Chris Caldwell - Director
Chris Caldwell is the Director of Sustainable Development Institute (SDI) at College of Menominee Nation (CMN). He started this position in October 2012 and is responsible for coordination of SDI staff and resources in the delivery of nonacademic programming, research, contractual services, and other projects in support of the Institute’s mission, and the broader mission of CMN. Chris is an enrolled member of the Menominee Nation and has worked in the sustainable forestry field for over twenty years. His work experiences include time on a Wisconsin Conservation Corps (WCC) Crew, a couple summers of work in the Menominee Tribal Enterprises (MTE) sawmill, several years of work as a forestry technician in the MTE Forestry Department, a few years as a forestry student/ intern with the Bureau of Indian Affairs, a couple years spent in different work units with the USDA Forest Service Forest Products Laboratory, and seven more years as Director/ Compliance and Enforcement Officer for the Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin’s (MITW) Department of Trust Resources. During that same time period, he also returned to school to earn an Associate’s Degree in Sustainable Development from College of Menominee Nation (CMN), and a Bachelor of Science in Natural Resources from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Chris recently earned his Master’s degree in Environmental Science and Policy at the University of Wisconsin – Green Bay. He currently resides in Keshena, Wisconsin with his wife and kids.
Rebecca Edler - Sustainability Coordinator
Rebecca Edler is the Sustainability Coordinator at the Sustainable Development Institute at the College of Menominee Nation. Working with recruitment, admissions, and advising at the College for 5 years before moving into this position, she is familiar with various aspects of higher education, primarily Student Services. Before working at the College, Rebecca was the director of the American Indian Center of the Fox Valley, a program of Goodwill Industries of Northeast Wisconsin. It was here that she worked with off-reservation American Indians and identified education, sustainability, and cultural knowledge, as means to improve the lives of American Indian families and communities. Rebecca brings her experience of working in research and development, to the Sustainable Development Institute as well as her passion to strengthen American Indian families.
Manih Boyd - Sustainability Education Coordinator
Manih Boyd is the Sustainability Education Coordinator at the Sustainable Development Institute (SDI) at College of Menominee Nation. She is a member of the Menominee Nation and grew up on the reservation. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the College of Menominee Nation and is planning to continue her education at the University of Green Bay in the MS Sustainable Management program. Before starting this new career path, Manih worked with CMN’s Student Service department as the Financial Aid Manager and as an Advisor. She loves working with students, whether it’s in education or the environment regarding sustainability of our natural resources. She began working with SDI, February 2019 as the Sustainability Education Coordinator. Her area is a leadership program that works with High School students called the Sustainability Leadership Cohort (SLC). This is a summer internship program focusing on STEM+CL as well as a place-based hands-on learning. Manih is an avid gardener and believes that small actions can create big outcomes.
Sara Smith - Midwest Tribal Resilience Liaison
Sara Smith is the Midwest Tribal Resilience Liaison hired by the College of Menominee Nation as part of the Sustainable Development Institute. Sara’s position is connected to the Northeast Climate Adaptation Science Center (NE CASC) and is stationed at the US Forest Service’s Northern Forest Research Station on the University of Minnesota campus in St. Paul, Minnesota with the Federal Deputy Director of the NE CASC, Olivia LeDee. In this capacity, she serves as the liaison between Tribes in the Midwest, the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), and climate science researchers to identify and address research gaps in climate, natural, and cultural resources as well as improve outreach and capacity building. Sara is a direct descendant of the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin and holds a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Biology (Ecology and Conservation) and First Nation Studies from the University of Wisconsin – Green Bay as well as a Master’s of Science degree in Ecology from the State University of New York – College of Environmental Science and Forestry. Her background is in research and development, natural resources, ecology, Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK), and working with indigenous communities in the Midwest. Sara’s interests include forest ecology and dynamics, bridging the gap between science and indigenous knowledge, climate resilience education, and community outreach.
Desirae Wilber - Administrative Assistant
Desirae Wilber is the Administrative Assistant at the Sustainable Development Institute as well as a student at the College of Menominee Nation. In September 2014, she began working in the Finance Office at CMN. After a couple of years in there, she decided to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Business Administrationand plans to graduate in 2022. Desirae joined the SDI team in February of 2019 because she wants to help support the SDI mission in any way she can.
Frank Kutka is a plant breeder who is currently developing a Sustainable Agriculture degree program at the College of Menominee Nation. He grew up in southern Wisconsin, and eventually studied field biology, animal ecology, and corn breeding. Frank did agricultural field work and worked at a rifle range as a young man. He later worked for the University of Minnesota conducting surveys of crayfish, fish, and frogs, and also operated a small wildflower nursery before moving to upstate New York and then North Dakota. He was the assistant director of the Dickinson Research Extension Center there, coordinated the USDA Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program, and also helped to coordinate the Farm Breeding Club for the Northern Plains Sustainable Agriculture Society. His teaching experiences include lab and discussion courses at Iowa State University, Cornell University, and Dickinson State University. Frank and his family currently live in southern Door County on a small farm.