Meet the WEN Staff


Deb Fassnacht, Executive Director

Deb camped, fished, and played with her big family along the Sun River while growing up in Great Falls, Montana. She has been gravitating to water and nature ever since. Deb received a Bachelor’s in Forestry, Natural Resource Conservation and her Secondary Science teaching certification from the University of Montana. Deb is one of the founders of the organization, along with Wendy Berthold  and Eric Ringelberg. What began as a volunteer stream monitoring effort in 1996 based in Deb’s home, has grown into a successful non-profit organization focusing on watersheds, groundwater, and wetlands education. Deb brings science teaching and education/outreach experience to WEN from previous agency and nonprofit work. She is completing her Masters in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis in science education at the University of Montana. When not at the river or neighborhood creek, Deb enjoys hiking, skiing, and sailing on Flathead Lake with her husband, Henry, family, and friends.


Sara Sara_pic_smallMcComas, Grants & Programs Administrator

 After completing her B.S. in biology in Tacoma, WA, Sara moved to Seattle where she met her husband, Josh- a recent transplant from Montana. Five years later they relocated to Missoula, where she completed her second degree in Resource Conservation at UM and completed a grant writing internship at WEN. A job opportunity for her husband returned them to Washington, but another five years later they were back in beautiful Missoula. Sara has enjoyed working with several conservation- and education-minded non-profits during her two tours in Missoula- including Montana Water Trust, Montana Trout Unlimited, National Wildlife Federation and, or course, WEN.

Sara now works at WEN part-time, immersing herself in grant administration, bookkeeping, and general program administration. When not in the office, Sara tries to keep up with her 8-year-old son, adopted animals (one tenacious terrier, one fat tabby, and one curious calico), three chickens, and never-ending home remodeling projects. In her rare spare moments, she can be found in the garden or reading.



Katrina Thorness, Communications Coordinator

Katrina is a part-time staff member focusing on becoming a ‘Jane of All Trades’ in life, and for WEN. She assists with program development, fundraising, social media, newsletters, and has worked on projects for YCC, AIS, and School Stream Monitoring. One of Katrina’s life goals is to continue nurturing a community of outdoor learning in the region.




Aissa Wise, Stream Team Coordinator

Originally from Washington State, Aissa found her place in Montana while she was attending the University of Montana-Western, where she earned a BS in Environmental Science and Geology. Her love and curiosity for the natural world started early and has only grown deeper the more she’s learned and experienced. Her passion is teaching and learning about the importance of healthy watersheds all while enjoying the beauty of the outdoors. Aissa is excited to engage with more folks in the Missoula area! If she’s not in the office, you’ll find Aissa on the river, practicing yoga, rock climbing, experimenting in the kitchen, or researching her next adventure.



Markus Boyer, Stream Team Assistant, YCC Crew Leader

Having spent much time in Colorado and Utah, Markus brings his outdoor-loving spirit to our WEN programs. Over summer 2018 he was a Crew Leader for Youth Conservation Corps and continues with us this fall as we monitor Rattlesnake Creek.




Carter Finnegan, YCC Crew Leader

Carter is passionate about creating environmental stewards through outdoor engagement! She has extensive backcountry and camping experience, and prioritizes preparedness and safety through organized work spaces. In addition, she’s Wilderness Advanced First Aid Certified!




Past staff: 

Natalie Stockmann, Program Coordinator

Natalie grew up exploring on the shores of Lake Champlain in Burlington, VT and has always maintained a special connection to water. She moved to Montana four years ago to pursue her Bachelors degrees in Environmental Studies and Resource Conservation with a minor in Arabic studies.  She joined the WEN team in the summer of 2017 as the YCC co-crew leader. She brought her passion for working with children and connection to the outdoors to her work with WEN in continuing the mission of bringing kids to the river!




Becca Paquette – Program Coordinator


Rebecca (Becca) Paquette served as WEN’s incredible program coordinator for three years. She brought new program ideas, organization of our gear and office and, most importantly a keen sense of humor to meetings and volunteer gatherings. We want to thank Rebecca for all of her work with WEN. She shared her unparalleled enthusiasm and spirit while engaging in all of her endeavors with WEN. Having Becca on our team made things go very smoothly. In her time with WEN she lead countless students and adults alike out to the river to explore and learn! Rebecca departed WEN to return to college for her Masters degree, a fond farewell from every one here at WEN!


Jeremy Brooks — Stream Team Coordinator

Jeremy Brooks s_MG_0010erved as our Stream Team coordinator for three consecutive years. His invaluable leadership during his time with WEN will not be forgotten. Jeremy is now pursuing a Masters degree at the University of Idaho.

Thanks Jeremy!