Education through Ecological Restoration – Department of Planning and Landscape Architecture


Cheryl Bauer-Armstrong

Position title: Earth Partnership Director


Phone: 608-262-5264

Cheryl Bauer-Armstrong’s journey involving schools and communities in restoration education began at the UW-Madison Arboretum in 1994. Before joining the Earth Partnership team at the Arboretum, she designed native plantings and restorations in schoolyards, parklands, neighborhoods, and home landscapes. Since becoming director of Earth Partnership in 2006, she has led the effort in initiatives to address environmental justice, water stewardship, nature connectedness, equitable education, culturally-relevant pedagogy, and community-based conservation in 22 states and in Puerto Rico. Cheryl obtained her MS in Landscape Planning and Ecology from Harvard University and holds a BS focused on ecological restoration from UW-Madison.

Maria Moreno

Position title: Faculty Associate


Maria Moreno, Ph.D. in Anthropology, is a member of the DPLA teaching faculty who focuses on community-engaged learning, outreach, and scholarship locally and around the world. Trained as an anthropologist, she focused on the relationships between human culture, the environment and holistic wellbeing. Dr. Moreno engages young people, teachers and community members in land-based learning informed by notions of resilience, stewardship, and ethics. During her time at UW-Madison she had served as Associate for Experiential Education for undergraduate Global Health program, she also has long-standing engagement with Indigenous communities in Wisconsin in her role as Faculty Associate for DPLA with Earth Partnership.  She designs and teaches undergraduate courses and develops curricula for outreach programs centered on restoration education. Additionally, Dr. Moreno served on the Lakes and Watershed Commission from 2018-2024, further demonstrating her commitment to community services and environmental stewardship. She leads Earth Partnership Programs in México, Nicaragua, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Puerto Rico. She obtained her doctorate from UW-Madison, a master’s degree from Boston University, and an undergraduate degree from American University. Her service in the Peace Corps in Mauritania and Mali, West Africa, has provided her with valuable insights that inform her work.

Claire Bjork

Position title: Earth Partnership Outreach Specialist and Researcher / Evaluator


Claire Bjork, PhD, is an outreach specialist, researcher, and internal evaluation coordinator for Earth Partnership. She has worked for EP since 2013, in a variety of roles helping to develop curriculum, coordinate youth programming and service learning, and facilitate educator professional development. Claire is focused on supporting Tribal-university partnership work with the Indigenous Arts and Sciences initiative, through youth, community, and educator learning opportunities and Tribally-Driven Participatory Research (TDPR). Claire has served as primary EP partner to Ho-Chunk IAS since 2015, with whom she is currently supporting community-based curriculum development and culturally-based science education through the NSF-ITEST project. She also helps to coordinate inter-Tribal research and evaluation for this project, supporting the Ho-Chunk Nation and the Bad River, Lac du Flambeau, and Red Cliff Bands of Lake Superior Ojibwe. She is the internal evaluation lead for the New Beginnings for Tribal Students projects (funded by USDA / NIFA), a first-of-its kind collaboration for Native Education Pathways begun in 2020 between College of Menominee Nation, Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe University, and UW-Madison.

Jessie Conaway

Position title: Indigenous Arts and Sciences Research Coordinator


Jessie is an outdoor educator, and she incorporates her role as an American Canoe Association kayak instructor trainer into engagement and research. She holds a master’s degree in experiential education from Minnesota State University and a doctorate in Environment and Resources from the Nelson Institute of UW-Madison (PhD minor is in Cartography and Geographic Information Systems). In addition to her work with Earth Partnership, Jessie is also Faculty Associate for Native Nations Partnerships in the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies at UW – Madison. 

Dylan Jennings

Position title: HEAL Earth Partnership Doctoral Fellow


Dylan Bizhikiins Jennings is a member of the marten clan. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin Madison with degrees in Anthropology, Archaeology, Environmental Studies, and American Indian Studies. Jennings completed his Masters degree from the University of Wisconsin Madison Nelson Institute. Jennings served two consecutive terms as an elected Tribal Council Member for the Bad River Tribe. He can speak 5 different languages: Ojibwe, Spanish, Italian, English, and a bit of Hindi/Urdu. He served as the Director of Public Information for the Great Lakes Indian Fish & Wildlife Commission, which required him to be fluent in tribal/environmental news and issues. He was also a writer, photographer, and editor for the Mazina’igan newspaper. He has been a recent recipient of the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development “40 under 40” award and a recipient of the UW Madison Nelson Institute Rising Star Alumni award.

Sarah Ann Gordon

Position title: Indigenous Arts and Sciences Outreach Specialist

Sarah Gordon Altiman is a doctoral student in the UW Milwaukee School of Education and works as an Indigenous Art And Sciences Outreach Coordinator for Earth Partnership. She is enrolled with the Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Ojibwe and works closely with Red Cliff and Bayfield Schools developing new lesson plans to move toward a more representative curriculum.

Denise Thomas

Position title: Administrative Assistant III


445 Henry Mall
Room 510

Denise Thomas has been with the University of Wisconsin-Madison for 18 years. For 16 years, she worked as a financial specialist in the College of Engineering, focusing on programs like the Wisconsin Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation and The Graduate Engineering Research Scholars (GERS). In 2022, Denise moved to the College of Letters and Sciences, now serving as an administrative assistant for the Earth Partnership program. In this role, she’s actively involved in supporting the success of Earth Partnership initiatives and helping students thrive academically and professionally.