Tory_geek-200x200 Tory Christensen

 Owner/Landscape Ecologist

Tory has worked for many of the leading restoration companies in the Twin Cities Metro area, and on some of the largest and most technologically advanced restoration projects in the region.  He has over 20 years of experience in installation, design and project management of river and small stream restoration, natural areas restoration including oak savanna, prairie, and wetland plant communities, and greenroof installation and design.  Tory also brings an advanced knowledge of plant communities and specific species of greatest conservational need in the Midwest.  He has an undergraduate B.S. degree in Ecology and Water Resources Science from Minnesota State University and a Masters of Landscape Architecture (MLA) from the University of Minnesota.  He also holds certifications as ISA certified arborist and is an accredited professional in LEED (LEED AP).

 

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Carrie Christensen

Owner/Designer

Carrie is WHR’s lead designer, community engagement specialist and marketing director.  Carrie’s work falls at the intersection of equity and the environment, in the realm of social and cultural ecology.  With a Masters of Landscape Architecture from the University of Minnesota and a B.A. in Urban Studies from Stanford University, Carrie’s work involves a range of projects and experiences in design, project management, education, and community engagement.

 

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 Joe Miller

 Operations Manager

Joe brings his strong business sense and organizational abilities to WHR. He controls systems development, strategic planning and business management, is a project manager and a go-to for both office and field staff. He joined the WHR team after 14 years with a small business in Iowa where he developed his skills in business management, procurement, planning and organization.  Joe has a B.S. degree in Landscape Design from South Dakota State University and several years’ experience in the traditional landscape industry.  Joe is excited to be part of the WHR team where he can use his skills to have a positive impact on our environment so current and future generations can enjoy the natural beauty of the outdoors.  In his free time, he enjoys spending it with his children, servicing at church, exploring the outdoors and cycling.

 

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 Natasha Parry

 Office Manager

Natasha enjoys utilizing her creative and organizational skills to help keep WHR ticking day-to-day as she oversees bookkeeping, payroll, contract management and social media marketing. She has an array of business administration experience in the non-profit, public and private sector, and holds Bachelor’s degrees in Urban Studies and Art from the University of Minnesota. Natasha is inspired by the work that WHR does to preserve the environment and engage the community around urban planning initiatives, as she values creating livable communities with access to green space within the urban environment.  When she’s not at work you can find Natasha gardening, doing DIY projects, crafting, and spending time with her family.

 

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 Sean Wickhem

 Field Operations Manager

Sean oversees the field operations and installation and management teams, the cornerstones of our work at WHR. As our field crew grows, Sean spends his time scheduling and mobilizing the crew, managing projects, organizing the shop, equipment and vehicles, training, and bidding. He has an extensive knowledge of permaculture design, experience managing high profile sites in the Twin Cities, and a background in volunteer and community member coordination. Sean holds a B. S. degree in History and a Certificate of Integrated Liberal Studies, giving him the interesting perspective of looking at sites through a historical lens, and realizing how people have interacted with it through time. He is passionate about reuniting people with natural spaces and adding resiliency to restoration design, and he is eager to unite urban design with ecological restoration.

 

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 Elissa Thompson

 Field Supervisor & Landscape Ecologist

Elissa brings a vast knowledge of plant communities, project management and public engagement to WHR, where she seamlessly shifts between project management, management plan writing and field work.  She has seven years of planting installation and management experience and has traveled all over Minnesota restoring diverse plant communities for government agencies, city parks, corporate landscapes and private residences.  Elissa holds a B.S in Psychology with an emphasis in Wilderness Therapy from the University of Minnesota.  She has a passion for connecting people to their natural world and working in landscapes that foster engaging and educational opportunities for the public.  She has facilitated and developed environmental education and outreach for multiple organizations with groups of all ages, backgrounds and abilities.

 

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 Jen Merth

 Land Management Coordinator

Jen brings an extensive mix of project management and restoration skills to the WHR team.  She is passionate about interacting with community members, exploring new and innovative restoration techniques, designing and installing planting plans, and managing pristine habitats.  Jen attained valuable knowledge in both habitat management and restoration techniques while receiving her B.S. degree in Fisheries, Wildlife & Conservation Biology from the University of Minnesota.  While there, she attended an international field study seminar in Thailand, assisting with Bengal Tiger conservation.  After college, she spent two years with the Conservation Corps of Minnesota, performing a wide variety of environmental field projects including forestry management, shoreline restoration, watershed management, raingarden installation, reforestation, wildfire fighting, and prescribed burns.

 

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 Dan Shimek

 Restoration Technician

Dan has a knack for herbaceous and woody plant ID and his dedication to quality work makes him an integral part of the restoration team. He brings a passion for natural areas that has been cultivated since graduating from Gustavus Adolphus College with a Bachelor’s in Biology.  Working in the natural resource management field, he has collaborated with many types of agencies including federal, state, and local government, and non-profit and for profit entities.  Dan’s commitment to public service and stewardship cemented after volunteering to help in Hurricane Sandy disaster relief efforts in New York City.  His field experience includes forest plot plantings, tree felling, rain garden installation and maintenance, prescribed burning and shoreline management.

 

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 Ben Rietz

 Restoration Technician

Ben is an easy-going hard worker who is a valuable part of the field crew at WHR.  He has five years of crew leadership roles with multiple companies and always brings a safety first mentality to the crew. Ben gained valuable restoration experience since graduating from Saint John’s University with a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies.  He spent two years working with the Conservation Corps of Minnesota.  During that time, he assisted with disaster relief projects to address the Yukon River Flood in Galena, Alaska and Hurricane Sandy in New York City.  He has useful experience in shoreline restoration, herbicide application, chainsaw operation, prescribed burning, wildland fire fighting, wetland management, and forest management.

 

 Anthony Dressel

 Restoration Technician

Anthony is an innovator in the field and brings a knack for operating and maintaining machinery to the WHR team. He enjoys finding ways to be more efficient in our work through the use of machinery while having as little of a negative impact on the ecosystem as possible. He grew up gardening and hobby farming in Osceola, Wisconsin and has a degree in Reclamation, Environment and Conservation from University of Wisconsin Platteville with a minor in Natural Sciences.  Anthony is passionate about invasive species removal and stream ecology.

 

 Alex Odden

 Restoration Technician

Alex’s quick and eager ability to learn paired with is familiarity with heavy equipment operations identify him as a valuable member of WHR’s restoration crew. Fresh to the ecological restoration environment, Alex has a vibrant work ethic that motivates him in all aspects of his work.  He is a reliable and loyal self-starter committed to meeting company goals and deadlines.  Alex comes from a maritime and commercial driving background where he learned to adapt to change very easily and is no stranger to hard work.  Since his time at WHR, he has been involved in shoreline restoration, wetland maintenance, rain garden installation and maintenance, chainsaw operations, and prescribed burning.

 

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 Paul Schiller

 Restoration Technician

Paul brings much knowledge to the WHR team from his previous experience performing restoration work with the MN DNR and National Park Service removing invasive species’ to restore native landscapes.  He holds an A.S. degree in Fisheries and Wildlife Management from Vermilion Community College in Ely, MN, and a B.S. in Fisheries Biology with a Wildlife minor from the University of Idaho.  Outdoor exploring and traveling have always been a part of Paul’s upbringing, and he is excited to learn about the natural, historical, cultural and societal aspects of a place.  The preservation of native plant and animal communities is very rewarding for Paul to be a part of, and he enjoys teaching others of this topic.

 

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 Elyssa Eull

 Restoration Technician

Elyssa studied Environmental Justice and Sustainable Agriculture in rural Thailand for a semester while pursuing her B.A. in Biology and International Studies from Luther College in Decorah, IA.  Elyssa is passionate about learning how ecological systems work, including how the diversity of plant species contributes to system function.  She is fascinated by plants and takes pride in teaching others about their importance through restoration projects.

 

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 Nikki McDermond Spies

 Restoration Technician

Nikki holds a B.A. degree in Biology from Luther College.  She is passionate about riparian ecology and restoration, water quality and native/natural restoration techniques.  In life she is passionate about wildlife, animals, and the environment.  Nikki approaches life, work, and everything she does with an open and inclusive attitude, and she always desires to be as helpful and useful as possible in any given situation.