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Meet Our Staff

General contact: 715-346-2116 or

We are Extension Lakes, a team of education professionals dedicated to preserving our Wisconsin legacy of lakes through education, communication, and collaboration. We work closely with the 766 lake organizations in Wisconsin and coordinate a number of programs and projects to assist those concerned with the future of our lakes. We are one part of the Wisconsin Lakes Partnership, a collection of both private and public citizens and experts who speak for our beloved Wisconsin Lakes. (read more...)

Eric Olson, Director and Lake Specialist

(715) 346 -2192

Eric works with lake professionals and citizens across the state. He can help lake organizations foster communication and collaboration in the name of healthy lakes. Contact Eric to:
  • Start a new lake association or district
  • Work through organizational issues
  • Develop educational materials on lake issues
  • Understand Wisconsin DNR lake grants

Sara Windjue, Leadership and Capacity Development Specialist
(715) 346-3212

Sara joined the Extension Lakes team in March 2020 after working for over 15 years in the Wisconsin Center for Environmental Education for the Wisconsin K-12 Energy Education Program (KEEP) at UW-Stevens Point.​

Sara’s main duties with Lakes are to:
• Plan and implement statewide leadership and capacity development programs that advance lake protection and restoration
• Coordinate the biennial Lake Leaders Institute and Advanced Lake Leaders Institute
• Coordinate the Annual Lakes and Rivers Convention

Sara has a B.A. in Environmental Science and Biology from Adrian College, MI and an M.S. in Environmental Studies from the College of Charleston, SC. She received the Educator of the Year award from Slipstream in 2017 and helped her children's elementary school earn the Green Ribbon from the U.S. Department of Education in 2020. Sara, her husband, and two daughters have lake property on Lower Clear Lake in Langlade County and installed their first Healthy Lakes project there.

Erin McFarlane, Clean Boats, Clean Waters Educator

(715) 346-4978
Erin coordinates the Clean Boats, Clean Waters watercraft inspection program that assists Wisconsin residents in stopping the spread of aquatic invasive species. Click here for more information or contact Erin if you are interested in becoming involved with aquatic invasive species prevention.

Erin McFarlane has been the statewide CBCW Educator with Extension Lakes since May 2007. She grew up in East Tennessee, where her adventures in the Smoky Mountains led to a Master’s degree in Natural Resources from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point and a passion for environmental protection. Erin supports the Clean Boats, Clean Waters Watercraft Inspection program and helps coordinate watercraft inspectors across the state. By working with lake groups and the Wisconsin Lakes Partnership on watercraft inspection efforts, Erin hopes to engage Wisconsin's citizens in aquatic invasive species prevention and help preserve Wisconsin's waterbodies for future generations. 

Paul Skawinski, Citizen Lake Monitoring Network Educator

(715) 346-4853

Paul is the Statewide Citizen Lake Monitoring Network Educator. He helps develop protocols and resources used by volunteers when assessing a variety of lake water quality parameters, and conducts trainings for volunteers and water resource professionals. Volunteers with the Citizen Lake Monitoring Network monitor some or all of the following on their lakes:

  • Water clarity
  • Phosphorus concentrations
  • Chlorophyll concentrations (a measure of algae concentrations)
  • Dissolved oxygen
  • Aquatic invasive species
  • Native aquatic plant communities
  • Ice on/ice off dates
  • Lake level fluctuation
  • Other special projects

Contact Paul for information about the volunteer programs available through the Citizen Lake Monitoring Network.

Paul holds a B.S. in Soil Science and Waste Management, and an M.S. in Watershed Management. He is the author and photographer of the popular field guide Aquatic Plants of the Upper Midwest, now in its fourth edition. In addition to his position at Extension Lakes, Paul also teaches Aquatic Plant Taxonomy at UW-Stevens Point, and has been working with aquatic ecosystem management for nearly 20 years. He is an Honorary Board Member and past-President of the Central Wisconsin chapter of Wild Ones. In his free time, Paul enjoys kayak fishing, snorkeling, photography, gardening with native plants, and spending time on lakes and streams with his family.

Read about and purchase Paul’s field guide to aquatic plants here.

Amy Kowalski, Communication Specialist

(715) 346-4744

Amy joined the Extension Lakes team in 2003 and is the production manager for many Extension Lakes publications (printed and digital). She edits and designs the quarterly newsletter (Lake Tides​), fact sheets, posters, brochures, and multi-media presentations, as well as helping to maintain the Extension Lakes website and Wisconsin Lakes Partnership Facebook page. She assists with the Wisconsin Lakes and Rivers Convention, Lake Leaders Institute, Citizen Lake Monitoring Network, Clean Boats, Clean Waters Watercraft Inspection Program, and the Healthy Lakes & Rivers Initiative through editing, design, marketing, photography, and videography.
Contact Amy with Lake Tides or website ideas!

Amy holds a B.S. in Psychology with an emphasis in Human Services from UW-Stevens Point. Even though her degree did not bring her into the position of natural resources, she is very connected with nature. She grew up in rural central Wisconsin on a family farm and was involved in 4-H. Her 20+ years of design experience have been mostly self-taught. She enjoys telling and listening to stories, biking, kayaking, hiking, skiing, volleyball, softball, golf, board/card games and playing/singing music with her family.​

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