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SDI Staff

Posoh! Thank you for your interest in reading about the Sustainable Development Institute staff. We are a hard-working group dedicated to tackling difficult issues related to sustainable development, climate change, and any other challenging projects we get to work on. Take your time, read a little bit about each one of us and we hope you stop by the SDI building in-person to say “posoh” or see what exciting research, education, and outreach initiatives we’re working on.


Chris Caldwell
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), a Bachelor of Science in Natural Resources from the University of Wisconsin – Madison, and is currently working on a 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.


DeanFellmanDean Fellman
Dean Fellman is the managing Director of the Center for First Americans Forestlands. The depth and breadth of Dean’s professional experience covers nearly 30 years, during which he has worked for manufacturing companies producing aluminum lawn furniture, garage and entrance doors, primary and secondary wood products, and printed plastics packaging.   Dean has worked in an equally wide variety of both management and non-management positions, ranging from semi-skilled and trade assignments to Administrative, Supply Chain, Project, and Environmental Management.

Dean also holds a B.S. in Business from Upper Iowa University and a CPIM designation from the American Production and Inventory Control Society (APICS).  Additionally, he has served on the Board of Directors with APICS, the Great Lakes Kiln Drying Association (GLKDA), and the Antigo Area Manufactures Council.

Dean is a life-long resident of Wisconsin.  His expertise in sustainability stems from his experience and interest in the renewable virtues of forests, and the extreme versatility of wood and wood fiber.


Cherie ThunderCherie Thunder
Cherie Thunder is the Sustainability Education Coordinator at the Sustainable Development Institute at College of Menominee Nation. She is a member of the Menominee Indian Tribe. She has an associate’s degree in Sustainable Development from College of Menominee Nation, and a B.S. in Community and Environmental Sociology from University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Cherie always knew she would work with children in some aspect. Through her journey at UW she became more interested in education. She began working with POSOH as a Wisconsin Fast Plants student worker while completing her undergrad degree. The POSOH project introduced a new way of learning and the work being done to better the education of Menominee students intrigued her.


RebeccaRebecca Edler

Rebecca Edler is the Sustainability Coordinator at the Sustainable Development Institute, 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.

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