Who we are
LOCAL ROOTS – GLOBAL PERSPECTIVE
Our partner groups are made up of locals: ranchers, sportsmen, farmers, property owners and business leaders that reflect the independent, conservative face of the Rocky Mountain West.
We know the region intimately. At the same time, our strategies are guided by the very best and latest sciences from leading researchers and academics in the fields of ecology, climatology and island biogeography.
PartnersBitter Root Land Trust – Hamilton, MT
Gavin H. Ricklefs, Executive Director gavin.ricklefs @ bitterrootlandtrust.org
Established in 1996
Region: Bitterroot Valley, Montana
The Conservation Fund – Sun Valley, ID www.conservationfund.org
Mark Elsbree, Vice President & Northwest Director melsbree @ mindspring.com
Gates Watson, Montana State Director gwatson @ conservationfund.org
Established in 1985
Five Valleys Land Trust – Missoula, MT
Amber Sherrill, Executive Director amber @fvlt.org
Established in 1972
Region: Southwest Montana – Clark Fork, Blackfoot, Mission, Bitterroot, and Rock Creek river valleys
Gallatin Valley Land Trust – Bozeman, MT
Penelope Pierce, Executive Director penelope @ gvlt.org
Established in 1990
Region: Montana headwaters of the Missouri and Upper Yellowstone Rivers
Inland NW Land Conservancy – Spokane, WA
Dave Schuab, Executive Director dschaub @ inlandnwland.org
Chris DeForest, Conservation Director cdeforest @ inlandnwland.org
Established in 1991
Region: five counties in eastern Washington (Spokane, Lincoln, Pend Oreille, Stevens, and Adams) and two counties in northern Idaho (Kootenai and Bonner)
Jackson Hole Land Trust – Jackson, WY
Laurie Andrews, Executive Director laurie @ jhlandtrust.org
Mindi Crabb, Green River Valley Program Director mindi @ jhlandtrust.org
Established in 1980
Region: Teton, Sublette and Fremont counties, Wyoming
The Nature Conservancy of Wyoming – Lander, WY
Paula Hunker, Assoc. State Director phunkar @ tnc.org
The Nature Conservancy of Idaho – Idaho Falls, ID
Toni Hardesty, State Director thardesty @ tnc.org
The Nature Conservancy of Montana – Bozeman, MT www.nature.org_montana
Jim Berkey, High Divide Headwaters Director jberkey @ tnc.org
Established in 1951
Region: state-wide chapters
Palouse Land Trust – Moscow, ID
Lovina Englund, Executive Director lovina @ palouselandtrust.org
Established in 1995
Region: Benewah, Clearwater, Idaho, Latah, Lewis, Nez Perce, Shoshone counties in Idaho; Whitman county, Washington
Prickly Pear Land Trust – Helena, MT www.pricklypearlt.org
Mary Hollow, Executive Director mary @ pricklypearlt.org
Established in 1995
Region: Lewis and Clark, Broadwater and Jefferson Counties in Montana.
RMEF MT – Mike Mueller, Sr. Lands Program Manager mmueller @ rmef.org
RMEF ID – Aaron Swift, Lands Program Manager a swift @ rmef.org
Established in 1984
Sagebrush Steppe Land Trust – Pocatello, ID
Matt Lucia, Executive Director matt_@ sagebrushlandtrust.org
Established in 2004
Region: Southeastern Idaho Counties of Bannock, Bear Lake, Bingham, Caribou, Franklin, Onieda, and Power
Teton Regional Land Trust – Driggs, ID
Joselin Matkins, Executive Director firstname.lastname@example.org
Established in 1990
Region: Upper Snake River Watershed in eastern Idaho
Wood River Land Trust – Hailey, ID
Scott Boettger, Executive Director sboettger @ woodriverlandtrust.org
Established in 1994
Region: Blaine, Butte, Camas, Custer, Elmore, Gooding, Jerome, Lincoln, Minidoka counties, Idaho
L to R — Kristin Troy, Chris DeForest, outgoing executive director Michael Whitfield, Heather Greene, incoming executive director Gary Burnett, Joselin Matkins, and Jim Owens. Not pictured: Brian Bean, Jim Berkey, Gary Tabor, and Karen Rice.
PRESIDENT Heather Greene – Development Director at Montana Wilderness Association
Heather Greene currently serves as the Development Director for Montana Wilderness Association, head-quartered in Helena. She was development director for Prickly Pear Land Trust in Helena from 2006-2016, and has been in the nonprofit sector for about 20 years. At MWA she oversees the Development Department and works to secure funding through private individuals, state and federal agencies, foundations and business partners for both campaign and general support to facilitate lasting protection for the expansion and enhancement of Montana’s wild places. She serves as the chair of the Helena Development Roundtable, as well as on the steering committee of the Helena Development Initiative. Both work in different ways to bolster collaborative fundraising throughout the community. Having been born and raised in Montana, her passion for its landscape and outdoor recreation is strong, and she ensures that she and her three children are outside enjoying the many year-round opportunities that are available.
SECRETARY Gary Tabor – Executive Director, Center for Large Landscape Conservation
Gary catalyzes forward progress in large landscape conservation, serving as Founder and Executive Director of the Center for Large Landscape Conservation. Drawing on over 30 years’ experience working on behalf of large scale conservation internationally as well as 12 years as a leader within the U.S. environmental philanthropic community, Gary guides CLLC with a vision grounded in both science and experience. A conservation scientist and wildlife veterinarian, Gary’s conservation achievements cross the globe, including the establishment of Kibale National Park in Uganda and pioneering the field of Conservation Medicine and Eco-Health. In the West, he co-designed the Western Governors’ Association Wildlife Corridors Initiative, and co-founded the Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative, the Roundtable of the Crown of the Continent, and the Practitioners’ Network for Large Landscape Conservation.
TREASURER Brian Bean, Co-founder of Lava Lake Land & Livestock
Brian Bean is a co-founder of the Lava Lake Institute and co-owner of Lava Lake Land & Livestock and Lava Lake Lamb in South Central Idaho. He and his wife Kathleen founded Lava Lake Ranch in 1999 with the purchase and consolidation of six historic sheep and cattle ranches with the intention of producing and marketing 100% grass-fed and finished lamb while protecting the natural characteristics of the landscape. Their conservation efforts in Idaho began with the donation of a 7,500-acre conservation easement to The Nature Conservancy in 2001.
Today, Brian is working with the Natural Resources Conservation Service and TNC to complete the 10th, 11th and 12th conservation easements on Lava Lake Ranch’s deeded lands. When closed, Lava Lake will have permanently protected more than 20,000 bio-diverse acres in the Pioneer Mountains – Craters of the Moon landscape in the High Divide region.
The Beans established the Lava Lake Institute for Science & Conservation in 2004, a non-profit organization that supports conservation research in the Pioneer—Craters area. The Institute currently serves as the fiscal sponsor for the Wood River Wolf Project, now in its eighth year; Lava Lake is one of several sheep producer members of this successful nonlethal predator control collaborative and Brian serves on the Project’s Steering Committee. Brian is also active in the Pioneers Alliance.
Brian brings 30 years of investment banking, institutional derivatives and asset management experience to the Board, and is a magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Pomona College, where he was a dual major in botany—molecular biochemistry and biophysics and in zoology. Brian was awarded his MBA by the Stanford Graduate School of Business, where he was a Miller Scholar. Before business school, Brian was a captain in the United States Marine Corps, having served with the 1st Marine Division.
Photo by Nancy Farese.
Jim Owens – Retired Foundation Program Officer
Jim Owens is a retired Senior Program Officer at the Brainerd Foundation, where he oversaw the foundation’s Place-based Conservation, Opportunity Fund, and Grassroots Fund grant programs. He worked with groups to help them understand the foundation’s funding programs and continues to enjoy sharing suggestions, campaign ideas, and strategies with activists in the region. During his years with the Brainerd Foundation, Jim traveled throughout the Northwest to better understand endangered ecosystems issues and to strengthen working relationships with stakeholders in the foundation’s Place-based focus areas.
Jim is a fourth generation Northwesterner whom the foundation lured back to Seattle from Washington D.C. in 1995 after working on the Ancient Forest and “takings” campaigns, including serving as Executive Director of the Smith River Alliance and the Western Ancient Forest Campaign, as well as Chief Strategist for the Alliance for Justice.
Kristin Troy – Salmon River Lodge and former Executive Director at Lemhi Regional Land Trust
Kristin served as Executive Director of LRLT since it’s inception in 2005 and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration with a degree in Management with an Entrepreneurial Emphasis from Boise State University. In addition to her duties and LRLT, Kristin serves on the Upper Salmon Basin Watershed Program Advisory Board and Technical Team, sits on the policy committee for the Idaho Coalition of Land Trusts and has advocated and testified in Washington D.C. for land trust issues. After spending 11 years in the outdoor recreation industry Kristin returned home to Salmon, where she and her husband, Mark, purchased Idaho Adventures, a Salmon based river rafting and fishing business. Currently Kristin serves on the board of directors from Steele Memorial Medical Center and coaches volleyball at Salmon Middle School.
Joselin Matkins – Executive Director at Teton Regional Land Trust
Joselin has a great history with land trusts in the west. She was named executive director at TRLT in March 2015 after several years as their Land Protection Director. Previously she served for five years as the Executive Director of Sagebrush Steppe Land Trust in Pocatello, Idaho, and as the president of the Idaho Coalition of Land Trusts (ICOLT) from 2009-2015.
Matkins received her undergraduate degree in Biology from the University of Colorado and worked as an ecologist at various field stations across the Southern Rockies. Matkins started her land trust journey as an intern with the Wood River Land Trust before returning to graduate school at Oregon State University. After graduate school, she worked for the Placer Land Trust in Northern California as the staff scientist and land manager before taking the Executive Director position at Sagebrush Steppe Land Trust. Matkins also worked as the Lemhi Regional Land Trust Conservation Easement Stewardship Consultant.
Matkins is an avid outdoor enthusiast and especially enjoys hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, and floating local rivers.
Karen Rice – Retired from the Bureau of Land Management in Idaho
Karen Rice is an Idaho Falls, Idaho native. Karen holds a BS in Fish and Wildlife Management from Montana State University. While attending college Karen worked on a Bureau of Land Management (BLM) fire crew. Following graduation Karen worked several temporary jobs for the Idaho Department of Fish and Game and BLM until she secured a permanent job with BLM in Idaho. In her BLM career Karen participated in fish and wildlife research, range and wildlife habitat management, stream surveys, and riparian surveys and management. Karen is widely recognized for her decades of leadership of the BLM’s Land and Water Conservation Fund program in the Upper Snake region. She held a variety of program oversight and management duties and retired as Associate District Manager of the BLM’s Idaho Falls District at the end of November 2015. Karen is married with a daughter and two step children.
Ex Officio Chris DeForest – Conservation Director, Inland Northwest Land Conservancy
Chris DeForest holds a B.A. in Economics and a Master of Forestry degree and MBA from Yale University. Some of his past experience includes evaluating federal land stewardship for the U.S. Forest Service, providing land-use policy and economic counsel to the University of Georgia School of Forest Resources, and working as a forest technician for the Inland Empire Paper Company. DeForest also served as an advisor to U.S. Senator Slade Gorton in Washington D.C. on budget, banking and tax issues. Raised in Seattle, DeForest spent childhood summer vacations at his family’s cabin on Lake Pend Oreille. His roots to Spokane are deep. His great-grandfather was principal at Lewis & Clark High School and he is related to Aubrey White.
Executive Director Gary Burnett, a long-time leader in the conservation field, is the Executive Director for the Heart of the Rockies Initiative. Gary started with the organization in November 2017, after Michael Whitfield retired. Gary comes to us from the Blackfoot Challenge, a well-respected model of community-based conservation in Montana and throughout the West.
Gary has 30 years of experience in natural resource management and nonprofit development. He has worked with and for public and private landowners/managers on land protection and stewardship; prescribed fire; and natural areas, wildlife and habitat management. Gary has developed and directed annual fund, major gift and planned giving programs for local, regional and national organizations. He holds a Masters Degree in Wildlife Biology from University of Montana, and has served as the Blackfoot Challenge’s Executive Director since May of 2007.
Gary serves as co-chair of the Southwestern Crown Collaborative of the landscape restoration program, on the leadership team for Rural Voices for Conservation Coalition, the coordinating committee for the Network for Landscape Conservation, volunteers on the local fire department as a fire fighter and board member, and serves on the Executive Committee for the Board of Sustainable Northwest.
gary @ heart-of-rockies.org
120 Hickory St., Suite B, Missoula, MT 59801
Science Director Bray Beltrán is an ecologist by training. He sees humans as an integral part of ecosystems, and firmly believes collaborative bottom-up conservation can help people find the balance between the long-term well-being of local communities (and us humans as a global agent of change), and the resources we use to maintain our quality of life. As the Science Director at Heart of the Rockies Initiative, he supports the long-term sustainability of socio-ecological systems in the Intermountain West by developing a strong science program that informs private and public land protection and stewardship and that is inclusive of all people and cultures living in the region. Bray grew up in Colombia, moved to the U.S. in 2000, and has been living in the Intermountain West since 2013. He lives in Pocatello, Idaho, with his wife and daughter and gets out with them as often as they can to enjoy the outdoors and the amazing beauty of this region.
bray @ heart-of-rockies.org
109 N. Arthur St, #300, Pocatello, ID 83204
Rural Development Director Erin Farris-Olsen is cultivating our new partnership with USDA Rural Development and works out of Helena, Montana. Erin is an enrolled member of the Brothertown Indian Nation and graduate in Environmental Studies and Communication from Carroll College and Natural Resources Law at the University of Oregon. Erin has worked on numerous community based conservation and social justice initiatives in Liberia, Belize, and Montana. Because she believes strong communities are essential to sustaining conservation, Erin is inspired to employ rural development resources to ensure the resiliency of Montana’s communities for future generations. In her spare time, Erin likes to fly fish, camp, and hike around Helena with her husband Rob, children Tupper and Auggie, and their dog June Bug.
erin @ heart-of-rockies.org
120 Hickory St, Suite B, Missoula, MT 59801
Program Director JoAnn Grant works out of the Bitterroot Valley of Montana. She manages communications and outreach and assists with development of programs and partnerships. JoAnn has a degree in Natural Resources Management from Colorado State University with a concentration in Conservation Biology. She brings a broad range of experience to Heart of the Rockies. She was formerly the Director of Operations at the Teton Regional Land Trust, with responsibilities in finances, communications, and stewardship. She’s been a newspaper editor, naturalist guide in Yellowstone National Park, and a co-owner of a Baja fly fishing outfit.
joann @ heart-of-rockies.org
558 Skalkaho Hwy, Hamilton, MT 59840
Development Director Kali Hannon works out of the lower Blackfoot Watershed in Montana, near the confluence of the Blackfoot and Clark Fork Rivers. She brings a passion for people, working landscapes, wild places, and collaborative conservation to her work at Heart of the Rockies, where she manages the fund development program. Kali earned a MS in Environmental Studies from the University of Montana, where she also earned a certificate in Natural Resources Conflict Resolution. In her free time, she enjoys exploring the outdoors with her partner, Eli, and their bird dog, Scout.
kali @ heart-of-rockies.org
120 Hickory St, Suite B, Missoula, MT 59801
Project Coordinator Emily Harkness assists with coordination of the High Divide Collaborative. Emily has a B.S in Zoology from Humboldt State University and a graduate certificate in Natural Resource Conflict Resolution from the University of Montana. She has spent the last 10 years working in the Rocky Mountains as a fisheries technician, horse packer, and park ranger. In her free time Emily loves hiking, snowboarding and fly-fishing around western Montana.
emily @ heart-of-rockies.org
120 Hickory St, Suite B, Missoula, MT 59801