Glacial Lakes Conservancy announces New Executive Director

February 16, 2021
February 2021 Glacial Lakes Conservancy Announces New Executive Director From Marshes to Manhattan and Back 

The staff and board of Glacial Lakes Conservancy (GLC) are pleased to announce Jennifer Born Rutten as their new Executive Director after a regional search.  
Jennifer grew up in Sheboygan surrounded by parks, wildlife, and a marsh named after her family. After earning her bachelor’s degree at Arizona State, she spent time living in several states honing expertise in development, fundraising and marketing. Jennifer got the birding bug in Manhattan. Birding started with Pale Male, the infamous New York City Red-tailed Hawk. Living a few blocks away from this brash Buteo jamaicensis for over 16 years, she redeveloped her love of the outdoors and birding.   

Jennifer received her informal training of the natural world through the Wisconsin Master Naturalist program in 2017 and pivoted into a role at Schlitz Audubon Nature Center in Milwaukee. While at Schlitz she had taken over co-hosting the monthly bird club, bird walks, bird presentations, and assisted teaching adult education and found it invigorating to refresh the bird club and increase their members. In her desire to grow, Jennifer joined the Milwaukee County Parks system at Wehr Nature Center in 2019. While at Wehr, Jennifer led nature programs with an emphasis on accessibility for all in nature including a program for memory care patients and Veterans and military families. Jennifer increased Friends of Wehr Nature Center Board interactions focusing on fundraising and building donor relations during COVID while the Center was closed. 

Jennifer has been deeply involved in Wisconsin conservation as a past board member of Wisconsin Society for Ornithology, and remains communications chair, committee alternate for Wisconsin Bird Conservation Partnership. She is a key member of the planning committee for the Natural Resources Foundation Birdathon.  A volunteer at the Wisconsin Humane Society Wildlife Rehabilitation Center, Jennifer loves to get up close and personal with all wildlife. Jennifer also commits time to Veterans and military organizations: past board  member of Milwaukee Homeless Veterans Initiative and current board member at Feast of Crispian in Milwaukee. In the fall of 2020, Jennifer joined the board of Camp Evergreen of Sheboygan. 

“It is such an honor to be selected to lead this valued organization in Sheboygan County, especially at the cusp of their 25th anniversary. I am thrilled to be back in the area dedicating my time and expertise to the efforts of this team.  This is truly an opportunity of a lifetime.  I look forward to building on the past success of this organization. Together with our great board, staff and community, we can continue to be a leader in the protection of the intrinsic values that draw so many to this very special part of Wisconsin.  Community connection, engagement and awareness of the stories these lands share will be a priority. My family roots have brought me back to my hometown to focus on preserving and restoring vital natural land areas for the present and generations ahead,” said Jennifer. 

“As a local Wisconsinite who knows us and our special landscape, Jennifer is the perfect person to lead our efforts to conserve land for present and future generations,” said Cynthia Northup, GLC’s Board of Directors President. 

Jennifer enjoys spending time with friends in nature with her own weekly bird hikes to small land trusts, hiking, and exploring adventures. She also loves the land and wildlife of the Black Hills of South Dakota and enjoys solo trips of exploration out West. She loves to urban farm and cook. Becoming a vegetarian/vegan and being more accountable to sustainability has also been a huge priority. 

Glacial Lakes Conservancy is a private, nonprofit land trust that provides enduring solutions for land conservation in Wisconsin’s Lake Michigan Basin and serves Sheboygan, Manitowoc, Calumet, Kewaunee and Fond du Lac Counties. Jennifer will begin as Executive Director effective February 22, 2021. GLC will be introducing Jennifer to the community, land trust members, and landowners throughout the region this spring and summer.

For your chance to meet Jennifer Rutten in her new capacity, please visit the GLC website or follow us on Facebook for the announcement of upcoming events.  For more information about GLC, please call 920-273-1143 or find us online at
Cynthia Northup, President, (920) 273-1143

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