Elizabeth EvansElizabeth Evans, CEO, has been making connections, making waves, and making a difference for 25 years. She has a degree in political science from the University of Michigan (Go Blue!) and a law degree from Northwestern University. Elizabeth specializes in creating processes that emphasize impact, working in the public and nonprofit sector. She is an organizational design expert who has successfully launched numerous social enterprises and led innumerable policy campaigns on topics that make our country better, fairer and more just. She appreciates well-timed movie quotes, but only if they are quoted perfectly. Yosemite National Park is on Elizabeth’s must-see list and she loves to send—and receive!—old-fashioned, hand-written letters.
Email: eevans@bluestemcommunications.org Twitter: @eaechicago
Rebeca BellRebeca Bell, Communications Director, develops messages and creates all of Bluestem Communications’ communication materials, including brochures, websites and workshop materials. She also shapes and implements communications projects, programs and campaigns. Since joining Bluestem Communications in 2009, she now oversees communications projects and staff and guides evaluation processes for all of our work. With a background in grassroots organizing, rhetoric and writing, Rebeca manages our communication efforts so they are both inspirational and persuasive. For the past decade, she’s had an annual goal of reading 52 books a year–a book a week! She’s hasn’t reached that goal since she had her kid, but dreams of someday reaching it again. She holds a degree in political science from Denison University and a Master’s degree in writing and rhetoric from DePaul University.
Lizzy Kreindler, Operations Director, joined Bluestem Communications in August 2017. As the Operations Director, she is the lynchpin for Bluestem’s brand–linking our internal and external functions. She creates and maintains systems and policies so that our staff are fully equipped to perform all their duties. In addition to a strong preference for old-fashioned ice cream parlors and a belief that second-born children should be admired and emulated, Lizzy believes that a smoothly-run office is necessary to drive sustainable organization growth. Coming from a background in community organizing and fundraising, she has unique experience recognizing and fulfilling the needs of organizations at many levels. While her toddler keeps her busy now, she looks forward to someday making a pilgrimage to the Alps–for the beauty and the chance to commune with Maria Von Trapp.
Kelly McGinnisKelly McGinnis, Mississippi River Program Director, joined Bluestem Communications in September 2014. She works directly with network members in the ten-state Mississippi River region, building the coalition with the goal to protect and restore the River. Kelly comes from a diverse professional background, starting her career as a fisheries biologist and freshwater ecologist in Washington State before moving back to the Chicago area where her focus shifted to sustainability in the built environment and coalition building. She brings passion and enthusiasm for protecting the environment to her role, along with beautiful fresh vegetables harvested from her home gardens, for which her colleagues are immensely grateful. We might be more grateful if she’d bring in some of her home-brewed beers or kombucha, but we’ll take what we can get. Kelly holds a B.S. in Environmental Science and Ecology from The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington. An adventurous world traveler, she has recently explored Vietnam, Cambodia, and Sri Lanka and takes off for South Korea and Japan this fall.
Kelly McGinnisMalcolm Mossman, Communications and Policy Manager, joined Bluestem Communications in August 2015. He assists the communications director with the research, management, and implementation of Bluestem’s projects, programs, and campaigns. In addition to our client-focused work, he serves as the Policy Manager for the Mississippi River Network. Prior to joining Bluestem, Malcolm organized citizens in Arizona around solar power and renewable energy initiatives. His time in the Wild West may have inspired his deep love for exploring our western National Parks. While he’s recently backpacked through Yosemite, Denali National Park is on his bucket list. He holds a B.A. in American studies with a minor in sustainability from the University of Notre Dame and is currently pursuing his M.A. in Sustainable Urban Development at DePaul University.

We asked our illustrious board, “Where is your favorite spot to connect with nature?” Their answers are below.

Chair: Maggie Soliz
Applied Ecological Services, IL
As a member of the Prairie Club in Harbert, MI, I find total oneness with Lake Michigan walking over the dune and sitting on the beach.”
Andi Cooper
Cooper Design Studios, Lombard, IL
As of summer 2017, my new favorite spot to connect with nature is The Boundary Waters. The pristine back country environment can be accessed by paddlers only. It offers incredible scenery – the everchanging vistas and opportunities to explore…and my cell phone doesn’t work up there!”
Dennis Dreher
Geosyntec, Oak Brook, IL
The Nature Preserve that I steward behind my house – Boloria Meadows in Bull Valley.
Jill Kostel
The Wetlands Initiative, Chicago, IL
My getaway location is the Dixon Waterfowl Refuge at Hennepin & Hopper Lakes in Hennepin, IL. Here I can wander and easily get “lost” in the beautiful sights and sounds of all the different flora and fauna that are present in a mosaic of wetland, prairie, and savanna habitats.
Grace Rink
Quercus Consulting, Chicago, IL
My favorite place to connect with nature in the Midwest is any forest, beach, trail, prairie, or preserve that is new to me. As a lifelong Midwesterner, I am continually surprised at how many places I have never visited, and I enjoy learning about how fellow stewards have protected them.
Theresa Salus
REI, Chicago, IL
There are so many places to connect with nature in and around Chicago–from the Lake to hiking at Palos and Sag Valley Forest Preserve, to paddling the Chicago River–that are local connection points for me. I also enjoy exploring our many many National Park spaces and everything that they offer.
Ex Officio: Sara Race
ComEd, Oak Brook, IL
“The beaches of Lake Michigan.”