Staff & Volunteer LeadershiPWho We Are
We Are UMRI
David Zentner is the National Director for the Izaak Walton League of America and a Member of the Duluth Chapter of the Minnesota Division, where he has served as the Chapter President on multiple occasions and the Division President on two occasions. David is also a member of the National Endowment Board, the Ike’s National Trust Board, and was awarded the “Fifty-Four Founders” award, the League’s highest award. His volunteer conservation work began in the 1960s. Since then, he has worked on projects for and with the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, Voyageurs National Park, and the Superior National Forest, just to name a few. While David’s accomplishments are too numerous to list, he was named Outdoor Life Conservationist of the Year on Outdoor Life’s 100 year anniversary in 1998, and held an active leadership role in the campaign to pass the Clean Water Legacy and Land Constitutional Amendment in 2008.
Barry Drazkowski is the past president of the Minnesota Division of the Izaak Walton League of America, and the President of Winona’s Will Dilg Chapter. Barry has a long history of stewardship and GIS work on the Upper Mississippi River. He was the Deputy Director of the Department of Interior’s Long Term Resource Monitoring Program for the Mississippi River and developed the collaborative Upper Midwest Biodiversity Assessment. Barry recently retired from his position as Executive Director of GeoSpatial Services at St. Mary’s University. During his long career, he worked on numerous projects and is responsible for developing over 40 National Park Natural Resource Condition Assessments. Among many other things, Barry is chair of the Buffalo County Land Information Council and is very active with the local group Sustain Winona.
Don Arnosti has served for over 30 years as an environmental advocate, program director and executive director for several Minnesota conservation organizations. He is currently Conservation Director for the Izaak Walton League in Minnesota, and has in the past worked for Audubon Minnesota, the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy, and Clean Water Action. He loves to canoe, fish, read and travel to foreign countries.
Outreach & Engagement Coordinator
Piper Donlin is the Outreach and Engagement Coordinator for the Upper Mississippi River Initiative. Piper holds a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science, Sustainability Studies and Studio Arts from the University of Minnesota. She completed a Master’s in Sustainable International Development at the University of Oslo in 2015. Her research focused on the food sovereignty movement in Ojibwe communities across Minnesota. For the past three years, Piper has worked as the Outreach Coordinator of Sportsmen for the Boundary Waters and Northeastern Regional Director of the Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters. She enjoys Nordic skiing, painting, and traveling in her free time.
Communications & Social Media Organizer
Rachel is the Communications & Social Media Organizer for the Upper Mississippi River Initiative. Rachel joined the UMRI team in May 2018. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Fisheries and Wildlife from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, where much of her focus was on big cat conservation. By day she works as a full-time Customer Care Engineer for a software company located in downtown Minneapolis. By night she is a graduate student, currently pursuing a Masters degree in Data Intelligence and GeoAnalytics from St. Mary’s University. Rachel is a self-proclaimed mycophile, with a deeply seeded passion for mushrooms, is a feline enthusiast, loves antique shopping, and all things wilderness.
From Our National Director
“The Izaak Walton League strategic plan… is to make conservation a way of life for every citizen. We (have) failed, in spite of our heroes, in spite of the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, the Endangered Species Act. We have not reached every day citizens. We have done the reverse in many ways. All of our success in the ’80s, in some ways, has made us a little arrogant, too piped into big government, too piped into top-down. I think I’m right that we start with our neighbors. We don’t start with the U.N. We don’t start with U.S. Senate. If all politics are local, then we go back to the old ways — from pre- and post-World War II. We go to the PTA. We talk to our neighbors and try to understand them.”