Ney Staff

Welcome to our staff page!

Learn a little more about us below, and don’t be afraid to say hi and stop to chat when you come to the park! Any staff openings will be posted here as well.

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 from 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


Programs and Marketing Coordinator: Eva Clelland

Hi there! My name is Eva and I have been the Programs and Marketing Coordinator here at Ney since 2021. I grew up in Saint Paul and found my love for the outdoors through summer camp. Drake University was my choice for college where I graduated with a B.A. in Environmental Science and now I am lucky enough to have worked in environmental education in Iowa, Wisconsin, and Nevada, but Minnesota will always be home!

On my days off, you can find me walking the lakes in Minneapolis where I live, or continuing to attempt to leash train my cat, Otis, so he can enjoy the outdoors with me. I look forward to helping coordinate your program at Ney! Let me know how I can help!

  • Favorite Minnesota Animal: Barn Owl
  • Favorite Season: Fall
  • Favorite Outdoor Activity: Camping
  • Favorite Part of NNC: The people!
  • Favorite Rock/Mineral: Mica Schist
  • Favorite Flower: Purple Coneflower

Mayo House Interpreter & Naturalist: Beth Beuch

My name is Beth Beuch, and I recently came on board as Mayo House Interpreter and 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

Mayo House Interpreter & Naturalist: Liz Sheppard

Hello!  My name is Liz Sheppard and I am a Mayo House Interpreter & Naturalist.  I graduated from the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point with a degree in Wildlife Management, and got my teaching license from the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities.  I grew up in Wisconsin, in the suburbs of Milwaukee.  My grandfather instilled a love of nature in me from a young age and I enjoy sharing that gift with others.  Working at Ney has given me the wonderful chance to interpret history as well as nature.

When I’m not at work, I am often knitting, spinning, or enjoying other textile crafts.  I enjoy hiking with my family, reading books, biking, and swimming whenever I get the chance.  I love to play in the snow with my husband and two children, and we enjoy going camping in the Spring and the Fall.

  • Favorite Minnesota Animal: Turkey Vulture
  • Favorite Season: Autumn
  • Favorite Outdoor Activity: Camping
  • Favorite Part of NNC: The bluffs
  • Favorite Rock/Mineral: Malachite
  • Favorite Flower: Queen Anne’s Lace

Naturalist: Sam Retz

Hi! My name is Sam and I am one of the naturalists here at Ney. I graduated from Bethany Lutheran College in 2021 with a B.A. in Biology. I grew up in Boyceville Wisconsin on a dairy farm with my parents and sisters. I have always loved being outside no matter what the activity and am very happy to be able to share my love for the outdoors with others.

Some of my favorite activities outside include hunting, hiking, biking and sailing. No matter what the activity is though, I will always take the opportunity to look at plants and insects that I find. Ask me anything about plants or animals that you find in (or outside) the park!

  • Favorite Minnesota Animal: Black Bear
  • Favorite Season: Fall
  • Favorite Outdoor Activity: Sailing
  • Favorite Part of NNC: The ravine
  • Favorite Rock/Mineral: Shale
  • Favorite Flower: American Columbine

Community Forestry Member: Sara Corbin

Hello! My name is Sara Corbin and I have the privilege of working at Ney through my role as a Community Forestry Member with AmeriCorps. In 2019, I graduated from Minnesota State University, Mankato with a degree in English Education. Ever since my childhood, I have loved learning about the world around me. I am excited to use my experience and passion for education to encourage our community to learn about trees and sustainable practices.

My hobbies outside of work inspired me to pursue a role with AmeriCorps. As yearly childhood camping trips with my family developed into monthly camping and hiking adventures with my husband, my love for the outdoors grew. During our trips, I enjoy finding new birds, kayaking, cross-country skiing, and reading a good book. I am looking forward to sharing my excitement for adventure with everyone who visits Ney!

  • Favorite Minnesota Animal: Green Heron
  • Favorite Season: Fall
  • Favorite Outdoor Activity: Hiking
  • Favorite Part of NNC: The groomed XC Ski Trails
  • Favorite Rock/Mineral: Sandstone
  • Favorite Flower: Milkweed

Community Forestry Member: Sara Arsenault

Before serving with the Community Forestry Initiative, Sara wandered the US, heading to wherever her next gig in environmental fieldwork took her. She tracked Gypsy Moths in Washington, fought fires in Oregon, trapped invasive beetles in Minnesota, and even gathered tree samples in Mexico, each time excited to see what would come next. She loved the way fieldwork let her be close to nature, something she had always wanted out of a job ever since she was young.

This is the second term that Sara has served with AmeriCorps, previously working with Community Forestry Initiative in Saint Peter. For Sara, the Community Forestry Initiative has been a perfect blend of fieldwork and office work. As an AmeriCorps member, she helps with tree identification and also public environmental education. She’s been able to use her deep knowledge of the field while gaining experience in an office environment. Learn more about Sara through this article written by ServeMinnesota.

  • Favorite Animal: Monkey
  • Favorite Season: Fall
  • Favorite Outdoor Activity: Swimming
  • Favorite Part of NNC: Trails
  • Favorite Rock/Mineral: Quartz
  • Favorite Flower: Lavender

Naturalist: Alex Colling

Hello! My name is Alex Colling, I am excited to be working part-time as a Naturalist here at Ney Nature Center. I previously worked as the Resource Manager at Ney for 5 years. I graduated from South Dakota State University in 2019 with a B.S. in Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences. I have experience in almost every facet of natural resource management; from range plant identification to Electrofishing to Large mammal capture.

In my free time, I enjoy almost any activity under the sun. I am an avid cyclist, fisherman, and chef.  I also enjoy kayaking, rock climbing, frisbee golf, broomball, and volleyball. Fun fact about me; I have two taxidermy squirrels (one Eastern Grey squirrel and one Eastern Fox squirrel) that I mounted myself. If you have any questions about what’s going on in the park, want to learn more about different land management techniques, or want to know how to stuff a squirrel, stop and say hi!

  • Favorite Minnesota Animal: North American Beaver
  • Favorite Season: Spring
  • Favorite Outdoor Activity: Getting lost
  • Favorite Part of NNC: Ravine Stream
  • Favorite Rock/Mineral: Azurite
  • Favorite Flower: Southern Magnolia











Staff Enrichment (Fun)