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Montana Audubon - who we are


Montana Audubon Staff

Steve HoffmanSteve Hoffman, Executive Director, came to Montana Audubon in 2006. He earned a Master’s degree in Wildlife Ecology from Utah State University (1979). After 10 years of government service (US Bureau of Land Management & US Fish & Wildlife Service) as a wildlife biologist in the Southwest, Steve founded HawkWatch International (HWI), a nonprofit organization dedicated to raptor conservation. After 12 years as Executive Director of HWI, Steve became the State Director of Bird Conservation for Audubon Pennsylvania. In 2004 Steve moved to Bozeman, Montana, to serve as the Executive Director of Predator Conservation Alliance.


Amy CilimburgAmy Cilimburg, Director of Bird Conservation and Climate Policy, began with Montana Audubon in 2007. She works to educate and inspire action around issues related to climate change, birds, wildlife, and energy, working closely with Janet Ellis on these policy issues. Amy, working with Amy Seaman, spearheads our Important Bird Areas (IBA) Program and collaborates with other key biologists and conservationists to protect Montana's birds and their habitat. Prior to coming to Audubon, Amy was the Assistant Director of the University of Montana's Avian Science Center. She received a M.S. in Wildlife Biology from the University of Montana in 2001. Prior to this she spent 10 years teaching with the National Outdoor Leadership School both around the west and internationally. She lives and strives to reduce her carbon footprint in Missoula with her husband and daughter.

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David CronenwettDavid Cronenwett, Development Specialist, joined our Team in December 2014, after several years of contract writing for Montana Audubon. He has lived in various urban, small town and rural locations around Montana over the past twenty years but has a special connection to the Rocky Mountain Front. It was here that David worked as naturalist-in-residence at The Nature Conservancy's Pine Butte Guest Ranch for five seasons, teaching hundreds of visiting guests, local schoolkids and others about the astonishing natural history of the Front. He continues to work as an outdoor educator and wilderness guide with an emphasis on traditional "bushcraft" living and outdoor survival. David is also an accomplished writer whose naturalist-themed work has appeared in several publications including Montana Outdoors magazine. He is a longtime conservationist and lover of wild places.

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Janet EllisJanet Ellis, Senior Director of Policy, has coordinated Montana Audubon’s legislative and public policy work on behalf of Montana’s wildlife and wildlife habitat since 1983.  She became Program Director when the office opened on a full-time, year-round basis in 1989.  Previously, Janet was a ranger and naturalist for Yellowstone and Zion National Parks, Cedar Breaks National Monument, and Lewis and Clark Caverns State Park.  She has received several awards for her work, including “Conservationist of the Year” from the Montana Environmental Information Center, Montana Wildlife Federation, and Montana Audubon; and a 2013 "Special Achievement Award" from the Montana Native Plant Society.  She holds a degree in biology from the University of Montana. In 2015, Janet began a new adventure: she took a 4-month leave-of-absence from Montana Audubon to serve in the Montana Legislature as a Representative of HD 81. Janet lives in Helena with her husband and son.

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Cathie Erickson Cathie Erickson, Business Manager, joined Montana Audubon in 2010. Cathie uses her considerable experience to manage our finances on a day-to-day basis, maintaining accurate reports so that Montana Audubon remains financially strong and fiscally responsible. In addition, since 2014 Cathie has coordinated Montana Audubon's annual Bird Festival, Wings Across the Big Sky. Cathie grew up on a ranch on the Smith River.

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Norane Freistadt
Norane Freistadt
, Operations Manager, joined the Montana Audubon team in 2010. She comes to us with a strong fundraising background, tremendous passion for our work, and diverse life experiences. She has lived in the Helena area for 3 decades. During that time, she ran Days of Yore, a retail antique shop, for 20 years. In the last decade, she has become increasingly involved in community groups that better fit her life-long passion for land conservation and “smart growth” issues. She is a founding member of Prickly Pear Land Trust, where she worked as Development Director before moving to the Montana Wilderness Association, where she also served in that position. She holds a degree in Anthropology from the Washington State University. Norane and her husband Rob have three adult children.

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Sara LipscombSara Lipscomb, Office Manager. Sara began her career with us in the fall of 2014. She comes to Audubon with a long and varied history of administrative and management positions in the Missoula nonprofit community. She has an incredible set of skills in administrative support, database oversight, customer service, and office management that is already a huge asset for us. We're fortunate she decided to move to the Queen City of the Rockies and join our team!

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Trinity PierceTrinity Pierce, Land Stewardship Coordinator. Trinity began working with Montana Audubon in April of 2014. She enjoys exploring our relationship with the land in partnership with the restoration community of Billings. Trinity studied History at Wheaton College (IL) and received a Master’s in Landscape Architecture at the University of Michigan. She has worked on green roofs in Germany, horticulture at the EPCOT Center in Disney World, and the development of a restoration management plan for the Wilds in Cumberland, Ohio. From Oak Park, outside Chicago, Trinity is an avid gardener and enjoys learning about the beautiful and diverse ecosystems of Montana.

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Amy SeamanAmy Seaman, Associate Director of Conservation, came to Montana Audubon in 2013. She works on our Important Bird Area (IBA) Program and myriad other bird conservation projects. In 2015, Amy became our lead lobbyist at the 2015 Montana Legislative session in Helena. Amy earned her M.S in Biology in 2012 at the University of Nevada, Reno, studying the ecology of olfaction and foraging rodents in the Eastern Sierras. Her teaching experiences are varied, but include several semesters assisting field ornithology. Avian studies have been a focal point for Amy, taking her to Montana locations such as the Madison and Missouri Rivers, Charles M. Russell NWR, Bitterroot Valley, and Bridger Ridge. She also studied widely in Nevada. Amy has traveled widely throughout the west, and currently resides in Helena with her orange cat.

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Rachel Van Wingen, Interim Montana Audubon Center Director, Audubon Conservation Education Center, joined the Audubon Center in June 2015. After moving to Ennis in 2011, Rachel joined the Montana Audubon Board. She brings with her a wealth of management experience and great passion for connecting youth and families with nature. Rachel has extensive experience in organizational planning and implementation, as well as staff management. She is honored to be a part of the Audubon Center’s work—and excited to help the Center continue providing outdoor environmental science education programs, including this summer's diverse array of nature camps.

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Carol WardCarol Ward, Naturalist, Audubon Conservation Education Center joined the Montana Audubon team in 2005. She has a B.S. in Natural Resources from the University of Michigan. She has worked as an interpretive Naturalist for several federal land management agencies, as a water education specialist for the University of Nevada and as an educator for Billings YMCA and Zoo Montana. Carol received Montana Audubon's 2014 Educator of the Year Award.

 

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