Friends of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore names first Executive Director, positions itself for growth

February 8, 2021

BAYFIELD, Wis. — Friends of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore (FAINL) has selected educator, outdoor adventure travel writer and photographer Jeff Rennicke as its first Executive Director and his wife Jill Rennicke as Co-Director. The Rennickes started in their new roles on February 1. 

“Jeff and Jill have been brought on board to steer the organization into its next phase of growth, said Erica Peterson, Chair of the Friends Board of Directors. “We’ve been an all-volunteer organization since 2002. The board is confident that this team can help us to grow our membership and our ability to accomplish big things for the park, for its visitors and for the local communities.”  

Park Superintendent Lynne Dominy said she looks forward to seeing what the Friends can do as it takes this important strategic step. “This amazing volunteer board positioned FAINL for long-term sustainability and the new Executive Director for success by receiving strategic planning and capacity building grants, initiating a community relationship-building campaign for the park’s 50th anniversary, and strengthening their organizational presence on the web and social media during this Pandemic,” added Dominy.   

In 2020, FAINL gave the park more than $100,000 for priority projects in education, accessibility, COVID-19 prevention, youth engagement and resource stewardship. Important projects on the drawing board include completion of an accessible amphitheater on Stockton Island and major improvements to the Meyers Beach kayak access point on the mainland. The Friends and Park Service are also continuing the 50th Anniversary celebration for the park, with ten events scheduled for 2021.

Jeff will lead the fundraising, public outreach, and communication aspects of the position while Jill, a certified Green Meeting Planner, will focus on the logistics and events.

Jeff and Jill Rennicke
Jeff and Jill Rennicke

“When you think of all the qualities an organization needs from an Executive Director, it is rare that you find all of them in one person,” Peterson said. “But when you put Jeff’s skill set and passion for the park together with all the things that Jill can bring to the position, we really feel like we hit on a winning formula.” 

“For more than 30 years, Bayfield and Wisconsin’s Northwoods has been our home. Working with Friends gives us the opportunity to give back to the place we love and help keep these islands and our community connected.”


“As the first-ever FAINL Executive Directors, the Rennickes now have the unique opportunity to combine their lifelong passions for the Apostle Islands with the dynamic strengths of the FAINL board to create more positive impact than anyone thought possible, ” said Dominy.  “I feel so fortunate to be working with FAINL as we move into the next 50 years of stewardship of Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. The sky is the limit when you combine passion, skill, hard work, vision and financial stability with one of the most beautiful landscapes in the world.”

Jeff said, “Many people visit the islands every year and they bring back souvenirs and memories to last a lifetime. For those who want to take it a step further, Friends of the Apostle Islands provides a pathway, a way to give back to the islands that give us so much. It is an honor to work with Friends and the National Park Service to provide that pathway of giving and helping.”

Friends of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to supporting the National Park Service in the protection of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. We are a diverse group of sailors, kayakers, boaters, divers, lighthouse lovers, hikers, fishers, beach-combers, wildlife watchers, and many others who share a love for the park on the shores of Lake Superior in northern Wisconsin. 

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