Meet WEN

Deb Fassnacht, Executive Director

Deb fell into a pond as a small child and has been playing and working with water ever since. She is one of the founders of the organization, along with Wendy Sturgis and Eric Ringleberg. What began as a volunteer stream monitoring effort in 1996 has grown into a successful non-profit organization focusing on watersheds, wetlands and education. Deb brings science teaching and education/outreach experience to WEN. She is nearly finished with her Masters in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis in science education at the University of Montana. Deb has returned from an education position at Salish Kootenai College to serve WEN again as Director and looks forward to resuming WEN’s many community relationships! She is eager to hear from WEN friends and partners and warmly welcomes you to stop by our office to say hi!



Rebecca Paquette, Program Coordinator

Since Rebecca was a third grader she’s known exactly what she has wanted to do in her life; with role models like Steve Irwin, Jane Goodall and Jeff Corwin, it wasn’t that strange for her parents when she decided to study zoology at the University of New Hampshire. Some highlights of her coursework there was obtaining her scuba license and teaching two semesters of Vertebrate Morphology. As you may have already guessed, Rebecca is quite new to Missoula. She flew out here in February, moving from Maine with her cat, Francois, and all her belongings. She instantly began exploration through hiking, biking, and skiing Missoula and its surrounding mountains as well as volunteering with the Montana Natural History Center. Through her experiences there and a mutual friend of hers and Deb’s, she was introduced to WEN. It wasn’t long after their introduction that Rebecca fell in love with WEN’s mission and the passion that was evidently driving it. Towards the end of April, Rebecca was brought on as Program Coordinator and has been immersing herself with everything WEN ever since.



Abra Kaiser, Volunteer Coordinator

Abra Kaiser grew up in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, hiking, camping, and backpacking as much as she could.  In high school, she had a life altering opportunity to go on a month-long trip through the desert South West during which she participated in various activities including hiking, mountain biking, canoeing, rafting, and camping under the stars. This trip also allowed her to visit Grand Canyon National Park, Lake Powell, Havasu Falls, and Moab, Utah. The experience was an eye opener! Abra fell in love with nature all over again and realized how limited and invaluable natural resources really are.  This understanding led her to the University of Montana where she has spent the last 6 years.  During this time, she earned her degree in Biology and Ecology and has loved exploring the wild surroundings of Missoula.