Meet our new Professional Board Members!


The Women’s Environmental Network started the new year off on the right foot by welcoming four new professional members to our Board of Directors! We are thrilled for them to the join the board and are looking forward to the year ahead. Learn more about Jane, Kellie, Michelle, and Ashley below.

Jane Cowan

Jane Cowan joined WEN in 2015, when she moved to Minneapolis from Santa Barbara, CA, where she completed her undergraduate and graduate degrees at the University of California. Her initial studies led her towards a science career in aquatic biology. However, for  her master’s at the Bren School of Environmental Science and Management she pivoted toward Conservation Planning to work more closely on implementing solutions to affect real change.

She is currently the Market Research Coordinator at the Midwest Renewable Energy Association (MREA) where she works closely with partnering organizations, institutions, and individuals to define and implement innovative ways to invest in renewable energy.

Before joining the MREA, she conducted food systems research and used every academic excuse possible to travel, including to Koh Tao, Thailand, for coral reef conservation and research, and Hermanus, South Africa, to track bull shark habitat use in the Breede River.

Now firmly planted back in her home state, she enjoys camping, hiking, biking, cooking, mushroom hunting, and spending time with family her hometown of Grand Meadow, MN.

She is particularly exited to join the Board of Directors to work with motivated and smart ladies to further opportunities for all female identified persons in environmental and related fields.

Kellie Lager

Kellie joins the Board of Directors from Conservation Corps Minnesota & Iowa, where she has led the recruitment department for the past three years. As Recruitment Manager, Kellie is responsible for leading the recruitment process, including strategic planning, developing recruitment strategies, overseeing the hiring process, and identifying trends.

Kellie holds a B.S. in Fisheries and Wildlife from the University of Minnesota and a B.A. in Drama from Washington University in St. Louis. Her professional experience includes working as a crew leader with the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Minnesota, as a Seasonal Wildlife Aide for Three Rivers Parks Department, and an AmeriCorps Field Crew Member with Conservation Corps Minnesota & Iowa.

Kellie is very excited to join the the Board of Directors and is looking forward to connecting with current and new members! Outside of work Kellie enjoys writing, reading, obstacle course racing, sewing, kickboxing, and knocking icicles off gutters.


Michelle Palm

As a young professional in the environmental world, Michelle is thrilled to be a part of the the Board of Directors as it combines so many of the things she holds dear in life: the environment, working towards a better future, and building community, especially with other women.

Michelle joins the group with experience in the fields of renewable energy and waste reduction based on past work with Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERTS) and from her current position as a Sustainability Specialist with MN Waste Wise. In her current position with MN Waste Wise, Michelle helps businesses to identify waste reduction and recycling opportunities throughout the Twin Cities metro. She holds a BA in Environmental Studies from Gustavus Adolphus College, where she worked with the Campus Activities Board, Big Hill Farm, and helped the college to purchase an in-vessel composter as part of her senior project.

Outside of work, Michelle enjoys spending as much time outside as possible; hiking, running, and gardening. If not outside, chances are you’ll find her spending time at one of Minnesota’s great local breweries or throwing pottery.


Ashley Osteraas

Ashley Osteraas is very excited to be a part of Women’s Environmental Network as one of the
board members. Ashley is an associate at Zan Associates, where she specializes in construction
communications for various state agencies. After earning her degree in biology, society, and the environment from the University of Minnesota, she volunteered and worked at various environmental organizations throughout Minneapolis.

Her experience as a Naturalist at the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board and Climate Outreach intern at Sierra Club grew her passion to engage and educate citizens about current environmental issues throughout Minnesota. Born and raised in here, Ashley has a true appreciation for the land of 10,000 lakes and a passion to sustain them. She enjoys running, camping, traveling, exploring local restaurants, skiing, and spending time with her family, friends, and dogs.

As a member of the Board of Directors, Ashley is looking forward to applying her enthusiasm for environmental conservation and collaborating with others like minded members.