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20 Under 40: John Geissler

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John Geissler2 / 2

Age: 39

Occupation: Program director at Boulder Lake Environmental Learning Center

What do you do? Primary responsibilities include educational and recreational program development, implementation and evaluation; grant writing and fundraising; supervising/mentoring volunteers/student interns and graduate assistants; financial management; strategic planning; marketing and public relations.

Years in your job: 7

Education: Master’s degree in environmental education from the University of Minnesota Duluth; bachelor’s degree in chemistry from St. John’s University in St. Joseph, Minn.

Family: Wife, Christina; daughter, Evelyn; and son, Noah

Community involvement: School board member; Holy Rosary School Advisory Board Member; St. John’s Outdoor University

Favorite place in the Northland: In the winter it’s backcountry snowshoe/ski trails at Boulder; in the spring the wildflower patches at Jay Cooke State Park; in the summer it is along the shores of Lake Superior; during the fall it is in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness or any quiet trail through the woods.

Native of the area? No. I stayed for the beautiful natural features of the area (forests, lakes, rivers, bogs, rocks, etc.), environmental education program at University of Minnesota Duluth, and a great place to raise kids.

What do you do with your free time? Outdoor adventures with family, woodworking, gardening, fishing and running

How can the Northland retain younger people? Continue to celebrate and be wise stewards of our wonderful natural resources.

Tell us about an influential person in your life: It is difficult to narrow down to one. My parents sacrificed a lot to give me a great start in life and I have had the fortunate opportunity to be surrounded by many wonderful environmental educators and mentors such as Larry Weber, Ken Gilbertson, Tim Bates, Julie Ernst, Mike Reichenbach, Tom Kroll and Paul Schwietz. Their knowledge and passion for teaching about the natural world is contagious.

What is your biggest accomplishment? Being part of a team that grew high-quality education and outdoor recreation programming at Boulder Lake Environmental Learning Center from 800 participants to more than 10,000 participants annually.

What are your goals for the next five to 10 years? Be a national leader in increasing awareness, understanding and skill related to natural resource stewardship and sustainability in K-12, college and community audiences. To do this, we need to expand interdisciplinary collaboration, grow staff and improve facility to meet growing programmatic demands.

Where can community members find you on social media? Boulder Lake Environmental Learning Center on Facebook

See all the 2016 20 Under 40 Award winners