Duck in a pond

Staff

Becky Pollack

Executive Director: Becky Pollack

It is my pleasure to work at the Ney Nature Center. My connection to this park goes back to 1995, when the deformed frogs were found here by my fellow classmates form the Minnesota New Country School.

Before graduating from Mankato State University, Mankato with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Geography and minors in Earth Science and Geology, I was excited to take the position of Director here at the Ney Nature Center. My background with project based learning and love of the natural world as well as experience in nonprofit management made for an easy transition to Executive Director.

My husband, Nick and I, faithfully care for our two kids, Greg and Sami and our many pets: Sunny, a miniature horse, Flora & Fauna, two miniature goats, Eleanor our Chocolate Lab, and two bunnies, Lion & Snicker Doodle.

The Ney Nature Center is a remarkable place, full of history, geology and other natural world wonders. I enjoy greeting and sharing the phenology of the park with anyone that stops by.

  • Favorite Minnesota Animal: Northern Leopard Frog
  • Favorite Season: Spring
  • Favorite Outdoor Activity: Photography
  • Favorite Part of NNC: History of the Park’s Land
  • Favorite Rock/Mineral: Sioux Quartzite
  • Favorite Flower: Rattlesnake Master

Michelle

Programs Coordinator and Administrative Assistant: Michelle Isaacson

Hello everyone! I am the Programs Coordinator and Administrative Assistant and have been enjoying my time at the center with the wide variety of tasks I am in charge of, along with the many opportunities I have to get outside on this beautiful site. I am a Le Sueur native and graduated from Gustavus Adolphus College in 2012 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Environmental Studies and Psychology. Since graduating I have had various jobs, internships, and volunteering opportunities including being a tutor, an Animal Care Intern, Gardener/Naturalist/Go To Person at a camp, and part of the Le Sueur Royalty Committee.

A few projects I am currently working on include running my own business as a Norwex independent consultant, bee keeping, refreshing my dance skills, and learning how to carve wood and play the violin and guitar. I love spending time with family and friends, especially if that time includes four wheeling, animals, movies, food, or outdoor adventures. Next time you are out hiking the trails, make sure to stop in at the office to say hello, especially if you brought your furry animal friend with you!

  • Favorite Minnesota Animal: Barred Owl
  • Favorite Season: Autumn (Trees are beautiful and when Halloween, my favorite holiday, happens!)
  • Favorite Outdoor Activity: Hiking Through the Woods
  • Favorite Part of NNC: It is right along the bluff so raptors fly by frequently using the thermals.
  • Favorite Rock/Mineral: Obsidian
  • Favorite Flower: Lilac

Mike

Resource Manager: Mike Giesen

I am very excited to be joining the staff here at the Ney Nature Center. For over twenty years I had worked in management and retail logistics with K-Mart before retiring. After spending some time relaxing in retirement I decided it was time to find an opportunity to occupy my days and that is when I happened across the Ney Nature Center.

My wife and I live in Belle Plaine and I grew up in Green Isle. Few people know it, but while in high school I attended the all-state choir competition. Singing has taken the backburner as an adult and in its place stirred my love for nature and the outdoors. Most weekends in the summer you will find me hitting the bike trails or sitting in a boat, waiting for the day’s big catch. When I am not biking or boating, I enjoy spending time with my grandchildren, working in my wood shop and eating chicken wild rice casserole. I can’t wait to learn more about the park, especially the trail systems since there is so much to see and explore. I look forward to trying new things, as there is such a variety of work I will be doing here at the park. If you are out on the trails and see me working on a project, stop and say hi; I love striking up conversation and making new friends.

  • Favorite Minnesota Animal: White tail deer
  • Favorite Season: Spring
  • Favorite Outdoor Activity: Bicycling
  • Favorite Part of NNC: Trail System
  • Favorite Rock/Mineral: Petoskey Stone
  • Favorite Flower: Lady Slipper

 

Beth Beuch

Mayo House Interpreter/Naturalist: Beth Beuch

My name is Beth Beuch, and I recently came on board as Mayo House Interpreter/ Naturalist.  I grew up on a farm just West of Henderson and am super excited to be able to fulfill my passion for environmental education so close to home! I love to be outdoors hiking, taking pictures, working in my garden, and doing whatever I can to enjoy what nature has to offer.  One of the goals I have set for myself is to visit and hike through all of the State Parks in Minnesota.  I’m about halfway there and having a great time doing it!

I graduated from NDSU with a Bachelor of Science degree in wildlife ecology and from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a Master’s in Library and Information Science.  I spent the first twenty-five or so years of my career moving around the country, teaching at nature centers and state and national parks, and then came back to Minnesota to work as both a naturalist and a librarian at various places.  I have spent a few years as a volunteer here at the nature center, teaching classes and watching it grow.  I love everything this place has to offer and I’m excited to see what we have planned for the future!

  • Favorite Minnesota Animal: Beaver
  • Favorite Season: Spring
  • Favorite Outdoor Activity: Photography
  • Favorite Part of NNC: Vernal ponds
  • Favorite Rock/Mineral: Amethyst
  • Favorite Flower: Blue Flag Iris

Program and Marketing Coordinator: Josh Sweet

Greetings! It is an honor to serve as Ney Nature Center’s newest employee as I take on the duties of the Program and Marketing Coordinator. I am a native of Nebraska and yes, I am a die-hard Cornhusker fan. I obtained my degree in Parks and Recreation Management from Arizona State University in 2009. Since graduation I have worked for a series of environmental organizations including the National Park Service, Deep Portage Learning Center, and Fontenelle Forest Nature Center.

In my free time (and at work…) I enjoy birding, cross country skiing, and kayaking. My wife, Jill and I were married in 2015 and live in Carver County. We have a large family at home including a corn snake, tiger salamander, three mountain minnows, and a three-legged cat. I look forward to meeting the Ney Nature Center family so please stop by sometime to say hello!

  • Favorite Minnesota Animal: Belted Kingfisher
  • Favorite Season: Winter
  • Favorite Outdoor Activity: Birding
  • Favorite Part of NNC: The Solar Array!
  • Favorite Rock/Mineral: Agate
  • Favorite Flower: Pitcher Plant

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