About Us

Forward thinking, people-centered and nimble, we support cultural shifts, diversity and equity.
Maria Perez

Maria Perez


Maria (she/her/hers) is a mom, water resources engineer, conservation biologist, and climate change fighter. She lives and works in Iowa and is part of the core team developing a Resilience Plan for her community. Maria is also a Climate Reality volunteer and has given dozens of climate change presentations to diverse audiences. Originally from Colombia, Maria’s ties to her birth country and to Latinos in the U.S. help her reach people that may be more affected by climate change but are not always included in the discussions.

Louie Tran

Louie Tran

Louie (he/him/his) is a photojournalist, social justice activist, as well as an all-around handyman extraordinaire. Native to Vietnam, he spent his formative years in refugee camps. We are thrilled to have him share his insight in reaching immigrant populations with our nonprofit. Louie is a dedicated dad to a dog, two cats, and two reptiles.

Our Board

Jan Dubats

Jan Dubats


A retired business owner, Jan (she/her/hers) has over 50 years of volunteer service under her belt with dozens of organizations. She drove Meals on Wheels for 50 years and received the highest Lions’ International service award. Born and raised on a dairy farm within the village limits, she considers it the best of two worlds. She reports how caring for family, friends and the world were just part of daily life. She sees those values are becoming modern once again. 


Jenn Morrow

Jenn Morrow

Jenn (she/her/hers) received BS in Environmental Studies with an emphasis in Water Quality from the University of Minnesota. Currently she owns and runs Weeds Native Landscaping and Maintenance from her home in St. Paul. She has volunteered with local environmental nonprofits for 20+ years. Jenn has enjoyed almost 30 years of annual trips to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in northern Minnesota. She and her husband are the proud owners of a 7.67 kW home solar system and a Nissan Leaf electric vehicle.  

Jill Henricksen

Jill Henricksen


Jill (she/her/hers) has spent her career in the nonprofit sector with experience and skills in organizational management, program and project development, and community engagement. She also has substantial experience with fundraising and grant writing.  She lives in the Como Park neighborhood of St. Paul with her husband, two sons, and two beloved dogs. She is a member of Zero Waste St. Paul. 

Dena DeGroat

Dena DeGroat

Dena (she/her/hers) is She is a financial consultant with Thrivent Financial with more than 20 years experience. Her passion for creating secure and sustainable financial futures for people as they retire stems from her former career as a social worker with the elderly.  Prevention and making a difference matter to Dena, which is why she loves being a part of WANFAW, where working together for a sustainable planet is fundamental. Dena and her partner reside in New Brighton and she is a mom to three young adults and Nana to an amazing pre-teen.

Jane Byron

Jane Byron

A native Minnesotan, Jane (she/her/hers) fell in love with water resources the first time she slipped on a pair of waders for a college job. She’s worked in water resources since 2002 and has seen first hand how changes in climate are degrading water quality and increasing flood risk. Jane is also a proud canine mom who’s always looking for new places in her yard to plant another shrub or tree.

Dawn Pape

Dawn Pape

Founder and Executive Director

Author and advocate Dawn Pape brings close to 30 years of experience in environmental outreach and education to her role as Executive Director of We All Need Food and Water. From helping schools develop nature areas on school grounds, to working with 4 counties in her role at Rice Creek Watershed District, to founding the Blue Thumb-Planting for Clean Water® program, and educating thousands of children through pollinator puppet shows her “Water Heroes” curriculum, she has a history of success and leadership. Ms. Pape is passionate about meeting people where they are at and building on others’ strengths to move toward a more sustainable, equitable, and loving world. She is passionate about creating a more equitable, peaceful, and livable world to pass down to her own two children as well as everyonte elses, too. She and her husband and kids live in a St. Paul suburb.




As our names indicates, we realize that everyone on Earth needs food and water, but we our pushing our Earth’s limited resources. Education on careful use of our shared resources is essential.

Solving Problems Together

No one can do everything, but everyone can do something. We help people discover their talents so they can give back to the world.


Taking Action

Knowing what to do to reduce one’s environmental footprint isn’t enough. We aim to inspire other to take action.

Our Approach

We All Need Food and Water is a nonprofit dedicated to equity. Our mission is to educate about challenges facing our food and water systems and to inspire people to take action.

We provide education on many different issues that affect our food and water supplies and we currently have programming around climate, pollinators/native habitat, and water.

Whenever possible, we educate using stories to connect with people’s hearts. Once hearts change, minds follow. We specialize in teaching through stories about the many issues that impact our food and water—especially pollinators and air pollution that is causing our climate to change. We love stories because they are memorable, build familiarity, and allow learners to connect in their own way. Whether it’s visualization, listening to the sound of the storyteller’s voice, or making emotional connections, the stories we hear and retell shape society and will help shape the future. Now is the time to re-write the future we want our children to have. And we believe we must work to find what unites us rather than focus on what divides us because we all need food and water.  


We are promoting climate discussions through book clubs and circles. We also collaborate with established climate education groups globally (Climate Reality), regionally (Climate Generation), and locally (Northeast Metro Climate Action).



We are continuing our native bee education programming. We are also deeply involved with the Pollination Education collaboration with dozens of partners started by the U of M Bee Lab (Elaine Evans) We are also excited about developing community garden education because it adds soil education and connects all of the issues. Perhaps best of all, it makes hard to grasp concepts very tangible and concrete for people of any age and background.



Our water education currently revolves around implementing our “Water Heroes” curriculum. In 2019, we lead 4 water heroes camps at St. Paul Community Recreation centers and we are currently partnering with ComMUSICation, Capitol Region Watershed District, Washington Technology Magnet School and hip hop artist Chadwick Phillips to help middle school students develop their voices to communicate about water issues that matter to them through music.

Purpose & Mission

Our mission is to educate about challenges facing our food and water systems through a variety of programming and to inspire action. One of our main outreach programs include climate discussion circles and putting education into action at the Peace Community Garden, which serves an aging and increasingly diverse low-income community.

While WANFAW is only in its third year, we are growing exponentially and we have an experienced and committed board, a mover and shaker as an executive director, and talented consultants with unique skills to help carry out programming.

We All Need Food and Water is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit.

Federal Tax ID Number 83-3114852

We are organized exclusively for educational and charitable purposes as well as to prevent of cruelty (i.e. hunger, starvation, thirst) as specified in Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. The purpose of this corporation is to:

  • conduct environmental education, informational activities, and to increase public awareness on issues related to protecting our planet’s food and drinking water supplies
  • educate about how agriculture, and the way we transport food from the fields to our plates, is simultaneously a cause, a victim, and a potential solution to climate change.
  • protect pollinators, especially as they are connected to crop pollination
  • protect and conserve water resources, especially drinking water sources
  • protect and foster soils that can also sequester carbon
  • combat and prevent climate change, degradation of surface waters (i.e. lakes and rivers), groundwater, habitat (i.e. native vegetation), and soils that sustain our food and water; and
  • promote growing food sustainably (i.e. reducing carbon footprint, chemical and water use while protecting soils, and teaching gardening skills)
  • increase access to healthy food and clean water for all people