Kimberly Karn is the executive director of the Land Conservancy of West Michigan. She moved to West Michigan in the fall of 2019 to join the Land Conservancy as its development director and stepped up to lead the organization in early 2021.
Kim got her start in communications and fundraising at the University of Washington’s central advancement communications department. Being part of the team that raised over $2.4 billion for higher education gave her the foundation for working directly with donors in her next role at an archaeological research center in southwest Colorado. Kim led the center’s successful $19 million campaign as director of development, which established a world-class archaeological research institute for the study of ancient civilizations of the American Southwest.
Kim was born and raised in Colorado but moved around throughout her adult life. She counts herself as fortunate to have lived in some of the most beautiful places in our great nation. Spending time outdoors is her passion, and she is thrilled to work in land protection and preserve our treasured natural lands and ensure the next generation has access to nature. In her free time, she can be found roaming canyons, beaches and forests with her family and friends.
Growing up in West Michigan, Justin always enjoyed exploring the area's forests, prairies, and lakeshore. He joined the Land Conservancy in 2014. His position as Stewardship Director allows him to fulfill his strong commitment to protecting and caring for the rich diversity of West Michigan's natural landscapes.
Justin's background includes working as a botanist, restoration ecologist, and environmental educator in the Midwest and in East Africa. Justin earned a Bachelor's degree in Biology from Calvin College and a Master's degree in Natural Resources and Environment from the University of Michigan. When not at work, you'll find him enjoying outdoor activities, fishing, gardening, or playing music.
Leroy was born and raised in Grand Rapids where he graduated from GVSU with a B.B.A. degree majoring in Accounting and where he continues to pursue his educational and professional aspirations working toward the Master of Science in Accounting at GVSU and contemplating completion of the CPA requirements and the CPA examination. Leroy’s interest in conservation is lifelong; he is also passionate with respect to the need for protection of the air and water from degradation.
Born and raised in Vienna, Austria, Ruth moved to the U.S. to attend college and has worked for environmental nonprofits and state agencies for 22 years. Ruth holds an MS degree in Fisheries and Wildlife from Michigan State University and has worked for The Nature Conservancy’s West Virginia and Minnesota/North Dakota/South Dakota Chapters, The Conservation Fund in Michigan, and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. A self-proclaimed "prairie nerd," Ruth's thesis and much of her work has been focused on prairies. She has extensive experience in land protection and grant management.
During her chilhood, Ruth and her family would hike in the Alps. On summer vacations to the U.S., they hiked in national parks. Ruth suspects it was these memorable trips that piqued her interest in ecology and conservation. In her free time, she likes to hike, travel, take photos, garden, play violin, and bake sourdough bread.
Born and raised on a West Michigan hobby farm, Lucas had plenty of opportunities to enjoy the outdoors. From scooping up frogs in the backyard pond to blazing trails through the nearby forest, he always had knack for immersing himself in the natural world. Family camping trips to the mountain west and throughout the Great Lakes region only helped to amplify his desire for a future in conservation. Lucas graduated with an Environmental Science degree from Carthage College with a focus in Conservation and Ecology.
Throughout his career he has worked on ecological restoration projects from the northwoods of Minnesota, to the prairies of Illinois, and throughout the state of Michigan. Lucas believes that having amazing natural areas so close is something not to be taken for granted, and he hopes to restore and preserve those same opportunities for future generations. In his spare time, you can catch him backpacking, gardening, and canoeing.
Jason considers himself a self-taught naturalist with a love for the outdoors. As a kid in elementary school, he would get detention for going down to the creek. Now he gets paid to do it.
Jason previously held a 23-year printing career. He left printing to pursue work restoring habitats. He began working with the Land Conservancy on a seasonal basis in 2018 and started year-round in 2022. A typical day is never typical, but mostly he helps restore and/or maintain the homes of the creatures that live in LCWM preserves.
Jason does habitat restoration in his free time, too. He tends to his backyard native plant garden and helps others in the community to do the same. He has been a trained National Weather Spotter for 8 years.
Kendra grew up in the Northeast corner of Iowa, an area geographically known as the Driftless region. The unique topography of her hometown sparked her interest in the outdoors from an early age. As the daughter of a biologist, these curiosities were only encouraged as she tagged along on class field trips, created her own insect collections, and assisted in planting prairies and prescribed burns before she was old enough to drive.
Kendra has worked in the non-profit sector since 2016, planning public events and developing community partnerships. She is driven by a desire to connect people with a mission through a tangible experience, relationship, or story. Kendra is thrilled to pair her lifelong appreciation of nature and conservation with her professional work of events via her role at the Land Conservancy of West Michigan.
Growing up visiting the Upper Peninsula and northwest Michigan from his home in Detroit, Chris developed a passion for the outdoors and the value conservation early on. He followed that into local park positions and then a degree in wildlife and conservation biology at Michigan State University. Taking those skills on the road, Chris worked for universities, state, and federal agencies on a variety of projects, from bears in Yosemite to beavers in Acadia, and habitat research and education programs in Maryland and upstate New York.
Chris returned to Michigan to help restore critically rare oak savanna habitat with the Manistee National Forest before joining the Land Conservancy of West Michigan in 2022 as the conservation easement stewardship specialist. Chris is excited to help landowners manage their LCWM easement properties to protect valuable ecosystems and resources across the region.
When not in the field, Chris enjoys exploring the Upper Peninsula, community advocacy and mutual aid, playing music, and riding bicycles of all kinds.
Originally from Philadelphia, PA, Han loves hiking and being outdoors, and relocated to West Michigan specifically for the amazing variety of natural resources. He has served in the nonprofit sector for more than a decade in a variety of leadership, management, board, and direct service roles. As the Development Manager at the Land Conservancy of West Michigan, he has the opportunity to demonstrate that philanthropy, community engagement, and nature are for everybody, and is thrilled to help keep nature nearby.
Han holds a J.D. from Drexel University Thomas R. Kline School of Law, a Master’s of Social Service (M.S.W.-equivalent) from Bryn Mawr College Graduate School of Social Work, and B.A. from Smith College (Massachusetts).
Marie grew up in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, where gorgeous natural surroundings are difficult to escape. Naturally, she developed a deep appreciation for those surroundings, and along with it a desire to help preserve them.
Marie relocated to the Grand Rapids area in 2010 and graduated from Grand Valley State University with a B.A. in English and Professional Writing in 2014. In 2015, she began reporting on Great Lakes environmental news for Great Lakes Echo and was later promoted to the website’s assistant editor. She wrote and podcasted about vernal pools, dark sky parks, wildlife disease, invasive species and more, and she realized the power of storytelling to inform the public and inspire environmental protection. She joined the Land Conservancy of West Michigan as the organization’s Communications Specialist in 2018. She is thrilled to have the opportunity to spread the word about the importance of keeping nature nearby.
Jake grew up here in West Michigan in Hudsonville. Time spent outdoors with his family and high school education helped to grow his interest in Natural Resources. This led him to pursue a degree in Conservation Biology from Lake Superior State University.
Before moving back to West Michigan and working with the Land Conservancy, Jake gained experience from a few places in Michigan. He monitored the endangered piping plover in the Upper Peninsula and worked as an Ecological Restoration Technician in Southwest Michigan, a Wildlife Assistant for the Michigan DNR, and a Conservation Specialist helping private landowners conserve and protect their land in Gladwin, Michigan. Jake looks forward to protecting West Michigan’s natural resources with the experience he has gained along the way.
When not working Jake enjoys birding and spending time with his family.