Deb Nelson
Museum Director

Deb grew up in the Fox Valley area of Wisconsin, worked in schools and the University as a Career and At Risk Counselor, and created and operated Telemark Educational Foundation, Inc. promoting educational opportunities in the northwoodsI  Deb has loved every job in her 60 plus years but working as the Museum Director of the Cable Natural History Museum is the best! As a child her family visited relatives who lived along the Bad River and she and her brothers played in the Chequamegon National Forest.  Today Deb and her husband live in a small log cabin on 120 acres of woods in the Drummond area and enjoy sapping in the spring, cutting wood in the fall and snowshoeing in the winter. We have seven grandchildren who love visiting “Up North” Grandma and Grandpa’s house.  No electronics allowed – only playing outside in the clean fresh air of Northern Wisconsin! 

John Kudlas
Collections Monitor / Interim Curator

John Kudlas in the Collections Monitor at the CNHM and this involves care and repair of the many taxidermy specimens in the collection as well as mounting birds and small mammals that the museum receives. John is a retired biology/ecology teacher (35 years) and has been employed and volunteered at the museum for several years. His major interests include the Lake Ecology Education Program (LEEP) and aquatic studies. He enjoys anything outdoors, especially fly-fishing and bird hunting with his Britany, Josie. During the winter he is engaged with manatee and raptor work in Florida.

Beda McKinney
Volunteer Coordinator

Beda grew up in the Hayward area and has been married to her husband Bill for 50 years and raised three boys. Together for the past 45 yers they owned McKinney Realty until recently retiring and passing the family business on to one of their sons. Little known fact about Beda is that she graduated from Clown College with professional training in the art of “clowning around.” Beda is also very involved in her church and volunteers for many organizations and events in the area. She and her husband have a home on Lake Owen and enjoy many lake activities, traveling, downhill skiing, and spending time with their six grandchildren.

Emily Stone
Naturalist / Education Director

Emily Stone teaches kids of all ages about nature in beautiful places. She creates the Museum’s program schedule, oversees school field trips and MuseumMobile visits, and designs Museum exhibits. Emily is also an award-winning writer who pens a Natural Connections column for more than 15 local newspapers. Her first book, Natural Connections – Exploring the Northwoods through Science and Your Senses, which is a compilation of her favorite articles, is being published in spring 2016. She is available for speaking engagements on topics such as lakes, loons, wild edibles, woodpeckers, Natural Connections, and more.

Emily loves to cross country ski, mountain bike, garden, and paddle (especially in the Boundary Waters).

She was drawn to this area by the unique opportunities presented by Northland College in Ashland, WI, where she majored in Outdoor Education-Natural History with a minor in Geology. Emily then traveled around the country to naturalist jobs in Canyonlands National Park, Acadia National Park, California, Minnesota, and even a month of wolf-watching in Yellowstone National Park. She earned her Field Naturalist Masters from the University of Vermont. Emily has been with the Museum since 2011.

“What is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” –Mary Oliver

Sue Thurn
Summer Naturalist & Teacher

Susan began her love for the outdoors as the Director of Education at the Cable Natural History Museum for 20 years. Her next adventure began as a fourth grade teacher at Drummond Area School District. She has degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Superior and Northland College. In 1994 she received the Environmental Education Nonformal Educator of the Year presented by the Wisconsin Association for Environmental Education, and in 1995 she received the Fisheries Educator of the Year with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. 

Leslie Strapon
Assistant Director

Leslie has lots of variety in her job as bookkeeper, office manager and organizer of two of the Museum’s largest fundraising events – which keeps her on her toes and gives her lots of interaction with volunteers, board members and visitors. Leslie has two small children with husband Derec, Wyatt and Evelyn, and two stepsons, Trent and Hunter. She grew up in Stillwater, MN along the St Croix River and enjoyed many camping trips with family. She got a degree in Geology from University of Minnesota – Duluth, where she enjoyed climbing, winter camping, snowboarding and exploring, and her job at the Duluth Pack Store. She’s lived most of the past 19 years in Seeley on a beautiful spot along Pacwawong Spring – a great spot for exploring.  She shares this little slice of heaven with her family, a large garden, some chickens, a couple dogs and lots of birds and wildlife. Leslie enjoys drawing and painting, music, paddling, snowshoeing, reading, gardening, travel & camping.

Jane Weber
MuseumMobile Teacher

I have a BS in Agriculture/Soil Science from UW-Madison and a Master’s in Professional Development (Education 1-8) from UW LaCrosse.  I worked as an agricultural consultant and lab tech before pursuing Education.  I taught Elementary Education for 25 years, both in Northern California and Ashland.  After retiring in 2012, I got certified as a Hatha Yoga teacher and have a studio in Iron River.  Since retiring, I have been very lucky to work for the National Estuarine Research Reserve in Superior as an Education Mentor, getting students outside and aware of the Lake Superior Watershed and now I am having a great time working for the Museum Mobile program.  I feel so lucky to have returned to the way I have always thought teaching should be done; hands-on, interactive, and teaching about topics the students are so interested in.  I am hoping that I am sparking their interest in learning more about the natural world right outside their door. In my free time I love to hike, bike, ski, observe and learn about my local ecosystems, be on the water paddling, read, bake and have various ongoing crafting projects.

Haley Appleman

Haley grew up in the Minneapolis suburbs and received a BA in Biology and Environmental Studies from St. Olaf College.  Following a passion for animal care, she completed internships in zoos before finding her niche as a naturalist.  She loves bringing people closer to the nature in their own backyards, especially when she can share the stage with a live raptor.  In her free time, Haley enjoys hiking, birding, cross-country skiing, and cozying up with a good book or knitting project.

Jayme Morey
Live Collections Assistant

As a native to Wisconsin, Jayme fell in love with the Northwoods early on. A deep passion for animals led her to working as a Humane Officer in the nonprofit world. This passion for nonprofits and animals carried over into native wildlife here at the CNHM. Jayme maintains the Museum’s reptiles and amphibians in its living collections and has set up and cared for native insects and fishes in our living exhibits. Jayme attended The Raptor Center’s Care and Management of Captive Raptors workshop in 2015 and happily spends her time working with the museums American Kestrel, Red-tailed Hawk and Great Horned Owl.   

photo by Kelly Randolph

photo by Kelly Randolph

Mimi Crandall – Volunteer Shop Manager

Mimi Crandall moved to the Cable / Drummond area with her husband Jim in 1977. Almost a native, but not quite. Two children, Jesse and Suzannah were born and grew up here. They, too, were actively involved in Museum programs. Both have pursued careers in the environmental sciences. After retiring as an administrator from WITC, Mimi joined the CNHM Board. She is active in the the ski, biking , running and hiking community, an avid gardener and is known as “the Flower Lady’ around town. Her creativity leads her to paint in all mediums and create unique and colorful environments for many area event venues.

Board of Directors

Chair: Anne Miller

Anne was born and raised for 14 years in Toronto. Her family was then relocated to several locations in the United States, and she ultimately met and married a Minnesotan some 50 years ago.  She and her family have been members of the Cable community since 1977 and also maintain a home in Minneapolis.

Anne is serving her fourth term as a member of the Musuem Board, has hosted several summer benefits at her home, and chaired two summer benefits along with fellow board member Carolyn Owen.

Elizabeth Aase

Liz and her husband Craig have split their time between St. Paul, MN and the Cable area since 1978 and the beauty and health of the north woods is important to them, their children, and now their grandchildren. She joined the CNHM Board of Directors when she retired from St. Paul Public Schools where she was a Writing Specialist and classroom teacher.  After almost 30 years in education, the Museum’s mission was a natural fit with her background and personal interests.  She was part of the Moment of Awe Campaign, chaired/co-chaired the Power of the Purse fundraiser for four years, and currently serves on the Education and Events Committees.  “I want to ensure the Museum’s future success as a community resource and a place where children AND adults will continue to say what my grandkids have said, ‘Oh there’s the museum, I LOVE that place!’ ”

Jack Carlson

Jack, and his wife Kathy have lived in Ashland and Bayfield County for over 40 years.  They moved to the area in 1975, after Jack graduated from Marquette University Law School.  He has been engaged in private practice in Washburn since 1978, and established a satellite office in Cable in 1982.  Having lived on Lake Superior and Lake Owen during this time, Jack has acquired a keen interest in the outdoors, and all that nature has to offer to residents and tourists who frequent the area.  Jack has been a director of the Museum for decades, and he and Kathy have taken an active role in assisting in fund raising activities for the Museum.

Liz Johnson

“It is a privilege to serve on the CNHM board of directors and ultimately, the residents and visitors who visit this beautiful gem in the Northwoods.”

A native of St. Paul, MN, the Bennett family have been enjoying the Cable and Hayward areas for some 50 years. Her and husband, Quentin, recently retired to the area and plan to spend time enjoying all the Northwoods has to offer. They especially love the people who live here and have vacation homes nearby. They are what make this area so special.

Liz enjoyed a business career in the financial services industry in MN and was also an adjunct professor for the University of St. Thomas, teaching marketing for their MBA program.

Since leaving the business world, her work has taken the form of volunteering in fundraising for large non-profit organizations.

“It is my hope that these experiences will bring value to the Cable Natural History Museum and assist in achieving the Museum’s goals for today and tomorrow.”

Carolyn Owen

“Volunteering is energizing.  Interacting with museum members and local residents is most rewarding.”

Vice-Chair: Marsha Besch

Marsha Besch and her husband Bob moved to Round Lake near Hayward in August of 2006.

After living in the Twin Cities where Marsha was an English teacher and curriculum coordinator, she quickly became involved in the mueseum.  At first it was participating in programs such as birding and snowshoe hikes, lectures and classes.  She then volunteered as a docent, garden tour host and member of various committees.  Marsha now serves as the board’s vice president.  She states:  “The museum enriches our community and the lives of all of us from little kids to senior citizens.  The dedicated staff and volunteers welcome all who enjoy the wide variety of offerings about our natural world.  We are indeed fortunate to have such an institution that helps us learn about and appreciate our beautiful area of woods and lakes.”

Patty Anderson

Patty Anderson has been a long-time and valuable supporter of the museum. She and husband Ron split their time between Madison, Jekyll Island and Cable. Patty graduated from the University of Wisconsin, Madison with a BS degree in Nursing.  She worked as a nurse in the US Army, a Veterans Hospital, and a variety of clinics.  She has been involved with many nonprofit organizations and served on several of their boards including the NPTA Board, as President of the Connecticut PTA and Treasurer of the Wisconsin PTA.  These positions gave her experience in educational issues, fundraising, parliamentary procedure, budgeting, recruiting volunteers, rules governing 501c3 organizations, etc. She previously served on the board for 6 years serving as the Events Chair, Moment of Awe Chair, Summer Benefit Auction Chair, and as a member of the Education Committee. Patty is a watercolor artists and supports the Museum because it is such an asset to the region, providing  natural history enrichment to local schools and learning opportunities for adults of all ages and encouraging enjoyment and stewardship of our great north woods surroundings.

John Hand

John was born in Racine, WI and raised in Tucson, AZ. He received a Bachelor of Architecture degree from Stanford University in 1962. He retired in 2006 from a career in urban planning, primarily in Tucson and San Luis Obispo, CA. He has served on non-profit boards in San Luis Obispo (SLO Art Center, YMCA) and Racine (Racine Art Museum). John has been a Lake Owen visitor since the 1940‘s and, since 2012, a resident of Cable, where he enjoys golf, cycling, baking and oil painting. He currently serves on the Board’s Events and Marketing Committees. Since 2013, he and his wife, Susan, have been Co-Chairs of the annual CNHM Golf Classic.

Ed Johnston

After 32 years in the corporate world, Ed had the good fortune to retire and run away to the north woods in October of 2012 and hasn’t looked back! Privileged to now live here every day, he’s reminded over and over again of how important the Museum is to everyone in our amazing community – young and old, rich and not so rich – and how lucky he is to play even a small role in its ongoing success. 

Deb Pyne

Treasurer: Thomas Johnson

After nearly four decades practicing as a CPA and Partner for a large regional accounting firm, Tom and his wife Barb and enjoy spending time at their Lake Owen home. They believe strongly in giving back to the communities where they live. They also care deeply about the woods and water resources that make the Cable area so special. “The Cable Natural History Museum offers us an opportunity to volunteer for an organization that connects people to northwoods nature through educational programs and outdoor experiences.” 

Joe Brady

Larry Hanson

Larry grew up on a farm south of Chetek and spent his free time playing in the creek below the barn and roaming in the woods behind the house.  He cannot recall a time in his life when he did not want to be outside exploring and learning about nature.  Thanks to his dad, he had guidance, training and the opportunity to learn to hunt, fish and enjoy the natural world.

Larry moved to Barnes as a full time resident in 2006 after spending the previous 30 years in Medford, Wisconsin teaching chemistry at Medford Senior High School.  His family built a cabin in the Barnes area in 1985 where they spent many weekends each year.  Larry and his wife, Teri, enjoyed the area enough to purchase property on which to build a retirement home ‘someday’.  That someday arrived in 2006 when they realized a life dream and moved north to retire. 

Shortly after moving to Barnes, Larry was asked to help the Museum move out of the phone company building into the new building.  Larry was impressed by the mission of the museum, the passion of the staff and the enthusiasm of the volunteers and decided the Museum was a valuable volunteer opportunity.  In 2012 Larry joined the Museum Board and continues to work on exhibits, special projects and is chair of the Personnel Committee. 

Bill Hannaford

Bill Hannaford retired in 2006 from a long career as a university marketing professor. He has taught marketing at Ohio State, Bowling Green State University, and the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire, where he served as Department Chair in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s. He has served as a marketing consultant and board member for a wide variety of regional and national businesses, with a focus on industrial marketing, systems selling, promotion, and market research. He holds a BA degree in Economics from Denison University, an MBA with a finance emphasis from Ohio State University, and a PhD in marketing, also from Ohio State.

Tom Matthiae

Tom’s been involved in natural resource issues for many years, both as a career and as a personal interest.  He enjoys being part of the museum as one way of bringing those issues out to a wider audience, through the museum’s programs and exhibits.  “It’s also a great group of people to work with!”

Secretary: Stacey McKinney

Stacey grew up in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin and graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire in 1992. She started in real estate in 1994 and by 1999 had launched her own real estate company quickly becoming the #2 office in the Chippewa Falls area. In the fall of 2002 Stacey met Scott McKinney and a year later sold her company to move to Cable, a place she has quickly grown to love. She is very involved in the community and volunteers for numerous events and organizations. Stacey enjoys spending time with her family on their small hobby farm where they keep chickens and her horses.

Ron Caple

Ron grew up on Rainy Lake in Northern Minnesota where his father was diligent in teaching him about nature and respect for the environment. He encouraged Ron to get involved with Eagle Scouts. After retirement from the University of Minnesota Duluth as a Chemistry Professor he found himself in Cable. The Museum was an outlet for his belief in the importance of exposing our youth to the outdoors and nature.

Kathi Jensen

Born in River Falls, WI and retired to Cable four years ago with husband Phil, who have owned their home on Lake Owen since 1995. Grandmother to 11 grandchildren, all of whom enjoy the Museum.  

Most of her life was spent going to school and college in Minnesota and raising family. She has a strong background in language arts and education, and has worked in the community with families on various boards, including the school board.  Her work history includes being a K-12 language arts teacher, a speech coach and conflict resolution professional.  Before retiring she was the Executive Director of Mediation Services for Anoka County , a non-profit  that trains volunteer mediators to assist the MN 10th Judicial District in Conciliation Court and neighborhood, business and family mediation.

Since retiring to Cable, she’s served as Women’s Fellowship President of the Cable UCC Church, the co-chair of the search committee for its newly hired pastor and have been a member of the Lake Owen Association. She’s a current member of the Museum and has been trained as a docent and served on its silent auction committee.  Kathi enjoys cross country skiing, biking, snowshoeing, golf, reading and cooking. 

Pris Nei

Pris is devoted to her family, pets and the communities she lives in. She was born in Milwaukee, but after many relocations, she call the Chicago area home. In her free time she enjoys cooking (and of course eating!), gardening, tennis, golf, needlepoint, and her book clubs.

For the last thirty plus years Pris has been involved in raising money for two charities. One is an annual flower sale with proceeds that go toward scholarships for continuing female education, both here in the U.S. and internationally.  The other is a large party event and auction benefitting needy children’s organizations.  Pris hopes to build on these experiences and help raise money for the Cable Natural History Museum, which she feels is such a special asset not only to our small community, but to all of Northwest Wisconsin.