Master Water Stewards is a program of Freshwater, a Saint Paul-based non-profit dedicated to the conservation, protection and restoration of all freshwater resources. A selection of Freshwater staff work on the daily operation, expansion and upkeep of the Master Water Stewards Program, in addition to other Freshwater projects. Read more about these staff below.
Leslie Yetka – Director, Master Water Stewards Program; Director of Programs, Freshwater
Leslie joined Freshwater 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
Deirdre Coleman has been with Freshwater since 2010 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.
Kris Meyer– Program Coordinator, Freshwater
Kris joined the team in January 2018, bringing a communications and education perspective to Freshwater’s work. A trained and practiced facilitator as well as a skilled science communicator, Kris enjoys distilling complex technical information into plain language. Educated as an environmental journalist, Kris has experience as a freelance writer, classroom teacher, and tutor. Her favorite fieldwork experience was flying around the state in a floatplane, gathering lake water samples for the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. A family cabin in Ottertail County, a sailboat on Lake Superior, and frequent canoe treks into the Boundary Waters keep her well submersed in Minnesota’s waters.
Alex Van Loh – Program Assistant, Freshwater
Alex joined Freshwater 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, 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.
B Lauer – Minnesota GreenCorps Member
B joined Freshwater in September 2018 as a Minnesota GreenCorps Member. Her main focus is to aid in the expansion, operation, and adaptation of the Master Water Stewards program. Originally from Madison, Wisconsin, B relocated to Minnesota to attend St. Olaf College where she earned a bachelor’s degree in biology with a concentration in environmental studies. She has experience in biogeochemistry labs as well as developing curriculum for summer science camps for kids. B loves cooking, baking, drinking tea, performing musical theatre, and paddling in her inflatable kayak!