Who We Are

 

Stephen J. Hjort – Senior Biologist, Director of Ecological Services

Mr. Hjort is the principal owner and a Senior Biologist with over 22 years of experience in terrestrial and aquatic ecology, lake and stream studies and management.  He has prepared Environmental Assessments (EA) and Environmental Impact Reports (EIR), and conducted Endangered and Threatened Species Surveys for new facilities and expansions.  Mr. Hjort consults to lake associations and the largest Lake District in the State of Wisconsin with projects ranging from water quality monitoring to petitions for modifying dam Operating Orders.  His work includes the preparation of permit applications for wetland dredge/fill projects, as well as CWA 404 and state water quality certifications for a wide range of development projects.  Mr. Hjort has delineated over 200 wetlands in Wisconsin and other states and provided litigation support for various waterway violations.  His greatest passion is for wetland restoration projects and he has conducted many of these gratifying projects in his career.


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Clayton M. Frazer – Senior Ecologist


Mr. Frazer has over 20 years of experience in professional natural resource management, ecological restoration, and ecological consulting. He has worked as an ecologist for Federal and State agencies, non-profit conservation organizations, and private sector consulting firms. Mr. Frazer’s areas of specialization include: prescribed fire ecology, wildlife management, invasive species management, native prairie restoration installation and maintenance, forestry and woodland management, and comprehensive land stewardship planning.   Mr. Frazer has drafted specifications for hundreds of public, corporate, non-profit, municipal, and private land restoration/enhancement projects. These projects have occurred on a wide range of land and habitat types ranging from upland prairie and woodland sites to various wetland habitats.  Mr. Frazer has also managed site prep, installation, and maintenance on numerous Federal Farm Bill program projects in Wisconsin. An avid hunter and conservationist, Mr. Frazer resides in Deerfield Wisconsin with his wife and two sons.



Stanely A. Nichols. Ph.D. – Senior Biologist


Dr. Nichols has 35 years of experience as a researcher and educator with the University of Wisconsin-Extension with appointments in the Environmental Resources Center and the Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey.  During that time he worked on the Inland Lake Renewal and Development Project, the Lower Wisconsin River Wild and Scenic River Assessment, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission re-licensing projects, Outstanding Resource Waters Designation Projects, the International Biological Program - Lake Wingra Project.  He also participated in a variety of research projects dealing with the management and control of aquatic plants and aquatic plant ecology.  Dr Nichols has published widely in the areas of aquatic plant management, lake protection and management, pond management, ecological sampling, and prairie ecology and management.  Dr. Nichols retired from the University of Wisconsin-Extension in 2003 with a title of Professor Emeritus of Environmental Sciences and joined the ERC staff in 2005.


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Daniel L. Fuhs – Senior Biologist

Mr. Fuhs has 6 years of experience in biology and restoration.  Mr. Fuhs earned a double major in Biology and Wildlife, and a minor degree in GIS and Spatial Analysis at UW-Stevens Point.  He has completed ecological restoration work in the field such as planting, seeding, erosion control methods, and equipment operation.  Mr. Fuhs provides spatial analysis using GIS, remote sensing and aerial photograph interpretations skills.  He has conducted vegetation sampling and ornithological surveys.   He has been trained in prescribed fire methods and prairie restoration adaptive management.  Mr. Fuhs has assisted in numerous wetland delineations since joining ERC.  Mr. Fuhs has managed projects for private landowners, municipalities and counties, and Farm Bill programs.  

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Heidi Hayes - Director of Field Operations

Ms. Hayes has over 20 years of experience in natural resource management.  Ms. Hayes earned her degree in Resource Management-Land Use Planning from the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point.  She began her career with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) in 1993.   She retired from the WDNR after 23 years of service.  During her time with the WDNR, Ms. Hayes served in the Parks Division where she maintained Law Enforcement credentials for five years.  Her remaining years with the WDNR, Ms. Hayes served as a Wildlife Technician, during which she oversaw the annual management and monitoring of more than 20,000 acres on six WDNR Wildlife Areas and several Public Fisheries properties.   She also supervised more than fifty Limited Term Employees (LTE) during her career.  With ERC, Heidi manages Restoration Technician field crews, manages employee work safety standards, maintains ERC equipment, coordinates with ERC Project Managers, and communicates with clients to ensure project success. 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

Thomas M. Luehring – Restoration Technician

Mr. Luehring has 5 years of experience in restoration ecology, land management, and wildlife management; and had previously worked for the Department of Natural Resources as a Wildlife and Forestry Technician.  He earned his B.S. Degree at UW-Oshkosh.  Mr. Luehring has experience in forest and prairie restorations and maintenance involving native plantings, seedings, and prescribed fires.  He specializes in terrestrial invasive species and has a passion for restoring woods and prairies back to what they once were.  Mr. Luehring is an avid fisherman and spends most of his time on the water.

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Megan Padrutt – Restoration Technician


Ms. Padrutt has 3 years of experience in restoration ecology.  She earned an Environmental Biology and Ecology degree from UW-Eau Claire.  After graduating she worked for the Department of Natural Resources as a Wildlife Technician at Sandhill Wildlife Area.  There she gained experience in invasive species management and wildlife ecology.  She is very excited to further her career and help protect and persevere the natural landscape.  Ms. Padrutt enjoys playing volleyball, spending time with her family, and being outdoors.



Kyle Duquaine – Restoration Technician

Mr. Duquaine is just beginning his career in restoration ecology.  Kyle earned a Bachelor’s of Science in Biochemistry from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee before making the decision to pursue ecological restoration. He then received an Ecological Restoration Certificate from the University of Minnesota. Kyle started out as a Restoration Technician at ERC and continues to gain experience and knowledge about the ecological field.  Kyle is passionate about working to conserve the environment and looks forward to working on native restorations across the state. Mr. Duquaine enjoys coaching soccer and basketball, attending music shows, being outdoors, and traveling the world.

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Curt Belke - Restoration Technician

Mr. Belke has one year of restoration ecology experience.  Mr. Belke earned his degree in Environmental Studies from Carroll University in 2018.   While a student, Mr. Belke was an intern at the Greenfield Station, a 60 acre outdoor laboratory for Carroll University.  There he worked on projects to help manage the invasive species on the property and assisted in workshops for grade school and high school students.  After college, Mr. Belke gained more experience in restoration ecology working as an intern for the Cook County Forest Preserve in Cook County Illinois.  There his tasks included, removal of invasive trees and shrubs, herbicide applications and large scale buckthorn removal projects. 
 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

Matthew Mirkes - Restoration Technician 

Mr. Mirkes is just starting his career in restoration ecology.  Mr. Mirkes earned his degree in Botany and Environmental Science, with a minor in Environmental Studies from the University of Wisconsin – Madison in 2018.  After earning his degree, Matthew became a Conservation and Land Management Intern with the Chicago Botanic Garden, Bureau of Land Management in Buffalo Wyoming.  While working as an intern, Mr. Mirkes conducted vegetation and soil surveys and analysis.  

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