Staff & Volunteer LeadershiPWho We Are
David Zentner spent his childhood along the Mississippi River and has an avid interest in farmland conservation. A retired insurance and financial planner living in Duluth, Minnesota, Dave has served as the Izaak Walton League chapter, state, and national president and chair of the national executive board. Honorary doctorates from the University of Minnesota and Northland College, the IWL’s 54 Founders Award, and Outdoor Life magazine’s Conservationist of the Year award recognize his conservation work.
Iowa UMRI Outreach Coordinator
A passionate advocate for animals, nature, people, art, and the environment, Christine Curry is a committed project and product developer. With a 25-year record of exceeding expectations, she is a creative problem solver. Christine’s numerous successes include establishing internationally recognized marine and sustainable agriculture programs and organizations. She builds authentic relationships, develops viable networks, coordinates strong partnerships, leads effective teams, and achieves goals.
Iowa UMRI Coordinator
As a boy, Mike Delaney developed his affinity for the outdoors through weekends and summers exploring an Indiana lake. Mike earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in sociology, served in the Peace Corps, taught at Des Moines Area Community College, and taught environmental sociology online for 10 years after retirement. On 60 acres on the Raccoon River, he and his wife planted prairie, improved the woodland, and became river advocates. He helped created the Raccoon River Watershed Association.
MN UMRI Administrative Liaison
Barb Hanson has lived and worked in the Minnesota River Valley for most of her life. For 32 years, she worked at the women’s correctional facility in Shakopee, Minnesota, and retired as associate warden of administration. Barb has served on the boards of directors for the Friends of the Minnesota Valley and the Minnesota Valley chapter and state division of the Izaak Walton League.
MN River Data Coordinator
Tom Crawford brings a wealth of local knowledge as the Minnesota River Data Coordinator. His love of the outdoors began as a young boy exploring the woods and waters of Princeton, MN. Since then Tom has held a variety of outdoor education roles across Minnesota, Wisconsin, South Dakota, and Colorado. He is also a dedicated volunteer of the Green Crew, a youth conservation organizations aimed at getting young people invested in the natural resources around them, and preparing young scientists and stewards for the challenges facing Minnesota’s environment. He spends his recreational time paddling on the water, making music with his friends, and going hiking with his wife and two cats.
UMRI MN River Coordinator
Living close to and enjoying the Minnesota River and its tributaries, David Minge has a long and strong involvement with the river. He canoes, skates, skis, swims, bikes, and camps. For decades, David has volunteered and worked on river issues as a county lawyer and in public office. He has served as a member of CURE, the Friends of the Minnesota Valley, the Izaak Walton League, and related organizations.
UMRI Steering Committee Chairperson
Ted Suss spent most of his career as a school administrator including as a school superintendent for 12 years. He served in the Minnesota legislature and was executive director of the Minnesota State Board of Education. Born and raised on a farm in southern Minnesota, Ted is a hobby farmer raising cattle, hogs, and goats. He was president of the Minnesota division and the Minnesota Valley chapter of the IWLA.
Caroline van Schaik
UMRI Driftless Area Coordinator
Caroline van Schaik lives in the Driftless region of southeast Minnesota where she and her family rotationally graze sheep on pastures managed in equal parts for livestock, soil, water, and grassland bird health. With 20-plus years of organizing and educating around farmer and landowner issues in the region, she is helping to shed light on the upland management side of river health, using the UMRI values of community and collaboration.
From Our 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.”