About- Green-Rock Audubon Society
Green-Rock Audubon Society, Inc. was incorporated in 1991 as a Section 501 C (3) non-profit corporation and is a local chapter of the National Audubon Society. Between 2000 and 2004 we acquired a conservation easement and 250 acres of land so we are a land trust. In 2007 we began aggressively restoring our property.
President: Joni Denker
Joni has a BS in Environmental Geology with a minor in Biology from Beloit College and lives in Janesville with her kids Amber and Christopher, and their two adopted cats, Mayflower and Junebug. She works for the Rockford Park District as their Conservation Supervisor, overseeing their 1,500+ natural areas.
Joni is an Iraq war veteran having served with the 124th Signal Battalion, 1st Brigade, 4th Inf Div out of Ft. Hood, TX.
Joni's life long passion for nature started as a childhood curiosity which turned into a hobby of photography and bird watching. Having found the Green-Rock Audubon Society while looking for areas to bird in Rock County she found her passion for natural areas restoration while volunteering with Victor in 2012. If she's not hiking with her kids and teaching them about all of the plants, insects, and birds they see you can find her attempting to photograph all of the flowering plants at Searls Nature Preserve in Rockford.
Past President: Neil Deupree
Neil Deupree has been involved with G-RAS since the early 90s. He remembers the early days of pulling garlic mustard in Androne Woods and mowing paths at Gabower-Reilly with the “billy goat”. He has been glad to see our vision for natural habitat bearing fruit. He is a retired pastor, living in Janesville since 1990. His wife, Kay, and he have two daughters, two grand-daughters and two great-grand-daughters. For relaxation, he does Wordle and crosswords, and enjoys reading books. One of his favorite series is the Birder Murder Mysteries by Steve Burrows.
Vice-President: Joshua Erdman
Treasurer - pro-tem: Neil Deupree
Land Manager: Fred Faessler
Assistant Land Manager: Art Burns
Art grew up in Rock County and has served in both the Marine Corps and the Navy. He graduated from the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in 1983 with a Bachelor of Science in Marine Transportation. After a twenty-seven year career as a deck officer in the Merchant Marine, Art retired in rural Rock County. He keeps busy as a volunteer at the VA hospital in Madison, Service Officer for American Legion Post 209 in Orfordville and maintaining wildlife habitat with his wife Grace on their property.
Director: Dela Ends
For over 25 years, Dela has had her hands in the soil and heart dedicated to our Wisconsin community, shaking things up through collaboratively building community. She has operated Scotch Hill Farm with her family, a certified organic diversified farm and Innisfree Farmstay Air B&B.
Dela brings deep and diverse experience in what it means to be a collaborative board member. She serves as President of the board of Marbleseed, formerly the Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service (MOSES), helped launch the Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training and has served on has served on boards ranging from South Central Wisconsin Farmers Union, FairShare CSA Coalition, Trinity Church Vestry, Spring Valley 4H. Ends was also elected clerk of the Town of Spring Valley.
The Ends with a small group of neighbors and GRAS fought a CAFO (concentrated animal feeding operation) in Rock County advocating for clean water and local control to condition permits for a decade landing in WI State Supreme Court in 2012. That legal battle was lost but not the fight to protect water and our local community. Dela will continue to speak out on this issue until our water and rural communities are safe for future generations.
Director: Victor Illichmann
Victor has a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education from U-W-Whitewater.
Until 1963 he did farm work in Langlade County and was self-employed working in the woods, pulping, logging, and harvesting and shearing Christmas trees. From 1963 until 1999 Victor taught in three school systems, mostly in Evansville, until he retired in 1999. For many years before retirement he taught science to fifth graders.
Victor was interested in flora even as a toddler. Over time this also became an intense interest in the environment and environmental issues. He currently has a 2 acre restored prairie and a 1 acre mini-arboretum. This arboretum especially is devoted to spring ephemerals in a heavily
Director: Linn Duesterbeck
Linn Duesterbeck, age 72, is currently a resident of rural Fort Atkinson with his wife Ann, near Koshkonong Mounds on Lake Koshkonong. He was the former owner of Stoney Point on Lake Koshkonong for over 40 years, where he restored and maintained several wetlands and had one of the largest wood duck nesting colonies in Wisconsin for several years where he maintained and serviced over 50 nesting boxes.
Linn is the former founder and owner of L.A. Duesterbeck and Associates in Janesville, Appleton and Waukesha, a commercial real estate appraisal firm recently celebrating 50 years of service. He is a Janesville Craig and Milton College graduate.
Linn belongs to several conservation boards and organizations including the Audubon Society, Nature Conservancy, Wisconsin Wetlands Association, Delta Waterfowl, Ducks Unlimited, Sand County Foundation, Northland College, Natural Resources Foundation, Gathering Waters, Lake Koshkonong Wetlands Association and Rock River Coalition.
Director: Andrea Short
Andrea has lived in the area for 20 years. She found her love for nature growing up in the deep woods around the Lacrosse area where her parents were avid hunters, fishers, gardeners, and hobby farmers. Andrea loves spending time with her husband and two children kayaking, hiking, and going on road trips. She works for the School District of Janesville and owns a small crafting and nature photography business. While Andrea loves all aspects of the outdoors, birding is her absolute favorite. She started photographing birds and sharing her photos with Green Rock Audubon Society during the pandemic which is how she became involved with the group. Andrea is a newly certified Wisconsin Master Naturalist after completing a week of training this past summer. She looks forward to serving GRAS and sharing her love and knowledge of birds, flowers, and conservation with our community.
Membership Chair: Steve Reischel
Steve grew up on a dairy farm in west-central Wisconsin. The amount of work and responsibility on the farm limited his world to a small patch of land and a few towns and cities in the surrounding area. After graduating high school, he went to a technical college and got a degree in electronics technology. He worked for a few years repairing business machines before taking an information technology job at the University of Wisconsin - Madison and moving his wife and stepchildren to Evansville. Working at the university broadened his world physically and culturally. Life on the farm had given him an appreciation for the natural world and he always had a strong interest in science. Although he wasn’t able to pursue a career in science, he merged the interests of nature and science and began to study birds. Through volunteer work at a bird banding station he learned how to band birds and quickly earned a banding permit. He joined Green-Rock Audubon Society about this same time and shortly thereafter was recruited to serve on the Board of Directors.
Having met several people who traveled internationally, Steve began to travel as well, further expanding his world. Over the years he has traveled to a number of countries in Central and South America, and the Caribbean. He developed an interest in photography and uses the opportunity of these trips to document the variety of bird species and the incredible scenery encountered while traveling. Occasionally he gives presentations about the places he has traveled and the people he’s met. Nearly every weekend during bird migration you’ll find him banding birds and educating visitors to the bird banding station about birds and nature.
Advocacy and Engagement Chair: Susan Johnson
"After working in my career as a high school history teacher, library media specialist, and a community college professor, I've retired, and been active in our local communities, particularly as an environmental advocate. I've served on the Janesville City Council, and on its Sustainable Janesville, and Parks and Recreation Committees. I’ve been active on the Green-Rock Audubon Society Board since 2018, as our environmental advocate, and FB page manager. I’ve been active in the Janesville League of Women Voters since 2019. Throughout this time, I’ve served as our Sustainability Committee Chair. I’ve organized three virtual Earth Week Forums with WI state and local governmental officials from the Cities of Janesville and Beloit, as well as, Janesville Public Schools, and Rock County. Currently, I’m serving as Chair of the state-wide LWV Natural Resources Committee, as well, and am helping to plan two state-wide forums on PFAS, and its health dangers in Wisconsin. This past summer, I had the opportunity to take the state training necessary to become a certified Wisconsin Master Naturalist, and I’ve already donated over 30 volunteer hours for the WI Department of Natural Resources since then. In addition, I’ve been active in the Diversity Action Team of Rock County on its Programming Committee, and its Allies of Native Nations. Into the future, I look forward to continuing to contribute my time and expertise to our communities."