Meet our board of directors. These individuals passionately volunteer their time to promote a healthy Lake Wingra through an active watershed community.
FOLW Board of Directors (2023-2024)
Gail Epping Overholt (Chair)
Gail is a senior lecturer at the University of Wisconsin and the Education Coordinator of the UW-Madison Arboretum. She holds a BS in Elementary Science Education (1987) and an MS in Water Resource Management (1993) with an emphasis on wetlands and public education, both degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Gail has worked in natural resources education for over 25 years, with a good majority of that time focusing on watershed, stormwater and Great Lakes issues. She has held board positions for the Wisconsin Association of Environmental Education, the Wisconsin Wetlands Association, the Friends of Cedarburg Bog, and a short time for Milwaukee Riverkeeper before moving north to the shores of Lake Superior. Her personal goal is to help people of all ages see the “land” as a community of soil, water, and living organisms—not excluding people. Having a special affinity for looking at issues with her eyes on the water, she has enjoyed her time exploring the shores of Lake Wingra and the flora and fauna that call it home.
David Ortiz (Vice-Chair)
David joined the board of directors in 2023. He is currently a PhD candidate at UW-Madison’s Center for Limnology. He completed his B.S. (‘17) and M.S. (’19) both in environmental science at Iowa State University where he studied wetlands and shallow lakes. His current work focused on the spatial differences of water chemistry found in the surfaces of lakes. He is involved with organizations on campus that help to connect underrepresented undergraduate students with mentors such as SACNAS and McNair. David enjoys recreating within Lake Wingra’s watershed, gardening, hiking, and camping throughout the state of Wisconsin.
Peter Gascoyne (Treasurer)
Peter joined the board in 2023. He is an economist who worked with a wide range of industries, from health care and manufacturing to telecom and insurance. A number of projects he worked on involved measuring the economic and environmental impact of proposed environmental or safety regulations, natural resource damage assessments, and comparisons of the environmental impact from using disposable vs reusable products. He received a master’s degree in economics from San Francisco State University and a Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy from the Fletcher School. A passion for matters of water came from his Peace Corps experience in Senegal, living in a village with virtually no water.
Grace Huddleston (Secretary)
Grace joined the board in 2023. She is the Lead Horticulturist for the Attic Angels Community, formerly working as a horticulturist with Epic Systems. She holds a BA in Urban and Regional planning from Miami University and is a proud Western College scholar. She has always been fascinated with the interactions between humans and the natural and built environments. Her scholarship focused on interactions between land use, transportation and conservation. Growing up in Ohio she was fascinated with wetlands (bogs and fens are so cool!) but did not have much real world exposure to wetland ecology until she moved to Madison in 2019. Although her knowledge rests primarily with terrestrial ecology, Grace is always looking to learn more about the wild world of aquatic life! Having spent most of her childhood in a swimming pool, she aspires to become an open water swimmer. In her free time Grace is probably found gardening, dancing, or watching birds with her husband and sometimes with their cats from their kitchen window!
Katy joined the Board of Directors in December 2021. She’s a lifelong resident of the Great Lakes states and first moved to Madison in 2013 for her MS degree in Conservation Biology and Sustainable Development at UW-Madison. She has taken her skills in social science research, evaluation and natural resources outreach to support a variety of grants and programs over the years, and she is currently the program manager for Water Action Volunteers, a UW-Madison Extension and Wisconsin DNR statewide citizen science stream monitoring program. Katy enjoys searching for birds and buzzing pollinators in natural areas around Madison, and strives to plant as many native and, ideally, edible plants as she can in her yard.
René joined the board of directors in 2023. He is a planning specialist with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. René grew up on Vancouver Island on the west coast of Canada before moving to the U.S. in 2013. He studied forestry at the University of British Columbia and completed his MSc in Environmental Policy at McGill University in Montreal. For more than 20 years René’s work has focused on natural resources management and environmental protection in some way. René lives with his wife and two young boys at the doorstep of Wingra Park.
Adrianna joined the board of directors in 2022. She is a third year PhD student in the Freshwater and Marine Science program at the Center for Limnology (CFL). Much of her research is focused on small urban waterbodies, such as stormwater ponds and Lake Wingra. She is particularly interested in bridging her Lake Wingra research with the broader community and applying long-term data collected from community groups like Friends of Lake Wingra and the North Temperate Lakes LTER to her analysis. As a member of the outreach committee at the CFL, she has a background in engaging with the broader community on lake topics. Her Lake Wingra research is also ongoing and across seasons and can see herself especially contributing to the mission actions of monitoring & research and engaging citizens. For fun, she enjoys recreating on Lake Wingra by paddling and fishing.
Lisa joined the board of directors in 2023. She enjoys stand up paddleboarding and fishing in Lake Wingra, observing wildlife and monitoring lake conditions, and has been the Clean Lakes Alliance deep water monitor for Lake Wingra since 2021. She has a background in computer science, and has spent the years since retiring from her job as a software developer enjoying the lake and getting more involved in the community around it, including volunteering as the communications and history chair with the Dudgeon-Monroe Neighborhood Association.
Emmy joined the board of directors in 2023. She has a master’s in landscape architecture from the Pennsylvania State University and an undergraduate degree in liberal arts from St. John’s College in Annapolis, Maryland. She grew up exploring the rocky beaches of Kodiak Island, Alaska, where she was endlessly fascinated by the tiny aquatic worlds in every tidepool. Many moves later, she found her way to Madison, Wisconsin and is happy to call this place home. She fell in love with Lake Wingra right from the start, and learning about life under the waves always makes her day. Emmy’s profession is firmly rooted on land (landscape design and planning) and she adores playing in the dirt and watching native plants at work. But while plants are great, she believes that water and the health of our water bodies is the connector that brings us all together. In her free time, Emmy enjoys long runs around Lake Wingra, strong cups of black tea, good books, and watching her cats as they watch birds.
Tim joined the board of directors in 2017. He is an associate professor of Biological Sciences at Edgewood College. Tim completed his PhD at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2009. His research focused on the role of land-use history in shaping patterns of plant invasion in the southern Appalachains. Since joining the faculty at Edgewood in 2009, Tim has continued conducting research on invasive plants at the UW Arboretum and around the Madison area. He has also expanded his research interests to study oak savannah restoration and fire ecology. Tim teaches a variety of botany and ecology classes, and especially enjoys bringing his students into the field and out on Lake Wingra. When Tim is not in class or in his office overlooking the lake, he enjoys biking, canoeing, fly fishing, gardening and spending time with his wife and three children.
Toni Tiemann (she/her) joined the Board of Directors in August 2022. She moved to Madison three years ago from Boston and has been living along Lake Wingra ever since, enjoying the paddling, birding, and running the area has to offer. Toni specializes in marketing, working full-time as an Account Director at a Gupta Media, a full-service digital media agency. Toni also comes with hands-on non-profit experience, working for two years at Farm Aid as the food and farm organization’s volunteer coordinator. She also worked at the Appalachian Mountain Club, an outdoor recreation and conservation non-profit for which she assisted with paid marketing and programming efforts. Toni is deeply committed to equity and inclusion, recently completing two programs with the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce: the Inclusive Managers Certificate and the Transformational DEI Certificate.
ADVISORS TO THE BOARD