Mullarkey takes over as director of Driftless Area Wetlands Centre

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By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times Editor

Marquette’s Driftless Area Wetlands Centre has a new director. Alicia Mullarkey recently took over the position, bringing a wealth of outdoor knowledge.

“I’ve always loved the outdoors,” said Mullarkey, an Iowa native who grew up south of Des Moines. She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in science fields. While pursuing her master’s, she studied invasive plants. She’s served with AmeriCorps, working in state parks, and interned with the Missouri Department of Conservation, where she studied rare plants. Mullarkey said she most recently worked for the University of Nebraska-Omaha, in the biology department. She managed the nature preserve, most notably focusing on prairies.

That experience will correlate well with the prairie plantings developed at the Wetlands Centre in the last year, Mullarkey said. The nature preserve also had some wetland areas, she added, giving her some background in that area as well.

Although she had not visited the Wetlands Centre before taking the position, Mullarkey said she had heard good things about it.

“I’ve seen information about it online and was really intrigued,” she said. “There’s been a lot of great programs that get people connected to the environment.”

Mullarkey, who now lives in Marquette with her husband, Ben, a McGregor native, and two children, said she’s looking forward to continuing the Wetlands Centre programming. 

“We’re continuing with some of the events Katrina started, like the astronomy night, farmers market, Easter egg hunt and Hawk Watch,” she said, speaking of the programs developed by former director Katrina Moyna. “We’ll go with what worked well and build on that.”

She said work will also continue to develop a nature playscape at the location, allowing visitors, especially kids, to enjoy the outdoors through unstructured play.

“I love being engaged with the community we live in,” she said, “and I love working with all ages and facilitating a connection with nature through different programs or getting people out here to explore.”

Mullarkey said astronomy night, planned for Friday, Feb. 26, will be the Wetlands Centre’s next event. 

From now through March 15, she said the Wetlands Centre will have limited hours: Fridays and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day. Hours will expand in the spring.

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