Lynn McClure, Midwest Regional Director
As a lifelong resident of the Midwest, Lynn McClure loves the region’s parks. Every summer growing up her family made the trek to Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore in northwestern Michigan to do the legendary “Dune Climb.” And at least once a year, her parents put Lynn and her three siblings in the back to the station wagon and headed for a tour of President’s homes, Civil War battlefields, or other historic sites.
In addition to a passion for the National Parks, Lynn brings a wealth of professional experience to NPCA. She is an award-winning strategic planning and public relations consultant who has worked with many conservation and environmental organizations, public park agencies, as well as Fortune 500 companies. Lynn developed an innovative public consensus-building campaign that resulted in securing $36 million of state funding for open space and natural area acquisition in Illinois.
Erin Denney-Thompson, Midwest Regional Coordinator
Erin oversees and manages the administrative functions and processes for the Midwest Regional office, including: development efforts that build and promote relationships with donors throughout the region. Prior to joining NPCA, Erin spent over 5 ½ years as an administrator at Northwestern University in Evanston, IL.
Erin was born and raised in Arizona and spent many of her family vacations visiting National Parks in the Southwest. She earned a B.A. in Art History from Arizona State University and an M.S. in Communication from Northwestern University. Erin enjoys travelling and has been to over 15 countries.
LeAaron Foley, Senior Outreach Coordinator
LeAaron is a lifelong resident of Hazel Crest, Illinois—a small suburb in the Chicago Southland. As Midwest Senior Outreach Coordinator, LeAaron focuses on building and developing relationships with community, civic and business partners across the Midwest region who support the region’s diverse array of National Parks. Specifically, LeAaron works closely with many community leaders to advance the idea of Chicago’s first national park at the Pullman Historic District on the city’s South Side. Additionally, LeAaron is tasked with broadening support for Midwest gems such as the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore and the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Before joining NPCA, LeAaron was a staff assistant with the Office of Community & Government Relations at DePaul University in Chicago.
LeAaron earned his B.A. in public policy studies concentrating in urban affairs from DePaul University, where he was recognized as an outstanding student leader. During his undergraduate years, he advocated for increased higher education funding in Springfield, Illinois as well as traveled the world studying local environmental issues in Kenya, history in France and medical volunteering in Ghana. LeAaron is a national chair for Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity and is a Big Brother with Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Metropolitan Chicago. Since 2009, LeAaron has been an elected official, serving on the Board of Trustees for the Grande Prairie Public Library District in Chicago’s southern suburbs.
Christine R. Goepfert, Upper Midwest Program Manager
Chris has joined NPCA as the Upper Midwest Program Manager focused on protecting our national parks in Minnesota and South Dakota. She brings with her a wealth of experience doing policy advocacy and coalition-building as well as a passion for our parks and the outdoors. Previously, Chris launched the first field office for Transportation for America (T4A), a national campaign dedicated to promoting federal transportation policies that ensure access to transportation choices and address economic growth, energy security, public health and safety. She built a strong coalition in Minnesota of more than 40 organizations and elected officials that worked to support these policies. Previously, Chris was a staff attorney with the Housing Preservation Project, a nonprofit Minnesota law office focused on protecting the rights of low-income tenants and creating affordable housing. Chris has also served as a volunteer board member with HOME Line and was the first board president of African American Action Committee.
Chris has been visiting national parks since she can remember and uses much of her free time to enjoy the outdoors, including camping, fishing, hunting and cross-country skiing. She takes her passion for the outdoors on her overseas adventures as well, having climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, ridden the rapids of the Zambezi in Zambia, and hiked the Inca Trail in Peru.
Nathan Miller, Air Quality Analyst
Nathan Miller joined NPCA as a Walter Fellow in the Midwest Regional Office in August 2009. As a teenager, Nathan had the opportunity to live for a summer in Theodore Roosevelt National Park, performing trail reconstruction with the Student Conservation Association. He’s been hooked on national parks ever since, and is grateful to be working for their protection at NPCA.
Prior to joining NPCA, Nathan advocated for local community and environmental groups with the Interdisciplinary Environmental Clinic at Washington University’s School of Law. He has continued this work as an independent consultant since moving to Chicago, and has contributed to multi-million dollar settlements and legal decisions resulting in dramatically lower emissions of carbon dioxide and other pollutants. Nathan’s work at NPCA focuses on protecting visibility in the Region's northern Class I areas - Voyageurs and Isle Royale National Parks - by working to reduce air pollution from industrial sources and power plants. Nathan works directly with the National Parks of Minnesota, and throughout the upper Midwest, to build strong voices of support for these treasured landscapes.
Raised in New England, Nathan was introduced to the beauty of the Midwest while attending Washington University in St. Louis. During college, he co-founded The Wilderness Project, a program for incoming students designed to facilitate discussions of social justice and provide an introduction to the regional landscape. Nathan graduated with a B.S. in applied science in chemical engineering, environmental studies, and math.