Aaron Deters, Executive Director
As a young farm kid growing up in northeast Kansas, Aaron spent countless days walking and wading the creeks that flowed through their farms. Little did he know, the time spent fishing and saving minnows from receding pools was molding a passion for a future in conservation. While the first three-quarters of his professional career was spent primarily on terrestrial habitat, including a host of wetland projects, it was not until 2017, while working with access on the Kansas River, that he re-discovered a passion for rivers and streams. Throughout Kansas, the rivers, streams, and wetlands are often overlooked by those outside of conservation. Aaron is thankful organizations, such as KAWS, exist to give a voice to some of Kansas’ most important natural resources.
Libby Albers, Assistant Director
Libby Albers has recently returned to her long-held career field in natural resources as Assistant Director of the Kansas Alliance for Wetlands and Stream, after serving as Director of the Hesston Public Library for five years. Prior to library work, Libby managed the WATER Center in Wichita, KS – a groundwater remediation and environmental education initiative – for twelve years. Her work experience with KDWPT Fisheries, the Great Plains Nature Center, and AmeriCorps reflects her passion for Kansas’ natural environment.
Libby was named Hesston, Kansas’ “Citizen of the Year” in 2015. She received the “Water Conservationist” award from the Kansas Wildlife Federation in 2011, the “Excellence in Conservation and Environmental Education Award” from KACEE in 2007, and KDHE’s “Pollution Prevention” award in 2011.
Libby has undergraduate degrees in English (Kansas Newman College) and Biology (Wichita State University) as well as a Masters of Science Natural Resource Interpretation (Stephen F. Austin State University) and a Masters in Library & Information Science (Emporia State University). She holds certifications from the Kansas Leadership Center, the Kansas Environmental Leadership Program, and the National Association for Interpretation.
Libby’s interests include treasured time with her kids, camping, gardening, and working on her 120-year-old house. She loves Kansas and regularly geeks out on local history, native plants, and back road adventures.
Bob Culbertson is the coordinator for Toronto, Fall River and Upper Neosho WRAPS Stakeholder Leadership Teams. He also serves as the Eastern Kansas Wetland Coordinator. Bob knows that private landowners in Kansas hold the keys to conservation of natural resources in the state and believes that working directly with them is both rewarding and integral to conserving and improving our soil, water, grasslands, streams, forests, wetlands and wildlife. Bob has been involved with KAWS since 2015, having worked for the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks & Tourism as a Private Land Wildlife Biologist. He served as the Area Biologist in partnership with the Natural Resource Conservation Service in Emporia working with District Conservationists and landowners in southeast Kansas.
Bob holds a Bachelors of Science in Wildlife Biology from Kansas State University. He is a Certified Wildlife Biologist with the Wildlife Society, is certified in wetland identification and delineation and has completed numerous other training modules. Bob was recognized by the Kansas Wildlife Federation in 2001 as Land and Soil Conservationist of the year.
Rebecca Steadman is the Coordinator for the Upper Wakarusa WRAPS.
Rebecca Steadman is the coordinator for Upper Wakarusa WRAPS Stakeholder Leadership Team. Rebecca appreciates the difficult decisions Kansas farmers and ranchers make to maintain their livelihood and understands their commitment to preserving the land they operate.
Before coming to KAWS in 2019, Rebecca worked for over 30 years with USDA, primarily with the Risk Management Agency where she served as the Regional Office Director overseeing the Federal crop insurance program for the states of Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska and Colorado. She also worked at the national level for both the Risk Management Agency and the Farm Service Agency.
Rebecca holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Agricultural Economics from Kansas State University and is a Chartered Property and Casualty Underwriter. Rebecca enjoys spending her free time on the family farm in Franklin County where there never seems to be a shortage of things to do.
Dan Haines is the Co-Coordinator for the John Redmond Reservoir WRAPS.
For Dan, the environmentally compatible land use connections with our ecological resources are a source of wonderment and envy. Dan holds a Master of Science degree from Emporia State University in Environmental Biology.
Prior to joining KAWS, Dan’s career focused on natural resource management including land and water features, at Wolf Creek Nuclear Operating Corporation. He served as a member of several boards and initiatives, including the conservation District, Resource Conservation and Development, Neosho Basin Goal Setting team, Bi-State Water Quality Project, Equus-Walnut Regional Advisory Council, Coffey County Regional WRAPS, and various NGO’s.
Retiring (kind of), Dan now operates the family farm near Leon. Personal challenges and successes with cattle and crop production equip Dan with an ever-learning appreciation of producer’s and landowner’s opportunities for conserving natural resources.
Adam is the Coordinator for the Milford Reservoir WRAPS.
Adam Bauer, a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, has been hired as the Watershed Coordinator for the Milford Lake Watershed. Most recently, Adam worked for Pheasants Forever in partnership with the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks & Tourism assisting tenant farmers on the wildlife area and help to promote sustainable farming practices by using cover crops in crop rotations.
Adam brings his expertise in private lands, ArcGIS and Google Earth to the KAWS team.
Megan is the Coordinator for both the Middle and Lower Kansas River WRAPS.
Megan Rush is the Watershed Coordinator for Middle Kansas River Watershed. Megan is based out of Lawrence, KS and graduated from the University of Kansas with a master’s in Environmental Assessment. When she isn’t working on water quality, you can find her kayaking or stand up paddling boarding on the water, traveling, or petting every animal she comes across.
Mike Bartmess recently joined Kansas Alliance for Wetlands and Streams as a Conservation Easement Specialist through our partner NRCS.
Raised in Olathe, Mike developed an appreciation for Kansas natural resources through hunting, fishing, and spending summers boating on lakes throughout the eastern portion of Kansas. He went on to complete his undergraduate education in Rangeland Management at Texas A&M University and is currently wrapping up his master’s thesis at Kansas State University. While at TAMU, Mike was captain of the soil judging team and was heavily involved with Range Club. During his time at K-State he conducted grassland ecology research on Konza Prairie studying the efficacy of different woody management techniques.
Mike is a board member of the Kansas Section Society for Range Management and is active with SRM at the state and national level. He has presented ecological research and helped organize activities at KNRC, SRM Annual Meetings, and various other conferences around the country. Mike still enjoys the outdoors, where he spends time hunting and fishing in the Flint Hills, hiking, kayaking, and working in the yard.