Jennifer Born Rutten
Jennifer grew up in Sheboygan surrounded by parks, wildlife, and a marsh named after her family. After earning her bachelor’s degree at Arizona State, she spent time living in several states honing expertise in development, fundraising and marketing. Jennifer got the birding bug in Manhattan. Birding started with Pale Male, the infamous New York City Red-tailed Hawk. Living a few blocks away from this brash Buteo jamaicensis for over 16 years, she redeveloped her love of the outdoors and birding.
Jennifer received her informal training of the natural world through the Wisconsin Master Naturalist program in 2017 and pivoted into a role at Schlitz Audubon Nature Center in Milwaukee. While at Schlitz she had taken over co-hosting the monthly bird club, bird walks, bird presentations, and assisted teaching adult education and found it invigorating to refresh the bird club and increase their members. In her desire to grow, Jennifer joined the Milwaukee County Parks system at Wehr Nature Center in 2019. While at Wehr, Jennifer led nature programs with an emphasis on accessibility for all in nature including a program for memory care patients and Veterans and military families. Jennifer increased Friends of Wehr Nature Center Board interactions focusing on fundraising and building donor relations during COVID while the Center was closed.
Jennifer enjoys spending time with friends in nature with her own weekly bird hikes to small land trusts, hiking, and exploring adventures. She also loves the land and wildlife of the Black Hills of South Dakota and enjoys solo trips of exploration out West. She loves to urban farm and cook. Becoming a vegetarian/vegan and being more accountable to sustainability has also been a huge priority.