14006 Discovery Lane • Manitowish Waters, WI 54545 • 877-543-2085

Meet Our Staff

Administrative and Facilities Staff

Dorothy Wahner

Interim Executive Director

Dorothy is no stranger to the Discovery Center having served on the Board of Directors for six years and as President of the Board for two years and Secretary for three. Over the course of her career she has managed several non-profit health and human services organizations, worked in State Government, and brings a strong background in management, fund development, health care and human resources. She holds Bachelor and Master Degrees from U.W - Milwaukee, and a second Masters in Health Care Administration from Cardinal Stritch University. She moved to Mercer with her husband in 2007 and loves nature and the quality of life in the northwoods and is very active in several community organizations.


Contact Dorothy for questions on: Charitable Contributions, Volunteer and Partnership Opportunities, Community Outreach, and Programs

Karla Wotruba

Membership & Development Coordinator

Karla joined the Discovery Center team in October 2014. She and her family moved to the Northwoods in 2012. Together, they participate in many of the outdoor activities the area has to offer, including hiking, camping, paddling, and downhill skiing. Karla has a Bachelor's degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and enjoys rooting for her Wisconsin Badgers. She is inspired to work for a non-profit and to share the beauty and peacefulness of the Northwoods with other families.

Contact Karla for questions regarding: Memberships, Registrations, Receivables, Payables, or General NLDC Information

Lynn Wildes

Facility & Event Coordinator

Lynn joined the Discovery Center team in May 2012. Lynn and her husband moved to the Northwoods from southern Wisconsin in 1996 and love living and raising their family here. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater with a degree in Speech Communication and Public Relations, and is excited to use her marketing background to help the Discovery Center fulfill its mission and service opportunities.

Contact Lynn for questions on: Weddings and Cabin/Site Rentals

Ryan Wahlgren

Grounds / Trail Coordinator

Ryan grew up in Boulder Junction, and has spent the last six summers building docks and decks in the Northwoods. He enjoys the outdoors as much or more than any man up here, and is an avid musky and walleye fisherman, and tournament angler. Ryan took the job here because he loves being part of a great place for kids to expand their outdoor experiences and education.

Contact Ryan for questions on: Trails, Buildings, and Grounds Maintenance

Annie McDonnell

Office Manager

Annie joined the Discovery Center in October of 2016. She earned a B.S. from Montana State University and moved to the Northwoods in the fall of 2014. She enjoys all of the outdoor activities that the area has to offer including; skiing, paddling, hiking, hunting, fishing and biking. Annie is motivated by the unique programs and experiences that the Discovery Center offers all of its guests and visitors, and is excited to be a member of the NLDC team. 

Contact Annie for questions on: program information, office management, bookkeeping, or front desk questions.

Program Staff

Licia Johnson

Naturalist/Interpretive Services Coordinator

Licia joined the Discovery Center team in spring 2007 as a seasonal Environmental Educator. In December 2007 she was appointed permanent staff. Licia graduated from Carroll College in Waukesha, WI in May 2004 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Natural Resource Conservation and Geography. In addition to teaching, Licia is the coordinator for the Center's outreach programs.

Contact Licia for questions on: School Programs, Drop-in Activities, and Acoustic Bat Monitoring

Emily Anna

Naturalist/Volunteer Coordinator

Emily joined the Discovery Center in May 2015 as an Environmental Education Intern and returned in April 2016 as a Naturalist.  She graduated from Northern Michigan University in 2015 with a Bachelor of Science in Fisheries & Wildlife Management, but discovered her love for environmental education during her Discovery Center Internship. In addition to teaching, Emily coordinates volunteers.

Contact Emily for questions on: Nature Nook, Drop-in Activities, Volunteer Opportunites

Emily Heald

Water Program Coordinator

Emily joined the Discovery Center team in March 2017. She has a B.S. from Northland College in Natural Resource Management. She also has an M.S. from the University of Minnesota Duluth in Integrated Biosciences, where she worked on a whole-lake manipulation project right here in Vilas County. It was during this time that Emily found her love for living in an area surrounded by lakes. Emily is inspired to work at the NLDC where all staff members and volunteers have immense passion for their work.

Contact Emily for questions on: Water Program Events, AIS Coordination, Citizen Science, and Lakes Research

Heather Gerth

Bird Banding Station Coordinator

Heather joined the Discovery Center in June 2013 as the Discovery Center's Research and Monitoring Coordinator.  In July 2016 she got married and moved to Duluth, MN, but continues to coordinate the Discovery Center's Bird Banding program part time.  Her love for the Northwoods was cultivated while earning a Masters in Natural Resources with an emphasis in Environmental Education through a UW graduate fellowship program at Conserve School in Land O Lakes, WI.  She also has Masters in Zoology from UW-Madison where she studied the effects of climate and residential development on birds in the Appalachian Mountains. 

Contact Heather for questions on: Bird Banding. 

Our Mission

Our mission is to enrich lives and inspire an ethic of care for Wisconsin's Northwoods, through the facilitation of connections among nature, people and community.

Our Location

215 Highway W in Manitowish Waters, about one mile north of Highway 51 and County W

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