Dennis Nelson

Founder and President

Dennis founded Project WET in 1984 while working at the North Dakota State Water Commission. Through extensive partnerships and successful fundraising efforts, he has developed the program into a global leader in water resources education.

Dennis has published more than 50 water resource education guides for teachers and children and is the author/co-author of over 300 original water science and education activities. He also is a contributing author to over 40 children’s activity booklet titles. Dennis has taught hundreds of water resources management education courses for water managers and educators, and through these efforts, has become a recognized leader and advocate for children’s education worldwide. His international experience includes work in more than 40 countries and leadership roles in global initiatives supporting children’s education.

Dennis Nelson has worked in water resources management and education for over two decades, including at:

  • the East Dakota Water Management District in Brookings, South Dakota.
  • the North Dakota State Water Commission in Bismarck, North Dakota.
  • Montana State University in Bozeman, Montana.
  • the Project WET Foundation in Bozeman, Montana, where he is currently President and CEO.  

Dennis received a bachelor’s in agricultural bacteriology and a master’s in community and regional planning and natural resources management, both from North Dakota State University, Fargo.

In October 2019, Dennis announced that he will retire in 2020. In the interim, Dennis will work alongside John Etgen, who will become the new CEO after Dennis' retirement.

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