Executive Director Announcement

Don Anderson Joins the Discovery Center as Executive Director

The North Lakeland Discovery Center Board and Staff are delighted to announce the appointment of Don Anderson as our new Executive Director, effective June 17, 2024. Don currently serves as the Principal at Eagle River Elementary School, a role he has held since 2018, following a year as Assistant Principal. With a career dedicated to education, Don began as a special education teacher at Eagle River Elementary from 2005 to 2013. He then ventured into co-founding and teaching at SOAR Middle School in Land O’Lakes from 2013 to 2017. During his time at SOAR MS, a project-based learning institution with a strong focus on environmental education and conservation, Don and his colleagues led students on numerous expeditions throughout the beautiful Northwoods of Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. These adventures served as immersive experiences, allowing students to deeply understand and appreciate the remarkable ecosystems of our region. Both at Eagle River Elementary School and SOAR MS, Don and his team have been users of the NLDC's services.

Don will join the Discovery Center as soon as he completes the school year but plans to attend events as frequently as possible over the next two months.  Don asked us to share the following, 

"I am beyond excited to begin this new journey as the Executive Director of the North Lakeland Discovery Center. Discovering a career that allows me to combine two of my greatest passions, education and conservation, is a true blessing. The opportunity to work in such a stunning natural environment fills me with joy and gratitude. NLDC's commitment to environmental education and conservation efforts has truly impressed me, and I cannot wait to officially join this exceptional team. Together, I am confident we will continue to make a meaningful impact in preserving and celebrating the beauty of our surroundings."


Don is a native of Iron River, Michigan.  He earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Wyoming and his master's degree from Viterbo University in La Crosse. He actively volunteers with various conservancy and outdoor groups, including Ducks Unlimited. Additionally, Don has contributed to organizations such as the US Forest Service, US Fish and Wildlife Service, Trout Unlimited, Special Olympics, and various community events. Prior to completing his college education, Don dedicated time to working on a wildlife refuge in Montana, where he removed miles of barbed wire fences that posed a danger to local wildlife. In some cases, he also constructed new fence lines designed to minimize harm to the area's wildlife population.

In his free time, Don finds his joy in the great outdoors alongside his wife Katie and their beloved yellow Labrador Retriever, Mack. Their adventures range from quiet moments at their camp in the Upper Peninsula to exhilarating hikes and fly-fishing excursions in the Rocky Mountains. They also enjoy exploring the underwater world, whether it's snorkeling among the reefs in the Caribbean or scuba diving into the depths of Lake Superior to explore shipwrecks or search for copper. These shared experiences not only deepen their bond as a family but also fuel Don's passion for nature and conservation.

Please keep an eye open for Don at NLDC events over the next few months and take an opportunity to welcome him.