Dennis Pilaske

Executive Director of Chippewa Nature Center in Midland, MI

Dennis is the Executive Director of Chippewa Nature Center (CNC) in Midland, Michigan and has been on staff since 1997. Prior to accepting that position in November 2016, he served as CNC’s Director of Interpretation for twelve years where he supervised the organization and implementation of the adult and family programs, workshops, field trips, and festivals, as well as oversaw the self-guided interpretive resources of the Center. He co-chaired the LEED Gold-certified Nature Preschool construction and the Visitor Center renovation in 2008-10. During his tenure as Executive Director, he oversaw a land transfer increasing the total acreage of the nature center by over twenty percent, led the organization through a strategic and master planning process, established and expanded partnerships with several local school districts, and led fundraising efforts for multiple infrastructure, outdoor and trail enhancements. He earned a B.S. and M.A. in history from Central Michigan University.

Dennis currently serves on the Midland Area Community Foundation’s Access to Recreation Committee, Chippewa River Water Trail Committee, Leadership Midland Steering Committee, and is an active member of the Association of Nature Center Administrators. He currently serves on the board of directors for Phoenix Community Farm, Great Lakes Bay Regional Trail, and serves as treasurer for the Mid-Michigan Chapter of the Association for Fundraising Professionals. Dennis is a 2002 graduate of Leadership Midland, a 2014 graduate of the Great Lakes Bay Institute for Leaders, and was the 2021 recipient of the CMU Museum Alumni Leadership Award. A lifelong resident of Michigan, Dennis grew up in Port Hope and lives in Sanford with his wife and two children.