Rob Karner — Watershed Biologist
Recognized by GLA’s elected officials in August, 2020 for his 40 years of service, Rob Karner has worked on and off for the Glen Lake Association since 1977. Currently, he is serving as our watershed biologist, newsletter columnist and occasional website photographer. His science-based initiatives have kept GLA on the forefront of Midwest lake associations. You can often find him in the middle of Glen Lake or Fisher Lake, taking water samples, teaching on the Discovery Boat—a program he initiated—working with riparians on their greenbelt buffers, or explaining the life cycle of swimmer’s itch. In addition to the water quality committee, he also works with the long-range planning committee and serves as chairperson for “Leelanau Clean Water” for Leelanau County.
Rob received his undergraduate degree from Michigan State University in Zoology and Biological Science. He earned a master’s degree in Biological Science with emphasis in Freshwater Biology from The University of Michigan.
Rob is a retired biology teacher (of 38 years at Leelanau School) and now works for the Glen Lake Association on a year-round flexible schedule as a part-time employee.
His high regard for the Glen Lake Watershed and its protection and preservation is evident in all his activities. Rob has traveled extensively in the Caribbean and has taught Marine Biology in the Florida Keys, Bonaire, and in the British Virgin Islands. His hobbies include reading, snorkeling, bird watching, cross-country skiing, computers, and cycling. Rob also runs his own photography business specializing in portraits and nature photography.
Tricia Denton – Administrative Coordinator & Guardian Ambassador
Tricia works as the administrative coordinator of the Glen Lake Association and has been the GLA’s Guardian Ambassador, promoting protection of the Glen Lake-Crystal River Watershed since 2018.
Tricia holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Physical Geography from Michigan State University, where she participated in both National Science Foundation-funded meteorological research on thunderstorms in the Great Lakes and pre-
European settlement plant-soil relationships. She also worked for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Geological Survey Division where she helped to create the Michigan Statewide Groundwater
In graduate school, Tricia was a NASA fellow in Earth Sciences at Montana State University where she mapped stream systems in Yellowstone National Park. Her research, along with other’s, identified long-lasting environmental damage from historical gold mining and resulted in a presidential order to permanently revoke Canadian-held mining leases in the adjacent Beartooth Wilderness Area.
Most recently Tricia was a Northern Michigan Environmental Action Council 2019 Environmentalist of the Year Awardee in Grassroots Organization for her outstanding leadership in the key environmental issues facing Leelanau County.
Tricia is passionate about protecting water in all its forms and refers to herself as an “uplander,” recognizing the important role forested ridge lines have in protecting water. She is committed to helping “shorelanders” and “uplanders” all do their part to preserve water quality. She lives with her husband and three children in a modern “treehouse” home that they designed and built in 2001.
Sallyanne Morris — Boat Wash Supervisor/ Office Manager
A horticulturist by training, Sallyanne says her job is right up her alley.
She was delighted to become a part of the Glen Lake Association after spending years visiting the area as child on family vacations. When she and her husband, Jim, retired in Leelanau County she found the perfect job.
Sallyanne has a B.S. degree from Michigan State University and wears two hats for GLA. She supervises the Boat Wash program at the public launch site on Little Glen Lake from June through the end of October (weekends only in October). She also spends approximately 10 hours a week year round as office manager for the association.
Plant identification expertise comes in handy in her job as she works to protect the watershed and keep Glen Lake healthy. “At the launch, I have the most beautiful office anywhere,” Sallyanne says. “I enjoy meeting and educating people about invasive species and communicating the importance of taking care of this resource.” With the other boat wash staff, they give out information, check for potential invasives on watercraft, motors and trailers and examine live bait.
A violinist, glass artist, bicyclist and gardener, Sallyanne is committed to keeping Glen Lake one of the cleanest and healthiest inland lakes in the country.
Joe Blondia — Assistant Watershed Scientist
Joe first came to Leelanau in the summer of 1994 when he was hired by Rob Karner to teach science at The Leelanau School. Since then, he has worked with watershed biologist Rob Karner on water quality sampling, Merganser trapping, and numerous other projects with students and interns with the GLA. In addition to assisting with water quality monitoring and teaching on the Discovery Boat, Joe also serves as supervisor to GLA interns.
Joe received his Biology degree from Grand Valley State University and Masters in Education from Nazareth College. He also completed post-graduate studies in Environmental Science at the University of Montana. Most recently Joe participated by invitation in the “Chris Maxey-
Island School, Teacher Institute” on the island of Eleuthera, Bahamas where teachers from around the world meet to conduct research and talk about the future of education.
Joe and his wife Elizabeth both teach at The Leelanau School and their two children, Kate and Jamie, go to Glen Lake School. In addition to loving his work, Joe enjoys cooking, travel, and music and is passionate about fishing and the outdoors.
Laura Wiesen — Assistant Watershed Scientist
Laura Wiesen has been working for the GLA water quality committee since 2010. She assists watershed biologist, Rob Karner, in collecting data, doing water analysis, various water quality monitoring activities, creating GLA videos, and teaching on the discovery boat.
Laura has worked as a full time high school math and business teacher at Glen Lake Schools since 2001, taught summer school at The Leelanau School for five years prior to that, and been a math tutor for 30 years. An alumni of Northwestern University and former Big Ten basketball player, she grew up on the south side Little Glen and now lives on the east side of Big Glen.
Laura’s top six favorite bodies of water in the entire world are Big and Little Glen, Big and Little Fisher, Lake Michigan, and the beautiful Crystal River. She loves the water clarity and how every depth in Big and Little Glen has a different color.