WEN staff

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Deb Fassnacht (she/her)

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 holds a Master's in Education, 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. 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 McComas

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.

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Stephie Novak (she/her)

Stream Team Coordinator

Stephie graduated from the University of Montana with a degree in Wildlife Biology. She grew up in Rock creek, Mt. and has spent the majority of her life in the wilderness and around the local rivers and streams. She enjoys hiking, biking, and just being outside and loves that she can have fun working outside with WEN! Stephie started out as an amazing WEN intern, we are happy to have her on the team. Stephie is a  certified first responder.

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Brook Bauer (she/her)

Citizen Science Coordinator 

Brook found herself in Missoula after completing her undergraduate degree in Earth Science and Communication Design at Quest University, Canada. Having grown up in Portland, Oregon, with it's close proximity to Mount Hood and the Pacific Ocean, she has had the  privilege to spend a decent amount of her life enjoying the local hydrology and geology. Whether it's on top of mountains or in the ocean, she loves to see the hydrologic cycle do its magic! Brook has many wonderings on how science can be made more accessible through citizen science. When she is not out in the creek or working for WEN you can find Brook in the mountains or in the river exploring.  Brook is a certified first responder. 


Kat Leister 

Communications Coordinator 

Kat hails from Philadelphia, PA. Kat is currently in a masters program focusing on Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security at the University of Montana. Along with expanding her and other’s connection with the natural world we are a part of, she loves to draw, sew, and give people unsolicited trivial facts about life on Earth. Kat looks forward to building stepping stones between herself,  community, and the great watersheds that sustain us. (Unsolicited Kat-fact: Did you know we can largely attribute the shapes of our watersheds to horse-sized beavers that lived before the ice age? Beaver-mimicry is an efficient [and fun!] way of restoring degraded watersheds to their full potential!)