at work Kyle enjoys fishing and spending time with his wife and son.

To contact Kyle, please email kseppanen@kbic-nsn.gov or call (906) 524-5757 ext.14


Shawn Seppanen, Fisheries Technician

Shawn can be reached at sseppanen@kbic-nsn.gov or (906) 524-8200


Kathleen Smith, Habitat Specialist/Plants Program

Kathleen is an enrolled member of the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community (KBIC) and is currently the Habitat Specialist at the KBIC Natural Resources Department. She promotes food sovereignty through sharing cultural teachings and engaging in collaborations to build a healthy food system within the community. She is dedicated to biodiversity for traditional plants and is responsible in overseeing the tribal native plant restoration, wild rice restoration, and the invasive species program. Kathleen coordinates educational tours, community workshops and workdays with partners, community volunteers, and mentors KBIC youth. Kathleen enjoys gathering cultural medicines, traditional foods, and plant materials for basket weaving.

Kathy can be reached at ksmith@kbic-nsn.gov or (906) 524-5757 ext.16