Our Board

The Watershed Center is governed by a board of directors.

The board consists of a mix of representatives from nonprofit organizations, businesses and governmental units from throughout the region. Candidates for board membership are drawn from a broad pool that includes members, donors, partners and others.

Are you looking to use your skills, experiences, and passions to protect clean water right here in your community? Join our Board of Directors.
We are especially recruiting board members with finance and/or human resources experience and those who live in our watershed counties of Antrim, Kalkaska, and Leelanau. Our board meets bi-monthly in Traverse City. If you are interested, please contact Christine Crissman at ccrissman@gtbay.org or 231-935-1514 ext 1.

Board Officers



Jeanine Easterday: Registered Nurse

Jeanine Easterday is a long-time resident and registered nurse with a history of political involvement. She understands the importance of water, not just as an essential component to life, but for our well-being as humans. For Jeanine, just watching water flow or the smell of water as it is carried by the wind, is core to her being.

Her goal on the board is to impact the political process and move our region forward in a way that benefits all its citizens as members of a global community.

“The Great Lakes provides one-fifth of the world’s fresh water. That is critically important both politically and environmentally. It is our responsibility as stewards of the earth to protect and strengthen them. The Watershed Center is the best way I know of to go about that.”


Kelli Mengebier: Development Consulting

Kelli is a native of Traverse City and grew up on Long Lake. She has had a career in non-profit fundraising and is the founder of Shades of Green MI, LCC where she is a development consultant. Kelli is also a board member for the National Cherry Festival – Festival Foundation.

Kelli has a deep love for her community and the water that makes it so special.

“I am excited to share the great works of The Watershed Center and how they play a vital role in maintaining our unique watershed.”


Christopher Carol: Corporate Counsel

Chris moved to the area in 2011 and joined the board in October 2017. Like many others, he was drawn to the beauty of the surrounding area, but hadn’t yet developed a true appreciation for how important the watershed is.

“I think it’s easy to take this for granted. Once I found out about The Watershed Center and learned about its mission, I knew this was something I wanted to be a part of — for my own education and benefit, but also to help bring more awareness about protecting the environment and preserving this amazing resource. It’s an honor to serve on The Watershed Center board.”

Board Members


Jane Conard: Retired pharmacist

Jane moved to the Grand Traverse region in 2001 and joined The Watershed Board in October 2015. Her personal goals as a board member and the impact she’d like to see the organization make in the future include further educating the public about what is needed to do to preserve our waters. In addition to The Watershed Center, Jane is also active in Old Mission Women’s Club and enjoys playing pickle ball through the Senior Center.

“I serve on The Watershed Center board to preserve and improve our precious water resources in northern Michigan.”

Lauren Jeffries

Lauren moved to Traverse City in 2009. She is a graduate of the University of Michigan School of Law. Prior to living in Michigan, Lauren was studying for her Master’s in Environmental Science and teaching at the Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs.

As an avid open-water swimmer and mother of three children that spend countless hours in the bay, Lauren takes the health of the watershed very seriously.

“I am passionate about The Watershed Center’s efforts to inspire and educate individuals to appreciate and protect our water in our everyday decisions.”

John Nelson

John Nelson: Retired Grand Traverse Baykeeper®

John has been involved with The Watershed Center in some capacity for 20 years. He first served as a board member in 1999 and then became the first Grand Traverse Baykeeper® when The Watershed Center became a member of the Waterkeeper Alliance in 2002. He served as Baykeeper for 13 years before retiring in 2015 and re-joined the board in early 2016.

John says his goals on the board include supporting the mission and staff of The Watershed Center, working to ensure the organization is financially viable to further its mission and cultivating a team approach as a board to support The Watershed Center and its mission.

“Clean water is shared as a common essential for all life. I value that we live in a truly unique water rich watershed and freshwater embayment that we much protect.”

Christine Petersen: Health Care Consultant

Christine is a board certified internist with a fellowship in oncology and over 30 years of management experience in Managed Care. After retiring from Sierra Health Services in 2007, she began providing consulting services to multiple entities in health care. Christine has been the recipient of numerous awards for her community service and maintains an active role in her community and professional societies.

Christine now resides in Elk Rapids where she is the Vice President of Green Elk Rapids and a committee member of the Elk Rapids Downtown Development Authority. She also volunteers for The Watershed Center as a Beach Ranger.

Royce Ragland

Royce is a resident of Elk Rapids. She chairs the village Planning Commission, is a founder and chair of Green Elk Rapids, and has served on a number of regional boards. Royce’s professional career of over 30 years includes education, economics, and management training for government agencies, organizations, and universities around the country. She is a past recipient of the Michigan Environmentalist of the Year award. Royce appreciates the importance of citizen engagement and the opportunity to work with organizations like The Watershed Center.

“For many years I have considered The Watershed Center as the ‘go-to’ organization on water matters. They have educated my community on green practices and made us more aware of our responsibility to care for our waters.”

Rod Rebant: Retired IT Leader

After a 32 year career in a corporate global IT leadership position, Rod and his wife retired to their family cabin in Traverse City in 2006. A neighbor introduced him to fly fishing, as well as The Watershed Center’s Adopt-A-Stream program in 2011. Since that introduction, TWC helped him understand how important it is to protect and preserve our valuable watershed.

“The Watershed Center plays a vital role in our community. It is the perfect organization to provide the vision, and hands-on support of a precious commodity in our Grand Traverse Bay watershed. Finding an acceptable balance between the area’s residential and commercial growth, and our natural resources is critical.”


Robert Reider: Retired Fisheries Biologist

Robert is a retired fisheries biologist and joined the board in early 2016. He chose to serve on the board because the organizations’ mission to advocate for for clean water in the Grand Traverse Bay and protect and preserve the Bay’s watershed, aligns with his personal values regarding the water resources of this beautiful area.

“I am very supportive of The Watershed Center’s active role in various restoration projects and monitoring activities in the watershed. As a board member I will have the opportunity to be an active steward of the wonderful freshwater resources of the Grand Traverse Bay area.”

Brittany VanderBeek: Impact Manager

Brittany is a Michigan native who grew up vacationing on Lake Michigan. After years of carrying a Petoskey stone everywhere she lived, Brittany followed her dream to move to Traverse City in 2020. She is a graduate of the University of Michigan Ross School of Business BBA and Spanish Program and the University of South Carolina Moore School of Business International MBA and French Program.

Brittany spent her career championing business as a force for good in the community, working in sustainability consulting at BrownFlynn (now ERM), completing a cross-functional global leadership program at Michelin, and currently building the corporate citizenship, environmental sustainability, giving, and volunteer programs at Hagerty. You will find her near Grand Traverse Bay and its surrounding waters almost every day year-round, whether trail running, dune hiking, cross country skiing, snowshoeing, paddle boarding, kayaking, or admiring the sunset.

“Grand Traverse Bay and its surrounding waters are vital resources and symbols of Michigan’s vibrancy and character. I am excited to serve on The Watershed Center board to inspire and educate the community and collaborate with community stakeholders to protect and preserve the watershed.”

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