Powered Up Baraboo

Board Members

Board of Directors

Marianne Cotter: Co-President
Marianne Cotter Being involved in social justice has always been a part of my ministry as a United Methodist pastor. About five years ago, shortly after starting to serve First United Methodist in Baraboo, I sensed God calling me to do something about climate change. In the summer of 2015, Todd Persche and I led a community-wide discussion on Bill McKibben's book “Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet.” That group evolved into a monthly climate change discussion group that became Powered Up Baraboo in August, 2019. I am grateful to be working with others to move towards a carbon-neutral future for Baraboo/Sauk County. In my spare time I enjoy cooking, riding my ebike, contemplative prayer, and spending time with my spouse Jim.
Todd Persche: Co-President
Todd Persche I have had the privilege of being Executive Director for the Baraboo Range Preservation Association since October of 2013. The job is a front row seat for watching how a rapidly changing climate is affecting our local quality of life for both human and natural communities. I want to bring together deeply concerned citizens interested in addressing this crisis, understanding that we have little time left to build a healthier carbon neutral future. Years working in conservation has taught me that action is the great counter to despair, so please join us.
Haley Ryan: Vice President
Haley Ryan Social Justice has always been a passion; calling me to action since I was a young girl. Upon returning to school to finish my Bachelors Degree in Sustainable Management, I learned about Environmental Justice and how crucial it is for stability in our world. I believe every living thing has a right to clean air, water, and soil. We must take into consideration future generations of all walks of life when finding solutions for current issues. Originally from Milwaukee, I enjoyed growing up minutes from Lake Michigan and spent countless hours at the shore and surrounding woods. I moved to Baraboo 8 years ago and have since started a family. We enjoy the charm and natural beauty Baraboo has to offer. I am excited for this opportunity to promote and expand sustainable practices in the Baraboo area.
David Kell: Treasurer
David Kell Just living is an adventure for me. I have always wanted to make a difference in our world and in the spot where I am living. Powered Up Baraboo is an exciting group that works together to accomplish a great deal more than I ever could do alone. Edward Everett Hale said , "I am only one; but still I am one. I cannot do everything; but still I can do something." I believe time is running out on our planet and its climate as we know it. Just maybe we can make a difference and turn things around. My wife, Barbara, and I are retired and enjoy living on Lake Wisconsin. I love fishing, hunting, canoeing, boating, gardening and supporting groups dedicated to improving life anywhere. I am active in the Baraboo First United Methodist Church and Lake Wisconsin Alliance which along with Powered Up Baraboo help make a difference.
David Wernecke: Member at large
David Wernecke

I've been involved in adult education and conservation work most of my working and volunteer life. Along with gardening, food, music, reading, and family, I've devoted much of my attention and time to energy and environmental issues. I'm glad for the opportunity to work with others in and through Powered Up Baraboo. I believe that it's our ethical imperative to do what we can to reduce the extent of climate change by reducing our energy use and greenhouse gas emissions as well as more generally living within limits in a responsible, healthy way with one another and with the natural world we came from, are a part of, and depend on. Our task of passing on a planet as livable as we have enjoyed to those people and other living creatures who come after us is daunting and perhaps, after the last 40+ years of intended and thoughtless abuse, unlikely. Yet, Powered Up Baraboo gives us an opportunity to increase our ability to better work together as we face the coming years as a caring community.

Photo credit: Deb Gerencser

Carl Rosenstock: Member at large
Carl Rosenstock

I moved to Baraboo, in June of 2008. This is when the 500-year flood occurred. The reality of what this meant moved me to begin signing petitions, especially involving the Climate Crisis issue. I proceeded to sign over 50,000 petitions. I learned through educating myself, that the climate issue was already extreme. This has become a primary focus of our nonprofit oneheartinc.org.

I have joined and am actively involved in supporting local climate groups, as well as several groups online. I am a proud member of poweredupbaraboo.org and look forward to what we will be accomplishing in Baraboo. My passion is to work with young people around these issues. I have the good fortune to be involved with three of these groups, whose purpose is about mitigating the suffering of all life on our precious planet Earth.

Judy Spring: Member at large
Judy Spring

Growing up, I spent much of my time out of doors with lots of fresh air, room to roam, trees to climb and animals to watch. Within my lifetime, I've seen what happens to local air, water and land quality as the result of careless disregard for the next generation. "Ethics" to me means showing that I understand that my personal actions affect others, now and in the future. Powered Up Baraboo is a way to close the commitment gap between what we say we will do and what we need to do to prevent dangerous levels of climate change, including decreased dependence on fossil fuels.

Photo credit: Deb Gerencser

Joan Wheeler: Secretary
Joan Wheeler I have an abiding interest in sustainable living. In the early 2000s, this interest led me to help with various community projects, including developing a school rain garden, organizing a local initiative to encourage kids to bike and walk to school, and organizing educational forums on wind power, manure digesters, and plasma waste conversion. More recently, I have been involved in developing public library programs on preserving water resources, sustainable gardening, and a conservation film festival. In each of these endeavors, I have had the privilege of working with experts in conservation and environmental sustainability. I believe it is this expertise, coupled with local grassroots citizen action in communities around the country, which will make real inroads in fighting climate change at the local level, and influence decision makers to wake up to the need for action at the highest levels of U.S. government.