Meet 2018’s Big Sky Watershed Corps Members!
Abby Cutting-SmithLolo National Forest and Lolo Watershed Group
Maggie BurnhamCrown Managers Partnership
Brandi BergreenMissoula Conservation District & Missoula Weed District
Aissa WiseBitterroot Water Forum
Paul TranClark Fork Watershed Education Program
Samantha StrableFriends of the Missouri Breaks
Riley StiljesMontana Trout Unlimited & United States Forest Service
Valerie StaceyLewis and Clark Water Quality Protection District
Michelle PondGallatin Local Water Quality District and the Gallatin City-County Health Department
Lauren OdomLake County Conservation District
Jack MurrayGallatin River Task Force
Taylor MudfordFriends of the Missouri Breaks
Colin McClureMusselshell Watershed Coalition, Missouri River Conservation Districts Council, & Petroleum County Conservation District
Claudia MacfarlaneRuby Valley Conservation District
Jacob LeVitusThe Center For Large Landscape Conservation
Mitch LassaOne Montana/MSU Extension
Andrew C. KretschmerRichland & Sheridan County County Conservation Districts
Aaron KolbYellowstone River Conservation District Council
Quincey JohnsonWildlife Conservation Society
Andrew HorvathMusselshell Watershed Coalition, Missouri River Conservation Districts Council, & Petroleum County Conservation District
Liam GoolicMontana Aquatic Resources Services
Casey GallagherMilk River Watershed Alliance
Graham GaitherBlackfeet Tribe
Tess DubeMadison River Foundation
Kierra DavisMontana Watershed Coordination Council
Angela DavisMontana Conservation Corps
Abby Cutting-Smith grew up in the high desert of west Texas. Growing up in an area with very little water plus the influence of her father lead her to move to Montana in 2009 to serve as an MCC trail crew member then to interning on an organic farm in Northern Washington. She has a B.S. in Environmental Science with a focus on soil and water from Montana State University in Bozeman.
I am originally from Anchorage, Alaska, but have been in Missoula for the past five years. I’m serving at the Flathead Lake Bio Station as part of the Crown Managers Partnership. I’m very excited to finally be doing something very close to what I got my Bachelor’s in, which is Ecosystem Science and Restoration.
Brandi grew up in Southern California and earned a BS in Biology, with a concentration in field and wildlife biology from Cal Poly State University in San Luis Obispo. After moving to Missoula in 2017, she served as a Youth Crew Leader with MCC. She is excited to continue serving the communities in and around Missoula, this time as a BSWC member, by sharing her passion for conservation through education and outreach while expanding her knowledge of watershed health, protection and management.
Aissa is originally from Washington State but soon found her place in Montana while she was attending the University of Montana-Western, where she earned a BS in environmental science and geology. Passion for the natural world started at a young age and only grew deeper the more she learned through education, various environmental jobs and personal adventures throughout Montana and the Pacific Northwest. She most recently served as a Youth Conservation Corps Crew Leader with MCC based out of the Flathead Valley.
Paul graduated from the University of California Santa Cruz with a degree in Environmental Earth Science and Anthropology. Out of college, he worked as a well-logging geologist primarily at oil sites in the Great Valley of California and geothermal sites in the Nevada Basin and Range. He then spent time teaching and tutoring kids in Thailand and Vietnam. He spent this past summer and Fall working with the Challis Bureau of Land Management as a Native Plant and Invasive Species Field tech, where he was involved with weed management, surveys, and habitat restoration.
Samantha Strable is a Montana native and a graduate of the University of Providence (formerly known as the University of Great Falls). She currently is working on a Master’s of Science in Environmental Policy and Management with a concentration in Fish and Wildlife Management. Her past experience includes working with the Wildlife and State Park branches of Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks. In her spare time you can find Samantha hunting, fishing, skiing, and enjoying Montana’s outdoors. Now in Helena, Samantha is excited to be embarking into watershed conservation work.
Riley grew up in Wisconsin and is a cheesehead through and through. He graduated with an Environmental Geoscience degree from Northland College on the shores of beautiful Lake Superior. After graduation he worked for the Washington Conservation Corps for 11 months in Yakima and Ellensburg. There he completed multiple projects including riparian restoration, forest thinning and salmon habitat restoration. In his spare time Riley loves to ski, snowboard, longboard, kayak, disc golf, golf and much more.
Valerie grew up in Michigan and attended college in Indiana where she focused on ecological research in a wide variety of environments, from the northern region of Wisconsin to an island off the coast of Panama. Striving to find a confluence between society and environmental science, her interest in natural resource management grew. After graduation, she moved to Wyoming where she worked intimately with river and stream systems as a technician for the Bureau of Land Management. When she’s not in the office or the field, you can find her hiking in the mountains, birding, or reading.
Originally from the California central coast, Michelle attended UC Berkeley, studying Environmental Engineering Science with a minor in Conservation and Resource Studies. After graduation, she spent a year with the Watershed Stewards Program, placed at the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board, where she worked on surface water monitoring, creek restoration, watershed education in classrooms and facilitating community workshops.
Raised in Oklahoma, Lauren attended Oklahoma State University to complete her undergraduate degree. In her senior year, Lauren was selected as an Undergraduate Researcher. She worked alongside OSU and the Oklahoma DEQ to find a better standard for water percolation testing to determine septic system type. Lauren then graduated May 2017, with a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science and a Focus in Water Resources. In her spare time, Lauren enjoys traveling and exploring as much as possible.
Jack was born and raised in Charlottesville, Virginia. He holds a B.S. in Natural Resources, as well as a Watershed Science Certificate which he received from Sewanee: University of the South last May. After his sophomore year, Jack spent a few months interning for the Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority in Seguin, TX wherein he was exposed to water quality testing and water policy, sparking his interest in watershed science and conservation. Following graduation Jack worked as a Stream Survey Technician for the BLM/ USFS Aquatic Riparian Effectiveness Monitoring Program (AREMP) in Corvallis, OR.
Taylor is a New York native and alumnus of the University of Hartford. Though he majored in history, a semester abroad in Australia inspired him to pursue a minor in environmental studies, which soon became his academic and personal focus. While serving with the Americorps program and working directly with the Friends, Taylor looks forward to applying his passion and zeal for the environment, conservation, and history to his work in spreading awareness of, and participating in hands-on conservation efforts in, the Upper Missouri Breaks National Monument.
Colin McClure grew up on his family farm in Walla Walla, WA. After graduating from Montana State University with a BS in Soil and Water Science, he traveled to South America to “improve his Spanish”—but mostly to ski and trek around the Patagonia region. His affinity for water and conservation started on the farm and blossomed in the mountains. He loves to snowboard, mountain bike, kayak, whitewater raft, fish, and work with wood—his prize project being a strip built cedar kayak.
Claudia is from California’s Central Valley and is excited to be a Big Sky Watershed Corp member serving her term with the Ruby Valley Conservation District. She comes to the program from University of California, Berkeley with a BA in Environmental Earth Science, a BS in Conservation and Resource Studies, and an enthusiasm for learning, ecology, and conservation. She is excited to be able to join the Sheridan community and explore Montana’s beautiful landscape. In her free time you can find Claudia hiking, mushroom hunting, reading, or trying new local eateries!
Jacob grew up in Austin, Texas Jacob LeVitus and attended the University of Kansas to pursue his degree in environmental studies. After graduation, he completed an internship with the Natural Resources department for the Council of Athabascan Tribal Governments in Fort Yukon, Alaska. In 2017, he served on a Field Crew with Texas Conservation Corps at American YouthWorks. This year, he will be working on a beaver mimicry project with Blackfeet Nation Fish & Wildlife.
Mitch will be helping create infrastructure for statewide conversations on water, agriculture, and climate as well as working for Extension’s Climate Science Team. Originally from Wisconsin, Mitch graduated with a B.S. in Geology in 2016 from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. Since then, he has interned as a hydrologist with the USGS in New York, traveled to New Zealand to volunteer on organic farms, and has served on a field crew with the Montana Conservation Corps. In his off-time, Mitch enjoys hiking, camping, canoeing, and cooking.
Andrew C. Kretschmer
Andrew grew up in central Iowa, finding a passion for natural resources at a young age. After graduating from Iowa State with a degree in Forest Ecosystem Management, he took a field job with the Conservation Corps in Iowa. When that position came to an end he knew it was time for a change of scenery leading him to Montana. He looks forward to examining the impacts of fracking and other oil industry practices on the North Eastern portion of the state. Andrew is also excited to start exploring the state from his bicycle and hopes to spend some time on the Yellowstone River if he can find a kayak.
Aaron comes to Montana from the high deserts of northern Arizona. The dependence of his home region on the Colorado River, and the fragile state of that river, sparked Aaron’s interests in developing watershed management strategies that meet human needs without compromising ecological health. Aaron holds a B.S. in Environmental Engineering from Colorado State University. During school he helped lead volunteers on river restoration projects with Wildlands Restoration Volunteers and worked with Larimer County to create new floodplain maps of the Cache La Poudre River.
Originially from New Hampshire, Quincey attended Hobart and William Smith Colleges in the Finger Lakes of New York where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies. She has worked as a research technician studying forest ecology in Pennsylvania and Italy, and has studied amphibians and reptiles in New York and New Mexico. Most recently, Quincey worked as a naturalist for the Glacier Institute in Glacier National Park teaching environmental education to elementary and middle school students.
Andrew Horvath came to Montana from Austin, Texas in 2017. Originally from New York, he has a B.S. in Environmental Science. He then earned a M.S. in Environmental Management with a focus in Ecology at St. Edward’s University. For his thesis project, he collaborated with Dr. Lindsey Albertson at Montana State University and The Nature Conservancy to research the use of beaver mimicry structures to restore incised streams. Andrew’s study site was located on Long Creek and Alkali Creek in The Centennial Valley.
Liam Goolic is originally from New Jersey. He has a B.S. in Biology with a minor in Environmental Studies from The College of New Jersey, where he specialized in researching invasive plant biology in suburban forests. Since graduating, he has served two AmeriCorps terms with the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference. His first term was with the Invasives Strike Force, where he sharpened his invasive plant knowledge. His second term was as a Trail Builder. He is looking forward to serving his third Americorps term with MARS.
Casey is a returning Big Sky Watershed Corps member to the Milk River Watershed Alliance and is located in Malta, MT. Casey leads education and outreach activities within the Milk River watershed. She grew up in New Jersey, where she discovered her enthusiasm for environmental education working in a state forest. Casey grew her appreciation for agriculture while directing a farm-to-table luncheon at Siena College. If she’s not in the office, Casey enjoys hiking, biking, and mushroom foraging.
Born in San Antonio, Texas, Graham finished his BS in San Marcos, Texas in 2017. He has been utilizing his knowledge of Texas geography and biology to empower young students for years. He is expanding his knowledge base and is now utilizing those skills in serving with MCC and BSWC to empower the Blackfeet Tribe in Browning, MT. Graham enjoys hiking, reading science fiction, and listening and moving to the sounds of drum ‘n bass music.
Originally from Albany, New York, Tess attended Le Moyne College in Syracuse, New York for a degree in Mathematics. Since her graduation in 2015 she has worked in a multitude of settings including an environmental summer camp in the Adirondack mountains of New York, as an AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC) member, the Oklahoma United Methodist Church Disaster Response Corps, and El Rancho Cima, Boy Scout Camp. She recently spent a year working for the Savannah College of Art and Design in Savannah, GA.
Kierra Davis is a recent graduate of Eastern Kentucky University with a Bachelors of Science in Wildlife Management and a Certificate in Geographic Information Systems. Kierra is active in professional organizations such The Wildlife Society and passionate about the outdoors. She has served two terms of service with the U.S. Forest Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Montana and ready to serve another to better the community!
Angela will be serving as the 2018 Big Sky Watershed Corps team leader with MCC. She completed a term of service in 2017 helping to facilitate community involvement and education while serving with Montana Aquatic Resources. Originally from Florida, Angela came to Montana for a visit in 2014 and was a resident by 2015. Angela holds a B.S. in Biology from the University of North Florida.