Jenn Simons

Southern Driftless Grasslands Project Manager



B.A. in Environmental Studies; Sociology, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

M.S. in Landscape Architecture – Restoration Ecology, UW-Madison


Primary Responsibilities 

  • Support partnership functions and build the financial and personnel capacity of the Southern Driftless Grasslands

  • Develop and execute outreach events and programming related to prairie, savanna, and grassland habitat and grassland conservation

  • Work individually with landowners to raise awareness of and promote best management practices for prairie, savanna, and grassland habitat

Past jobs and experience:

Jenn moved to Wisconsin to complete her master’s degree in restoration ecology. Her research evaluated the impact of grazing (bison, in particular) on plant community composition and structure in restored and remnant tallgrass prairies and oak savannas. Growing up in rural Nebraska, her interests in conservation stemmed from an appreciation for working landscapes. Over the last decade she’s studied international environmental development in Norway and farming systems in the Western Highlands of Guatemala; worked on small-scale, diversified vegetable farms; served as an AmeriCorps member for a non-profit gleaning program; managed invasive species as a natural resources specialist in the oak openings region of northwest Ohio; assisted farmers as an Organic Certification Specialist; and conducted research at Nachusa Grasslands in northern Illinois.

Favorite things about the Driftless Area:

I’ve had a lot of “firsts” in the Driftless Area – it’s where I saw my first spring ephemeral blooms, got acquainted with the calls of Henslow’s sparrows, and learned to really read a landscape. The passion of those who care for this region is contagious, and the Driftless Area has completely stolen my heart.


Hobbies and Interests:

Jenn spends much of her free time exploring the flora and the fauna of the seasons – from pasque flowers to bottle gentians and woodcocks to warblers.  She relishes a chance to tend her garden, explore the bike paths throughout the state, try new recipes in the kitchen (some of which are successful), and settle-in with a good book. 

Jenn Simons field