About Us

Master Water Stewards is a program of the Freshwater Society, a Saint Paul-based non-profit dedicated to the conservation, protection and restoration of all freshwater resources. A selection of Freshwater Society staff work on the daily operation, expansion and upkeep of the Master Water Stewards Program, in addition to other Freshwater Society projects. Read more about these staff below.

Leslie Yetka – Director, Master Water Stewards Program; Director of Programs, Freshwater Society

lyetka-1Leslie joined Freshwater Society as a program manager in July 2016 and took over as director of programs in 2017. For the past eighteen years, she has worked in education, community engagement, and public planning with a focus on water resource management, sustainable landscape practices, and community resilience to climate change. She has been fortunate to engage with a variety of audiences, including private landowners, businesses, nonprofit groups, technical professionals, and community groups working to protect our environment. Leslie has a bachelor’s degree in biology from Macalester College, and a master’s degree in horticulture with a minor in water resources science from the University of Minnesota, and spends most of her time (when not chauffeuring the kids) either reading a good book, spending time outdoors, or dreaming of mountains in Montana.

Deirdre Coleman – Program Coordinator, Freshwater Society
Deirdre Coleman has been with Freshwater Society for three years and has a bachelor’s degree in biology, society and the environment. As a program coordinator she works on a number of Freshwater’s programs, mainly the Master Water Steward Program. Dedicated to water in her career as well as personal life, Deirdre is usually found in town or up north on some body of water when she is not in the office.

Alex Van Loh – Program Assistant, Freshwater Society

Alex joined Freshwater Society in September 2015 as a Minnesota GreenCorps member focused on the Master Water Stewards Program. In fall 2016, he became a program assistant and expanded his work to include supporting all programs. He has a degree in biology from the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University. Before coming to Freshwater Society, he spent a year living abroad in Germany, teaching English through the Fulbright Program. Outside the office Alex enjoys making music, running, sampling craft brews, and all things comedy.

Shanti PenpraseMinnesota GreenCorps Member, Freshwater Society
shanti-bio-picShanti is our 2016-2017 Minnesota GreenCorps member, focused on the Master Water Stewards program. A 2016 graduate of Carleton College, she holds a bachelor’s in geology; her undergraduate research focused on hydrology, geochemistry, and soil science. Shanti’s interest in water started at an early age through her love of water polo, swimming, and kayaking. When not focused on water, Shanti enjoys traveling and exploring local history. In addition to visiting over 20 different countries, she has studied abroad in Paris and New Zealand.