Program Managers


K12 School Programs

Site Coordinators

Education Specialists

Youth Conservation Corps


Executive Director

Sarna SalzmanSarna Salzman, MS

Sarna builds synergy within SEEDS and in the wider community through innovative monitoring techniques and fostering direct connections. She has an eclectic bundle of skills all related to building community self-reliance through ecological intelligence. She has a BA in Anthropology and Sociology from Kalamazoo College in Michigan and an MS in Community Development from the University of California at Davis. In her spare time you might find her on stage, sharing a spicy meal, or just drinking maple syrup.   sarna[at]

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Program Managers

Bill Watson

Youth Development Director

Bill has worked with youth since 2001. His passion for his work with young people has helped him spearhead creative partnerships that provide benefits on many levels - for youth, local business, a region's natural environment, and the larger community. He is also an experienced anger management and domestic violence group facilitator. In his former lives, Bill was a chef, an itinerant scuba diver and spearfisherman, a carpenter, and a guy who walked into the woods for days with only a pack and sleeping mat on his back. Now his camping experiences involve being a sherpa for his wife and boys.   bwatson[at]

Tara Ward

Tara Ward, MSNR

Area: Education

Tara's background is varied, with skills in organizational development, fundraising, organizing, and her passion, science and environmental education. Tara grew up in California, France, and Minnesota, worked for eleven years at the nonprofit Ecology Center in Ann Arbor and has developed curriculum from Traverse City for the past ten years. She has a BS in Biology and Biophysical Environmental Studies from Northland College in Ashland, Wisconsin, and an MS in Natural Resources from the University of Michigan, with emphases in Environmental Education and Advocacy. Her hobbies are birdwatching, botanizing, and her wonderful children.   tara[at]

Barton Kirk, EIT, MS

Area: Energy & Environmental Analysis

Barton works at the nexus of energy, water, climate, community and engineered design. His social and environmental roots were established early, working on his parents’ community-supported farm and at the Penn State Center for Sustainability. For the past decade, he has been helping communities by applying life-cycle systems analysis and has a particular interest in regenerative infrastructure design that engages youth and local citizens. His has a BS in Agricultural & Biological Engineering from Pennsylvania State, an MS in Natural Resources from the University of Vermont and is a guest lecturer at the Yestermorrow Design/Build School where he teaches hands-on and theoretical courses on ecological water and waste solutions. Find his CV here.   barton[at]

Juliana Lisuk

AmeriCorps Program Director 

Juliana grew up in Leland, MI and is happy to be back in Northwest Michigan working for SEEDS.  She holds a BA in Environmental Studies from Denison University and has enjoyed focusing her environmental interests on creating a healthier, more local food system.  Juliana loves that her work with SEEDS is making a positive impact on her community.  Outside of work she enjoys exploring new soup recipes, traveling, and hiking trails. juliana[at]


Jordan Barber

Local Evaluator 

Jordan has a BS in Liberal Studies from Grand Valley State University and likes to know a little bit about everything. She grew up in Rapid City, MI and had the pleasure of returning to her elementary alma mater to serve as an AmeriCorps VISTA with SEEDS After School. Now, as a staff member, she is excited to be an integral part of the evaluation and continuous improvement process at SEEDS. At SEEDS or at home, you can likely find her engrossed in a do-it-yourself project or three.  jordan[at]

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Genny Locke

Accounting Manager

Genny comes to SEEDS with 18 years of experience in accounting within in a variety of industries. She was born and raised in Traverse City and recently moved back to the area after spending the last decade moving around WA, NV and CA. Genny earned her BBA with a major in accounting and has also studied taxation and ceramic arts at several colleges and private studios. Genny has volunteered with the United Way of King County (Seattle) as well as VAST of Michigan preparing tax returns for low income and elderly citizens. Additionally, she has spent time volunteering at the Seattle Animal Shelter, Ginger's Death Row Dogs (Seattle) and Shelter Outreach of Monterey County (CA). Genny has two small dogs, Tedward and Eva and enjoys spending her free time working with clay, cooking, hiking and swimming.  genny[at]

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Site Coordinators

Kara Bontrager
Rapid City Elementary School

Kara is a native “Yooper” who relocated to the Kalkaska area in 2006. In November 2009, Kara joined SEEDS as a VISTA member and works at SEEDS After School at Kalkaska Middle School. In 2010, Kara received her BS in Liberal Studies from Grand Valley State University. You can usually find Kara spending time with her wonderful husband and son, curled up with a book or a movie, trying out a new recipe, or soaking up as much warm sunshine as northern Michigan will provide.   kara[at]

“Denise”Denise Connolly

Kaleva Norman Dickson Elementary

Although she's originally from Cape Cod, Massachusetts, Denise has been living in Michigan for 15 years and feels like a native Michigander! She is married and has four grown sons. As a self-proclaimed "late-bloomer," Denise finished her teaching degree four years ago and worked in various schools as a substitute teacher. She enjoys walking her two dogs, reading, and is a football fanatic.  denise[at]

Erin MooreErin Moore

Floyd M. Jewett Elementary

Erin Moore grew up in Lake City, MI. She has been a teacher for 14 years and enjoys reading, music, crafts, pets, traveling, and teaching kids. She is excited about the SEEDS program and is looking forward to hanging out and having fun with kids after school!  erin.moore[at]

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Education Specialists

Kevin Summers

Education Specialist: Green Teams

Kevin’s students will tell you that he is a very serious person. They don’t know about his other life as a performance artist and backwoods homesteader. He began working with youth as part of a community garden project in Pittsburgh, PA, while completing his undergraduate degree. He then taught first through third grade in Camden, NJ.  Before recently returning to Northern Michigan, Kevin presented a review of his work integrating art, science, and music in Camden at the joint conference of the Acoustical Society of America and the European Acoustics Association in Paris, France. Kevin is also the administrator for the Don Dohler fan page on Facebook.   knsummers[at]

Erin Williams 

Education Specialist: Culinary & Food Systems

Erin Williams joins SEEDS from a long history of traveling around the USA as a military brat. She served as a VISTA member for two years before joining the staff. Previous to her VISTA term, she worked with a pizza catering business focusing on organic ingredients. She has a love of youth and a passion for fresh food and gets to bring both together at SEEDS. erin[at]

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Youth Conservation Corps Team Leaders

Rick Magee

Rick Magee was born in Rochester, MI, and raised in Northern Michigan. He earned his Associates degree from Northwestern Michigan Community College and a BS in Psychology from Central Michigan University. He settled in little Fife Lake where he resides with his wife of 21 years and 7 children. He has worn many hats in his work life, as a teacher, a coach of nearly all sports, a carpenter, a painter, an athletic director, and more. His passion is children. He loves to coach and teach, he has been a foster parent for several years, and he continues to nurture youth in every aspect of his life. He loves working with the young people of SEEDS. In his spare time, you will find him camping, boating, coaching, or attending a sporting event with his family.   rick[at]

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