Depending on your geographic region or interests, it may be best to contact one of our partners directly.
To report invasive plant populations, visit the Midwest Invasive Species Information Network.
For garlic mustard, Oriental bittersweet, invasive Phragmites, or giant/Japanese knotweed populations in Grand Traverse, Benzie, Leelanau, and Manistee counties, contact Katie Grzesiak or Fields Ratliff.
General questions regarding the Invasive Species Network, Go Beyond Beauty, and other inquiries can be sent to Katie Grzesiak or Emily Cook.
Katie Grzesiak ISN Coordinator
Katie is originally from DeWitt, Michigan (near Lansing), but she would rather talk with you about the time she has spent in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. She graduated from Northern Michigan University in 2009 with a Bachelor of Arts in Ecology, and worked for the National Parks Service at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore on invasive species management for three summers.
Katie went on to incorporate this employment into her study for a Master of Science at the University of Michigan’s School of Natural Resources and Environment. During this time, she worked with the NPS for an additional two summers to complete research for her Master’s thesis: continuing a long-term study on the effects of herbicides on spotted knapweed and native plant communities. Katie was thrilled to move north again to work in Traverse City, and enjoys most outdoor activities and a few indoor ones, including backpacking and hiking, camping, skiing, horseback riding, surfing, snorkeling, kayaking, gardening, reading, knitting, and cooking.
Emily grew up in Ionia, Michigan, but much prefers the northern woods and lakeshore of the Big Lake. Now calling Arcadia home, she started working with the Invasive Species Network in June 2015.
Graduating from Grand Valley State University with a degree in Natural Resources Management, Emily has worked across much of the conservation field spectrum in various parts of the state and country. Jobs with the Nature Conservancy, the National Park Service, AmeriCorps, and a small conservancy in northeast Michigan have led to experiences with invasive species management, trail building, and environmental education. She also gained backcountry leadership and wilderness medicine skills during a course with the National Outdoor Leadership School in Sweden and Norway. Most recently, Emily taught field-based marine ecology at Chincoteague Bay Field Station in Virginia. In her free time, Emily loves to run, hike, bike, and ski – anything to get outdoors. She may also be found staring at Lake Michigan, eating s’mores, reading, painting, or playing with her pup, Finn.
Fields grew up in Northern Michigan near the south end of Torch Lake and currently resides in Elk Rapids. He received a bachelor of science degree in Environmental Studies from Western Michigan University and is currently working on getting his masters in GIS from Penn State University World Campus.
He has spent most of his conservation career working for various organizations in the Grand Traverse Bay Region which has included non-profits, conservation districts, and companies that provide eco-services. In between studying and working in conservation throughout the years in Michigan, Fields has volunteered abroad and has worked as a trail steward in Brazil, an environmental education coordinator in Curaçao, and a farm hand in New Zealand.
When he’s not working Fields enjoys a variety of sports and outdoor activities such as hockey, hiking, and boating on one of the regions many beautiful lakes. He also enjoys sharing his love of nature with his wife, Ivy, and two young children Wren and Royal. Email:firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: (231)941-0960 x26
Shelli DiFranco Communications Specialist
Shelli hails from Ohio, but is now a proud Michigander. She graduated from Loyola University Chicago after studying journalism and environmental science. She began her career working as a consultant for the City of Chicago’s Department of Environment where she focused on communications and outreach for the residential recycling program as well as the Chicago Climate Action Plan. Shelli then moved to the private sector as a corporate social responsibility and public relations consultant at Edelman, a global marketing communications firm.
Seeking a life change, Shelli and her family relocated to Traverse City, Michigan in 2014. Shelli led corporate communications and community relations at Hagerty, a classic car insurance company, before returning to her roots in environmental communications with the Invasive Species Network. Outside of work, Shelli can be found hiking, camping, canoeing, and generally enjoying Northern Michigan with her husband and son.