Board of Trustees

Executive Committee

Yu Man Lee, President

Yu Man is an accomplished field biologist and conservation scientist with the Michigan Natural Features Inventory, at one time serving as its Interim Executive Director. She is the author, co-author, or contributing author of over 45 technical reports, 20 MNFI species abstracts, and several peer-reviewed publications, among others. Yu Man's research focuses on rare amphibians and reptiles in Michigan.

Kurt Brauer, Vice President

A law partner at Warner, Norcross and Judd LLP, Kurt works on complex environmental and real estate issues and is a past chair of the State Bar of Michigan's environmental Law Council. He is a past President of the Paul H. Young Chapter of Trout Unlimited, the President of the Loon Lake Association, and a former member of the Board of Directors of the Michigan Wetlands Association.

Margaret Welsch, Secretary

Margaret has been a member of the Board of Trustees since 2005 and President of the Board for four years until April 2017. She is a graduate of Michigan State University with a degree in Medical Technology. Before her retirement Margaret was chief project coordinator for several large National Institutes of Health (NIH) research grants for the study of Breast Cancer using Sprague-Dawley rats and Athymic mouse models; these grants were awarded to the Department of Toxicology and Pharmacology at Michigan State University.

Ruth Vail, Treasurer

Before retiring, Ruth was a geologist for a sanitary engineering company, laboratory manager for an asphalt company and manager of the Map Room at the Illinois Geological Survey. She has served on the planning commission and zoning board of appeals for the City of Troy. Besides board service, Ruth also volunteers as a steward at two MNA sanctuaries and organize sanctuary legal files at MNA's office.

David Cartwright, Trustee-at-Large

David, Executive Assistant for Wayne County's Parks and Recreation Division, was appointed MNA's newest trustee. In his role at Wayne County, David is responsible for developing, planning, organizing and administering the policies and procedures for the division to ensure its administrative and operational objectives are met. Prior to joining Wayne County Parks, David held positions as Supervisor/Labor Representative for Laborer's Local 1191 and General Manager, Golf Division, for the American Golf Corporation. He also served as a Commissioner for the Detroit Historic District Commission, on the boards of the MotorCities National Heritage Area (National Park Service) and the Michigan Labor Alliance, and is currently a member of several community groups, including Friends of the Rouge, Friends of Nankin Mills, and the Holliday Nature Preserve Association. David is a graduate of Wayne State University.


Bill Bobier

Bill has extensive experience as a conservation leader and policy maker at the state and local level. He is currently a policy analyst for the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. He also owns a farm, Earthscape Farms LLC, in Oceana County that follows sustainable, organic practices. Over the past four decades, Earthscape Farms has grown to over 420 acres, managed primarily for beef cattle, vegetables, and hardwood timber. Bill joined the board in 2016 and serves on the Land Transaction and Finance committees.

Kara Haas

Kara is currently the Science Education and Outreach Coordinator at the W.K. Kellogg Biological Station at Michigan State University. She has had a distinguished career as a specialist in environmental education and has valuable experience working for nonprofit organizations and serving on boards and advisory committees with similar conservation and education goals as MNA. Kara joined the board in 2016 and serves on the Finance committee and the Development, Outreach and Education committees.

Steve Kelley

Steve is a University of Michigan botany graduate and practicing environmental, contract, and litigation attorney with Stephen M. Kelley, P.C. An MNA member and supporter since 1979, Steve has held numerous leadership positions, as President of MNA for four years and on the Board since 2005. Other leadership positions include work with the State Bar of Michigan Environmental Law Section, the Detroit Regional Chamber Environmental and Energy Policy Committee, the University of Detroit Mercy Law Alumni Association, and fundraising campaigns for local schools. Steve is a supporter of the Whitefish Point Bird Observatory, the Belle Isle Conservancy, and other groups.

Gisela Lendle King

Gisela worked as a medical technician when she wasn't working with nature. She has additional training/certification in Jurisdictional Wetlands Delineation, level one Wildfire Fighting, beginning Hydro Geology, Michigan Conservation Stewards, Massasauga Rattlesnake Rescue/Response, Vernal Pool Monitoring, and more. Gisela participates in citizen science projects such as bird, plant, butterfly, frog, and herpetology surveys, and invasive species stream monitoring. In addition to serving as an MNA trustee, she is on the board of the Detroit Audubon Society and Seven Ponds Nature Center. She also served on Governor Blanchard's subcommittee on Environmental Quality.

Stan Kuchta

Stan is a field scientist and plant specialist with the Michigan Department of Agriculture. Previously employed in Great Lakes shipping, his travels led to a life-long interest in the fauna, flora, and cultural history of the Great Lakes area. Stan has long been active in the Michigan Nature Association and chairs the Sanctuary Committee. He also serves as a steward. Stan lives with his wife, Brenda, and their two children in Ann Arbor.

Paul Messing

In addition to his work on the board, Paul serves as the steward at Lost Lake Nature Sanctuary, co-steward at Frinks Pond Plant Preserve, and co-steward at Wilcox-Warnes Nature Sanctuary. He is also an active volunteer at many MNA sanctuaries in southeast Michigan. Paul is an engineer with General Motors.