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1101 11th Ave, Helena, MT 59601 (406) 443-5711 Information on our programs can be found at

MACD Annual Convention November 16 – 19, 2021 Great Falls, MT Learn More at

BSWC Host Site Cost-Share Available!

MACD, in partnership with NRCS, is offering five (5), $6,125.00 awards, totaling $30,125.00, towards the cost of a Big Sky Watershed Corps (BSWC) member for the 2022 term of service.  These awards are prioritized for Conservation Districts interested in hosting a BSWC member. There is a required 50% non-federal match associated with this award.

Funding applications due August 20, 2021

Application for Funding (Complete and submit to

Cost-share is for projects that coincide with the following objectives:

  • Provide technical assistance to agricultural producers to develop conservation plans that address resource concerns identified through the 9-step conservation planning process (NRCS 9 step planning process).
  • Market and assist landowners in applying for and implementing Farm Bill programs to further the conservation of natural resources.
  • Increase communications and outreach to increase partner buy-in and conservation program participation by landowners.
  • Resource-based solutions in the following areas: range and cropland, forestry, water resources, soil health, wildlife, and conservation technical assistance.

If you are interested in this funding please fill out the application and return it to Melissa Downing at

2021 Big Sky Watershed Corps Members

Abby Schmeichel

Host Site: Lake County Conservation District

Abby grew up in several states on the east coast and in the Midwest, sparking a love for exploring new environments across the country. After graduating with a B.A. in Environmental Studies from Alfred University in 2016, she headed out west to study new and exciting ecosystems! From the Rocky Mountains to the Cascade volcanoes, Abby has worked as a Science Educator for non-profits in Wyoming and Washington teaching K-12 students about their home environment through inquiry-based, outdoor learning. In between, she jumped into field science as a Biological Science Technician with the Yellowstone Ecological Research Center, conducting vegetation assessments in the park and water quality analysis of the Upper Yellowstone Watershed. Abby was also a member of the BSWC 2020 cohort serving at the Flathead Lake Biological Station and is excited to be doing another term with BSWC! In addition to growing professionally, she hopes to also take time to go hiking, acquire more house plants, put puzzles together, and spend long days on Flathead Lake!

Ainsley Rothschild

Host Site: Blackfeet Agriculture Resource Management Plan

I’m from St. Francisville, LA and graduated from Louisiana State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Biological Sciences and a minor in psychology. My past few years have been rooted in conducting and presenting biological research, captaining my collegiate rowing team, and supporting the needs of the neurodivergent community. I recently served as a Montana Conservation Fellow on the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness area trail crew in Idaho. I hope to continue my love for backpacking, fishing, horse-riding, and kayaking in my term in Montana. I am so grateful for the opportunity to learn from and assist the Blackfeet Nation’s work to support food sovereignty, cultural revitalization, and economic and ecological growth in their community. It is a privilege to work for a community led, informed, and designed project that honors the tribe’s knowledge and needs first and foremost.

Alicia Dixon

Host Site: Clearwater Resource Council

Alicia is from Baltimore, Maryland, but attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she graduated in May 2020 with a B.S. in Environmental Science and certificates in Environmental Studies and American Indian Studies. At UW-Madison, she worked in a variety of different research labs, the most recent being a weed science and grassland ecology lab where she assisted on a project studying the effects of different cattle grazing practices on ground nesting bird habitat. Alicia also interned with an environmental law group in Madison as a Legislative Policy Intern. In her free time, Alicia likes to ski, hike, swim, read, and listen to music. She is very excited to be serving with the Clearwater Resource Council through the Big Sky Watershed Corps!

Anna Baize

Host Site: National Wildlife Federation


Anna grew up in the Plainfield, Indiana, among corn and creeks. This past December she graduated with a degree in Fish, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology from Colorado State University. Over the past few summers Anna has worked a variety of seasonal positions from trail crews to working as a rangeland tech, but she found a passion for inspiring others to take care of their surroundings while working at an environmental learning center. She’s excited to learn more about Montana watersheds and how to get people to take care of the places they love. If not inside, Anna can be found hiking, biking, identifying plants, or eating tacos.

Brant Dupree

Host Site: Upper Columbia Conservation Commission and Missoula County Weed District

Brant grew up in North Carolina, split evenly between the Appalachian Mountains and the Atlantic Beaches. Internships with Nonprofits, Public Parks, and self-interest in the outdoors prompted Brant to graduate in Environmental Science from North Carolina State University. The connecting factor of all the positions and passions he has held has been connecting people with nature, in hopes that he and others may grow in its protection and conservation. While in Montana for the last year, Brant has enjoyed fly fishing, backpacking, and valuable time outdoors. Brant is looking forward to another year of working towards healthier and cleaner watersheds in Montana.

Eliza Gillilan

Host Site: Missoula County Weed District

Eliza grew up playing in the mountains and streams surrounding her hometown of Bozeman, MT. She graduated from St. Lawrence University with a BA in environmental studies and sociology and minors in biology and African studies. In the past, she has worked as a wilderness ranger, GIS technician, and environmental educator. Eliza also served a previous Big Sky Watershed Corps term with the Wildlife Conservation Society and is excited to spend the year continuing to build her experience in on-the-ground conservation. Away from work, Eliza is fond of taking low-quality selfies in beautiful places, pretending she is on the Great British Bake Off, and exploring the mountains by foot or ski.

Ellie DeVos

Host Site: Bitter Root Water Forum

Ellie grew up in the Missoula area, hiking with her family and exploring the native flora and fauna. Graduating from Concordia College – Moorhead with a B.A. degree in Biology and Environmental Studies, she participated in undergraduate research – studying native pollinator-plant interactions – and worked in the campus sustainability department, coordinating several projects. Interested in sustainability and ecology, Ellie pursued conservation work and has served a few terms with Montana Conservation Corps, in Western Montana, Idaho, and the USFS Yellowstone Ranger District. She is excited to be working for the Big Sky Watershed Corps, where she can help to educate about watershed stewardship and contribute to restoration in her home state. Outside of work she enjoys being on trails with the family dog, reading science fiction, gardening, and trying out new hobbies.

Emilie Henry

Host Site: City of Kalispell and the Flathead Basin Commission

Having lived in York, PA for the past decade and on the east coast nearly all of her life, Emilie is thrilled to have the opportunity to serve a second term as a BSWC Member with the City of Kalispell and the Flathead Basin Commission. During her undergraduate career, Emilie developed her passion for environmental science and policy, graduating from Lafayette College in 2019 with a B.S. in Geology and a Minor in Government & Law. Emilie fancies herself an Earth historian and has participated in numerous field projects, including a three-week paleontology course in the Galapagos Islands and a two-month-long stint as a research assistant in the Naukluft Mountains of Namibia. When she’s not looking at rocks, Emilie spends her time knitting, hiking, rock climbing, writing, and exploring this lovely world in which we live.

Emma DesLauriers

Host Site: Montana Watershed Coordination Council

Emma grew up on the North West Shore of Lake Tahoe, California. There she was taught from a young age the importance of both protecting and enjoying nature. She graduated from UC Berkeley’s College of Natural Resources in May of 2020 with a B.S. in Environmental Economics and Policy and a minor in Conservation Resource Studies. What enthuses Emma the most about working for Big Sky Watershed Corps is the opportunity to connect and gain knowledge about watershed conservation from people all around Montana. Outside of work she enjoys being outdoors and staying active with skiing during the winter and mountain biking or hiking during the summer.

Fiona Handler

Host Site: Flathead Conservation District

Hello, my name is Fiona Handler. I am from Half Moon Bay, California. I graduated college in 2019 from University of California, Santa Cruz with a degree in Environmental Studies. I am excited to be a part of this program because it will be such a huge learning experience for me in regards to how the professional world of conservation operates. Not only will I be learning so much but I will also be able to explore such a beautiful area. I have mostly worked on farms and gardens and love spending lots of time outside!

Heather Priest

Host Site: Gallatin Watershed Council

Growing up in Upstate New York, Heather’s relationship with wild spaces began in the warm lakes and dense deciduous forests of the Adirondacks. She received a B.A. in Politics, Philosophy, and Law and an M.A. in Natural Resource Management with a specification in Watershed Management from Binghamton University. Heather has spent the past several years exploring perspectives and landscapes near and far. She worked with stakeholders in a small village in Nepal, taught wilderness skills to children in Utah’s backcountry, and lived and explored in Grand Teton National Park. It is her belief that the foundation of protecting our planet’s resources lies within environmental education and community involvement. She is excited to bring her passion for protecting public lands and their resources into her work with the Big Sky Watershed Corps and Gallatin Watershed Council. Outside of work, you can find Heather in the backcountry conversing with the pikas amongst the wildflowers, or on skis searching for secret snow stashes.

James Nash

Host Site: U.S. Forest Service and Montana Trout Unlimited

James grew up in Minnesota, and graduated from Hamline University with a B.S. in biology. He then moved west to pursue his passion for conservation work and play in the mountains. James has served two AmeriCorps terms, one with the Minnesota Conservation Corps on a field crew and one with the Montana Conservation Corps as a Conservation Intern placed with the USFS in the Flathead National Forest. He is looking forward to contributing to water conservation over the course of this term in the places he has come to cherish. When not working James can be found skiing, climbing, fishing, or running the trails around his home in Missoula.

Jeff Torano

Host Site: Hill County Conservation District

Jeff is from Kalamazoo, MI, where he grew up around Great Lakes and lively rivers. He has a BS in Interdisciplinary Chemical Sciences from the University of Michigan, where he researched MOF (metal-organic framework) polymers. Jeff has experience working around water health and conservation from a variety of perspectives, from farming in rural Michigan, to lab analysis of industrial waste water for First Solar in Toledo, OH. He has always been interested in the intersection of things: beliefs, relationships, rivers! He is excited to get to know the varied landscapes of Montana and meet new people, as well as develop projects and work for the betterment of Hill County and Havre, MT. In his free time, he enjoys playing games and sports, works on outdoor projects, and cooks/bakes.

Jennifer Riddle

Host Site: Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks

Jennifer was born and raised in Lakeland, Florida and as a kid loved exploring the Sunshine State’s unique environments and wildlife. She obtained her bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science & Policy at the University of South Florida in Tampa. In the summer of 2020, she served an AmeriCorps term with MCC and the US Forest Service in Bozeman and is thrilled to have another opportunity to serve in Montana focusing on the special relationship between Montanans and their waters. On her days off she enjoys reading, hiking, kayaking, and trying fun cooking projects!

Jessica Olson

Host Site: Gallatin River Task Force

Jessica grew up in central Massachusetts and got her B.S. in Wildlife and Conservation Biology from the University of New Hampshire in 2018. After college, Jess went on to work for the North Carolina State Parks teaching environmental education, with a focus on wetland ecology and water quality, to local elementary students. Jessica is thrilled to join the Gallatin River Task force to learn about watershed health and become a better environmental steward. When not serving with the Big Sky Watershed Corps, Jess hopes to spend most of her time hiking and exploring Montana’s great outdoors.

Jillian Henrichon

Host Site: Lake County Conservation District and Soil and Water Conservation Districts of Montana

Jillian is from western Massachusetts and has a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science from the University of New England in Biddeford Maine. She is really excited to be a part of the Big Sky Watershed Corps because she is passionate about the protection of natural resources and has a particular interest in water quality. She additionally has never been to Montana or much of the west before so she is excited to explore and expand her worldview! After graduation Jillian completed some SCA service terms as a natural resource technician and interpretive ranger at Devils Postpile National Monument in CA and as an environmental educator with the SCA New Hampshire AmeriCorps program. On her time off Jillian enjoys hiking, playing the flute in community bands (when it is safe to do so), and reading.

Kaitlyn Okrusch

Host Site: Clark Fork Watershed Education Program

Hailing as a 5th generation Montanan from Butte, Kaitlyn has grown up deeply connected to the wild spaces and waters in her home state. After graduating from MSU with a B.S. in Biochemistry and Nutritional Science in 2015 and working in the medical field, she found herself wanting to be outside teaching, learning, and growing in the realms of environmental education and conservation. Her love of the outdoors and desire to protect our natural resources were the catalyst of a career switch. Over the past 5 years, she has been fortunate to work as a teacher/naturalist in Glacier National Park, a naturalist at Hawk Ridge Bird Observatory, a MAPS bird-bander and educator for UMBEL (University of Montana Bird Ecology Lab), and a watershed educator/curriculum developer for CFWEP (Clark Fork Watershed Education Program). She is ecstatic to be back for a second term of service through BSWC, and ready to excite and educate the next generation of environmental stewards. When Kaitlyn is not working with students or birds, you can find her birding, running, hiking, skiing, and snuggling with her two favorite cats Sola and Yoshi.

Katie Guetz

Host Site: Gallatin Local Water Quality District

Katie grew up along the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains, in Golden, CO, where she witnessed not only the natural beauty, but also widespread development, population growth, and years of severe drought. Ultimately, these foundational experiences guided Katie to a career in the environmental sciences. In 2015 Katie earned her B.S. in Earth Science from Montana State University. She spent the next several years exploring the western U.S. and working various field jobs across Montana, Alaska, and Arizona. After a trip down the Colorado River in 2017, Katie decided to pursue an M.S. in Environmental Sciences and Policy at Northern Arizona University where her research focused on prioritizing dams for removal across the west. Following graduation in 2020, Katie spent a season working as a hydrology technician for the Forest Service on the Bridger-Teton National Forest collecting data on Wild and Scenic Rivers in western Wyoming. This all eventually led Katie to become a Big Sky Watershed Corps member! Katie is excited to be a part of this program working to protect and improve water resources in the Gallatin Valley through community based conservation. She is also excited to get back on the rivers, slopes, and trails in Bozeman!

Keaton Martin

Host Site: Flathead Lake Biological Station

Born in Missoula, Keaton is happy to back in Montana after finishing schooling in Western Washington. He obtained an Environmental Science degree from Western Washington University, with a focus on Freshwater and Terrestrial Ecology. Big Sky Watershed Corps will provide valuable experience and networking for getting a career in Montana working with watersheds and ecological restoration. He’s worked on sustainable agriculture projects in Butte before and loved seeing the remediation possibilities that the Berkeley Pit offered. Other experience includes restoration projects on the Naches River, ecesis research assistance in the Easton Valley of Mount Baker, and constructed wetland filtration efficacy research using electron microscopy. Keaton is excited to snowshoe, backpack, and relax outside enjoying Montana’s natural beauty in his free time.

London Bernier

Host Site: Ruby Valley Conservation District

Born and raised on the coast of Maine, London was lucky to spend her time exploring the rocky beaches, lakes, and mountains of the Northeast. She received a B.A. in environmental studies and statistics from St. Lawrence University in Upstate New York. After dabbling in many areas of environmental conservation during school and work experiences, from global amphibian decline to renewable energy in New Zealand, London graduated and spent a summer working with the Henry’s Fork Foundation in Idaho. This work sparked a deeper interest in watershed management and its collaborative nature, and led her to the Big Sky Watershed Corps and Ruby Valley Conservation District. In her free time, you’ll find London outside Nordic skiing, doing yoga, trail running, beekeeping, or enjoying a good book.

Maeve Holman

Host Site: Lolo Watershed Group and Lolo National Forest

Growing up in the Finger Lakes region of New York State, Maeve found a love for nature and environmental science at an early age. In 2017, she moved to Missoula to foster her passion for the outdoors and earn her bachelor’s degree in Geosciences at the University of Montana. While an undergraduate, she pursued research surrounding instream flow leasing of the Upper Clark Fork River Basin. She is excited to serve another term with AmeriCorps after her experience as an MCC Conservation Intern with the Lolo National Forest in the summer of 2020. While off (and sometimes on) the clock, Maeve can be found scouting for cool rocks and reptiles and exploring Montana’s public lands.

Host Site: Blackfeet Agriculture Resource Management Plan

Matthew Kohr

Host Site: Tri-County Fire Safe Working Group

I am from a small agriculturally driven town along the pacific coast called Santa Paula, California. I hold a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from Northern Arizona University. I am excited to be a part of Big Sky watershed corps because I believe that serving to protect the natural landscape is a high honor. Conservation management practices here in Montana set the tone in an exemplary way for the other parts of the country, and that management is extremely important for the overall health of the North American continent. The Big Sky Watershed program is renowned for an amazing teamwork experience and at the forefront in many aspects of the conservation mission and duty. This is work that I believe in for the good of many! In my spare time, I am passionate about audio electronics and studying vibration phenomena. I thank Tri-County Fire Safe and the Montana Conservation Corps for this exciting opportunity!

Megan Heath

Host Site: Missoula Valley Water Quality District

Hi my name is Megan and I’m originally from Sioux City, Iowa. I completed both of my degrees at the University of Iowa, which include a B.S. in Environmental Science and M.S. in Geoscience. The wilderness of the western U.S. has always intrigued me and I am ecstatic about the opportunity to move to Missoula and work on projects centered around environmental health. I feel so lucky to be able to live and work in such a beautiful place. I love being outdoors and can often be found hiking, climbing, biking, or camping on the weekends.

Michelle Barton

Host Site: Home ReSource

My name is Michelle Barton, and I am from Flagstaff, Arizona. I received a degree in Geology from Northern Arizona University while working as a GIS student contractor for USGS. I previously served with MCC as a senior crew leader and was introduced to some incredible places in Montana that I have been in love with ever since. I am excited to work with Home ReSource as the Zero Waste Educator to learn how to build community-wide, sustainable relationships with the environment, while sharing my enthusiasm for the outdoors with Missoula youth! In my spare time I enjoy tinkering at my woodworking table, running around with my crazy dogs, and digging in my garden.

Miranda Hernandez

Host Site:  Montana Audubon Center

I am from San Dimas, California, a foothill suburb in Los Angeles county. I earned a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science with an emphasis on ecological restoration. I studied in the redwoods of northern California at Humboldt State University. I am excited to develop my ecological perspective of restoration through conservation experience with watersheds and ornithology. I love being around and working with plants, as an occupation and for fun. I have been on a conservation field crew throughout southern and eastern California, interned as a field technician in eastern Oregon, and apprenticed in horticulture at a native plant nursery in Los Angeles. In my free time I like to explore and learn about more plants in the wild.

Olivia Regnier

Host Site: Montana Conservation Corps

Growing up in the Great Lakes State, bodies of water have always been a big part of Olivia’s life. Hailing from Southeast Michigan, she attended the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. There, she completed a B.A. in Political Science; International Studies; Environment; and Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies. She has spent time studying water conservation in New Zealand and conducting research on water and community building in Wisconsin. Olivia is overjoyed to return for a second term with Big Sky Watershed Corps and continue to advocate for the places she has come to love⎯and the ones she has yet to discover. Outside of work, you can find Olivia searching for the best campsite and jumping into any body of water she encounters.

Peter Dudley

Host Site: Montana Audubon

Peter developed a love for the natural world while growing up at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Charlottesville, VA. After graduating from Haverford College in 2018 with a B.A. in Anthropology and an Environmental Studies minor, he went on to work in public horticulture before serving as a Conservation Fellow with the Hungry Horse-Glacier View Ranger Districts last season. Peter cannot wait to get started, as his placement with Montana Audubon is an intersection of his interests in native plants, conservation, and agroecology. In his free time, you can find him hiking, birding, playing music, or searching for the few squash courts of Montana.

Sara Pearce

Host Site: Center for Large Landscape Conservation

Born and raised in the Sonoran Desert of Arizona, Sara is eager to explore her new Montana home. In December of 2019, Sara graduated from the University of Hawaii at Manoa with her B.S. in Natural Resource and Environmental Management. During her time in the Hawaiian Islands Sara was able to put her love of wildlife to work as a student assistant with the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources in their endangered invertebrate lab, while also helping with a translocation project for Black-footed Albatross at the James Campbell National Wildlife Refuge. Sara is excited to be a part of Big Sky Watershed Corps and serve her term with the Center for Large Landscape Conservation where she can work to build and improve environmental resilience to the changing world, while discovering new interests along the way! In her free time, she can be found enjoying a sunset, hiking, or caring for her pet rabbit, Clover.

Scott Edwards

Host Site: NRCS Plant Materials Center

Growing up in North Carolina, Scott was exposed to many aspects of the natural world to include the Appalachian Mountains to the west and the Cape Hatteras on the coast as well as the equally important foothills. Beginning at an early age, Scott was gravitated to its beauty and importance in this human ecosystem. Upon graduation from high school, Scott enlisted in the military, retiring after 20 years of successful service. During the course of his career, he had the luxury of traveling to five of the 7 continents, experiencing a variety of differing cultures and geographical landscapes. This experience strengthened the gravitation felt as a young child in the natural world and the human ecosystem. He is currently attending graduate school at Virginia Tech in Natural Resources Management/Global Sustainability, due to graduate in summer of 2021. His focus is currently on sustainable agriculture and the vast interconnected system of this development goal. Scott is excited to be an active member of the NRCS Bridger Plant Materials Center and conduct research in soil health to include such aspects as water quality, utilization of entomology, cover cropping, and such to effectively utilize the land to its fullest extent with minimal impact.

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