GREATER YELLOWSTONE COALITION
America's Voice for a Greater Yellowstone!
GYC OFFICES

MONTANA
215 S. Wallace Ave.
Bozeman, MT 59715
(406) 586-1593
(406) 556-2839 fax

WYOMING
1285 Sheridan Ave.,
Suite 215
Cody, WY 82414
(800) 775-1834

P.O. Box 4857
Jackson, WY 83001
(800) 775-1834

IDAHO
P.O. Box 505
Victor, ID  83455
(800) 775-1834

Staff

Management


Caroline Byrd
Executive Director

Caroline Byrd comes to the Greater Yellowstone Coalition with a rich history in conservation and outdoor work throughout the West, including 14 years with The Nature Conservancy in Montana and Colorado. As Western Montana program director for The Nature Conservancy in Missoula, she worked on the Montana Legacy Project and the Blackfoot Community Project — two landscape-scale conservation efforts in which the Conservancy purchased and protected about 400,000 acres of Plum Creek Timber lands in and around the Crown of the Continent region. Before her tenure in Missoula, Caroline was TNC’s Southwest Colorado program manager in Telluride, Colo. Prior to her time with TNC, she was a staff attorney and the Greater Yellowstone program director for the Wyoming Outdoor Council in Lander. Also in Lander, for many years she led National Outdoor Leadership School courses in leadership and outdoor skills in the Rocky Mountains, Southwest deserts, North Cascades, Canada, Alaska and East Africa. She also directed Earlham College’s Kenya program as well as the school’s Southwest Field Semester. Caroline has served on the boards of the Blackfoot Challenge and High Country News.  She also worked seasonally for the Forest Service as a wilderness ranger and trail crew in Wyoming and Alaska. She has several mountaineering highpoints to her name, including being the first woman to climb the Northwest Buttress of Denali and as a member of the first American women’s expedition to climb an 8,000-meter peak (Cho Oyu) without oxygen or Sherpa support. Throughout her career, Caroline has worked with a wide array of partners and communities to come to long-term conservation solutions. She has an undergraduate degree in environmental studies and anthropology from the University of California-Santa Cruz, a master’s degree in environmental studies from the University of Montana, and a law degree from the University of Montana School of Law.

Scott Christensen
Director of Conservation

Scott joined GYC in 2003 after graduating from the University of Utah and working on several political and environmental campaigns in Salt Lake City, Utah. Since then, Scott has led efforts to protect some of the region’s most important private lands, restore degraded rivers and streams, and recover the imperiled cutthroat trout population at Yellowstone Lake. In 2010, Scott launched a climate change program at GYC, focusing on science-based climate change adaptation strategies throughout Greater Yellowstone and leading a collaborative project in the Madison Valley to boost instream flows and cool water temperatures.

In 2013, Scott was named conservation director and charged with managing GYC’s conservation program and its staff.  Named a “Hero of Conservation” by Field and Stream Magazine for his work to protect watersheds from phosphate mining, Scott has a portfolio of conservation successes throughout Greater Yellowstone. Scott is passionate about working with people to protect Greater Yellowstone’s spectacular lands, waters and wildlife, both in region and beyond.

As a long time whitewater enthusiast, climber, and fishing bum, Scott enjoys exploring Greater Yellowstone’s wild places with his four children and wife, Celia.

Majken Mechling
Director of Operations and Development

Majken brings over 30 years of non-profit management and successful fundraising experience to her position as Director of Operations and Development.

A seasoned professional, Majken brings a proven track record of management practice including; board recruitment and development, strategic planning, corporate recruitment, community networking, public relations and marketing, personnel management, fiscal and budgetary management, fundraising and fund development.

Majken was born and raised on the shores of Cape May, New Jersey. Ensuring the beauty of the beaches, ocean, land and wildlife was and continues to be a priority for her family. During her father’s tenure of service as Mayor, Cape May was designated a national historic landmark, forever preserving the beauty, lifestyle and natural environment for generations to come. 

Majken received her education from the Sisters of Mercy at Georgian Court University in Lakewood, New Jersey and spent over 25 years of her career managing not for profit organizations in the Hawaiian Islands. Majken is a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals.

She and her husband Steve’s greatest joy is raising their son Cameron along with Sandy, their 90 pound lab mix, and Gracie, their gray tabby cat.

Staff


Heidi Barrett
Special Events & Membership Associate

Heidi grew up on a farm in northeast Nebraska and attended the same one-room schoolhouse as her father and grandmother.  She identifies strongly with a sense of place and history in rural communities.

The Yellowstone and Beartooth Mountain area became Heidi's second love after a weekend visit to the small hamlet of Silver Gate, Montana in 1983 (Yellowstone’s northeast entrance). The following summer Heidi began work at the Log Cabin Cafe in Silver Gate and continued on for seven more summers. In 1990 Heidi met her husband, Jim and they married the next year making their home in Silver Gate. During that time, Noranda/Crown Butte’s plan to mine next to Yellowstone National Park became public and thus began Heidi’s work in environmental issues facing Yellowstone.

She and her husband led the Beartooth Alliance, a local grassroots group, in the fight against the New World Mine proposal. It was a crash course in activism, organizing, fundraising, and logistical planning for Heidi who was the sole employee of the Beartooth Alliance for five years. The Greater Yellowstone Coalition was a key player in the Noranda battle and Heidi worked closely with many staff and board members of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition before joining GYC in 1997.

Heidi now lives in Livingston, Montana, with her husband, Jim. They have lived TV-free for over 21 years and encourage others to give it a try. Heidi enjoys baking, cooking, photography, skiing, hiking, and lounging next to the Soda Butte Creek with family and friends.

Heidi has a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Education, from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, and before her life in Montana, taught K-12 Art in Nebraska public schools. She has served on the board of the Livingston Center for Art and Culture and the Park County Environmental Council, and is currently the community coordinator for Shakespeare in the Parks for Silver Gate, Montana.

Peter Bennett
Information Systems Manager

Peter has over 25 years of professional experience in the computer field. He is familiar with many types of computer systems and networks. His supporting role for the GYC staff enables the staff to work more efficiently and securely. In addition to his computer expertise, Peter also has a master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling from Montana State University.

Peter grew up near the woods in Virginia.  His family loved to take nature walks and explore the outdoors. He spent the last two years of high school at a private school in Colorado where backpacking and skiing were required parts of the curriculum.  Montana State University was next and Peter has lived in Montana ever since.  He built a log cabin in the mountains south of Big Timber and has climbed many of the peaks in the Absaroka Beartooth Wilderness. Upon moving back to Bozeman, Peter became involved in a local grass roots group that lobbied to raise the money for the Forest Service to purchase four sections of land owned by a timber company and saved them from logging.

Peter is happily married to Robin, a holistic health practitioner. They enjoy organic heirloom gardening, hikes in the mountains, photography and rock collecting together. They have raised their three daughters to continue their passion for nature to the next generation.

Barb Cestero
Montana Conservation Coordinator

Barb joined the Greater Yellowstone Coalition in December, 2004 as our Community Outreach Director and now serves as our Montana Conservation Coordinator, working primarily to protect and restore the public lands of southwest Montana.

Barb's interest in conservation work grows from her deep connection to the wild lands of Greater Yellowstone.  She first moved to Greater Yellowstone in 1989, landing in Wyoming where she taught wilderness education to college students, outdoor educators, and land managers for the National Outdoor Leadership School throughout the Rocky Mountains and Alaska.  At NOLS, Barb was fortunate to explore many of the remote corners of Greater Yellowstone.  She moved to Bozeman in 1998 to work for the Sonoran Institute’s Northern Rockies office, working with rural communities throughout the region on collaborative, community-based conservation projects.

An avid wilderness lover, Barb continues to travel and explore the backcountry of Greater Yellowstone, Alaska, southern Utah, and the wilds of other countries. She especially enjoys backcountry and Nordic skiing, hiking, mountain biking, running in her spare time, usually with her dog Pepper.

Chris Colligan
Wildlife Program Coordinator

Chris is GYC's Wildlife Program Coordinator, based out of Jackson. He works to strengthen and maintain the conservation of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosytem’s iconic wildlife. Chris is responsible for implementing a broad range of strategies to influence state management of wildlife in Wyoming, Montana and Idaho with a focus on grizzly bears and wolves. He works to ensure a balanced and science based approach to wildlife management in the ecosystem, and on increasing public awareness and tolerance for wildlife in Greater Yellowstone.

Prior to the GYC, Chris worked on another contentious issue for Wyoming as the Wyoming Game and Fish Departments Brucellosis Information and Education Specialist in Jackson. That position gave him knowledge of the diverse stakeholders involved with public land issues in northwest Wyoming and increased his interest in working on divisive issues that require a passion for wildlife conservation.

Chris grew up near Grand Rapids, Michigan and attended Lake Superior State University in Sault Ste. Marie, where he received a bachelors degree in Fisheries and Wildlife Management and minored in Public Relations. He worked for the Illinois Natural History Survey, shortly after college, researching hunter opinions and attitudes towards wildlife management. Chris left the Midwest for the recreational opportunities available in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Here he pursues his outdoor interests, which include hiking and trail-running, hunting, fly-fishing, snowboarding, and mountaineering.

Joyce Connors
Finance Associate

Joyce is our Finance Associate, and does a little bit of work in Human Resources. She pays the bills and processes the paychecks, so people are really nice to her. She’s been with GYC since 2002.

“I have lived in Dillon, MT for 30 years and plan to be there forever. I grew up in Nebraska and then Colorado, graduating from Colorado State in 1973 with a degree in Psychology. We escaped to Montana in 1976, searching for a place with lots of mountains (Nebraska’s are fairly limited) and a lot less people (Colorado’s are fairly unlimited!).”

Joyce spends as much time as possible hiking with Mike, her husband of 35 years and with her two grown sons whenever they’re in the area. Her current geographical passion is the northern Yukon, along with canyon country (the more remote the better) and Beaverhead County, Montana (a well kept secret when it comes to the wealth of public lands!).

Lloyd Dorsey
Wyoming Conservation Associate

Lloyd joined GYC in the fall of 2003 after working summers as a naturalist/guide in Denali Park, Alaska. He's also been a naturalist for Teton Science School's Wildlife Expeditions, and served five years as the first field staffer in Jackson Hole for the Wyoming Wildlife Federation.

His program emphases are protection of ecosystems facing the onslaught of energy development, hoofed mammal ecology, and rare species conservation.

With Michele, his wife of nearly 30 years, Lloyd snowboards, skis, backpacks, and hunts throughout western Wyoming.

Valorie Drake
Finance Coordinator

Val is responsible for GYC's financial and human resources management. She joined GYC's staff in 1987 as our Office Manager, and has taken on ever greater levels of responsibility and leadership to meet GYC’s evolving needs.

She grew up traveling the world with her family - her father was an Air Force pilot - often living in major cities, such as London, Los Angeles and Tokyo. She grew to appreciate village patterns of development that were set before the time of automobiles. Public transportation in Europe and Japan allowed her to do a lot of traveling with friends without the need for cars, something that is not possible in most of this country.

Her love of wild places stems from her family spending summer vacations on a lake in northern Minnesota’s boundary waters country, juxtaposed by the experiences of living in some of the most developed parts of the world.  Her favorite times are now spent rafting wild rivers, and hiking and skiing - exploring the nooks and crannies of our wildlands.

Terry Dumont
Executive Office Manager

Terry first worked as a graphic designer when she moved to Bozeman in 1991 from Oregon and graduated from Montana State University with a degree in studio arts. She joined the Greater Yellowstone Coalition staff in 1997, committed to its mission.

For Terry, Yellowstone National Park has everything to do with family. Her son, Taylor, (2006 graduate of Bozeman High School) and Terry have been sharing adventures in the park since he was three. The magic of the park, its landscape and wildlife, have provided cherished memories and valuable experiences, molding their values and inspiring them to protect this place they call home.

Joe Josephson
Montana Conservation Associate

Joe Josephson was born and raised in Big Timber, Montana and grew up in the Beartooth Mountains. Joe works as our Montana Conservation Associate focusing on the Gallatin Range collaboration; bringing diverse interests together for long-term solutions that protect the range’s extraordinary wilderness and wildlife values while also improving quiet recreational opportunities.

After graduating the University of Calgary, Joe lived in Alberta for over a decade as a professional ice climber and writer returning home to Montana in 1998 as a sales rep for the clothing company Patagonia.

Prior to joining GYC in February 2013, Joe has also worked as an award-winning author and guidebook publisher, Exum mountain guide, French cook, founder of a 501c3 “Friends of Hyalite,” and most recently as the Yellowstone Wildlife Fellow for National Parks Conservation Association.Since 2006 he has directed the Bozeman Ice Climbing Festival every December, which is now one of the largest climbing festivals globally.

Joe currently resides leaning on the wind in a 19th century home in Livingston with two cats and an unruly raspberry patch.

Jennifer Murray
Human Resources Manager

A forest dweller in her childhood, Jen Murray, our Human Resources Manager, lived in wonder of creation.  Her parents’ 15 wooded acres in Meadville, PA, complete with a majestic ravine and stream, were her playground.  Even though catching crawdads, making mud pies and tending baby rabbits didn’t exactly transfer to adulthood, her respect and desire for others to share in that enjoyment has.

Ministering to teens from 1992-2008 has enabled her and her husband, Don, to experience a variety of cultures while living in Tallahassee (FL), Gulf Shores (AL), Pittsburgh (PA), and now Bozeman (MT).  They are instilling in their children, River and Moses, a respect for life as they hike (geocaching is a favorite pastime), camp and fish together.  

GYC’s vision intrigues Jen since working for such an organization enables her to not only impact the lives of staff but help them protect an ecosystem rich with diversity and life.  In 2008, she brought over five years Human Resources experience from for-profit and non-profit organizations to GYC.

Andrea Santarsiere
Idaho Conservation and Legal Associate

Andrea grew up in a small town in Massachusetts but quickly fell in love with the west when she moved to Colorado in 2006.

After graduating from Roanoke College with a B.A. in both Spanish and Sociology, Andrea decided to turn her passion for wildlife and the environment into a career. She graduated from Vermont Law School in 2005 and soon after joined Earthjustice’s Rocky Mountain Office in Denver, where she litigated for protection of public lands and wildlife conservation.

Following her work with Earthjustice and a brief stint with an animal welfare organization in Los Angeles, Andrea moved to Idaho and joined GYC’s Idaho Falls office in April 2011.

Andrea enjoys hiking, backpacking, skiing, wildlife watching, travelling, scuba diving, cooking, and rooting for the New England Patriots.  She currently lives in Victor, Idaho with her husband Dominic and their two cats.

Christi Weber
Development and Marketing Coordinator

Christi Weber is the Greater Yellowstone Coalition’s Development and Marketing Coordinator. She came to GYC in May 2008 after more than a decade of working in communications, marketing and fundraising in both the public and private sectors. She is charged with building and maintaining GYC’s corporate giving program, which helps our future and ongoing conservation initiatives.

As a native Idahoan, she has a deep appreciation for the outdoors and is enamored with all wildlife. She is a sports enthusiast and is usually up for trying anything once.

Christi, along with her husband Doug, son Miles, and dog Jessi enjoy spending time hiking, camping, and exploring new places. She loves languages and hopes to visit all 7 continents in her lifetime.

Jeff Welsch
Communications Coordinator

Jeff Welsch came to GYC as communications coordinator in February 2008 after nearly three decades as a sports writer and sports editor with newspapers in four western states. Though a sports writer by trade, his passion has always been for the outdoors and related issues. He created outdoors pages for newspapers in Oregon and Montana, and has written about environmental issues ranging from the water crisis in Oregon's Klamath Basin to climate change.

Jeff has written three books, including co-authoring with his wife, Sherry L. Moore, a guidebook called "Great Destinations: Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks and Jackson Hole." He continues to serve as an executive editor for Montana Quarterly magazine.

As a writer, Jeff has always attempted to draw new readers into stories and publications with emotion and human interest. He is striving to use a similar philosophy with communications to spread the word about the wonders of Yellowstone and the importance of this intact ecosystem to our national psyche.

Bob Zimmer
Water Program Coordinator

Bob brings over 25 years of experience as a resource planning, conservation and restoration consultant to his role as Water Program Coordinator. He came to Montana in 2005 in part to help restore cold water habitats of the northern rockies and in part to live and play in the Yellowstone region.

Bob was raised by adventurous parents in southwest Colorado and has experienced first hand how important resource conservation is to the livelihood of communities and for the full enjoyment of recreational opportunities.

He enjoys working with local, state and federal stakeholders to provide innovative approaches for resource management and land use that will protect and preserve our valued natural resources for generations to come. In his spare time Bob and his wife, Meg, can be found chasing their kids and yellow lab in some variation of hiking, biking, floating or sliding on snow. 

Charles Wolf Drimal
River Conservation Associate

 After serving as a wild lands conservation advocate for GYC’s Absaroka-Beartooth Front campaign in Cody, Wyoming, Charles migrated north to Bozeman and now works as the river conservation associate. He is responsible for the development and implementation of a river conservation campaign aimed at securing permanent protection for key rivers in southwest Montana.

Before joining GYC, Charles co-founded the Absaroka Institute in 2009, a non-profit educational organization that runs wilderness meditation and yoga expeditions throughout the American West. Charles also co-founded the Montana Backcountry Alliance in 2005, which supports the voices of backcountry skiers and riders looking to protect opportunities for quiet human-powered winter recreation. For over a decade he has guided people in wild land settings in Wyoming, Montana, southeast Utah, Alaska and Patagonia with organizations such as the National Outdoor Leadership School. As an adjunct professor, Charles also taught Wilderness Ideology and First Year Seminars in Critical Thinking at Montana State University.

Charles holds an undergraduate and two graduate degrees in Environmental Studies and Ecopsychology from Dartmouth College, the University of Montana and Naropa University. He believes in the power of connecting people to landscapes and teaching ecological literacy as a path to human health and sound stewardship practices. Charles is a backcountry skier, mountain wanderer, and father. He is grateful to call the mountains and rivers of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem home.

Kevin Oliver
New Media & Online Resources Associate

Kevin Oliver is a member of our Development Team and assists with guiding GYC's online communications strategy, and manages the website and other online systems. Prior to his arrival at the Greater Yellowstone Coalition, he spent over 20 years in marketing, business development and technology.

Kevin grew up in a small Georgia town, 45 minutes from Jimmy Carter’s farm. A self-confessed water baby, much of Kevin’s childhood was spent exploring Florida’s Gulf Coast and the rivers & lakes of the south east. As a teenager, Kevin took a summer job in Yellowstone National Park, a life changing experience that confirmed the northern Rockies would one day become home.  

In 2002 Kevin and wife Laura, relocated from Ohio to Bozeman. Kevin’s out of office time is spent kayaking Yellowstone Lake’s backcountry, tandem cycling with Laura or somewhere up the trail with their two Finnish Lapphunds.

Consultants & Contractors


Donna Lawson
Grants & Foundations Independent Contractor

Donna joins Greater Yellowstone Coalition after nearly 35 years of work with non-profit organizations. Her experience includes serving as Regional Director for developing, supporting, and overseeing close to eighty affiliates for a national non-profit. Her expertise includes non-profit development and administration, grant writing and other facets of fund development, board development and governance, strategic planning, marketing, community development, and volunteer recruitment/retention.

Having been born and raised in Florida, Donna’s love of the natural world and its inhabitants developed after the death of her husband in 2002, when the wilds of the Great Smoky Mountains in North Carolina and Tennessee became her solace. When her previous employment territory expanded to include Bozeman and other parts of Montana, she was given the opportunity to visit Yellowstone National Park for the first time.  She was enchanted by the land and wildlife and has returned each year since. In her travels, she has also explored Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, Washington, Wyoming, Idaho, Maine, and all states in the Southeast.    

An accomplished photographer, Donna is happiest when on a trail or otherwise exploring and capturing the wilderness with her camera.  She is excited to be able to merge her personal passion with her professional life, to help preserve and protect the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem now and for future generations.

Jeanne-Marie Souvigney
Bison Independent Contractor

Jeanne-Marie assists GYC staff in its efforts to provide Yellowstone bison the opportunity and habitat to move freely on appropriate public and private lands outside Yellowstone National Park.  She continues work she first started as staff with GYC in 1990, bringing a wealth of history and knowledge to the issue.

A resident of Livingston, Montana, since 1985, Jeanne-Marie has a master’s degree in Environmental Studies and a bachelor’s degree in Quantitative Methods.  She was a volunteer and firefighter with the Bitterroot National Forest for two years, worked as an organizer on mining and family farm issues in Eastern Montana and advocates in support of healthy rivers and clean water, and for action on climate change and clean energy.  She is a co-founder of Montana Conservation Voters and has been a regular presence at the Montana legislature since 1981.

Jeanne-Marie is passionate about Yellowstone National Park, the value of community parks and trail systems and likes to travel, hike, camp and raft throughout Montana and the Rocky Mountain region.