The Ice Age Trail Alliance is excited to welcome Steve Pence as its Land Restoration Specialist.
Steve has unintentionally managed to be on the Ice Age National Scenic Trail throughout his life. Whether it is camping and hiking with his wife and dog in the Northern Kettle Moraine State Forest or doing habitat restoration work, the Trail has been a quiet constant in his life.
Steve grew up in West Bend, Wis. in “the outdoor recreation world.” The Ice Age Trail traveled through his childhood backyard.
He studied Wildlife Ecology at UW-Stevens Point and, since graduating, has worked for the DNR, Fish and Wildlife Service, and private organizations doing habitat restoration work.
For the past five years, Steve has conducted a range of conservation projects, including waterfowl banding and elk reintroduction. Coincidentally, the Ice Age Trail ran through a lot of the properties he worked on.
Although the Land Restoration Specialist position is new for the Alliance, the activities Steve will be doing are not.
“There is a long history of restoration work within the Alliance from dedicated volunteers,” says Steve. He believes having a specific job focused on land restoration will bolster volunteer efforts and expand prescribed burns and invasive species removal. He is excited to lead volunteer crews and (ideally) be out in the field a lot.
In his free time, Steve enjoys hiking, camping, hunting, and fishing. He has taken multiple camping and canoeing/kayaking trips in lower Wisconsin with his wife, who is also involved in habitat restoration, and “COVID puppy” Smokey (a 2.5-year-old black lab). They enjoy exploring the natural areas and state properties in this region of Wisconsin. Smokey, who seems to “forever be in his puppy phase,” has also been a great excuse to get them outside and hiking.
So far, Steve loves the office: “Everyone is very accommodating and genuinely excited about the work they do. They are very inclusive and supportive of each other.”
Additionally, he is excited to meet the volunteers and people who have been involved in restoration projects on the Ice Age Trail. More than anything, he looks forward to learning from them, especially about the different Ice Age Trail properties.
We look forward to working with Steve to conserve, create, maintain, and promote the Ice Age Trail!