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. If you are interested in participating in our bird conservation work, please visit our employment, internships or volunteer pages.
To email a staff member, simply click on their name.
Tammy VerCauteren, Executive Director (Fort Collins, CO)
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. Tammy serves as the NABCI Human Dimensions Subcommittee Chair, as well as Chair of the Playa Lakes Joint Venture Management Board and Co-Chair of the Northern Great Plains Joint Venture Management Board. 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.
Nannette Archuleta, Grant Accountant (Brighton, CO)
Nannette joined Bird Conservancy’s Accounting team in the spring of 2015. Raised in the north metro Denver area, she 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 bulldogs.
(303) 659-4348 x13
Jenny Berven, Senior Program Manager (Fort Collins, CO)
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 Bird Conservancy in 2009.
(970) 482-1707 x26
William Bevil, Communications Director (Fort Collins, CO)
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 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. 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.
(970) 482-1707 x30
Jennifer Blakesley, Senior Scientist- Special Species Lead (Fort Collins, CO)
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 worked for the Bird Conservancy as a Biometrician from 2006-2013 and was among a small team that developed the Integrated Monitoring in Bird Conservation Regions program. Jennifer is the project leader of a study monitoring site occupancy by Mexican Spotted Owls throughout the US Forest Service Southwestern Region (2013-present).
(970) 482-1707 x48
Delanie Bruce, Nebraska Wildlife Education Coordinator (Scottsbluff, NE)
An eastern Nebraska native, Delanie received a Bachelor’s Degree in Fisheries and Wildlife from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and a Master’s Degree in Environmental Education from Goshen College. Delanie’s experience as an environmental educator has taken her from state parks in eastern Nebraska and Indiana to schools in the Bahamas to an outdoors camp in Michigan to a sustainability non-profit in Nevada, to now with the Bird Conservancy in western Nebraska. As an avid outdoor enthusiast, Delanie loves to share her passion for hiking, traveling, reptiles, amphibians, and birds with friends, family, and anyone else she encounters. When not working, she enjoys reading, skydiving, searching for rattlesnakes, and snuggling with her cat, Bentley.
Rita Campbell, Accounting Manager (Brighton, CO)
Rita received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Accounting from Metropolitan State University in Denver, CO. Since graduating in 2012 she has gained experience in multiple types of industries focusing in on nonprofits in 2015 because she enjoys working for companies that have a larger picture in mind for the greater purpose. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family and 4 dogs, trying to master the art of fishing and seeing more of the countryside.
(303) 659-4348 x14
Eric Chabot, GIS Biologist (Fort Collins, CO)
Eric Chabot grew up in the woods of Vermont, and earned a BA in economics from Vassar College in 2008. After graduating, he began a career focused in natural resources, working in various conservation-related fields until specializing in ornithology and GIS. His previous research focus was on Golden Eagles in the Great Basin. Eric loves spending time outside and is an avid rock climber, backcountry skier and bow hunter.
Tyler Cash, Camp and Community Coordinator (Brighton, CO)
Tyler grew up in sunny southern California where he spent most of his time outside and in the ocean. He graduated from the University of California Santa Cruz with a Bachelors degree in Environmental Studies, where he gained extensive knowledge in natural history. Tyler is extremely excited to share his knowledge and love of birds and the outdoors.
(303) 659-4348 x49
Lauren Connell, Stewardship Director (Fort Collins, CO)
Lauren earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Science (2007) and a Master’s Degree in Geographic Information Science (2009) from Florida State University, and a Master’s Degree in Rangeland Ecology and Watershed Management from the University of Wyoming (2018). Lauren has professional experience as a Hydrogeologist, Rangeland Ecologist, and Wildlife Biologist. She enjoys hiking, backpacking, hunting, cross-country skiing, and margaritas.
(970) 482-1707 x50
Trent Delehanty, Private Lands Wildlife Biologist (Rocky Ford, CO)
A native of Wisconsin, Trent received his bachelor degree in Wildlife Ecology- Research and Management from the University of Wisconsin- Stevens Point in the fall of 2016. He then moved to the high plains of southeast Colorado to study and track lesser prairie chickens with Colorado Parks and Wildlife and Kansas State University from the spring of 2017 to the end of 2019. Passionate about habitat, he is very excited to work with landowners and partners creating quality habitat in the area he has called home these past few years.
(719) 254-7672 ext. 3022
Elinda Dennis, Chief Administrative Officer (Brighton, CO)
Elinda earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Business/Accounting from the University of Phoenix. Elinda has over 30 years of experience in accounting/finance with 16 years as a senior finance executive in the Senior Living and Hospitality Industries. She is a native of Missouri where she grew up on a small cattle ranch. Elinda loves the outdoors and in her spare time enjoys hiking mountain trails and spending time with her husband in their mountain retreat in Estes Park, Colorado.
(303) 659-4348 x 46
Sarah Doxon, Early Childhood and Family Coordinator (Brighton, CO)
Growing up as a free-range child in the wilds of rural Iowa, Sarah’s connection with nature was fostered from an early age. This connection prompted her to earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Animal Ecology from Iowa State University (2011) and then a Master’s Degree in Conservation Biology from Miami University (2017). Realizing that most children no longer have the opportunity to connect with nature in safe, meaningful ways, and that these early experiences help to shape conservation-minded adults, she has made it her mission to innovate ways to bring children and nature back together. When not teaching, Sarah can be found hiking, reading, or cooking with her husband.
Angela Dwyer, Habitat Coordinator (Fort Collins, CO)
A Nebraska native and raised in Texas, Angela moved to Colorado in 2010 and worked for Audubon Rockies on habitat restoration and at Colorado State University on several GIS vegetation mapping projects before joining Bird Conservancy in 2012. She studied waterbirds 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. Prior to moving to Colorado, she 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.
(970) 482-1707 x17
Chelsea Forehead, Private Lands Wildlife Biologist (Chadron, CO)
Chelsea was born, raised, and educated in the Cornhusker State. She earned her B.A. with majors in Spanish, Anthropology, and Environmental Studies at the University of Nebraska Lincoln. A strong desire to combine her passion for prairies and fascination with birds led her to pursue an M.S. in Biology at the University of Nebraska Omaha. While studying at UNO she investigated the effects of management on the phenology of forbs and the nest parasitism of grassland songbirds in patch-burn managed prairies. After earning her M.S. she completed a conservation fellowship, during which she learned about prairie habitat management and investigated challenges to conservation on working lands. Now based in Chadron, NE, she works with partner organizations and private landowners to facilitate habitat improvement on private lands. In her free time, she enjoys birding and making jewelry.
(308) 432-4616 x 3
Anna Greenberg, Private Lands Wildlife Biologist (Alamosa, CO)
Growing up in Chicago, IL, Anna spent her early days searching for worms, frogs, and ducks. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies from the University of Pittsburgh, where she worked on campus sustainability advocacy projects. After working as an outdoor educator in California and a member of the Aspen Skiing Company sustainability team in Colorado, Anna earned Master’s degrees in Ecosystem Science and Management, and Environmental Policy and Planning from the University of Michigan. Anna is excited that her work with the Bird Conservancy operates in the overlap between “doing” science and communicating science, as she is very interested in how land and wildlife conservation issues are addressed from a management standpoint and understood by surrounding communities. You can likely find Anna climbing or snowboarding while she waits for the climbing weather to return.
Annie Hawkinson, Avian Ecologist (Fort Collins, CO)
Annie grew up in Minnesota and earned a Bachelor’s degree in Biology at the University of Minnesota. During and after the completion of her degree, a love of birds led her to the neotropics where she worked at macaw research centers and traveled. After being abroad, she completed her Master’s degree in Natural Resources Science and Management at the University of Minnesota. For her thesis she studied phenology and the effect of prescribed fire on brushland bird communities. Additionally, Annie has assisted with studies on Northern Saw-whet Owls, secretive marsh birds, and breeding birds in boreal forests. Through her current position, Annie works in the Chihuahuan Desert grasslands to monitor overwintering grassland birds. She enjoys hiking, textile crafts, and visiting her second home, Colombia.
(970) 482-1707 x23
Kelsea Holloway, Private Lands Wildlife Biologist (Greeley, CO)
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 songbird 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.
Kristina Kline, Private Lands Wildlife Biologist (Durango, CO)
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 to incorporate wildlife habitat conservation projects on private lands. In her free time, she enjoys birding, hiking, snowboarding, and hanging with her dogs.
(970) 259-3289 x3373
Chris Latimer, Research Director (Fort Collins, CO)
Chris grew up in Virginia where he received his B.S. & M.S. Fisheries and Wildlife Science at Virginia Tech. Chris completed his doctorate in Wildlife Ecology, University of Wisconsin-Madison and then spent 4 years as a Landscape Ecologist at TNC, Colorado. Chris has a strong interest in quantitative ecology and leveraging data to inform conservation delivery. In his spare time, Chris enjoys getting outdoors with his family hiking, camping, fly-fishing and skiing, and brewing beer.
(970) 482-1707 x 31
Justin Lambert, Private Lands Wildlife Biologist (Springfield, CO)
Since receiving a bachelor’s degree from College of Charleston in 2002, Justin’s career has been a winding path throughout South Carolina, Indiana, New York City, Montana, Utah and Colorado. In 2018, he returned to school where he received four technical certificates in Wildlife Technology, Forestry, Natural Resources and GIS from Front Range Community College in Fort Collins, Colorado. He’s conducted rangeland health assessments in Dinosaur National Monument and Black Canyon of the Gunnison for Colorado State University and the National Park Service. He worked for the Montana Natural Heritage Program conducting ecological monitoring in eastern Montana. Additional experience includes wildlife research of bighorn sheep, pronghorn, mule deer and breeding bird populations throughout Northern Colorado.
(719) 523-6251 ext. 3028
Quresh Latif, Biometrician (Fort Collins, CO)
Born and raised in California, Quresh earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Wildlife, Fisheries, & Conservation Biology from U.C. Davis, and his Ph.D. in Ecology, Evolution, and Organismal Biology from U.C. Riverside. He developed his Ph.D. research in collaboration with Point Blue’s Eastern Sierra Riparian Songbird Monitoring Program, wherein he combined experimental and analytical approaches to study nest site selection and nest predation for Yellow Warbler along Mono Lake tributaries. After receiving his Ph.D., Quresh further developed his analytical skills and experience with monitoring to inform conservation as post-doc with the Center for Conservation Biology (U.C. Riverside, 2009-2011) and with the Rocky Mountain Research Station (U.S.F.S., 2011-2018). He joined Bird Conservancy in 2018 as a biometrician with a focus on forest birds and working with forest management partners. He is relishing the opportunity to work with a large monitoring dataset (IMBCR) and Bird Conservancy’s science team to inform forest management.
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Brittany Leslie, Program Manager (Fort Collins, CO)
A Northern Michigan native, Brittany earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Geography, Environmental Analysis & Resource Management from Western Michigan University (2006). From there, she worked for the National Park Service in Yosemite, where she used geospatial techniques to monitor visitor use and grazing impacts to the park’s meadows and riverbanks. It was there that she discovered the world of birding and spent most weekends exploring Yosemite and the Sierra foothills. She came to volunteer for Bird Conservancy as a GIS technician in 2012 and joined the Science Team as a Biologist for the IMBCR Program where she managed the monitoring effort in the Southern Great Plains. Brittany loves being outside with her family and in her spare time enjoys gardening, hunting, camping, and sewing.
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Jennifer Lutze, Private Lands Wildlife Biologist (Sturgis, SD)
Jenn grew up in California and attended University of California, Davis where she focused on animal husbandry (with emphasis on sheep). She later transferred to University of Alaska, Fairbanks where she studied the feasibility, cost-effectiveness and meat quality of feeding reindeer a wheatgrass hay during the fall. She then attended South Dakota State University and completed her Master’s degree in August 2018 in Rangeland Management, studying grassland bird response to winter-patch grazing. In her role at Bird Conservancy, Jenn focuses on creating strong relationships with ranchers and private landowners to create healthier rangelands while simultaneously helping to increase grassland bird populations. She enjoys hunting and camping with her Chesapeake Bay Retriever, Murphy.
Sofia Prado-Irwin, Communications Assistant (Brighton, CO)
Sofia grew up in Denver, and has been studying biology since college. She received her BA from Barnard College where she studied immune mechanisms in honeybees, completed her MS at San Francisco State University where she studied the ecology of host-associated skin microbiomes in California salamanders, and will soon finish her PhD at Harvard University where she is studying the evolution and ecology of Central American Anolis lizards. She is passionate about research, conservation, education, and science communication, and is excited to branch out into her communications role here at Bird Conservancy of the Rockies. She is a herpetologist by training, but has become very interested in natural history of all kinds, and is now an avid birder as well. Her spare time is often spent enjoying the outdoors and taking photos of every critter she can find, trying new recipes in the kitchen, or working on her latest crochet project.
Kelsey Mazur, Outreach and Volunteer Coordinator (Brighton, CO)
Kelsey has served as an educator and a coordinator for a variety of nature-based experiential education programs. She’s gained professional experience building both citizen science and residential learning programs as well as inquiry-based family programs and summer camps. Kelsey loves working with students, volunteers, and the public to share her love for birds, nature, and all things wild. Kelsey is originally from Ohio where she attended Wittenberg University and earned a degree in history through studying pre-modern interpretations of the natural world.
(303) 659-4348 x10
Neal Martorelli, Private Lands Wildlife Biologist (Gillette, WY)
An East Coast transplant, Neal grew up in New Jersey and attended the University of Vermont, where he received a Bachelor’s Degree in Wildlife Biology in 2009. Since 2012, he has lived and worked throughout the Northern Great Plains, eventually earning a Master’s Degree in 2017 in Wildlife Science from South Dakota State University with a focus on upland nesting waterfowl and gamebird ecology. Based at the NRCS office in Gillette, WY, Neal serves private landowners and producers to promote habitat conservation efforts throughout Northeastern Wyoming. In his free time, he enjoys spending time outdoors with his family.
Dave McNitt, Private Lands Wildlife Biologist (Woodland Park, CO)
Dave grew up on the waters of the Chesapeake Bay in Annapolis, Maryland. He earned a Bachelor’s degree in Wildlife Science from Paul Smith’s College in the Adirondack Mountains of New York and a Master’s Degree in Wildlife Conservation from Virginia Tech. Dave began his career researching the effects of timber harvest on jaguars and other felids in western Belize, then went on to study the ecology of bobcats, black bears, and coyotes in the Appalachian Mountains of Virginia. Most recently, Dave has worked for the Bureau of Land Management in Colorado, working to conserve Mexican spotted owls, mountain plovers, pinyon jays, and a variety of other bird species. Outside of work, Dave enjoys cooking and exploring the backcountry on foot, bike, and skis.
Meredith McBurney, Biologist/Bander (Brighton, CO)
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. (303) 349-0245
Matthew McLaren, IMBCR Coordinator/Biologist (Fort Collins, CO)
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.
(970) 482-1707 x22
Katie Merewether, Private Lands Wildlife Biologist (Rocky Ford, CO)
Katie grew up in Eastern Colorado on her family’s cattle ranch. She received a Bachelor’s degree in Ecology and Biodiversity at the University of Denver, where she also discovered a love of birds. Since then, she has worked as a field technician across the Great Plains and Rocky Mountains, including on the Integrated Monitoring in Bird Conservation Regions program. On her time off, she enjoys reading with her cat, hiking, and birding.
(719) 254-7672 ext 3016
Kaitlyn Nafziger, Private Lands Wildlife Biologist (Clayton, NM)
A Pennsylvania native, Kaitlyn received a dual B.S. in Wildlife Biology and Earth & Environmental Science from Unity College in Maine (2015). During her time in college she spent her summers working as a rotating intern and an island supervisor for Project Puffin. After graduating she traveled across the country for seasonal jobs such as a loon technician for Biodiversity Research Institute in the Adirondacks, a research associate studying snowy plovers & least terns for the San Diego Zoo, a hunter survey technician for the University of Nebraska, a biological technician studying sea & shorebirds for US Fish & Wildlife at Monomoy NWR on Cape Cod, and as a soil conservation technician for the NRCS in Virginia. She is excited to combine her passion for birds and land conservation, working with landowners in Northeastern New Mexico to promote land-stewardship for wildlife conservation.
(575) 374-9461 x108
Sherry Nickolaus, Education Director (Brighton, CO)
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 thrives on sharing her enthusiasm and helping the community make a personal connection with birds and the natural world. When not working, she spends her time with her family playing, gardening, mini-farming, and enjoying the outdoors.
(303) 659-4348 x11
Bryan Nuse, Research Scientist (Athens, GA)
Bryan grew up in Atlanta, and is a quantitative ecologist with an interest in bridging the gap between statistical modeling and practical applications such as conservation management. He received his PhD in 2014 from the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources at the University of Georgia, then worked as a postdoc in the Georgia Cooperative Fish & Wildlife Research Unit. Although his dissertation work involved bird surveys in river corridors and coastal wetlands, Bryan’s recent focus has been on building integrated population models for herps: gopher tortoises, loggerhead sea turtles. As his goal was always to return to bird work, his most recent project (Adaptive Management for Red Knots and horseshoe crabs in Delaware Bay) has been a welcome change. And he is excited now to be coming back around to the kind of songbirds that led him toward ecology and conservation in the first place.
Arvind Panjabi, Avian Conservation Scientist (Fort Collins, CO)
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).
(970) 482-1707 x20
David Pavlacky, Biometrician (Fort Collins, CO)
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.
(970) 364-7341 x41
Joe Pettit, Development Director (Brighton, CO)
Joe is a development professional with experience spanning performing arts, conservation, climate change, foreign policy, political campaigns and urban horticulture. He grew up in eastern Nebraska and earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English from the University of Nebraska-Omaha. When not working, he can be found gardening, cycling, cooking, and, of course, birding.
(303) 659-4348 x12
Laura Quattrini, Habitat Coordinator (Fort Collins, CO)
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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Brandt Ryder, Chief Conservation Scientist (Fort Collins, CO)
Brandt earned a Bachelors of Wildlife Biology from Unity College in (1999) and then went on to get a Ph.D. from the University of Missouri-St. Louis in (2008). Brandt’s dissertation focused on the demography and social behavior of a tropical lekking birds. Prior to joining Bird Conservancy, Brandt worked for a decade as a research scientist for the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center focusing on the conservation and behavior of birds across their annual cycle. Brandt has published over 50 peer-reviewed papers on a diversity of topics including urban ecology, migration ecology, landscape ecology and behavioral ecology. Brandt enjoys the outdoors in his free time through hiking, running, and doing landscape and astrophotography.
970-482-1707 x 43
Jessie Reese, Habitat Coordinator (Fort Collins, CO)
Jessie grew up in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia and earned a B.S. in Biology from James Madison University and an M.S. in Biology from Virginia Commonwealth University. She has studied birds and their habitats since 2011, including several seasons with The Institute for Bird Populations. During her M.S., she developed conservation partnerships in Latin America while studying migratory connectivity. After graduating in 2017, she worked to restore healthy forests for priority bird species with the Natural Resources Conservation Service and the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources. Prior to joining Bird Conservancy, she worked with the Human Dimensions Branch of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Fort Collins, where she has enjoyed exploring Colorado’s mountains and plains through birding, backpacking, and climbing.
(970) 482-1707 x29
Tayler Scherr, Private Lands Wildlife Biologist (Glendive, MT)
Originally from Mandan, ND, Tayler moved out west and earned her bachelor’s degree in Wildlife Biology at the University of Montana in 2015. Her passion for birds was born while working for the MT Cooperative Wildlife Research Unit in Arizona, but her fieldwork experiences in western Wyoming really sparked her interest in applied ecology and a collaborative approach to research and conservation. Tayler is particularly interested in how human alteration affects wildlife and seeing science applied for the sake of management and conservation. She is currently working on completing her master’s degree in Zoology & Physiology at the University of Wyoming, examining the effects of temperature and habitat loss on the reproductive fitness and behavior of sagebrush-obligate songbirds. She is based in Glendive, Montana, where she works with agricultural producers and private landowners to build partnerships and conserve habitat for wildlife. When not working, she enjoys any activity that gets her outdoors, reading anything and everything, art, and spending time with her quirky adventure partner, her dog Quill.
(406) 377-5566 x3176
Allison Shaw, GIS and Data Manager (Fort Collins, CO)
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. Allison joined Bird Conservancy in the fall of 2014 to assist the International team with data and project management.
(970) 364-7318 x44
Matt Smith, Avian Ecologist (Fort Collins, CO)
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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Rob Sparks, Research Biologist/GIS Manager (Fort Collins, CO)
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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Anna Stearns, Private Lands Wildlife Biologist (Clayton, NM)
Anna Stearns spent the early years of her childhood in Nepal before her family moved back to the United States, after which she split her time between Colorado and Washington state. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Fish, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology at Colorado State University in 2014. Anna fell in love with birds while volunteering with wildlife rehabilitation centers across the Front Range. She joined Bird Conservancy as a volunteer in their Bald Eagle Watch program in 2014, and after graduating from CSU worked as an avian field technician on the Northern Great Plains crew for two field seasons. Anna went on to work as a wildlife biologist and NEPA specialist in Wyoming, Montana, and New Mexico, conducting wildlife surveys for sensitive species and monitoring nesting birds of prey such as bald and golden eagles and ferruginous hawks. In her free time, Anna enjoys exploring the outdoors with her dog, Daisy, and cuddling up at home with her cat, Shadow. She is excited to now work at Bird Conservancy as part of the Stewardship team in northeast New Mexico.
(575) 374-9461 x108
Erin Strasser, Full Annual Cycle Avian Ecologist (Fort Collins, CO)
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.
(970) 482-1707 x27
Marcella Tarantino, Private Lands Wildlife Biologist (Gunnison, CO)
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!
(970) 249-8407 x129
Jennifer Timmer, Research Scientist – Conservation Delivery Lead (Fort Collins, CO)
A Michigan native, Jennifer (Jen) graduated from Michigan State University in 2006 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Studies. She then worked on a variety of wildlife projects in several states to gain field experience and a better understanding of wildlife management and research. These projects led her to southern Iowa to track bobcats and to southwestern Colorado to track mountain lions. Jen returned to school to earn her Master’s in Wildlife Science at Texas Tech University where she estimated the population of Lesser Prairie-Chicken in Texas and created spatially explicit habitat models. She completed her PhD in Ecology at Colorado State University and incorporated sage-grouse and songbirds into range management models with input from a variety of stakeholders. Jen joined Bird Conservancy’s Science team in 2017. Her work focuses on engaging partners, developing tools and resources, and dissemenating information to guide conservation on-the-ground.
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Matt Webb, Avian Ecologist (Fort Collins, CO)
Matt was born and raised in Salida, CO. Around age 10, at odds with his preferences, his family moved to the ‘dull’ plains of Northern Colorado. To Matt’s surprise, he fell in love with the endless roll and incredible diversity of the shortgrass prairies. He later spent some time in Pittsburgh, PA, working at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, the American Bird Conservancy, and the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Wildlife Biology and a Master’s in Conservation Leadership, both received from Colorado State University. When not building automated radio telemetry stations, Matt enjoys mothing, photographing beetles, riding and fixing bicycles, turning over stones, and dragging his family outside at night to watch the International Space Station go by.
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Chris White, Conservation Delivery Lead (Fort Collins, CO)
Chris graduated from Arizona State University in 2002 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology. While volunteering at an avian rehabilitation facility in Scottsdale, AZ, Chris was smitten with birds. He conducted field work for the next few years, moving to Fort Collins, Colorado along the way. Chris was initially hired to work for Bird Conservancy as a data entry technician in the fall of 2006. Since then, Chris has worked is way up through the ranks, serving as a biologist, then IMBCR Coordinator, and finally to his current position where he plays a key role in science operations for the organization.
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Colin Woolley, Banding Coordinator (Brighton, CO)
Colin grew up in Oregon and fell in love with birds on family trips to Malhuer National Wildlife Refuge. He took his first field job in 2004 studying sagebrush shrub-steppe birds and has been working in avian monitoring and research ever since. This work has taken him across the U.S., Canada, and Central America. He received his Bachelor’s in Conservation Biology from Prescott College and his Master’s in Biology from University of Colorado, Denver. He partnered with Bird Conservancy of the Rockies for his Master’s thesis studying breeding ecology and habitat use of Mountain Plovers. He has been banding birds for over 10 years and loves to share this experience with others. He has a borderline-obsessive affinity for Spizella sparrows and Toxostoma thrashers. His other interests include hiking, traveling, auto mechanics, and starting (and occasionally finishing) overly-complicated board-games.
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Erin Youngberg, Community and Outreach Biologist (Fort Collins, CO)
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 Bird Conservancy of the Rockies.
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