Maria Mantas

Executive Director

Maria's professional and personal connection to the Swan Valley runs long and deep. Over the last 30 years her career has kept her close to the Swan where she first worked as a Botanist for the Flathead National Forest, then later as the Western Montana Science and Stewardship Director for The Nature Conservancy where she played a key role in the conservation of over 310,000 acres through the Montana Legacy Project. Maria's diverse career brings 25 years of professional experience in the fields of Wildlife Biology, Forestry, and Plant Ecology. Since 2013 she has led our exceptional staff in carrying out impactful conservation, stewardship, and education programming.

maria@svconnections.org


Andrea Stephens

Education Director

Andrea's career as an educator spans 30 years of work in the fields of environmental education, classroom science teaching and, since 1999, designing and teaching college field programs in the Swan Valley. Seasonal experience as a leader of trail crews and volunteer biological survey crews for the Forest Service complements her academic training in geology and natural history. This background inspires her work on bridging the gap between conceptual understanding of the natural sciences and transformative field education. Andrea leads the effort to coordinate the Swan Lands Native Fish Committee, a collaborative group working to assess westslope cutthroat trout populations in the Swan.

andrea@svconnections.org


Luke Lamar

Conservation Director

Born and raised in the Swan Valley, Luke has developed deep roots and personal connections with the landscape. He has spent most of his life learning the land, people, and wildlife of the Swan, and studied its interconnected processes and relationships. In addition to serving as a wilderness ranger in the Mission Mountains Wilderness for 12 years, his career within the Swan Valley has entailed a wide spectrum of field biology projects that have focused on wildlife species such as grizzly bears, wolverines, and Canada lynx. Since 2014, Luke has directed conservation programs that include: assisting private landowners to restore and conserve wetland and riparian habitats, maintaining and improving water quality, helping people and bears coexist, monitoring of wildlife and native fish species, wilderness management, and promoting responsible forest stewardship.

luke@svconnections.org


jOHN Ingebretson

forester

 

John's Professional Land Management career has included work in the states of Washington, Alaska, and Montana. John retired from the US Forest Service after 30 years in the Swan Valley, with experience in Wild Fire and Fuels Management, Timber and Silviculture Management, and Stewardship Forestry. Throughout his career John has worked with multiple agencies and diverse collaborative groups. John also enjoys traveling and hiking throughout the western United States with his wife Jane, a retired Forest Service biologist.

john@svconnections.org


Adam Lieberg

Conservation Practitioner

Adam began his career in the Swan Valley after completing the Landscape & Livelihood Field Semester in 2004. Since then he has immersed himself studying the ecology of the northern Rockies, with a special emphasis on interpreting wildlife tracks and sign. Adam is the field coordinator for the Southwestern Crown Carnivore Project, an assessment of Canada lynx, wolverine, and fisher populations in our region. He is also one of the founders of Swan Valley Bear Resources, a cooperative that works to reduce bear-human conflict. Adam brings a wealth of ecological literacy from the field into Biogeography, Field Ecology of Threatened and Endangered Species, and our tracking classes. When he isn't teaching or working in the field, you can find Adam in the woods maintaining our remote wildlife cameras.

adam@svconnections.org


Jonathan Bowler

Collaboration and Policy Coordinator

Following a passion for the landscapes, communities, and wildlife of the West, Jonathan has worked in a variety of outdoor pursuits including as a researcher for the National Park Service and a field instructor for the Colorado Mountain College.  Professional experiences across the West led Jonathan to pursue graduate education at the University of Wyoming where he earned degrees in Environment and Natural Resources, Planning, and Water Resources focusing on the human dimensions of resource use and management. Jonathan brings his experience in collaboration, social-ecological systems, and natural resources to SVC and the Crown of the Continent where he and his family look forward to engaging in a simple, sustainable life among the human and non-human members of the community.

jonathan@svconnections.org


Sara Halm

CONSERVATION & Education Program Associate

Sara has worked as a field technician for Swan Valley Connections' Rare Carnivore and Native Fish programs for the past two seasons. With a background in environmental science and wildlife biology, Sara works in the field as well as teaching courses, coordinating evening programs, adult workshops and elementary programs. She is passionate about connecting people to their environment and cultivating enthusiasm for nature. Before moving to Montana, Sara spent time in elementary school classrooms, nature centers and aquariums working with all ages to facilitate an appreciation for the natural world. Sara first came to Montana as a Wildlife in the West student in 2011, and has been enamored with the Southwest Crown and the Swan Valley ever since.

sara@svconnections.org


Caitlin Mitchell

Seasonal Staff

Caitlin is extending her work on Aquatic Invasive Species monitoring into the Swan Valley as a seasonal SVC staff member. Her work is a part of Montana’s call to action in preventing the spread of invasive mussel species into our pristine lakes and rivers-- the headwaters of the Columbia River Basin. Caitlin received her BS from Virginia Tech in Environmental Science with a focus in Water Resource Science. After falling in love with Montana as a Landscape & Livelihood student in 2014, Caitlin returned and has been working with the Blackfoot Challenge and Clearwater Resource Council on stream health and AIS prevention monitoring. She is excited to join the SVC staff in their conservation efforts as well.


Emily Bogan

Resident Education Assistant for Wildlife in the West

Emily is a student at the University of Vermont studying Parks, Recreation, and Tourism. The Swan Valley has left an imprint on her since she first arrived as a Landscape & Livelihood student in 2015. She is excited to be back in the Swan as the intern for Wildlife in the West. She is originally from Pennsylvania, where she likes to cook and spend time with her family. She is looking forward to this internship, to see how it influences her future career in environmental education.


Tim Lenzmeier

Trails and Wilderness Steward

Tim is working with SVC's Backcountry Rangers to maintain trails and campsites throughout the Mission Mountain Wilderness and Swan Front. He is from Fargo, North Dakota and is a recent North Dakota State University graduate with a degree in Zoology - Wildlife, Fisheries, Ecology, and behavior. He applied to, and accepted, the Trails and Wilderness Steward internship to explore the beautiful Swan Valley after attending Wildlife in the West in 2016. Tim was an urban paramedic for several years before discovering a passion for backpacking and nature.


Jessie Thoreson

Conservation Technician

Jessie is teaming up with SVC staff, the U.S. Geological Survey and Earthwatch Institute volunteers to study environmental variables that influence huckleberry production. She received her BA in Environmental Education at Western Washington University in Bellingham, Washington. She has worked on the Olympic Peninsula as a wilderness ranger, in the North Cascades as a fire effects monitor, and has helped trail crews in Washington. Outside of work she enjoys playing Ultimate Frisbee, jumping into cold bodies of water, playing the guitar and singing. Jessie was a Landscape & Livelihood student in 2015.  She is excited to be back in the area this season, to do more work and reconnect with this place!


Uwe Schaefer

Finance Director

Uwe tracks income, expenses, billing and match details for multiple grants. He prepares payroll information, pays bills and reimbursements, plus prepares financial reports for grants. Uwe prepares monthly reports for the Board of Directors and works with SVC's Board to prepare the annual budgets. He coordinates with the Treasurer to manage and track investments. In addition to his accounting responsibilities, Uwe helps with planning and fundraising.

uwe@svconnections.org


Kirsten Holland

Grants Manager

Kirsten secures grant funding to support SVC projects and program activities. In addition to grant writing, she’s responsible for all aspects of grants management including tracking and reporting to funders. She has a broad background in nonprofit fundraising and capital projects, public sector experience in land use planning and community development, and a lifelong passion for the natural environment.

kirsten@svconnections.org


Leanna Grubaugh

Office Manager and visitor services

As office manager, Leanna assists SVC's Executive Director and keeps office operations running smoothly. Leanna also provides visitor services for the thousands of people who come to the Condon Work Center every year.  She serves the public by providing information, answering questions and assisting visitors with obtaining maps, firewood and burning permits, and more.

leanna@svconnections.org


Grace Burgess

Financial Assistant

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Grace has worked in several capacities with military and government agencies in Virginia before moving to the Swan Valley in 2005. Grace provides financial and clerical support services to all of Swan Valley Connections programs.

grace@svconnections.org


Susan Novosel

Marketing Coordinator

Susan hails from the fast-paced world of advertising and throughout her career she has produced a myriad of print, television, radio and web projects. Susan manages the website and oversees our marketing and communications.

susan@svconnections.org


Camas

Resident Canine Ambassador

 


IMAGE: Top - Cori Stanek