Aldo Leopold: Nature Center welcomes new Executive Director

Madison, WI.  The Aldo Leopold Nature Center is delighted to announce the promotion of Betsy Parker as the organization’s new Executive Director. 

In 2000, Betsy began her career at the Nature Center as an Environmental Educator, where she learned from her mentors that teaching children to connect with nature was best done by encouraging them to use their senses when observing the world around them. In her earliest days, she remembers asking children if
they can hear the sounds of snow crunching beneath their feet. 

Overtime, Betsy grew within the organization. She was promoted to Strategic Development Manager, where she assisted with board and donor engagement, and, most recently she served as Director of Nature Net, overseeing southern Wisconsin’s environmental learning network. Betsy’s background includes work with the UW-Madison’s School of Human Ecology, as an outreach specialist at the Center for Community & Nonprofit Studies, with the North American Association for Environmental Education as a Wisconsin Team Leader,
and with the Wisconsin Association for Environmental Education as Board Chair.

Betsy’s science-based background began with a Bachelor of Science from UW-Madison with a major in Biological Aspects of Conservation. She received a certificate in Environmental Studies from the UW-Nelson Institute and also spent a semester abroad in Kenya with the National Outdoor Leadership School. This was followed more recently with a Master of Science in Human Ecology with a focus on Nonprofit Leadership.
Her master’s capstone program included work on an Evaluation Plan for the State Strategic Plan for Environmental Literacy.

Additionally, Betsy brings a wealth of experience across various programs and functions, both locally and state-wide. She organized the Nature Center’s JEDI (Justice, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion) initiatives with Milwaukee’s Cream City Conservation in 2022 and has training through the UW-Extension for addressing Systemic Racism in Environmental Education. Betsy’s state-wide efforts in the field include working with Legislators to pass the “Children’s Outdoor Heritage Resolution,” and coordinating the publication of “Wisconsin’s Plan for Environmentally Literate and Sustainable Communities.”  

Please join us in welcoming Betsy Parker as Executive Director of the Aldo Leopold Nature Center. In this important leadership role, she will oversee the rollout of our forthcoming strategic plan, prioritizing sustainability, equity, and inclusion across our organization.