The Waukesha County Green Team is a voluntary organization of Waukesha County residents who care about the environment in which we live and raise our families. We are concerned about the quality of our water, our food, the air we breathe, and preserving the phenomenal natural resources, abundant in our County. We believe that Waukesha County will continue to be a great place to live for years in the future if we continue to educate ourselves on the wise use of our resources and take action to preserve those resources for today and future generations.
The Waukesha County Green Team is an independent 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization and is not affiliated with any state or local government agencies.
Meet the Team
Debra Schneider, President
Debra is a community advocate and mentor with a focus on spirituality and integral ecology including issues of poverty, peace and the environment. Her emphasis is community education and cultural transition. Debra’s background is in marketing, facilitation and program consulting. She has a certificate in permaculture design, is a Southeastern Wisconsin Master Gardener, and has a Master in Theology from Marquette. She along with her husband Paul, enjoy family, everything outdoors, community gardening, and organically growing their own food including raising chickens and keeping bees. Debra is a founding member of the WCGT.
Therese Arkenberg - Treasurer
In 2013, Therese attended American University's Washington Semester program to study environment and sustainable development. When she returned to Wisconsin, she was excited to become involved with causes locally. In addition to serving on the planning committee for the Green Alliance Sustainability Fair, Therese is co-president of Plowshare Fair Trade Marketplace and Education for Peace in downtown Waukesha.
She runs a freelance business as a writer and copyeditor, basically “reading for a living.” Her favorite genres are science fiction and fantasy—the literature of possibility. She also enjoys cooking and trying new foods and soaking up sunshine whenever the weather cooperates.
Joanna Salinas, Outreach CoordinatorJoanna Salinas is a life-long resident of Waukesha County, currently residing in Mukwonago. Passionate about environmental issues since childhood, Joanna was thrilled to find the Waukesha County Green Team in 2014 and join the team first as a Board Member, and now as the Outreach Coordinator. She specializes in engaging and mobilizing residents and organizations in environmental and sustainability initiatives and is passionate about meeting people where they are at and tackling sustainability at the local level to initiate systemic change. She currently coordinates the Waukesha Countywide Cleanup and the co-leads the Zero Waste and Recycling interest group. Joanna has a Bachelor of Science from the UW system in Sustainable Management and certification in Civic Ecology from Cornell.
Laura Loucks, Board Member
Laura Loucks is a recent graduate of Northland College with a degree in Sustainable Community Development. She has worked in the Center for Rural Communities, collecting and analyzing data to improve rural communities, and writing an energy efficiency plan for the City of Ashland. She also worked as the first sustainability intern for both the City of Ashland and Chequamegon Bay Renewables, who coordinated the largest solar group buy in Wisconsin. She currently works as the Sustainability Specialist for Inpro Corporation, and is involved in the USGBC Emerging Professionals group and Wisconsin Women in Sustainability, in addition to being on the board for the Waukesha County Green Team. When not organizing and implementing sustainability initiatives, Laura spends her time swing and salsa dancing!
Mary Ellen Comp, Community Advisor
Mary Ellen’s professional experience includes strategic marketing leadership and brand development, B2B sales, direct and inside sales management, executive leadership, small business ownership and sales training. She focuses on helping organizations capitalize on their unique market strengths and empower business development. Her experience encompasses a variety of markets such as business communication technology, wired and wireless network connectivity, website and online applications, real estate, education and small business ownership. She currently serves on the Tempo Waukesha Membership Committee, the Waukesha County Business Alliance’s Education Advocacy and Professional Development Committees, Leadership Development for her church and the President’s Advisory Council at Carroll University.
Dwayne Sperber, Community Advisor
Dwayne Sperber has always been interested in architecture, wood, and the environment. He was introduced to urban wood more than a decade ago, and with this intersect of his three passions, Dwayne immediately became a major advocate for its use and started Wudeward. Wudeward recovers urban wood and gives it a second life as lumber, flooring or millwork. He has worked tirelessly to build awareness and markets for the abundance of wood being removed due to insect, disease, or circumstance. Dwayne is also founding partner of Wisconsin Urban Wood, a nonprofit focused on building networks of people and businesses that links material streams and availability of quality urban wood products and services across our state. He also is an appointed member of the Wisconsin Urban Forestry Council.
Amy Taivalkoski, Sussex Green Team Coordinator
Amy Taivalkoski has lived in Sussex since 1992 after moving to Wisconsin from the east coast. Her background is in engineering and she has worked in warehouse automation, solar and wind site assessments, LED lighting as well as staying home and raising 2 children. Currently she works at REI part time and goes on some great outdoor adventures. As a consultant for Norwex, she informs people about healthy household cleaning without the use of plastic bottles of chemicals. Her passion has always been taking care of the environment by finding ways to use less of nature’s resources including energy from fossil fuels, disposable products, and water. She has been chairman of the Earth Ministry committee at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Brookfield for over 10 years where she planned various events including movie screenings, field trips, and workshops to educate the congregation on environmental issues. She founded the Sussex Green Team in April 2016 to help her own community become more sustainable and to educate its residents.
Stacey Balsley, Vice President
Stacey’s journey into environmentalism starts with her lifelong respect and fascination with nature. It is permanently weaved into her life through work and volunteering. She felt the need to share this respect with others not so connected to nature, but how to reach them and with what? The Waukesha County Green Team is the obvious choice with their sustainability initiatives and community outreach. She and her husband Ken are avid outdoor enthusiasts. Living sustainably and being conscientious of their actions continues to be an exercise but of the best kind. Stacey works in the design/build exhibit industry with 3D Exhibits and continually looks for ways to promote sustainable work and industry habits.
Erica Schueller, Secretary
A resident of Waukesha County since 2013, Erica has a lifelong interest in helping to maintain a world that can be shared with and preserved for future generations. Erica says the Waukesha County Green Team has helped her to understand more about sustainable actions she can take and promote to make her community a better place. If you want to see change, get involved! An avid composter and rain barrel enthusiast, Erica enjoys maintaining a (small) vegetable garden and learning about new methods to adopt as a homeowner and community member to lessen her impact on the environment.
Nathaniel Giannini, Board Member
Nate is a graduate from Carroll University with a BS in Criminal Justice and a minor in Sociology of Sustainability. He is currently working as a Probation & Parole Agent, but his goal is to become a Conservation Warden. He also works as a Firefighter/Paramedic with the City of New Berlin and is a US Army Veteran. Nate is a lifelong outdoorsman while enjoying hiking and night photography. He is someone that really appreciates and enjoys the environment that has been provided to us and strives to promote sustainability and good environmental practices locally and around the world.
Debra Baesemann, Board Member
Debra Baesemann is thrilled to be a part of the Waukesha County Green Team and to share her passion for environmental issues. She brings to WCGT a background in commercial real estate law, urban planning, and first-hand knowledge of how people’s everyday actions can directly impact our planet. Additionally, after serving in West Africa with the Peace Corps, Deb has a unique global viewpoint that directly informs her approach to sustainability efforts, knowing that our efforts at home are for the benefit of local and global communities. Deb resides with her family in Elm Grove and looks forward to helping grow a local branch of the Green Team in this area.
Alfred Haskell, Community Advisor
Alfred’s professional experience includes 35+ years in sales, marketing and management in a variety of industries. He has lived in Oconomowoc since 1994. Alfred recently joined WCGT to help people transition to a sustainable life and preserve our environment. He believes all things are connected in our web of life. Everyone’s choices resonate around the world and impact each other and the earth. Alfred believes that global warming/climate change is a scientific fact. As a Senior Solar Consultant with Sunrun, his passion is to help homeowners install solar to lower their individual carbon and pollution foot print. Please get involved and take advantage of WCGT’s educational initiatives and volunteer opportunities - let’s work as community to build a better world.
Alec LePoidevin, Community Advisor
After graduating from UW Madison with degree in Cultural Anthropology Alec spent a year teaching English in S korea. Upon returning home he began working in the landscaping industry again where he continued his passion for being outdoors and working with plants. Following a passion for health, nutrition, and environmentalism Alec started his edible landscaping company named Fresh Roots in 2017, helping people learn to grow organic food at home. For the past 2 years Alec has been a part of the WCGT Permaculture and Gardening group and has recently joined the WCGT board as a community advisor.
Mike and Carolyn Paik, Permaculture & Gardening Team Coordinators
Organic gardeners, Mike and Carolyn’s first experience with Permaculture began when Carolyn attended the Permaculture training program with Mark Shepard coordinated by WCGT at NuGenesis Farm. The experience honed their skills of observation, paying close attention to the interdependence and inter-relationships of natural systems. Their new mindset is to get off the annual, monocrop treadmill that our current culture has imposed upon us and start planting perennial ecosystems that are abundant habitats for humans and animals. They derive great joy in growing their own food and connecting with others who have the same passion. Mike, an engineer and Carolyn a teacher, have, over the past 10 years, hosted a community garden on their property and provided outdoor education programs for children who are encouraged to “be the change they want to see in the world.”
Board Member Emeritus
Board Member in Memorium
Board Member Emeritus
Board Member Emeritus