Provide proper financial oversight. The board must assist in developing the annual budget and ensuring that proper financial controls are in place.
Ensure legal and ethical integrity and maintain accountability. The board is ultimately responsible for ensuring adherence to legal standards and ethical norms.
Ensure effective organizational planning. Boards must actively participate in an overall planning process and assist in implementing and monitoring the plan’s goals.
Recruit and orient new board members and assess board performance. All boards have a responsibility to articulate prerequisites for candidates, orient new members, and periodically and comprehensively evaluate its own performance.
Enhance the organization’s public standing. The board should clearly articulate the organization’s mission, accomplishments, and goals to the public and garner support from the community.
Determine, monitor, and strengthen the organization’s programs and services. The board’s responsibility is to determine which programs are consistent with the organization’s mission and to monitor their effectiveness.
Joan Antle is a former speech and hearing therapist and elementary teacher.
At present, Joan is an Adopt-A-Beach and Heritage Trail Ambassador and is a school presenter for the Grand Traverse Metro Fire Department’s pedestrian/bicycle safety program. Joan has taken on the job of mail coordinator for Friends to collect the donated monies for Friends’ brochures which are available at various Park sites.
“Unspoiled area” is the key term to be highlighted in serving on Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes Board. Joan feels it is extremely necessary to stay on top of what is going here at present and to be vigilant about the future of the area. As we want to preserve this special place for present and future generations to use and enjoy, keeping the area pristine, safe, but welcoming, are natural priorities. Joan enjoys sharing her respect and love of the area with others and wants to be a part of keeping the area “The most beautiful place in America.”
Joan received an associate degree from Delta College, a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan, and a master’s degree from Indiana University.
In 2013, Doug retired after working 35 years as a library director in Wisconsin– 8 years for a library system based in Ashland and 27 years for the city and county of Kenosha. He served on the boards and as an officer of several community agencies and service clubs. Doug earned a BA and MA in library science at the University of Iowa. In 2014, Doug moved with his wife, Kathy, to Empire. They live year-round in their new home on 10 acres adjoining the National Lakeshore.
In 2015, Doug was appointed to the Friends Board of Directors and has served as Board Secretary since the first meeting he attended. In addition to serving on the Executive Committee, he is also Chair of the Nominating Committee and is now heavily involved in the search for future leaders for the Friends organization.
Doug has a steadfast love for the natural environment and a strong interest in preserving it. He plans to help the Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes carry out its mission by supporting it financially, volunteering to help, and donating his political, strategic planning, and administrative and budgetary management skills.
Currently, Tracy is the Rustic Trails Coordinator and a trail volunteer. Her love of the elements, hiking, and all things natural and wild brought her back home to Michigan after living in Southern California for 25 years. Growing up in the woods of Michigan, she learned an early appreciation for animals, plants, water, and trees. She belongs to several environmental groups and believes in conservation and the preservation of wilderness areas through education.
Tracy is passionate about our National Parks and specifically moved to Traverse City to enjoy, and help protect the National Lakeshore. Her friendly demeanor and her willingness to be involved and to problem solve with others is what she does best in her daily work, and these attributes will be an important asset to the Board and is eager to be involved in furthering educational materials and information for the Park and its involvement with the community.
Tracy works as a Holistic Nutritionist, with a degree in nutrition and is certified as a Holistic Health Practitioner. For the last 10 years, she’s worked full time for a dietary supplement company, overseeing customer service, nutritional consults, technical writing and sales. Tracy lives outside Traverse City with her husband Blake and dog Lucy, where their 2 grown daughters love to visit frequently.
Laura Ann is excited to be a member of the Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes Board to help visitors and locals alike have positive experiences in the national park in hopes they will want to protect it for the future. Laura Ann grew up outside of Chicago and spent 20 summers on the shores of Lake Michigan attending Camp Kohahna at Pyramid Point. Camp is where she gained a true love of nature and the outdoors.
After graduating from DePauw University in Indiana, Laura Ann pursued her Educational Studies degree by interning at Yellowstone National Park and then became the Director of the Leelanau Outdoor Center for a little over 5 years. There she continued to teach kids and adults of all ages the magic of Leelanau County and the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore through character education and hands-on science. Currently, Laura Ann works for Cherry Republic, and she and her husband Tom live on ten acres in Maple City with their dog, Pepper, and son, Abner. Laura Ann loves to garden and do anything outside with her family. Tom and Laura Ann also enjoy doing Triathlons together in their free time. Laura Ann will bring enthusiasm and strong leadership and organizational skills to the Friends Board.
Kerry Kelly retired from Dow Chemical in 2004 and has been on the Board of Directors of the Friends since 2005. He is now the Previous Chairman of the board and Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail Manager. He has been involved in many volunteer projects at Sleeping Bear Dunes. He works one day a week at the Blacksmith Shop in Glen Haven. He teaches three Life Academy courses at NMC: Sleeping Bear Dunes – The Big Story, Into the Wilderness, and Ghost Towns of Sleeping Bear Dunes. Kerry was presented the Environmental Volunteer of the Year Award from Northern Michigan Environmental Action Council in 2016.
Steve and his wife have been SLOCAL’s (Summer Locals) in Glen Arbor for the past ten years. They started visiting Glen Arbor over 20 years ago. They split their time between Ann Arbor, Glen Arbor, and Tucson, Arizona.
Steve’s business career is quite diverse. With degrees in Architecture and an MBA from The University Michigan, Steve has worked for both large and small companies, in Marketing, Strategic Planning, and Finance. He spent the last 15 years of his career as a turn-around and re-structuring consultant helping to grow and transform several Michigan based companies. During this time, he and his wife owned Huron River Press, which published Michigan based books and several about Leelanau County. He currently serves on the board of a mid-sized Ann Arbor based company.
Steve is a long-time board member of Recycle Ann Arbor, the non-profit responsible for recycling services in the city of Ann Arbor. He has been the past Chairman and is currently serving his 4th term as Treasurer.
Steve is an active cyclist and has been a supporter of the Heritage Trail since its inception. He has served on the Friends Finance Committee for the past several years.
Steve is looking forward to his continued involvement with the Finance Committee. He is particularly interested in helping with Corporate Governance issues as well as participating in any strategic planning and visioning sessions the board may undertake in the near future.
Fred and his wife, Nancy, have been vacationing in the Glen Arbor vicinity for the past 55 years. More recently they enjoyed staying at their condominium at the Homestead Resort. They finally moved here permanently in October 2017. Fred retired in August 2011 from his position as director of a genetics diagnostic laboratory in Seattle, WA. For the following seven years, he worked as a per diem director of a cytogenetics laboratory at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance. He retired from that position in July 2018.
Fred has always enjoyed being outdoors and is particularly fond of hiking, cycling, swimming, and soccer. These activities were readily accessible in Seattle, but equally available here in the Glen Arbor area, which made the transition of moving here easier. Fred joined the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail crew as a volunteer shortly after moving here primarily to meet new people and to do something meaningful for the community. This Spring, he volunteered to become a Trail Ambassador. This September, he joined the Tree Committee for the Woodstone Condominium Association.
During this past year, Fred achieved his goals while volunteering for various Friends activities and also acquiring better knowledge about the organization and variety of programs offered by the Friends. He is impressed by the leadership and organization of the Friends whose goals are focused on education, wildlife preservation, community outreach activities, and service.
Ross’s family took a deep dive into Leelanau County on his first vacation visit to the area in 1985. That two-week camping vacation turned into annual visits to bring his two kids to summer camp on Pyramid Point. In 1993 they were able to call the “Land of Delight” – home.
Beginning as a SBHT Ambassador, soon the extended family found themselves volunteering time and funds to support the trail’s additional segments. In 2013, Ross took the Trail Crew “Boss” position. He was then appointed to the Board in 2014 and took on an additional task of managing the design and implementation of the SBHT Imap (interactive map) project and became actively involved as the Friends IT Coordinator.
Ross has been very dedicated to the Friends efforts to enhance the visitor experience at the Lakeshore and believes the best way to support these efforts is to be involved at multiple levels of the organization. His educational (MS Management Information Systems and BS Computer Science) and professional (Director, MIS MGR, Project MGR, educator, DBMS Specialist) background, as well as his Friends volunteer experience, will enable him to make a significant contribution to the Friends path forward.
Jerry Peterson and his family began visiting the Sleeping Bear area in the early 1980’s. As their appreciation of its natural beauty and recreational opportunities grew, they decided to make it their second home, and in 1986 they purchased a cottage on Big Glen Lake. Now retired, Jerry and wife Mary spend full time there from June through September, with frequent trips throughout the year, and their children visit as often as possible.
Jerry was born and raised in Michigan. After completing his Bachelor’s degree at the University of Michigan, he became an officer in the U. S. Air Force. Following a four-year tour of duty, he returned to graduate school, earning a Master’s degree at Stanford University. He then joined Ford Motor Company, pursuing a career in information technology, from which he retired as Director, Information Technology Services at the end of 2000. In 2001, he became a member of the faculty at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business, where he taught information technology as an adjunct professor until retiring from that role in April 2014.
Jerry enjoys bicycling, which is a near-daily activity for him in the summer, frequently on the Heritage Trail. He also loves sailing on Big Glen Lake and kayaking on the local lakes and rivers. Among the varied projects undertaken by the Friends, he is, of course, interested in the extension and completion of the Heritage Trail.
Laurie’s love for the outdoors began at a young age, foraging for mushrooms with her father and exploring the woods. Her passion for outdoor activities has grown over the years, and is what brought her and her family to this beautiful area. In 1995, Laurie, her husband Tom, and their two children moved to Empire, after her acceptance of a job offer through Traverse Bay Intermediate Schools. Laurie has worked in special education for over 30 years and recently retired.
Shortly after retirement, Laurie became involved with the Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes as a volunteer for the trail crew. She is an avid user of the trail, enjoying both biking and skiing. She has enjoyed working with the other volunteers keeping the trial clean and safe. It is through these experiences that have strengthened her interest in the Park and its importance for everyone to enjoy. It is her hope to have a voice in the continued partnership between the Park and the organization to help facilitate new initiatives and ideas.
Heather is the current Communications Director for the Friends and is passionate about
cultivating positive visitor experiences within the National Lakeshore and surrounding area. As a lifetime Michigander, Heather is no stranger to the beauty of northern Michigan and made it her permanent home in 2019, so that she could live in the places she cared for and loved.
Heather is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Marketing at
Saginaw Valley State University and is the Grant Administrator for the Women’s Resource
Center for the Grand Traverse Area in Traverse City, Michigan. She has served previously on
non-profit boards and organizations in various leadership roles and looks forward to offering her expertise to the Friends organization. Heather believes strongly that volunteering is about helping others and emphasizes the importance of the preservation of Michigan’s natural spaces so that future generations can enjoy them. She is an avid gardener, photographer, and outdoor enthusiast and enjoys finding those special spots where the “WIFI signals are weak.”
Heather believes that serving on the Friends Board would be an excellent opportunity to put her skills and abilities to good use promoting causes that she believes in deeply.
Bill has lived a life committed to the preservation of wild places, a legacy from his parents and his forest ranger uncle. Following graduate studies, Bill spent 30 years as a research toxicologist at The Dow Chemical Company, retiring to the Traverse City area in 2009. He also served as an adjunct instructor for a variety of biology classes at Northwestern Michigan and Delta Colleges from 2003 to 2015.
Bill is an active biker, hiker, and backpacker, having experienced “nature” on long-distance hikes in Michigan’s UP and Great Britain. Since moving to the Traverse City area, he has also filled his days with a number of steady volunteer activities, including trail maintenance work for Peninsula Township, the Friends beach clean-up team, some special projects for the Friends and directly with the Park.
Bill is serving on an acoustic frog-monitoring team, which has provided him entrance to many of the more remote areas of the park. He believes in the Friends mission to aid the park service in balancing accessibility, public education, flora/fauna preservation, and passing on this very unique, diverse and spectacular national treasure to future generations.
Natalia Szymczak is half data nerd and half budding naturalist, which makes perfect sense as she is an avid birder. She hikes, runs, bikes, x-country skis, and SCUBA dives. In addition, she is a certified yoga teacher.
Her father introduced the family to the Sleeping Bear Dunes in the early ‘90’s. He started visiting Leelanau and Benzie Counties before the national park even existed. She started visiting multiple times a year with her husband about 25 years ago and is very happy to make her home in Empire. The crystal-clear water of the protected lakeshore, the changing landscape every season, the trails, flora and fauna rival even the most exotic places she’s visited. She is grateful for this amazing park and for the Friends that help support it. She strongly believes in the Friends’ mission. Her copy of the Friends’ Wildflowers Guide is proudly very wrinkled from frequent use.
Natalia is a former Chicago Public Schools art teacher and spent a little more than the last half of her 20+ year career leading data analysis and strategic planning in various administrative roles. She earned a BFA from The Art Institute of Chicago concentrating on figure drawing and illustration. She wants to use some of her extra time illustrating in the SBD.
She is currently a staff member of the Friends assisting with the platform that manages member and volunteer data.
Steve’s love of the outdoors began with a childhood living next to a woods with a small stream, and summer family vacations camping on a remote Canadian island. He and his wife Linda have owned their Glen Arbor home since 1998 and have lived here year-round since 2006. Steve retired from his career as a psychiatrist in January 2014 and began volunteering on Friends projects that June. Currently, he serves on the Friends Board of Directors, participates on SBHT Ambassadors team, coordinates the SBHT Trail Crew, mows in Port Oneida, and serves on the Friends Accessibility Committee. Linda and Steve Enjoy hiking, kayaking, biking, snowshoeing, and camping.