Deputy Manager - Volunteerism and Natural Area Preservation
Becky Gajewski, Stewardship Specialist
I am very excited to join the team at NAP as a Stewardship Specialist! I've always had a strong interest in learning about nature and ecological restoration, and that naturally led me to Ann Arbor to pursue my bachelor's and master's degrees from U of M's School of Natural Resources and Environment. After graduating, I spent three years completing natural resource management and restoration projects for the Huron-Clinton Metroparks. Now I am glad to return to Ann Arbor and give back to the city that has given me so much over the years.
Phone: 734.794.6627 x43476
Juliet Berger, Ornithologist
I'm a lifelong birder, so I am thrilled to join the NAP staff as the new Ornithologist. With my backgrounds in both Social Work and Science, I operate at the nexus of birding, bird science and community organization. I have been President of Washtenaw Audubon Society for two years, and I love to lead bird walks and answer bird-related questions. I am a coach for Feathered Friends, a Washtenaw Elementary Science Olympiad event about birds, and I am a longtime NAP Breeding Bird Survey volunteer. I am excited to work with all the amazing NAP volunteers and staff.
Phone: 734.794.6627 x43478
George Hammond, Field Biologist
George came to Ann Arbor for graduate study in ecology, got a
Master's degree, then never left. He worked in the Museum of Zoology, helping
build and manage the Animal Diversity Web website, then briefly taught at EMU
before getting hired at NAP. He has been a NAP employee for just a couple of
years, but was a NAP volunteer for many years previously, inspired by the (then
new) salamander survey. He volunteered with other NAP surveys, and started
coming to public workdays as well. He says "I very happy to be organizing
the surveys that I once volunteered for. I have a new appreciation for the work
involved! There are so many small wonders in our parks, so many great things to
find. I hope you will get out into our parks and nature areas, and find the
Phone: 734.794.6627 x43477
Tina Stephens, Volunteer and Outreach Coordinator
Each and every day I am touched to see how much our volunteers give to protect and restore Ann Arbor’s natural areas and care for their neighborhood parks! I joined NAP in 2008 and enjoyed three years as the Adopt-A-Park coordinator. In 2012 I was honored to be hired as the Volunteer and Outreach Coordinator for NAP and Adopt-A-Park. After growing up in southeast Michigan, I attended Ferris State University and studied Recreation Management with an emphasis in Outdoor and Environmental. Working at NAP I get to express my love for Michigan, and use my talents and training to inspire in others a love of nature through volunteer efforts!
Phone: 734.794.6627 x43472
Meija Knafl, Park Stewards Coordinator
A recent graduate from the University of Maine's wildlife ecology program, I am incredibly excited to be joining the NAP team! Born and bred in Ann Arbor, it's a dream come true that I've been given the opportunity to bring my passion for the outdoors home. I've spent several summers as a seasonal naturalist for the MDNR leading groups of children in nature-based outdoor programming. These summers have further fueled my drive to create opportunities for people to involve themselves with the nature that surrounds them every day. I'm looking forward to working with Park Stewards and other independent volunteers, connecting people with our wonderful wild spaces in meaningful ways.
Phone: 734.794.6627 x43474
Krissy Elkins, Workday Coordinator
The City of Ann Arbor is lucky to have a whole team of
wonderful people dedicated to preserving and restoring our natural areas. I am
even luckier to be one of those people! I am a graduate of the University of
Michigan in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and am thrilled to help conserve
the very city that gave me my degree. I have spent time working for the UM
Herbarium, learning the ins and outs of plant collecting. I worked to digitize
part of the 1.75 million specimens in the collection. Now it is time to shift
from curated flowers to the real thing! I look forward to organizing workdays
that help connect anyone and everyone to our beautiful planet.
Phone: 734.794.6627 x43471
Dana Novak, Outreach Assistant
studied Environmental Science and Wildlife at The Ohio State
University, and then wandered around the states from the east coast to
the Rockies as a semi-professional volunteer before settling in Boise,
Idaho, working in the realms of storm water and environmental
consulting. The births of their two beautiful boys in 2008 gave them
a new definition of "tired" and a renewed sense of their collective
ability to make a positive impact. Dana can be found leading workdays,
but is no longer in the NAP office. She says, "I challenge you all to
get out there and join us at a workday, if you haven't before - or
attend one more workday than usual! If you're like me, it will
invigorate your body and refresh your spirit."
For the past eight years I managed natural areas and
coordinated volunteers for a land trust in the Chicagoland area. My passion for
ecological restoration is continually growing and I am eager for the
opportunity to share that passion with the residents of Ann Arbor. I hope to
see you in the field!
Phone: 734.794.6627 x43484
Amy Lipson, Conservation Worker
My name is Amy, and I'm a graduate of the University of Michigan, with a degree in Plant Biology. As someone who has always loved exploring and protecting Michigan's natural areas, I'm thrilled to be joining the NAP crew! I've worked for Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum as a natural areas intern, and also as a landscape foreman for a private gardening company. What I enjoy most about these jobs is seeing the dramatic changes in landscapes as I remove weeds and invasive species to make way for gorgeous native plants and flowers. I'm looking forward to a great burn season this spring, and the wildflower blooms to follow!
Hart Davis, Conservation Worker
As far back as I can remember I have always been drawn to the natural world. I followed this passion to Albion College and graduated with a bachelors degree in biology in 2016. Immediately after graduation I served in AmeriCorps, working alongside the Michiagn DNR on a variety of forestry and wildlife projects. After completing my service with the department of natural resources, I had the opportunity to serve with the Student Conservation Corps at the Bosque Del Apache wildlife refuge in New Mexico. While at the bosque I conducted field camera studies on the endangered New Mexico Meadow Jumping Mouse. I look forward to working with NAP and improving Ann Arbors natural areas!
Becca Naumenko, Conservation Worker
I am so excited to be joining the NAP crew. During my time
at U of M I volunteered on and off with this organization and really loved it.
The other volunteers as well as the staff were exceptionally interactive and
kind, and getting the chance to help our local community felt great. I can't
wait to experience that environment again, along with the chance to breath some
fresh air. I grew up in the U.P. and since comping south my time outdoors has
been limited. So I'm looking forward to some time in the woods!
Josh Doyle, Conservation Worker
I have worked with GIVE 365, NAP’s sister program within Ann
Arbor parks, for the last three years and I am thrilled to now be a part of the
NAP team. I love working on projects in our environment that have a lasting
impact and the opportunities I have had working in Ann Arbor have been nothing
but fulfilling. The enthusiasm that Ann Arbor’s citizens have for their parks
is contagious. I am a future transfer
student currently studying at Washtenaw Community college. My passion for improving and maintaining
common spaces for us all to share has overflowed into my academic life. I am
excited to continue to work with such passionate volunteers and staff to
further better our parks system.
Matt Connors, Conservation Worker
Growing up, I always enjoyed spending time in the forest of along the many lakes and streams of Michigan. After receiving my bachelor's degree in environmental science I spent a year and a half in Seattle doing restoration work with EarthCorps around the Puget Sound region. Afterwards, I spent 6 months with the USGS collecting data for longitudinal studies on how sea level rise will effect wetlands along the Pacific Coast. Returning to Michigan has been a fulfilling way to reconnect with my roots and I look forward to working with NAP while exploring Ann Arbor's natural areas.