Bird Conservancy of the Rockies Staff
Most of the Bird Conservancy’s regular staff members are based in Colorado and western Nebraska, although they can be found across the Rocky Mountains and Great Plains working to conserve birds and their habitats. Staff members are associated with our Science, Education, Stewardship, International or Administration teams, as indicated following their position titles.
To email a staff member, simply click on their name.
Tammy VerCauteren, Executive Director
A Michigan native, Tammy earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Wildlife Management in 1995 from Michigan State University and a Master’s Degree in 1998 from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln where she studied Sandhill Cranes. She began working for Bird Conservancy (then Colorado Bird Observatory) in 1999 as a specialist in GIS and landowner outreach for the Prairie Partners program. She has been Bird Conservancy’s prairie partners coordinator and outreach director and has served as executive director since 2008. She enjoys working with partners and encouraging proactive voluntary efforts for species conservation, and she believes it is relationships with people that will make a positive difference for conservation now and in the future.
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Mary Beth Albrechtsen, Private Lands Wildlife Biologist
While living in Alabama, Mary Beth was introduced to rock climbing and mountain biking and decided she must relocate to Colorado. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Wildlife Biology from Colorado State University then pursued a career as a field biologist collecting demographic and breeding data on listed or sensitive species and their utilization of the landscape for nine years. In 2015, she started working with ranchers to implement conservation practices to benefit wildlife species in tallgrass prairie and sage-steppe habitats. Currently, her scope of work entails restoring and preserving healthy working ranchlands to benefit grassland birds and other wildlife species while sustaining our rangelands for future generations. When not watching birds, you can find Mary Beth chasing her chickens, playing pickleball, or hanging from a rock.
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Nannette Archuleta, Staff Accountant, Administration
Raised in the north metro Denver area, Nannette earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in management from the University of Colorado Denver in 2013. A very competitive person, Nannette loves meeting new people and trying new things. She enjoys the outdoors and spending time with her family and her two American bull dogs. Nannette joined the finance team in the spring of 2015 and works out of the Old Stone House in Brighton.
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Jenny Berven, Science Program Manager, Science
Jenny earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Wildlife Biology in 2003 and a master’s in biomedical sciences in 2007, both from Colorado State University. Since moving to Colorado she has worked and volunteered for a variety of agencies researching multiple avian species including raptors, waterfowl and upland game birds. Most of her research experiences have concentrated on how diseases like West Nile virus and avian influenza affect individual birds and avian populations. As a hobby, Jenny has volunteered for the Rocky Mountain Raptor Program for several years and values the opportunity to interact with birds of prey requiring rehabilitation. Jenny joined the Bird Conservancy in 2009.
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Adam Beh, Stewardship Director
Originally from Michigan, Adam has over 18 years of experience designing and implementing community conservation and rural development projects in Africa and the western United States. Prior to joining Bird Conservancy, Adam was a human ecologist for USDA-ARS at the Jornada (New Mexico State University) where he coordinated the development of mobile and web-based data integration platforms to support grassland stewardship efforts around the world. Adam employs participatory action research in his work and is always searching for new and innovative ways to integrate local, traditional, and scientific knowledge in land use decision making. He earned both his Master’s (2006) and PhD (2010) in Human Dimensions of Natural Resources from Colorado State University. Adam is based in Fort Collins, CO.
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Jacy Bernath-Plaisted, NGP Demographic Monitoring Coordinator
Raised in rural Michigan, Jacy began to appreciate birds and wildlife at an early age. His interest in ecology as a discipline was sparked during his undergraduate studies at Beloit College, where he took a field ornithology in course taught in the backcountry of northern Minnesota. Jacy graduated in 2011 and went on to participate in a range of avian research project before completing his own master’s degree in natural resource management at the University of Manitoba in 2015. His thesis examined the effects of energy development on mixed-grass prairie songbirds. Jacy joined the Bird Conservancy team in 2017 as the Northern Great Plains Demographic Coordinator. As an ecologist, Jacy’s primary research interests focus on applied management and conservation of avian species.
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William Bevil, Communications Manager, Administration
William is a communications and interpretive media specialist with over 15 years of experience working in science and natural history museums, parks and natural resource management and wildlife conservation. He is a Certified Interpretive Planner and Guide with the National Association for Interpretation, and holds an Associate’s Degree in Visual Communications with emphasis on advertising design. William is passionate about informal education and outreach, and the role that effective communications play in contributing to conservation gains. He describes himself as an amateur birder, but is careful not to overstate his identification abilities. Before coming to Colorado in 2010, William worked for the New Zealand Department of Conservation where he enjoyed the opportunity to not only see much of that spectacular country, but also add considerably to his birding life list. His other hobbies include hiking, camping and gardening (both veggies and native plant/wildlife habitat gardening) as well as reading, art and travel.
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Jeff Birek, Outreach Biologist, Science
Jeff has worked with raptors, songbirds and game birds in seven states and Mexico. At Bird Conservancy, Jeff is working on science projects, including HawkWatch and Monitoring the Birds of the Badlands and Prairies Bird Conservation Region (BCR 17). He is also involved in outreach and education efforts. He has a Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Biology and Management from University of California, Davis (2003).
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Jennifer Blakesley, Biometrician, Science
Jennifer received her Bachelor’s Degree in Biology from Utah State University, her Master’s Degree in Wildlife Resources from the University of Idaho and her doctorate in wildlife biology from Colorado State University. She studied the demography, habitat relationships and breeding dispersal of Northern and California Spotted Owls for 18 years. Prior to owl research, she studied habitat relationships of songbirds in Utah, Idaho and Wyoming. Jennifer joined the Bird Conservancy in July 2006.
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Maureen (Mo) Correll, Landscape Ecologist, International Programs
Mo was born and raised in Conway, Massachusetts. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Biology at the College of William and Mary in Virginia in 2003. She spent the following seven years working as a research technician and project manager for a series of waterbird ecology projects across North America and the tropics. Mo returned to academia in 2010 to pursue her doctorate in Ecology and Environmental Science at the University of Maine, studying trends in tidal marsh bird populations and their habitat across the Atlantic coast. Through an externship during her degree, she also worked to identify stakeholder-sourced research needs in Alaskan coastal communities for the Arctic Landscape conservation Cooperative (LCC). Mo graduated in 2015 and turned her attention to landscape-scale conservation of grassland birds and other key resources through her current position. Mo is now an analyst for the Desert LCC’s Landscape Conservation Planning and Design (LCPD) effort and leads a regional demographic monitoring effort for grassland birds in the Northern Great Plains.
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Erin Divine, Coordinating Wildlife Biologist, Stewardship
Erin grew up in southeastern Nebraska roaming around the farm land of her parents’ home and the adjacent state Wildlife Management Area and State Recreation Area. She attended Nebraska Wesleyan University and earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology in 2005. In 2013, she completed a graduate certificate of advanced study in Geographic Information Systems from University of Denver, University College. After earning her Bachelor’s Degree, she worked for the Forest Service in Arizona, Oregon State University and Boise State University’s Raptor Research Center conducting surveys for Mexican and Northern Spotted Owl, Northern Goshawk, Golden Eagle and other raptors. She also has some experience with habitat improvement projects. Erin is stationed in Chadron, Nebraska.
Nancy Drilling, Dakotas Projects Coordinator, Science
A native Iowan, Nancy received her Master’s Degree at Illinois State University and is finishing her doctorate in Conservation Biology at the University of Minnesota. She has worked on many avian projects in all corners of the U.S., including research on forest passerines, shorebirds, waterfowl and colonial water birds. She also has experience in Southeast Asia, including three years as a Peace Corps volunteer in Thailand and several years working and conducting avian research in Indonesia and Malaysia. Nancy coordinates Bird Conservancy projects in South Dakota, including the second South Dakota Breeding Bird Atlas.
Angela Dwyer (Mangiameli), Grassland Wildlife Coordinator, Nebraska Prairie Partners, Science and Stewardship
Originally from Texas, Angela moved to Colorado in 2010 and worked part-time for Audubon Rockies on habitat restoration and at Colorado State University on several GIS vegetation mapping projects. She studied wading bird ecology and received a Master’s Degree in Wildlife Management at Stephen F. Austin State University in 2006 and has been working with birds ever since. Angela was the conservation biologist for Audubon North Carolina from 2007 to 2010, chasing shorebirds on the beach. She loves exploring Colorado through birding, hiking and skiing. She is based in Fort Collins.
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Tyler Edmondson, Education Director
Born and raised in Hershey, Pennsylvania, Tyler grew up exploring local rivers of chocolate and eastern deciduous forests near his home. After receiving a Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Studies from Eastern University in 2003, the call west was too loud for him to ignore, so he promptly moved to Custer State Park in South Dakota, where he began his adventures as an outdoor educator. This pursuit has taken Tyler from the Outer Banks of North Carolina to the redwoods of Northern California and a number of places in between. When not working outside, he can be found playing outside in the forms of volleyball, backpacking, fly-fishing, cycling and yodeling when he reaches the peaks of tall mountains.
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Allison Fowle, Camps and Family Programs Coordinator
Allison is a professional educator, scientist, and writer hailing from Brooklyn, New York. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in English from Colby College and her Master’s in Natural Resources from the University of Idaho, where she focused on environmental education and science communication. Allison has coordinated and taught for a variety of outdoor science schools and summer camps, and she is excited to create student-centered, inquiry-driven education programs for Bird Conservancy.
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Marcella Fremgen, Range Ecologist (Montrose, CO), Stewardship
Marcella grew up in Golden, Colorado and did her undergraduate at Western State College in Gunnison in 2011. She worked for Colorado Parks and Wildlife and the U.S. Forest Service in Gunnison, as well as Oregon State University on a variety of projects. Marcella then studied sage-grouse diet and habitat use at Boise State University for her Master’s Degree. She enjoys skiing, backpacking, fishing and living in the west! Marcella is based out of the Montrose, Colorado NRCS office.
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Veronica Grigaltchik, Private Lands Wildlife Biologist
Veronica received her Bachelor’s Degree in Zoology from the University of Florida, where she first developed a passion for birds. She then worked with U.S. Fish and Wildlife at a wildlife refuge in South Texas, conducting bird surveys. Following this, she traveled to Australia to complete a doctorate in biology at the University of Sydney, where she explored how temperature affects interactions between species. She is currently based in the Jordan NRCS field office and is working to deliver wildlife habitat conservation programs, emphasizing grassland birds, to landowners in Montana.
Luke George, Science Director
Luke has spent a lifetime studying birds across North America, starting when he was an undergraduate at Reed College under the mentorship of David DeSante (Founder of the Institute for Bird Populations). He then went on to University of New Mexico to earn a Master’s Degree and PhD followed by post-doctoral research on grassland birds at Colorado State University. He became a faculty member in the Wildlife Department at Humboldt State University in 1991 and taught there for 21 years. His research focused on songbird ecology, demography, habitat selection, and conservation working with a variety of species including Greater Sage-grouse, Golden Eagles, Northern Spotted Owls, and small mammals. He has authored more than 75 scientific papers and technical reports on wildlife research and natural resource conservation and management and was the lead editor of a monograph entitled “The effects of habitat fragmentation on birds in western landscapes: contrasts with paradigms from the eastern United States”. From 2011-2014 he was a member of the Independent Science Review Panel that reviewed the Bay Delta Conservation Plan. In addition to his role as Science Director at the Bird Conservancy, he currently teaches a course in the department of Fish, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology at Colorado State University.
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Nancy Gobris, Biologist/Banding Coordinator, Education
Nancy received a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology and Environmental Science from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and a master’s in wildlife and forest resources from the University of Georgia, where she studied Bachman’s Sparrow. She worked as a field biologist on a variety of forest bird research projects for the University of Georgia, the U.S. Forest Service and Tall Timbers Research Station in Florida through 2000. She then fled the extreme heat of the Southeast for the cool mountains of Colorado, joining the Bird Conservancy in 2001. She worked in monitoring and special projects, running transects, conducting research on cavity-nesting birds and operating banding stations. Nancy began banding birds on the Georgia coast in 1992 and has been banding for the Bird Conservancy since 2002. She coordinates our migration banding operations and manages the banding permit.
Adam Green, Biometrician, Science
Adam received a Bachelor’s Degree in Wildlife Biology from Murray State University and a master’s in biology from the University of Arkansas. He spent two years at the USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center working on adaptive management of water drawdown impoundments for waterbirds on National Wildlife Refuges. While there, he developed an interest in quantitative methods to inform wildlife management decisions, pursuing this further while completing a Ph.D. in fish, wildlife and conservation biology at Colorado State University. His career focus has been on better understanding bird populations and their conservation with two postdoctoral fellowships on the development of an adaptive harvest management framework for northern bobwhite at Mississippi State University and the impacts of oil and gas development on greater sage-grouse in Wyoming at Colorado State University and USGS.
Kelsea Holloway, Private Lands Wildlife Biologist (Wetland Specialist), Stewardship
Kelsea, a native to Idaho, received her Bachelor’s Degree in Wildlife Resources from the University of Idaho in 2013. During her years as an undergrad she assisted with prairie song bird studies and pygmy rabbit habitat studies. In 2014 she moved to Minnesota to assist the Natural Resources Conservation Service with the Wetland Reserve Program (WRP). After almost 2 years in Minnesota, Kelsea joined the Bird Conservancy team in Colorado. She now assists multiple counties in northeast Colorado with WRP management.
(970)356-8097 Ext. 109
Becky Jones, Private Lands Wildlife Biologist (Steamboat Springs, CO), Stewardship
Becky received her Bachelor’s Degree in Wildlife Biology from Colorado State University. After graduating, she worked for the U.S. Forest Service on the Routt National Forest for 12 years doing habitat work for a variety of species, from elk to boreal toads. At the same time, she has been working with Colorado Parks and Wildlife for 10 years assisting with Greater Sage-Grouse monitoring. Becky has partnered with various nonprofits in northwest Colorado to promote environmental education and joined the Bird Conservancy in January 2015 as a private lands wildlife biologist. Becky provides technical resources for private landowners and land managers to incorporate wildlife management into their conservation efforts utilizing Farm Bill and other programs. She works out of the Steamboat Springs NRCS field office.
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Kristina Kline, Private Lands Wildlife Biologist (Durango, CO), Stewardship
A Colorado native, Kristina received her Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Biology from Fort Lewis College in 2010. Shortly after, she worked as an environmental biologist for a private company conducting avian surveys and threatened and endangered species surveys in SW Colorado. Along the way, she assisted with the Colorado Breeding Bird Atlas II developing habitat suitability maps for boreal and flammulated owls, volunteered with Colorado Parks and Wildlife working on black bear-human conflicts, and became a naturalist leading students on nature hikes. Kristina has also worked on water conservation projects as a GIS/GPS technician. After finishing her Master’s Degree in Forest-Wildlife Ecology at Oregon State University in 2016, she is back in SW Colorado working with partners and landowners out of the Durango NRCS office to incorporate wildlife habitat conservation projects on private lands. In her free time, she enjoys birding, hiking, snowboarding, and hanging with her dogs.
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Wendy Lanier, Spotted Owl Project Leader, Science
Wendy received her Bachelor’s Degree in Ecology, Evolution and Organismal Biology from Vanderbilt University. She became passionate about research with conservation applications while conducting avian field work in California and Colorado. This passion led her to Colorado State University, where she received her Master’s Degree in Wildlife Biology in 2015. Briefly leaving the avian world, her thesis focused on the effects of introduced greenback cutthroat trout on boreal toad recruitment. Wendy is currently applying her knowledge of population biology, ecological modeling and conservation biology to monitor the threatened Mexican Spotted Owl in Arizona and New Mexico.
Greg Levandoski, Habitat Program Manager, International
After receiving a Bachelor’s Degree in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the University of New Hampshire in 1996, Greg promptly fell in love with avian field research. He has worked on a variety of research projects ranging from monitoring nesting alcids in the Bering Sea to counting migrating raptors along western ridgelines and chasing warblers through Caribbean thorn forests. However, most of his work has been in monitoring populations of passerines in the western U.S. The search for a broad base of experience to understand avian conservation needs led him to work in 15 U.S. states (10 western), three Mexican states and Jamaica. Greg is working on a broad-scale project throughout northern Mexico that aims to better understand the distribution and abundance of wintering birds in Chihuahuan Desert grasslands.
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Sonja Macys, Development Director
Sonja’s passion for birds and bird conservation began on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula where she landed a position with the Mexican national non-profit organization Pronatura right after college. She spent nearly a decade working with them on environmental education programs focusing on migratory birds, marine turtles, land conservation and economic development in the Peninsula’s coastal and inland Biosphere Reserves. While there she “commuted” between the Yucatan Peninsula and Fort Collins, completing her Master’s Degree at Colorado State University. A love for the non-profit sector led her to pursue a certificate in non-profit leadership and management which was quickly applied to her position of Executive Director at the Tucson Audubon Society. Sonja comes to Bird Conservancy of the Rockies most recently from Yampatika, an environmental education non-profit in Steamboat Springs where she served as Executive Director for nearly eight years. She is a self-proclaimed “organizational development nerd” who loves helping non-profit organizations be their most effective and sustainable selves. In her role as Development Director she works with Bird Conservancy’s Board, Staff and Volunteers to ensure the organization’s financial viability for the long haul. It is all about the birds, after all.
Peggy Marston, Senior Grant Accountant
Peggy received her Bachelor’s degree from California State University-Sacramento in Accounting. She has over 30 years experience as an accountant and auditor in a variety of organizations including non-profit, government and for-profit. In her spare time she enjoys the Colorado outdoors, her grandchildren and volunteering working with the youth ages 8-11.
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Maryanne Murphy, Chief Administrative Officer
Maryanne is a certified public accountant with nearly 30 years of experience, including six as controller at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. During her career, Maryanne has earned a reputation for her incredible attention to detail and ability to streamline organizations and processes. She earned her Bachelor of Science in accounting from Drexel University in Philadelphia. In her leisure time, Maryanne enjoys walking tours of foreign lands and has explored Zambia, Morocco and Turkey on foot; the theater and recreational softball.
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Valerie Marshall, Controller, Administration
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Alexandra Mayes, Outreach Coordinator
Alexandra grew up in Missouri exploring the woods, creeks and fields that surround her hometown. After receiving a Bachelor’s Degree in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the University of Central Missouri in 2011, she moved to the San Francisco Bay Area to complete an environmental education internship and discovered the awesomeness that is birding. Since then, she has worked a variety of education and bird research jobs across the country. Alexandra joined the Bird Conservancy in the summer of 2014 to conduct education programs in the Nebraska panhandle.
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Meredith McBurney, Biologist/Bander, Education
Meredith made her decision to make conserving birds and their habitats her second career in 1997 when she held a warbler in the hand for the first time while volunteering for Earthwatch in Monteverde, Costa Rica. Returning to Colorado, she took Hugh and Urling Kingery’s beginning birder class, obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Zoology from Colorado State University, and learned her banding skills from the many excellent banders who preceded her as the bander at the Barr Lake station. She has worked for the Bird Conservancy since 2004, and bands in the spring at Chatfield and the fall at Barr Lake. She loves the hands-on experience of banding, and she loves sharing that experience with the hundreds of kids and adults who visit the banding stations every year.
Matthew McLaren, IMBCR Coordinator/Biologist, Science
Matthew joined the Bird Conservancy in 2010 and works on the bird monitoring program. After graduating from the University of Colorado with a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology and Environmental Science, Matthew spent five years conducting field work throughout Alaska. Since then he has worked on several projects in Colorado and Wyoming, including studying Mountain Plover nest success and habitat use in Wyoming. He is based in the Fort Collins office.
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Sherry Nickolaus, Field Trips Coordinator
Sherry grew up with a love for all things wild, leading her to acquire a Bachelor’s Degree in Wildlife Science from the University of Washington and a Master’s Degree in Conservation Biology from Miami University. Working with animals and children has always been a passion and she firmly believes children are our future and our hope. Sherry looks forward to sharing her enthusiasm and helping the community make a personal connection with the natural world through field trips at our Environmental Learning Center at Barr Lake. When not working, she spends her time with her family playing, gardening, reading and enjoying the outdoors.
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Arvind Panjabi, International Director, International
Before coming to the Bird Conservancy in 2000, Arvind worked on bird conservation projects from Alaska to Panama. He managed Bird Conservancy’s Black Hills bird monitoring project through 2005 and published several informative reports on the avifauna of this unique region. He works closely with Partners in Flight, manages the PIF Species Assessment Database, and was instrumental in applying the PIF assessment process to the Mexican avifauna, in conjunction with federal and NGO partners in Mexico. In 2005, he launched the Bird Conservancy’s International program to build a permanent bridge for bird conservation throughout the Americas. He is involved in several cooperative projects in Mexico in Chihuahuan grasslands, western Mexico and the Sierra Madre Oriental. Arvind has a Bachelor’s Degree in Wildlife Biology from the University of Vermont (1993) and a Master’s Degree in Wildlife Biology from Louisiana State University (1999).
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David Pavlacky, Biometrician, Science
A Colorado native, David received a Bachelor’s Degree in Wildlife Biology from Colorado State University (1995) and a Master’s Degree in Zoology and Physiology from the University of Wyoming (2000). He earned a doctorate in Zoology from the University of Queensland, Australia (2008), where he studied landscape genetics and ecology of rainforest birds. David first worked for the Bird Conservancy as a field technician in 1995, and he rejoined the Bird Conservancy in April 2008 to work on the spatial ecology of playa wetlands in eastern Colorado and western Nebraska. His research interests include quantitative methods for the distribution and abundance of wildlife and landscape ecology of forest birds.
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Laura Quattrini, Stewardship Program Manager, Stewardship
Laura obtained a Bachelor’s in wildlife biology from Ohio University with an environmental studies certificate. She has assisted with numerous avian research projects with organizations including Whitefish Point Bird Observatory, Carnegie Museum of Natural History / Powdermill Biological Reserve, HawkWatch International, Southern Sierra Research Station and Humboldt State University. She has higher education teaching experience and was an Americorps VISTA organizing outreach efforts with landowners in southeast Ohio.
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Amber Schiltz, Nebraska Wildlife Education Coordinator
Growing up in Southeast Nebraska, Amber spent much of her childhood camping, exploring and enjoying nature and the outdoors with her family. Eventually she received her Bachelor’s Degree in Fisheries and Wildlife from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. During college, she discovered her love of sharing a passion for nature with others through volunteering in environmental education. These experiences led to working for different agencies throughout Nebraska. She joined Bird Conservancy as the Nebraska Wildlife Education Coordinator in 2016, and reaches the entire Nebraska Panhandle with education programs, field trips and events throughout the year.
Allison Shaw, GIS and Data Manager, International
Allison is originally from Ann Arbor, Michigan. She obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology from Grinnell College and a Master’s Degree in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from Iowa State University. She has worked on forest and wetland conservation projects across the United States and Central America for The Nature Conservancy, National Park Service, Colorado Natural Heritage Program, Peace Corps Guatemala and others. She joined the Bird Conservancy in the fall of 2014 to assist the International team with data and project management.
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Matt Smith, Citizen Science Coordinator, Science
Matt earned his Bachelor’s Degree in environmental science from the University of South Florida, and began work as a seasonal field technician with Audubon Florida while still in school. During that time he assisted with a variety of research and conservation projects focused mainly on colonial waterbirds and shorebirds, such as the reddish egret and American Oystercatcher. He spent the summer of 2011 as whitewater guide on the Arkansas River, and has been plotting to return to Colorado ever since. Prior to joining the Bird Conservancy of the Rockies, Matt was managing a bald eagle nest monitoring program for the Audubon Center for Birds of Prey. Matt is an avid outdoorsman and a licensed falconer.
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Larry Snyder, Landowner Outreach Biologist, Stewardship
A lifelong resident of Kimball, Nebraska, Larry received an Associate Degree in Production Agriculture from Northeastern Junior College in 1986. He has more than three decades of experience in livestock and dry land crop production in the southern Nebraska Panhandle. An avid outdoorsman with an eye for watching wildlife, Larry began conducting special species surveys in 2002 with the Nebraska Prairie Partners as a seasonal field technician. Now as a full-time Landowner Outreach Biologist, Larry is responsible for implementing the Mountain Plover nest protection program and wildlife escape ladder project, and he is involved in the Nebraska Prairie Partners Education and Outreach programs. Larry continues to help conduct special species surveys and the implementation process of playa restoration projects in the southern panhandle.
Rob Sparks, Research Biologist/GIS Manager, Science
Rob found an appreciation for nature at a young age growing up in the forests of Africa and South America. He received a Bachelor’s Degree in Botany from Miami University and a Geo-Spatial Science certificate from Colorado State University. After college, he hiked the Appalachian Trail and traveled to Costa Rica to work on conservation projects. His research focuses on developing hierarchical models to estimate species habitat relationships and predict distribution. Rob also has an interest in understanding bird migration routes and has analyzed Black Swift, Western Tanager and Swainson’s Thrush geolocator datasets. He’s currently working with Chestnut-collared Longspur geolocators. In addition, he leads the Eastern-Screech Owl citizen science program to estimate occupancy dynamics.
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Erin Strasser, Biologist, International
Erin received her Bachelor’s Degree in Zoology from Northern Arizona University where she studied Pinyon Jay behavioral ecology. In 2010, she earned her master’s in raptor biology from Boise State University, investigating the impacts of human disturbance on American Kestrel stress physiology and reproductive abandonment. Her passion for research and avian conservation has led her to study birds in several Western states, as well as Belize and Honduras. She is interested in how anthropogenic change impacts breeding bird behavior and physiology, and the overwintering ecology of migrants. Erin is involved with the Bird Conservancy’s Chihuahuan Desert grasslands project aimed at understanding overwintering survival and habitat use of Baird’s and Grasshopper Sparrows.
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Alex Van Boer, GIS Biologist, Science
Growing up far from Colorado on the East End of Long Island, Alex began birding when he was only six years old. He graduated from Bowdoin College in Maine with a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology and has spent the last several years working field jobs in conservation and ecological research, including a summer surveying saltmarsh birds for the University of Connecticut. He started at the Bird Conservancy as a data proofing technician and GIS volunteer, and joined as a full-time staff member in 2016. Alex enjoys the outdoors during all seasons and writes and performs music in his free time.
Nick Van Lanen, Biologist, Science
A Wisconsin native, Nick graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2002 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Wildlife Ecology. Since 2001 he has studied birds in eight states. These projects investigated a range of topics including breeding, stop-over, migratory and wintering behavior of songbirds, raptors and gamebirds. Nick also spent 18 months as an interpretive naturalist on the Georgia coast. Despite enjoying birding and kayaking for a living, he realized that conducting research aimed at conserving birds was his true passion. He returned to school and in 2010 received a Master’s Degree from Colorado State University for his research investigating the potential competitive interaction between Northern Spotted and Barred Owls. After graduate school Nick immediately started working for the Bird Conservancy as the Wyoming field crew leader. Now a full-time biologist, Nick assists with data analyses, report writing and publications.
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Chris White, Director of Science Operations and IMBCR Coordinator, Science
After graduating from Arizona State University in 2002 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology, Chris volunteered at Liberty Wildlife, an avian rehabilitation facility in Arizona, and worked occasional field jobs. After moving to Fort Collins, Colorado, he began working for the Bird Conservancy as a data entry technician in the fall of 2006. He now works planning and conducting field work and is the regional monitoring coordinator on the Bird Conservancy’s Science team.
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Jennifer Watson, Education Program Manager
Born and raised in Colorado, Jennifer graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Colorado in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology in 2015. While there, she gained extensive knowledge of various biological fields including animal behavior, ecology, and conservation, as well as field techniques at CU’s Mountain Research Station. An experienced hiker and camper, she initially joined the Bird Conservancy’s team as a volunteer to pursue her interests in environmental education and put her passion and skills for the outdoors to work. Jennifer serves as the education team’s primary instructor during programs.
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Brittany Woiderski, Biologist, Science
A Michigan native, Brittany earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Geography from Western Michigan University in 2006. She then moved west to Yosemite National Park where she spent six years with the National Park Service helping to develop riparian and meadow health metrics for the park’s Visitor Use and Impact Monitoring Program. After moving to Colorado in 2012, Brittany wasted no time in volunteering for Bird Conservancy’s Science Team. In 2013, she came on board as a point count technician with the Northern Great Plains crew and served as the assistant crew leader in Colorado for 2 years. She now leads the IMBCR effort in the Southern Great Plains.
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Ty Woodward, Private Lands Wildlife Biologist, Stewardship
Born and raised in southeast Colorado, Tyrel earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Biology from Colorado College in 2008. He studied lesser prairie chicken habitat on Conservation Reserve Program enrolled land in southeast Colorado and southwest Kansas, and graduated with his Master’s Degree from Colorado State University-Pueblo in 2012. He has worked for the Colorado Parks and Wildlife as a wildlife conservation technician, aquatic conservation technician, and forest habitat technician. He has worked with wildlife species ranging from Arkansas darters and New Mexico jumping mouse to Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep, from the plains to the highest peaks. Ty believes strongly in habitat conservation; his forest restoration work has taken place across the state of Colorado. When not working he enjoys hiking, camping, hunting, and fishing.
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Erin Youngberg, Biologist, International
Erin found her way to the Bird Conservancy as a volunteer intern for the Bald Eagle Watch Program in January 2010. A bird lover from a very young age, she jumped at the chance to get involved with such a great organization. She was then hired as a seasonal field technician for the International team’s grassland nest productivity study at Soapstone Prairie Natural Area during the 2010 summer season. When she wasn’t observing baby birds, she was performing regularly with her bluegrass band, Finders and Youngberg. Originally from Jackson, Wyoming, Erin graduated with her Bachelor’s Degree in Wildlife Biology from Colorado State University in 2009. She is extremely interested in conserving habitats for our birds and is excited to be lending her skills to the Bird Conservancy.
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