Mary Barrick, Executive Director
Mary has been with the Palo Alto County Conservation Board (PACCB) for 23 years and became the Executive Director in April of 2014. She is instrumental in gaining funding and support for land acquisition, conservation, and trail projects. Mary is also focused on providing public and educational programming utilizing the Lost Island Nature Center and our conservation properties to demonstrate the value of preserving nature. Mary lives near Ruthven, enjoys being outdoors, and spending time with family.
Kaitlin Anderson, Naturalist
Kaitlin Anderson is the Naturalist and loves to share her knowledge of nature and the outdoors. Kaitlin grew up in Garner, Iowa and graduated from the University of Northern Iowa with a degree in biology. She began working for PACCB and Lost Island Nature Center in January 2018. Kaitlin enjoys small town living and likes to explore new parks, as well as walking with her dog, and running.
Rob Allen, Operations Supervisor
Rob joined the County Conservation Board in July of 2014 as our Operations Supervisor. Rob was previously the Wildlife Technician for the Hardin County Conservation Board where he had extensive experience with invasive species removal and native plant regeneration projects. Rob graduated from Iowa State University where he earned his BA in forestry.
He enjoys living in this part of the state where he can enjoy the great lakes and marshes we have to offer. Rob is an avid hunter and fisherman and says, “While I am outdoors hunting and fishing, it’s not about the harvest for me. I enjoy watching the dog work for birds, enjoy spending time with friends and family, and watching the wildlife. I am also an avid trapper; trapping is how I started learning about many conservation management practices.” Rob is married and has a daughter that attends Ruthven-Ayrshire Elementary School.
Blake Jesse, Park Ranger
Blake joined the County Conservation Board in April of 2019 as Park Ranger. Blake was educated at Newell-Fonda Community School, Iowa Lakes Community College, and graduated from Iowa State University where he studied animal ecology with an emphasis in fisheries. He gained an appreciation for the environment growing up on an acreage and spent most of his time outside. Blake enjoys hunting, fishing, and being out in nature.
Shannon Pascual, Nature Center Assistant
Shannon joined the staff of the Nature Center in February 2021. Shannon lives in Ruthven with her husband, Jaime. She grew up in Sheffield, Iowa and is a graduate of the University of Northern Iowa with a B.A. in Foods and Nutrition. She was awarded an MDiv from United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities and served churches for fifteen years before moving to NW Iowa to be closer to family. Shannon and her husband would love to get to know the neighbors of Lost Island. Shannon stays busy with seeing their three grandchildren or caring for their two dogs –Lucky & Jasmine. She enjoys reading crime thrillers, listening to podcasts, and working in the yard or riding bike when the weather is nice. Shannon is excited about this new position and says, “I look forward to the time when I may meet visitors to the Nature Center in-person.”