Back row left to right: Mitch Janson (Wadena office), Chantal Tougas, Anne Oldakowski (Wadena office), Liz Wiese, Aimee Duchene, Darren Newville
Front Row left to right: Kristi Rorah, Jim Lahn, Nathan Wiese, Tanner Schmitz, Trisha Demarais, Ben Underhill, Hayley Courneya (2021 intern)
Darren started at the EOT SWCD in the spring of 2005. In 2011 he started managing the Wadena SWCD through an agreement between the two SWCD Boards. Prior to moving to Perham he worked for the Martin SWCD in southern Minnesota for 12 years. Darren keeps busy making sure everyone in our offices keep busy, he works with the two SWCD Boards to assess the need for conservation work in each district, and helps to secure funding for staff and projects.
Anne has knowledge on a variety of conservation programs and is known locally as "the tree lady." Her job duties include managerial support for the two SWCDs, providing technical assistance to private forest landowners with managing their forest resources, and assisting with implementing projects tied to the Wadena county water plan. She also assists with our educational opportunities like Conservation Days and the Envirothon, the tree program, and cooperating with other agencies in the county on grants and projects. Her favorite part of her job is meeting landowners on their property and tying their goals to the forest resources that they have.
Chantal handles all of the bookkeeping and secretarial duties at the East Otter Tail and Wadena Soil & Water Conservation District. She makes sure the bills get paid and the lights stay on. She lives in Perham with her husband, Mike, and their black lab, Drake. Chantal enjoys quilting in her spare time and also loves to garden.
James (Jim) Lahn
Area Certification Specialist
Jim is our Area Certification Specialist for the Minnesota Ag Water Quality Certification Program (MAWQCP) in 11 north central Minnesota counties. In his work he assists area farm operators and owners with the certification process of their farming operations. Jim gets to see first hand all of the good things farmers are doing to protect our soil and water! When he's not working with local farmers, Jim enjoys fishing, flying (his own plane too!), and being involved at his church.
Mitchell is a District Technician in the Wadena SWCD office. He provides assistance with the Wetland Conservation Act, the County Feedlot Program, the County Ag Inspector Program, the Aquatic Species Program, the Buffer Program, and other programs of the East Otter Tail and Wadena SWCDs. His most important job is making sure the coffee pot is always full! He has a background in production agriculture and agronomy, and in his spare time likes to hunt, trap, fly, and bike.
Tanner is a District Technician at the EOT SWCD. He is responsible for Drill Rental, Custom Seeding and Seed Sales, and the Tree Planting and Sales program. He has a background in Wildlife Management, and spends most of his free time hunting, fishing, and working on his family’s hunting properties.
Administrative - Education & Outreach Assistant
Kristi is our Administrative, Education and Outreach Assistant. She provides administrative support for both the East Otter Tail and Wadena SWCDs, as well as assisting with our education and outreach efforts. She enjoys working on her family's land north of Perham in Becker County in addition to being outdoors gardening, mountain biking, and skiing.
Alyson is a District Technician in the Wadena SWCD office, assisting with the County Ag Inspector Program, Aquatic Invasive Species Program, Irrigation Scheduling, and Surface Water Monitoring. She grew up in Fairmont, Minnesota on a corn, soybean, and hog farm, and obtained a degree at Northwestern College in Iowa for Ecology and Writing. In her spare time Alyson loves to write, hike, garden, and kayak with her husband Jacob and their adventurous red lab.
Pete is a District Technician in the East Otter Tail SWCD office. Pete assists with our shoreland program and also works with the implementation of the state buffer law, the county ag inspector program, and the wetland conservation act. When he’s not working, Pete enjoys golf, ice fishing, hunting, spending time at the lake, and being dad.
Watershed Planner and Coordinator
Nicole is our Watershed Planner & Coordinator in the East Otter Tail SWCD Office. She works with West/East Otter Tail and Wadena SWCD’s on local watershed plans. She obtained a degree at University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point and has a background in watershed planning. In her spare time, Nicole loves riding her horses, spending time with family, and fishing with her husband.
Extension Educator, Agriculture and Horticulture
University of Minnesota Extension, New York Mills
Olivia Olson works as the University of Minnesota Extension Educator for Otter Tail County, and is joining the Otter Tail and Wadena SWCDs to assist with watershed management and education. She holds a degree in Sustainable Food Systems and Global Studies from the University of Minnesota, and has been working to build more sustainable and resilient food systems in both Minnesota and Virginia. In her free time, she enjoys being outdoors, growing food, and spending time with friends and family.