Eric Sebert // President

Eric Sebert had developed his roots at an early age in the landscape operations industry.  His passion for preserving and restoring native ecosystems guided his educational pathway toward developing his skills and knowledge in this unique and rewarding industry.    Along with extensive experience working in the landscaping and nursery fields of both Grace Nursery and Sebert Landscaping, Eric is a graduate from the University of Minnesota with a degree in Environmental Science – specializing in Ecology.  Eric studied abroad in New Zealand to expand his knowledge of Ecology and Resource Management, as well as specialized techniques of Ecological Management currently practiced in New Zealand. Eric completed his internship at Batavia’s Fermi-Lab performing ecological restoration work, concentrating on plant identification, invasive plant management.  Additionally, Eric holds certifications and licenses in the following:

  • IEPA Burn Manager
    • S130/S190 - Burn Training 
  • Illinois Pesticide Operator License
    • Illinois Pesticide Applicator/ General Standards
    • Illinois Aquatic Pesticide Applicator

Jan Papa // General Manager

Jan Papa brings a wealth of experience and dedicated passion in the green industry to Bluestem Ecological.  A lifetime of landscape management and operations concentrating in native and proactive restoration work lends this industry the creativity, passion and understanding for creating and preserving sustainable landscapes in the Midwest.

With over 30 years’ experience in the green industry, Jan has worked for the Chicago Botanic Gardens, Estate Co-Manager and landscape operations as a plant buyer.  Additionally, she has worked with the Nature Conservancy for 10 years on native restoration projects, as well as serve as an active volunteer for various organizations.  Jan has extensive experience working with General Contractors, Landscape Architects, Village Boards, and management groups responsible for the implementation and management of native landscapes. 

Jan served for 3 years on the Lake Zurich District Board and 10 years as a Site Steward for the Field Prairie Grove Restoration. She currently serves as an Advisor to the Ancient Oaks Foundation in Lake Zurich, IL. 

Jan is certified and licensed in the following:

  • Illinois Pesticide Applicator License
  • Chicago Wilderness Burn Training

Sarah Voska // Sales Manager

Sarah's initial involvement in ecology began in 2012 while serving on the Lake Committee of her homeowner's association: focusing on shoreline restoration, watershed management, and community awareness campaigns.     

Sarah holds a Bachelor's of Science in Sustainable Management from the University of Wisconsin - Parkside; and a Graduate Certificate in Climate Action from Pontifica Universidad Catolica de Valparaiso (Chile).

Sarah has worked extensively in climate change and environmental education at the local, national, and international levels; attending the UN Climate talks in 2016, 2017 & 2019.  She believes that the solution lies in ecosystem restoration and sustainable businesses. Sarah has experience working with municipal, non-profit, for-profit and HOA organizations on native landscaping projects.

She is a member of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration Youth Task Force (2022-2023), mobilizing youth in the United Nation's push to protect and restore ecosystems by 2030. She also serves on the Technical Advisory Committees for Representative Lauren Underwood on Science, Technology and the Environment (2021-2022), and for Gateway Technical College’s Horticulture department.

Sarah is certified and licensed in the following:

    • Illinois Pesticide Applicator License
    • Chicago Wilderness Burn Training

David Stout// Construction Estimator & Project Manager

David is a restoration specialist whose passion for landscape management stems from his early life in rural McHenry County.  He graduated from DePaul University with a degree in International Studies with a concentration in Political Ecology.  He entered the restoration field in 2012, and has varied experience working with private, non-government, and governmental organizations.  He served two AmeriCorps National Service terms with Big Sky Watershed Corps in Montana. 

David has specialized experience in restoration planning, water quality monitoring, watershed management, grant writing & administration, community stakeholder engagement, and project management.   

Outside of work, David enjoys researching the natural history of North America, hiking, and fly fishing.

David is certified and licensed in the following:

  • Illinois Pesticide Applicator License

A woman in a green and white shirt stands in front of an oak tree and compass plant with bright yellow blossoms.

Elly Flemming // Sales Representative

Elly’s passion for the environment drives her to preserve its beauty and functions. She began studying environmental science & sustainability in high school and then strengthened her knowledge at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa.

She received her Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science with a concentration in Biological Conservation. She also gained experience in communication, project management, and community involvement through her role as Sustainability Liaison for the university’s primary environmental action group. One of her major focuses while pursuing her degree was stormwater management and the initiation of a bioswale project on campus, to be installed in 2022.

Elly now continues her experience by promoting ecological restoration and native plantings in order to maintain ecosystem functions and sustainable balance.

Elly is certified and licensed in the following:

  • Illinois Pesticide Applicator License
  • Chicago Wilderness Burn Training