Executive Director & Co-Founder
Kari Bersagel Braley is one of the co-founders of GROW. She has worked in education for 12 years as a special education teacher, elementary classroom teacher and a literacy teacher. She is a mother and wife who feels passionately about buying and eating locally grown food. She believes in the benefits of educating her own children and the children in the community about healthy living and working to ensure that all children have access to healthy food. In her free time Kari enjoys hiking in the bluffs with her family, practicing yoga, and eating delicious food around the table with good friends and family.
Director of Communication & Outreach
Bonnie brings skills from past experiences such as: marketing, event planning, volunteer organizing, and graphic design. She is passionate about enriching the lives of children through providing hands-on educational activities. As a leader and volunteer in her children’s school PTO and 4-H club Bonnie has been able to help provide enrichment events and travel experiences for children. It was through these roles that Bonnie became familiar with GROW. She finds great value in being a part of an organization that is making a positive impact on the lives of youth and their families.
Garden Educator & Farm Experiences Director
Ana Skemp’s background in biology/ecology allows the farm program participants to experience learning about their food and where it comes from an in depth level. For example children will learn how plants turn sun into energy during photosynthesis. Ana has experience teaching in a school setting and has led cooking classes for youth. She is a farmer and the owner of Deep Roots Community Farm.
Sam is a nature lover who came to gardening through time working on an organic farm and a market garden. He has also worked at an organic orchard in his hometown. He lives in La Crescent with his wife Hanna and their dog Cheech. Sam loves to run, bicycle, listen to music, and learn about the natural world. He is super excited to be part of the GROW team and to help make the gardens and greenhouse awesome places to learn and be!
Amy grew up on a family farm where gardening and a love of the outdoors were a part of life from her earliest years. She went on to earn a Bachelors in Animal Science from Iowa State University. Over the past five years she has gained experience as a substitute teacher. She loves helping children grow through experiential learning and watching their eyes light up with new information. As a mother she will often be found in the family garden with her boys. Providing fresh veggies for the family and neighbors and helping others grow is a favorite family pastime.
Cameryn joined the GROW team as a Public and Community Health Education precptee in the summer of 2022. She found the work so fulfilling when the opportunity arose to join the team as a Garden Educator on staff it was an easy decision. During her internship Cameryn found a love for gardening! Especially, educating youth and seeing their excitement when the garden grows and blooms. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Public Health and Community Health Education from UW – La Crosse. She tries to make each time in the garden a fun and educational experience. She loves to paint, hike, and generally spend time outdoors. Cameryn also loves to read, with her cat, Garbanzo, snuggled up on her lap!
Bella, an eco-enthusiast and avid learner, embraced life in La Crosse since 2017, leaving behind her roots in Southeastern Wisconsin to attend the University of Wisconsin - La Crosse. Graduating with a Bachelor's in Environmental Science and a minor in Environmental Studies in 2022, she dove into two impactful AmeriCorps terms; community engagement and service to the La Crosse area gave her a newfound appreciation for her new home. When not immersed in nature, you'll find her reading, hiking in Hixon, exploring movies, or simply enjoying downtime with her Siamese companions, Kino and Mira. Bella's dedication to environmental well-being radiates through her actions and passions, as her life goal is to inspire those around her to feel the same about nature.