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 Halm 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


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. He lives in Kalispell with his wife and two children.

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 print projects. Susan manages the website and oversees our marketing and communications.

susan@svconnections.org


Camas

Resident Canine Ambassador

 


IMAGE: Top - Cori Stanek