We ask Candidates to give us a brief statement of who they are and why they volunteered as an AREA Candidate. In no particular order, here is what we received.

Barb Gigar for AREA President Elect: Barb received B.S. and M.S. in Zoology degrees from Eastern Illinois University, and later, an M.S. in Interdisciplinary Studies (Community Development) from Iowa State University. She developed the Fish Iowa! aquatic education program and has coordinated angler and aquatic resource education activities for the Iowa DNR since 1988.  Barb also taught life sciences for junior high, high school, and college and has served as a 4H club leader, youth group leader, and coordinator/instructor for after school conservation programs for grades K-6. She has extensive experience in curriculum development, program logistics, educator training, as well as implementation, support, and evaluation of angler and conservation education efforts at the local level.


Barb represents the Iowa DNR on the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies on the Education, Outreach and Diversity and Angler and Boating Participation Committees and assisted with development of the Conservation Education Strategy Toolkit. She is Past President of the Aquatic Resources Education Association (AREA) and serves on the Sport Fishing and Boating Partnership Council, Iowa Conservation Education Coalition Executive Committee and the Iowa Science Leadership Team.


Barb grew up playing in ponds and creeks in southern Illinois. She now lives in southwest Iowa with her husband and two busy teenagers. She enjoys all sorts of outdoor activities, especially on the water.

Steve Marshall for AREA Board Treasurer: I have a B.S. in Fisheries & Wildlife Management from Montana State University and a M.S. in Fisheries Biology from Iowa State University. I have worked in freshwater fisheries management since 1980 and have had the good fortune to work in the states of Montana, Iowa, Vermont and currently and for most of my professional life in Florida. In 1990 I became an urban fisheries project leader and established and managed fishing lakes in the major population centers of Miami-Dade, Ft. Lauderdale and West Palm Beach, Florida. From 1998 through 2015, I was project leader, researcher and implementer of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s, Division of Freshwater Fisheries Management, Statewide Angler/Aquatic Education Project. I have been state coordinator and instructor trainer for the Hooked on Fishing – Not on Drugs® program since 2006. In 2008 I was elected Chairperson of the Aquatic Resources Education Association. I'm currently the South Region Partnership Coordinator for Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s Florida Youth Conservation Center’s Network. My main interest is creating life-long anglers and outdoor recreation enthusiasts that are advocates of this planet’s vast and different aquatic and upland natural resources. My priorities and why I am running for Treasurer of AREA is to keep the organization on track financially. This might not be the most glamorous of board positions, but it is essential to allow everything else to work. Twenty plus years as a member of AREA has provided tremendous value in my professional life. From contact with equipment providers to constant connection with my most valuable colleagues via the list serve there is nowhere that comes close to equaling the value of AREA membership. I have not reinvented the wheel hundreds of times thanks to AREA and a member who has already done it and shared their success or failure with me.

Kim Sullivan – (Secretary) Kimberly Sullivan is a Principal Fisheries Biologist and Aquatic Resource Education Coordinator with the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management’s Division of Fish and Wildlife.  Kimberly graduated from Roger Williams University with a B.S. in Marine Biology and minors in Environmental Chemistry and Psychology.  Upon graduation, she joined RI DEM’s Division of Fish and Wildlife as a Trout Hatchery Supervisor, raising trout, mentoring high school students, and giving hatchery tours.  In 2003, she was hired as a Senior Fisheries Biologist and Aquatic Resource Education Coordinator.  While continuing Rhode Island’s established ARE program of fishing training, marine and freshwater ecology training, teacher training (State Coordinator for Project WET and Project WILD curricula), and informational outreach development, Kimberly introduced the Salmon in the Classroom/Trout in the classroom to the program along with regular hatchery tours for groups.  Currently, Kimberly is RI’s Angling R3 Representative and is lead of Rhode Island’s Angling Marketing and Outreach Team.

Bill Pepito (FL) for SE Regional Rep: Member of the BSA National Fishing Committee, Wisconsin DNR Angler Educator (Retired), former Central Region (7 State) Fishing Chairman. Staff & Lead Instructor National Jamboree and Order of the Arrow Conf., Philmont Training Center, Northern Tier. My priority is to create a communications avenue for our state AREA Reps. via newsletter or social media to highlight best practices and share resources.

Tracy Page (MI)  for North Central Regional Rep: I am the Aquatic Education Coordinator for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.  I have a strong background in environmental education, administration, and marine science/aquatic resources, and outdoor skills.  I have been a part of several boards in the education realm including our state environmental education group, where I have served as a general board member, education/marketing and outreach/finance committee member, and as the graphic designer.  I think I have valuable and diverse skills that could help AREA thrive for the future. I hope that I could help as a bridge to the environmental education world, to help make strong connections between resource managers/biologists/R3 and educators that could help get those messages to young people.  I also can contribute my skills in web management/design, graphics design, conference planning and more. Happy to dip my toe into projects as slowly as necessary or hit the ground running.

Karen Byrne (NJ) for Mid-Atlantic Regional Rep:  My name is Karen Byrne and I am a true Jersey girl having spent my entire life living in the great state.  I have worked full-time for the NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife as the Aquatic Education Coordinator for 8 years. Prior to working full-time with the Division, I was an hourly employee working as an assistant to the previous aquatic education coordinator while getting my Bachelors of Science degree in marine biology from Stockton College located in Pomona, NJ.  While I mainly work in the marine education field I also help to write funding and assist with freshwater education when necessary. The very best part of my job is that I oversee a residential education center located on an island in the beautiful salt marshes of Barnegat Bay. Fishing, clamming and other hands-on education tools are used to teach about salt marsh ecology, conservation and water quality. I also get the privilege to teach surf fishing, horseshoe crab education, and a variety of topics. When I’m not working one of my favorite things to do is go crabbing with the ultimate reward to sit and pick those delicious Callinectes sapidus.

The reason I’m running for this office is simple, no one else was willing to do it. I’m typically the one who will step up and help out when others feel they can’t and there is a need that requires filling. I love all things aquatic and if I can help an organization whose mission reflects what I strive to accomplish in my profession, I’m willing to do that.

Priorities for AREA are to help those who are starting out in this field to know what resources are available to them. Education was something I never thought I would wind up doing, yet 8 years later this seems like what I’ll be doing. I think having resources available to newbies in the field who don’t have anyone to help them along the way, as I did, and kind of have to figure it out on their own. Also I think having some sort of marine component in AREA would be a good thing. I know every state has freshwater, but not marine, but we’re all tied together and I’ve met some pretty great marine biologists who were from land lock states.

Lori Adams (ID) for Far West Regional Rep: Sixth Grade Teacher 1987 – 1999 (Idaho & Montana). Idaho Project WILD Coordinator 2001- present. Project WILD Coordinator of the Year 2006. ACI National Award Education & Outreach 2008 (for WILD about Early Learners guide). Idaho State Classified Employee of the Year - 2012. Idaho Environmental Educator of the Year – 2014

Thank you for the opportunity to participate as regional representative on the AREA board. I am very interested in taking a role in AREA and its goal of furthering aquatic education across the nation. Aquatic Education is not new on my repertoire, but recently I was appointed state aquatic education coordinator. I have served as the state Project WILD coordinator for 15 years. It’s been the most rewarding position in my career as an educator. Idaho Project WILD has a reputation of being one of the strongest in the country. We have developed many 15 hour specialized courses that are hugely popular with the traditional educators of our bountiful state. One of our most popular courses is WILD About Salmon. As Aquatic Education Coordinator, I look forward to creating more “WILD about’ courses related to fish & fishing at a state level. My background as an elementary educator has been beneficial in teaching conservation education to all ages and walks of life. We worked diligently early in the decade to create an Idaho WILD About Early Learners program, which later was modeled after for the national curriculum, Growing Up WILD.

At the October conference, I look forward to learning more about the movement of AREA and its goals to share conservation education. My desire to hit the ground running with new ideas and my positive attitude and passion for creating ways for individuals to connect with nature will be great contributions to the AREA board. Generating meaningful people and environment connections is important, as is the people to people connection. We all can learn from each other! I look forward to contributing and seeking new ideas in my position as Aquatic Education Coordinator and my nomination for the board will enhance that.

Michael R. Brand for North Central Regional Rep: As a Volunteer Scouter, and I invest my time talents and resources in the delivery of quality outdoor program, emphasis placed on Angler Education. Thereby providing active positive support to the mission of the BSA Central Region - Outdoor Programs Support Team, of which I am a member.

My role includes building awareness, within the BSA Central Region, the benefits of High quality fishing programs on Scout Recruitment and Retention as well as the detriments of Low quality fishing programs.

I provide guidance and support in the development of Scouters who have an interest in providing quality fishing programs, addressing the needs of all Scouts in the Cub Scout, Boy Scout, and Venturing program, offered at the Unit, District, Council, and Regional level. I conduct many BSA Certified Angling Instructor Training Courses and CAI Course Director Conference Sessions.

I provide BSA Central Region representation on the BSA National Fishing Task Force, and provide active, positive support to the Task Force mission of providing leadership and guidance concerning all Fishing aspects of BSA's Programs in order to ensure that Scouts at all levels has the best opportunity to learn and enjoy the sport of fishing and to encourage and foster a progressive learning experience to Scouts and Scouters via education advancement, programs, literature, and other resources necessary to teach and support fishing and conservation within the BSA Scouting World.

I also assist in the identification, recruitment, and provide recommendation of high quality talented Scouters willing to commitment volunteer service as Area Leads — Fishing within the BSA Central Region. Once assigned, I provide these Area Leads support and guidance by providing them a meaningful service opportunities providing value. Further, fostering a quality volunteer experience, improving Scouter retention

I am an Eagle Scout — Class of 1976, and a life time member of the National Eagle Scout Association and the Eagle Scout Association of St. Louis. I am a member in the Order of the Arrow (Scouting Honor Society) and have been awarded the Vigil Honor. I have also earned the BSA District Award of Merit for my work in the New Horizons District of the Greater St. Louis Area Council.

I am a member in the Ozark Fly Fishers, International Federation of Fly Fishers, Trout Unlimited —

Gateway Chapter, National Professional Anglers Association, and serve the Missouri Department of Conservation — Discover Nature Fishing program as a Fishing Coach, and also serve the U.S. Fish and Wildlife -Two Rivers Angler Education Program as Coach.

On a professional level, Over 30 years of increasing responsibility and experience in auditing, accounting, financial reporting, and treasury management. A seasoned professional, who combines finance expertise and integrity, filling a multitude of roles: confidant, champion, communicator. A competent financial advisor, that exercises good judgment, provides insightful counsel to management teams, and maintains a belief that the role of a financial professional is a navigator for an organization, not just a custodian of the assets. I hold a BSBA — with emphasis areas of study in both Accounting and Finance, I have successfully completed the examination as a Certified Public Accountant in the State of Missouri.

Michael R. Brand - Candidate Statement Page 1

Have actively served on the Board of Directors for the Eagle Scout Association of St. Louis, Deaconess Foundation, RASCALS Foundation, Pilgrim Congregational Church, UCC

Why Serve A.R.E.A.?

I was contacted by Doug Darr, and he asked if I would serve as a Representative in region of the country. I agreed to serve if called upon, as it is only right to give back to an organization that you belong.

I believe by serving in A.R.E.A., as a representative, my role will be to communicate with other A.R.E.A. members, and to support the national effort toward education, conservation, legislation, cooperation, science, research, information dissemination, restoration, evaluation, management, recognition, and similar functions related to aquatics and aquatic programs. To be successful, I intend on committing myself to the position, and execute to the best of my abilities the roles and responsibilities as assigned, on a timely basis and in a professional manner.

Katie Nalesere (HI) for Pacific Regional RepI work as the Education Specialist for Hawaii DLNR- Division of Aquatic Resources on the island of Kauai. I have been working in aquatic education in the Pacific region for the past 12 years. I am seeking office because I wish to continue to represent the Pacific region on the AREA board, highlight what is unique and special about our programs, as well as the challenges we face, and continue to work with and support AREA in its mission. My main priority is to increase engagement of the Pacific region in AREA.

END of candidate statements. Contact Carol Paterick,, if there are errors or omissions on this page.
"Aquatic Resources Education Association" is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. Founded in 1994.
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