In addition to her role within the West Michigan Conservation Network, Natalie Bekins is the West Michigan CISMA Coordinator out of the Ottawa Conservation District. She has been a part of the District since February 2021 and first started as a member of the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid crew. She grew up in Whitehall, Michigan on a small pond bordering the Huron-Manistee National Forest. Her upbringing fueled her interest in the natural world, which later led her to pursue a Bachelors in Wildlife Biology from Grand Valley State in 2016. Natalie decided to return to school and received her Masters in Biology from Eastern Kentucky University in 2020. After moving around the USA for various field jobs, Natalie and her husband, Ryan, settled in Grand Haven, Michigan to be closer to their family.