Nature Preserve Foundation

The Watershed Nature Center is managed by the Nature Preserve Foundation, a not-for-profit, 501(c)(3) organization. The Foundation is comprised of a volunteer Board of Directors. The Directors serve the community through their thoughtful and skillful management of our native habitats, educational programs, and public outreach.

2017 Board of Directors

Greg S. Brumitt, President

Brumitt has extensive experience working in both private and public sector markets, developing successful strategic initiatives and the brands and organizations that support them.  Most recently, Mr. Brumitt worked with the Great Rivers Greenway District is St. Louis, Mo. as its Director of Conservation and Community Service to develop its public-facing operations capabilities that included Communications, Greenway Operations and Conservation, Public Engagement and Special Events. Mr. Brumitt, an avid cyclist and kayaker founded Dayton, Ohio’s outdoor recreation initiative working with Five Rivers MetroParks in 2005. Mr. Brumitt is the co-founder of several outdoor events in Ohio, including the Midwest Outdoor Experience, The Adventure Summit, and the Miami Valley Bike Summit, among others. In addition to his active lifestyle efforts, Mr. Brumitt spent over 20 years leading project management, product marketing and strategic planning groups in several high technology companies, including Emerson Electric, Glenayre Technologies and Adaptive Broadband. Brumitt is the owner of Active Strategies, an active lifestyle consulting practice and is an active lifestyle advocate; speaking and writing on outdoor culture and its positive affects on communities. Most recently he spoke on developing outdoor cultures in communities at the International Mountain Bike Association (IMBA) World Summit in Santé Fe, New Mexico. Mr. Brumitt graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of Cincinnati’s College of Design, Architecture, Planning and Art (DAAP) with a degree in Urban Planning.

Elise Rebmann, Vice president

Rebmann has spent her entire career in the arts and non-profit world.  She and her family have lived in Edwardsville for fifteen years and both children attend District 7.  Currently, she works helping non-profit clients coast to coast in her role as an Renewals and Retention Manager for Patron Technology.  She is thrilled to put her non-profit experience to work supporting Watershed as she believes connecting with the natural world is of vital importance for both community health and meaningful living.

Jennifer Warren, Treasurer

Warren is the Vice President of Retail Banking with First Clover Leaf Bank and has an extensive history of leadership in the banking industry that began in 1999. She manages First Clover Leaf Bank's Employee United Way campaign at the bank each year. Jennifer has been doing this for the past four years and have seen the employee participation in terms of donating to United Way increase from 74%  to 90-92% in the past four years. Jennifer also coordinated a major fundraiser on the bank's behalf to benefit Relay for Life for the past two years. She has organized a wine tasting event which raised $10,000 the first year and $13,000 in 2016. Jennifer is also involved with Edwardsville Rotary and is on several committees - Criterium, chair Fellowship committee. Jennifer assisted in organizing the Pedal & Paint tent for the Criterium last year which saw over 400 people come and make bike related art.

Russ Reed, Secretary

Bio Coming Soon

Kurt Schulz, Chairman of Restoration Committee

Schulz is a leader of forestry team and a professor of Biological Sciences at SIUE. He teaches an array of courses in plant biology, ecology and biostatistics and has an active research program. Kurt and his wife, Luci Kohn (also an SIUE biology professor), received doctoral degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and live in Glen Carbon with their two daughters and energetic golden retriever. Favorite family activities include cooking, gardening, home renovation, and girls’ sports. The family is active in a number of charitable causes.

Randi Papke, Chair of the Education Committee

Papke moved to Edwardsville ten years ago with her husband, and their son. Randi has a doctorate in Biology from Arizona State, where she studied the behavioral ecology of butterflies.  She is the chair of the Biology Department at SWIC and has been actively involved in ecological restoration on SWIC’s campus and at Stemler Cave Woods in Columbia, IL.  Randi is an avid gardener and her yard was awarded the Edwardsville Green Thumb award in 2013 and her yard was written about in the Belleville News Democrat.  She is very excited to be a new member of the Watershed Nature Center board and looks forward to increasing awareness of the educational opportunities the Watershed provides to the Edwardsville community.

Sharon Locke, Board Member

 Locke is Associate Professor and Director of the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) Center at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. Before joining SIUE in 2010, Dr. Locke served two years as Honorary Research Fellow at University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa, where in addition to her guidance in funding of STEM projects she assisted in science teacher training. From 2006 to 2008 she was a program director at the National Science Foundation in Washington, DC, where she was responsible for assisting with selection of grant awards in science education. For the past twenty years she has devoted her career to promoting understanding of the Earth and its interconnected systems. As a Board member she is interested in increasing awareness of the Watershed Nature Center’s educational value and learning opportunities for the community.

Jean Swearingen, Board Member 

Swearingen recently returned to the Metro East area, with her husband Jim, after a 30+ year hiatus.  She is a family physician in Edwardsville, employed by Anderson Hospital.  She received her undergraduate degree in Microbiology from Purdue University, her medical degree at Southern IL School of Medicine, and completed a Family Medicine residency in Lancaster, PA.  She has always had an interest in conserving and enjoying natural areas, so is excited to be a member of the Watershed Board.

Craig Louer, Board Member

Louer, Alderman, City of Edwardsville, and his wife, Jane, have lived in Edwardsville for 37 years where they raised their two sons. He retired from Edwardsville School District #7 in 2009 where he held positions as business teacher, football coach, principal, and Asst. Superintendent. He currently works part time at Louer Facility Planning assisting with operations and project management. Now that he is not working full time, he has the time and desire to “give back.” He says that he owes a lot to this community and wants to help guide its continuing growth and prosperity.

Mark Weinheimer, Board Member

Weinheimer works and lives in Edwardsville with his wife Carla. Mark is a business and real estate attorney and president of Weinheimer law firm.   He received his B.S. from University of Illinois with highest honors and J.D. cum laudeSt. Louis UniversityWeinheimer is familiar with volunteer boards, having served for the Southwestern Illinois Chapter of the Red Cross; SIUE School of Business Advisory Board; Past President of Madison County Extension Education Foundation as well as past chair of SIUE Athletic Advisory Committee.

Grace Garin, Board Member

Grace Garin moved to Glen Carbon nine years ago after retiring from the Waterloo School system where she spent thirty years teaching junior high students and four years serving as the District school librarian.  She started volunteering at the Watershed Nature Center soon afterwards which led her to become a Master Naturalist in 2012.  Since then she has volunteered every Monday morning at the Watershed Nature Center and serves on the Restoration Committee.

Charles S. Borden III, Board Member

Borden is a general dentist practicing in Edwardsville. He graduated from the University of Illinois with a BFA in Medical Art, and then from Northwestern University Dental School. He served in the Indian Health Service in northern Arizona and has taught at Southern Illinois University School of Dental Medicine. He was twice President of the Madison District Dental Society, and is currently on the Illinois State Dental Society's Committee on Dental Education. He is also a member of the Goshen Rotary Club in Edwardsville. He is married and has two children. He and his family enjoy outdoor activities and he is excited to give back to one of his family's favorite places to hike, the Watershed Nature Center.

Richard (Dick) Brugam, Board Member

Brugam recently retired from a forty year career as biology professor at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. He and his wife Sue raised two children who graduated from Edwardsville Schools. He is a member of the Palisades Sierra Club, Illinois Audubon Society, and Biological Society of America. As one can imagine, he has a number of Interests relating to Watershed Nature Center. He currently serves as the leader of the Wetlands team.

Watershed Nature Center Staff

Sarah Palermo, Executive Director

Sarah’s resume includes over 15 years of fundraising, administration, communications and organizational experience in the nonprofit sector.  She was volunteer coordinator for Stern Grove Festival Association, ran the annual fund for San Francisco Art Institute and was assistant director of corporate and foundation relations for San Francisco Opera. Sarah was the founding development director for Alice Waters’ Chez Panisse Foundation and led the fundraising for the Edible Schoolyard and School Lunch Program. She was also the director of the Northern California office for Human Rights Watch, an international NGO and advocacy organization.  She moved to the area in 2006 to live closer to her husband’s family in St. Louis. Sarah served as development director for McKendree University before taking time off from work in 2010 to raise her two children. While staying at home she was an active volunteer and organizer in the Metro-East. Sarah created a garden to table educational program for at-risk youth and summer campers for Lebanon Kids, Inc. and worked with the Lebanon, IL Chamber of Commerce to lead a fundraising dinner. She is currently a Girl Scout Leader for her daughter’s troop and has volunteered in the Edwardsville School District for the Columbus Elementary School library. 

Tom Doyle, Restoration Director

Tom Doyle has been the Watershed Nature Center’s Restoration Director since February 2016. He worked for Southwestern Bell & ATT for 36 years and retired in 2010. Tom and his wife, Susan bought 16 acres in south Jersey County in 1986, built their home there, and began restoring the land to native prairie and woodlands habitat. Tom is a former board member of the Nature Institute in Godfrey, IL and still volunteers as a land steward at Heartland Prairie and Woodlands at Gordon Moore Park.  Tom passion is working on the Watershed’s 40 acres to maintain and restore its native flora and fauna. He and Susan have been married for 32 years and have three children, Chris, Meghan, Tim and one grandson, Devin.

Aya Laird, Administrative Program Coordinator

Aya is a recent graduate of the University of Missouri-St. Louis and lifelong Metro-East resident. She was a participant in some of the first educational outreach activities at the Watershed Nature Center as a student in the Edwardsville School District.  Aya is an anthropologist, storyteller, and community leader. She is passionate about environmental enrichment, community solidarity, and personal empowerment. She writes for I Am East St. Louis, the Magazine and is the co-founder of Aya Grows, a civic investment initiative in East St. Louis, Illinois. In addition to her BA from UMSL,  Aya was a graduate of the Leadership Academy in the Sue Shear Institute for Women in Public Life, received the Pierre Laclede Honors College Certificate, and holds a Chancellor's Certificate in Women's Leadership. She is also a Girl Scout presenter and was an active volunteer at the Crisis Food Pantry Operations in Alton when she was a student.