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WiWiC is a state-wide collaborative effort led by the Michael Fields Agricultural Institute in partnership with Renewing the Countryside, Marbleseed (formerly MOSES), and Wisconsin Farmers Union.  A five-year multi-faceted project funded by the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), WiWiC connects Wisconsin women landowners with local women conservation professionals, practices, resources, and funding opportunities. Six Regional Coordinators facilitate virtual and on-farm field day programming. Fifteen Conservation Coaches offer mentorship and support to women in their region or their field of expertise. Connect with us here and we'll connect you to a nearby network. 


"Women are nurturers ...of their families, of their land, of the earth. Women are also change makers and transformers. By bringing conservation to the doorsteps of women of today, imagine the changes we can bring about in conserving the natural resources for our future generations."

Dr. Esther Shekinah is a Research Agronomist at Michael Fields Agricultural Institute with more than 20 years of sustainable agriculture research experience in both India and the US. In addition to leading the WiWiC team, she is researching cover crops and industrial hemp with the goal of developing production practices that encourage diversity in organic cropping systems. 


Dane, Jefferson, Rock Counties

Milwaukee Urban Ag Network

"I love that we are creating a safe and welcoming space for women to learn and connect with one another. Male dominated fields can be intimidating, and sometimes even unwelcoming, spaces for women, so I think what we are doing is crucial." 

Noemy is the Assistant Policy Director at Michael Fields Agricultural Institute and works to advance federal, state, and local conservation policies, programs, and funding. In addition to her Regional Coordinator work with WiWiC, she also supports producer-led watershed protection groups. Noemy is from Long Beach, California, but now lives in Madison. She graduated from UW Madison with a Personal Finance degree and a certificate in Sustainability.



"I am passionate about farming, about local foods and of course about the environment.  I see this project as an opportunity to work alongside incredible women who are capable of leading the change for nature and our well-being and to stand up for conservation on their own land and in their communities."

Sara George works with Renewing the Countryside, a nonprofit that supports food systems and sustainable rural development, to facilitate systems that support an innovative model that uses farmers markets as low-cost food hubs for rural towns and smaller cities across Minnesota. Sara is a farmer, a market manager at two farmers markets, VP of the MN Farmers Market Association, a FSMA trainer during those cold winter months.


Monroe, La Crosse and Trempeleau  Counties

"It's so inspiring and energizing to be working with women landowners who are bringing their creativity, energy and love to shape the way we care for land. Conservation needs more of this energy to face the environmental and social challenges that lie ahead of us."


Alanna works with Renewing the Countryside and as a doula and free-lance consultant hosting DIY nature-based workshops. She grew up on dairy farm in Central Wisconsin and holds a B.S. and M.S. in Forestry and Human Dimensions of Natural Resource Management from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. She has also worked for nearly two decades at the Aldo Leopold Foundation. She and her husband and daughter raise grass-fed beef, and Alanna has experience with many land-care practices, including prairie restoration, prescribed burns, and timber stand improvement and harvest. 



Chippewa, Clark, and Eau Claire Counties

"This projects offers safe spaces for women landowners to network, but it's the group's energy and passion that empowers them to learn and share new conservation techniques. The events are great opportunities to meet and work with incredible change makers who care about the next generations."


Mercedes is the Climate and Conservation Program Manager at Marbleseed (formerly MOSES), a non-profit committed to supporting farmers in their transition toward organic farming.  She also serves as a Regional Coordinator for Wisconsin Women in Conservation. Although Mercedes wasn't lucky enough to grow up on a farm, she began farming after college and fell in love with the rewarding work and science behind crop and soil health. She received her bachelor's degree in environmental science and her master's in environmental conservation from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.


Vernon, Crawford and Grant Counties

"I'm excited to see this project connect women for a shared effort of continuous improvement in our land stewardship practices. As a landowner myself, I acknowledge that it sometimes feels like a private and lonely affair, but that the chance to invest time and energy into learning and networking has great potential for change—for ourselves, and our shared commitment to conservation."

As Local Foods Specialist at Renewing the Countryside, Elena Gutierrez Byrne works to facilitate growth for regional farm and food businesses through research, networking and communications, including work with the FEAST! Local Foods Network and the Artisan Grain Collaborative. She holds a doctorate in nutritional sciences from the University of Wisconsin–Madison, and resides on 8 acres in rural Black Earth.

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Sauk, Columbia, and Green Lake Counties

"The WiWiC project is so important - it is implementing needed conservation practices on the land while simultaneously building a network of support among women landowners and conservation professionals across the state. I'm honored to walk alongside these women leaders across the state, and to witness the impact they are having in their communities."

Allison Crook is a Regional Membership Coordinator for Wisconsin Farmers Union. In her work, she supports Farmers Union Chapters across the state, hosting and organizing educational events and building connections between members and with food system actors. She holds an M.S. from UW-Madison in Human Ecology, where she focused on advancing food justice through rural community organizing. She has worked on numerous farms, gaining experience in organic vegetable production, rotational grazing, fruit production, and poultry farming. 


"Working on this project is important to me because Wisconsin women landowners are so important as stewards of the land they own or co-own. This project will build capacity in these women to develop confidence and make well-informed decisions regarding their land’s management, benefitting Wisconsin’s natural resources."

Rebecca Christoffel is an E Resources Group team member. She holds B.S. and M.S. degrees from UW-Madison in Wildlife Ecology and a Ph.D. from Michigan State University in Fisheries and Wildlife. Her work focuses on the human dimensions of natural resources management.  Prior to her work at E Resources Group, Dr. Christoffel was the State Wildlife Extension Biologist and a faculty member at Iowa State University.  

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"I am committed to reaching women with information and pathways for them to enact their dreams, which always include protecting the land. It's a bonus for me to help a program develop that has strong underpinnings of evaluation culture to serve program participants well."

Dr. Jean Eells started E Resources Group, LLC in 1997 when there were almost no opportunities for women in conservation in rural Iowa. The business survives and Jean conducts evaluation, research, and interpretation projects from her home, still in rural Iowa. Her work on women's landownership and agricultural conservation has led to spin-off programs across the Midwest and further.


Eve Kramer  is in the brand-new state-wide WiWiC Conservation Plan Writer role, which was created because of the incredible demand for professional conservation plan consulting. She works with Michael Field Agricultural Institute and sits on the board of an organization dedicated to providing DEI resources and education. She is a certified Leave No Trace trainer and holds a B.S. degree in Wildlife Ecology from UW-Stevens Point, with minors in Biology and Professional Writing. Her professional work has been eclectic, including interning at a wildlife sanctuary/wolf research facility, working at a veterinary clinic, and serving as an AmeriCorps member in environmental education. The family farm is incredibly important to her, and she is always looking for sustainable ways to steward the land. With the help of NRCS, her family has implemented pollinator plantings and invasive species removal on the farm. 

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"Conservation is contagious. It's addictive! You can't walk on a prairie in summer and not want to have one.  I'm persuaded that if we can create more content and experiences that put women in touch with other women who are practicing good stewardship, we can transform the landscape and heal our overburdened waters."

Kriss Marion is an urban journalist turned small scale farmer. She practices managed grazing with sheep, cattle, and goats on a small degraded wetland that's returning to sedge meadow through conservation practices. She is a Communications Specialist with Wisconsin Farmers Union and runs Circle M Market Farm BnB with her husband Shannon.



Una Van Duvall has deep roots in both Los Angeles and Milwaukee as a city official, community organizer, non-profit manager, and strategic planning consultant. Her skills and connections in the cities are endless. She serves on the Board of Directors of several community organizations including the Michael Fields Agricultural Institute. 

Ms. Van Duvall also has a uniquely powerful history as a Kansas farm girl with deep roots and co-manages still active farmlands in the settlement of Nicodemus - a frontier community established by African Americans at the end of the Civil War. Una and her relatives continue to organize and host the famous Nicodemus Homecoming annually. In 2028, the town will host their 150th Emancipation Celebration. 

"I'm so happy to be a connector for this important project and a community liaison to the many robust urban farm organizations in and around the city.  Agriculture is in my blood and my heart." 

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