Team

Erin Farris-Olsen
Executive Director
Erin Farris-Olsen joined MWCC as Executive Director in June 2015. Erin is a graduate in Environmental Studies and Communication from Carroll College and Natural Resources Law at the University of Oregon. Erin’s passion for the Montana landscape evolved through spending her summers surveying wetlands for the Montana Department of Environmental Quality and Natural Heritage Program. She later took her passion for environmental education and conservation abroad and worked on environmental awareness campaigns in Liberia and Belize. Erin enjoys actively promoting to role of community based conservation in ensuring the resiliency of Montana's landscape for future generations. In her spare time Erin likes to fly fish, camp, and hike around Helena with her husband Rob, son Tupper, and Duke, their chocolate Labrador.
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Kierra Davis
BSWC Member
Kierra is coming to us from Richmond Kentucky with a recently completed Bachelor of Science degree in Wildlife Management and a Certificate in GIS from Eastern Kentucky University. She has prior AmeriCorps/Montana Conservation Corps experience in Montana at the National Bison Range and Gallatin National Forests, and great experience in non-profit related outreach and programming as a student leader in conservation organizations. Kierra is excited to experience all the West has to offer with her husband in her off time.
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Ethan Kunard
Chair
Ethan has spent the last five years in the Madison Valley where he currently works as the Water Programs Manager for the Madison Conservation District. Although he grew up in rural Kansas, he discovered a passion for the western landscape while undertaking a 500-mile solo backpacking trip through the Rocky Mountains. This inspired him to relocate to Montana and attend school at the University of Montana where he received a B.S. in Resource Conservation. Soon after, Ethan joined the Big Sky Watershed Corps for two terms where he was hosted by the Madison Conservation District. He now works with landowners, agencies, and other partners, to identify strategies that help the community proactively manage its water resources throughout the valley. In addition to serving on the board of the Montana Watershed Coordination Council, he also happily serves as the Conservation District representative on the Madison County Planning Board. In his free time, Ethan finds ways to incorporate his dog, Georgie, into as many outdoor activities as possible. These generally include all of the typical “Montana” things.
Sierra Harris
Freshwater Conservation Project Manager
Sierra Harris is a native Montanan and has been working in the Natural Resources field for over 20 years. Sierra joined TNC in March 2015 and works as the Freshwater Conservation Project Manager in Montana. Prior to working for the Nature Conservancy, she worked for three and a half years as the coordinator for the Greater Gallatin Watershed Council. This position allowed her to work closely with state and local partners on watershed restoration projects, stream monitoring, water quality education and public outreach. For the past five years, Sierra has also been an active volunteer with the Gallatin Stream Team, a local water quality monitoring program. Prior to working in Montana, Sierra worked throughout California as an ecologist for the Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Conservation Biology Institute. Other work experience includes; groundwater monitoring, grant writing, project management, and supervising three Big Sky Watershed Corps members. When not working, you can find Sierra and her family hiking, camping, gardening or herding chickens.
Emily Isaacson
Manager
Born in Butte, Emily spent her childhood enjoying all that Montana has to offer. After graduating from college in Boston, Emily obtained her CPA and worked in public and private accounting in Boston and San Francisco. Realizing there is no place like home, Emily returned to Montana, settling in Helena. She is currently a manager for Wipfli, LLP, working as an auditor across the state. She enjoys spending time outdoors with her family, particularly her puppy, Butterscotch.
Adam Sigler
Member
Adam grew up in Logan, Utah and received his BS in watershed science from Utah State University in 2001. Adam moved to Bozeman in 2004 to work for MSU Extension and complete an MS in Land Resources and Environmental Sciences (LRES). He took the job as the Associate Water Quality Specialist leading the MSU Extension Water Quality (MSUEWQ) group in 2009 and began a PhD program in the summer of 2011. Adam and the MSUEWQ team work with local Extension, conservation districts, watershed groups, state agencies, and tribes across Montana to engage the public in water science and management. MSUEWQ administers a statewide private well testing program called Well Educated and Adam teaches a graduate level online water quality course in the LRES department at MSU. When not elbow deep in water science, Adam enjoys paddling his canoe, biking, running or thinking what the next cool water science and outreach project might be because WATER is SOOOOO COOL!
Eric Trum
Member
Eric Trum has been with the Montana Department of Environmental Quality since 2013. He works in the watershed protection section to support restoration and protection of Montana’s rivers, streams, and lakes. Prior to joining DEQ, he worked on watershed restoration projects for the US Forest Service and as a private consultant evaluating environmental programs for government agencies and NGOs. Eric earned a master’s degree in Environmental Law from Vermont Law School and Land Resources and Environmental Science from Montana State University. Eric enjoys Montana adventures with his wife and two young kids – like back country sledding, hiking the far mountains, building forts, chasing butterflies, and chunking rocks into water while fishing. As a Boston native, he also spends time brainwashing his family into obsessive fans of New England sports teams.
Amy Seaman
Member
Amy Seaman 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.
Torie Haraldson
Member
Torie grew up on the many lakes and rivers of Northern Michigan, and came to Montana in 2008 to pursue a graduate degree in water resources. She joined the staff of the Gallatin Local Water Quality District in Bozeman in 2014, and became a member of the MWCC Board of Directors in 2016. She enjoys working with the fabulous group of fun-loving and hard-working water resource professionals across the State of Montana, and is honored to be able to contribute to MWCC’s efforts. Torie enjoys hiking, camping, and playing in the water with her husband and daughter, and attempting to garden in spite of Montana’s challenging climate.
Jennifer Downing
Member
Jennifer Downing is the Executive Director of the Big Hole Watershed Committee, a watershed group based in southwest Montana in operation since 1995. Jennifer has been with the Big Hole Watershed Committee since 2010 and has worked within the Big Hole, Clark Fork, or Missouri drainages in fisheries and environmental education since 2004. Jennifer is also chair of the Missouri Headwaters Partnership, a partnership hub between nine watersheds of the upper Missouri River drainage. Jennifer's voice as part of Montana Watershed Coordination Council team speaks for watershed groups across the state, including their needs, their perspectives representing diverse stakeholders, and the unique role they fill. Jennifer's strength is forging paths to fulfill long-term resource and watershed group support in order to maximize community leadership and watershed resiliency, helping communities and our landscapes be their best. Her education includes a Master's degree in Fisheries Management from West Virginia University and a Bachelor's Degree in Environmental Science from Alfred University. She is from upstate New York where her love of the water came from the Finger Lakes, Great Lakes and Thousand Islands. After relocating to Montana, Jennifer spent 11 years in the Big Hole valley town of Wise River and now lives with her family in Missoula, Montana. She and her husband Dan are foster parents and enjoy all the time they spend with their dynamic tribe.
Laura Nowlin
Member
A Winnett native, Laura Nowlin returned home to the family ranch with her husband and two children in 2012. She has a bachelor’s degree in history from Montana State University and a master’s degree in historic preservation from the University of Oregon. She worked for the Wyoming State Historic Preservation Office, coordinating its historic signage program and conducting review and compliance of federal projects affecting cultural resources. Hired in 2014 as the first staff person for the Musselshell Watershed Coalition (MWC), she continued to build on local, state, and federal partnerships, managed 18 partner contributions to assist in gaging station funding on the Musselshell River, and supervised Big Sky Watershed Corps members as they guided successful seasons of citizen-based water quality monitoring on the Musselshell River. She also guided the completion of the Musselshell Watershed Plan and now works to implement it. She enjoys the challenge of watershed work and seeing the positive on-the-ground results of the MWC’s work.
Keri Bilbo
Member
Keri Bilbo is the Assistant State Conservationist for Field Operations for the Natural Resources Conservation Service in Bozeman Montana. She was raised on a cotton farm in west Texas and is a Texas Tech University graduate. She has twenty years of experience with NRCS working in Texas, Indiana and Montana.
Michelle McGree
Member
Michelle McGree is a Program Officer for the Fisheries Division of Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks. A fifth-generation Montanan, Michelle received a BS degree in Life Science and Fine Art from the University of Portland and a MS in Fish, Wildlife, & Conservation Biology from Colorado State University before returning to Montana. She worked as a biologist for Wyoming Game & Fish and Colorado Parks & Wildlife, and studied everything from Pacific Lamprey to Red Shiner, Walleye, and Cutthroat Trout. She now specializes in fisheries habitat restoration and enjoys coordinating projects and partnering to improve the resource for current and future generations. Michelle lives in Helena with her boyfriend and lab puppy and enjoys road biking (preferably in foreign countries), fishing, creating art, seeing the world, cancer advocacy, and challenging herself with triathlons, spartan runs, or learning gymnastics.

Erin Wall
Education and Outreach Training
Erin discovered her passion for watershed conservation while studying abroad in New Zealand. This led her earn a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Chemistry from the University of Georgia. Erin was a Big Sky Watershed Corps member in 2013 and is currently working for MSU Extension-Water Quality. In her spare time, Erin enjoys hiking, traveling, knitting, pottery, and snowboarding.
Sheena Pate
Education and Outreach Events
Sheena is the Project Coordinator of the Crown of the Continent Geotourism Council, a network of communities, tourism bureaus, conservation and business groups, and others working together to encourage responsible tourism within the trans-boundary Crown. Her passion for bringing people together to work towards sustaining and enhancing the character of geographical places led her to earn a degree in Watershed Science from Colorado State University and a degree in Environmental Studies from University of Montana. She was drawn to the Crown of the Continent over 10 years ago, because of its distinct communities and access to unspoiled landscapes. She has enjoyed working as a community liaison, program and project coordinator, conservation educator and hydrologic technician to various entities, in Colorado and Montana. Based in Columbia Falls, Montana, she can be found exploring waters with her fly fishing guide husband, son, and two dogs or blazing trails by foot or on skis.

Katie Makarowski
Water Quality Specialist
Katie grew up in rural upstate New York. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Studies in 2004 at the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse. She moved to Missoula in 2007 to attend graduate school at the University of Montana and, in 2009, earned her Master of Science degree in watershed ecology through the Environmental Studies Department. While in graduate school, Katie spent two field seasons monitoring water quality across Montana for the Department of Environmental Quality’s Reference Stream Project. She has worked in Helena for DEQ’s Water Quality Planning Bureau since 2010 monitoring and assessing statewide surface water quality. Katie enjoys spending time with her family and friends, adventuring with her boyfriend (Ryan) and dog (Guthrie), cooking, doing artwork, seeing live music, gardening, rock hunting and exploring Montana. She is pleased to be a part of the Montana Watershed Coordination Council and is inspired by the many Montanans who are passionately protecting and preserving our water resources. Happy monitoring!
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Mark Ockey
Water Activities Work Group Leader
Mark Ockey was raised in western Oregon and Washington, where he spent most of his free time fishing, bird-watching, hiking, and exploring in the Cascade Mountains and Puget Sound. He received a Bachelor of Science in Agronomy from Brigham Young University. Following graduation from college, he met and married the lovely Jennifer Whitfield. She and he now have a beautiful daughter who is quickly becoming Mark’s favorite fishing buddy. Mark’s professional work has included nutrient management planning and outreach and education for conservation districts in Washington State. He also spent several years working in DEQ’s Permitting and Compliance Division, first in the coal mine permitting program, and then as the Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation discharge permit coordinator. Currently, Mark enjoys working in DEQ’s nonpoint source pollution prevention program where he has primary responsibility for working with agricultural groups, and with CDs and watershed groups in central and eastern Montana. Mark finds great satisfaction in building relationships with members of the ag’ community to promote voluntary efforts to reduce nonpoint source pollution.
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Adam Sigler
Committee Chair
Adam grew up in Logan, Utah and received his BS in watershed science from Utah State University in 2001. Adam moved to Bozeman in 2004 to work for MSU Extension and complete an MS in Land Resources and Environmental Sciences (LRES). He took the job as the Associate Water Quality Specialist leading the MSU Extension Water Quality (MSUEWQ) group in 2009 and began a PhD program in the summer of 2011. Adam and the MSUEWQ team work with local Extension, conservation districts, watershed groups, state agencies, and tribes across Montana to engage the public in water science and management. MSUEWQ administers a statewide private well testing program called Well Educated and Adam teaches a graduate level online water quality course in the LRES department at MSU. When not elbow deep in water science, Adam enjoys paddling his canoe, biking, running or thinking what the next cool water science and outreach project might be because WATER is SOOOOO COOL!
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Amy Seaman
Amy Seaman 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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Robert Ray

Robert Ray is a Water Quality Specialist in the Watershed Protection Section at the Montana Department of Environmental Quality. He managed the Nonpoint Source Program for the State of Montana from 2002 to 2016 and the TMDL program from 2002 to 2006. Prior to working for the state of Montana, he was the Director of Watershed Services at the Northwest Colorado Council of Governments. In that role he updated and implemented the Regional Water Quality Plan (208 Plan) and supported and participated in numerous watershed-scale water quality planning and implementation efforts. Robert has also worked in water quality protection for the city of Arvada, Colorado, the Virginia Water Control Board, and as a Research Associate at the University of Maryland’s Horn Point Environmental Laboratories. He earned a BS in Biology from the University of New Mexico in 1982 and a MS in Marine Science from the College of William and Mary in 1986.

Robert is married and has a grown son and daughter. He loves the out-of- doors and gets great joy from skiing, running, mountaineering, biking, rafting, canoeing, etc.

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Jennifer Schoonen
Blackfoot Water Steward – Blackfoot Challenge
Jennifer Schoonen joined the Blackfoot Challenge staff as Blackfoot Water Steward in September 2013. Previously, Jennifer worked for 11 years for the National Forest Foundation, most recently as vice president of development and communications. She also spent nine years at the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation working in communications, conservation education, and lands and conservation. Jennifer holds a master’s degree in journalism and natural resource management from the University of Arizona. In her free time, Jennifer enjoys hiking, camping, fishing and travel with her husband, Tony, and daughters, Carli and Brooke.
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