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Montana Audubon - who we are


Montana Audubon Staff

Steve HoffmanSteve Hoffman, Executive Director, came to Montana Audubon in 2006. He earned a Master’s degree in Wildlife Ecology from Utah State University (1979). After 10 years of government service (US Bureau of Land Management & US Fish & Wildlife Service) as a wildlife biologist in the Southwest, Steve founded HawkWatch International (HWI), a nonprofit organization dedicated to raptor conservation. After 12 years as Executive Director of HWI, Steve became the State Director of Bird Conservation for Audubon Pennsylvania. In 2004 Steve moved to Bozeman, Montana, to serve as the Executive Director of Predator Conservation Alliance.


Frances BoyensFrances Boyens, Education Director, joined the Montana Audubon Conservation Education Center in Billings in May 2014.  Frances came to us with a rich history in environmental education, from running summer camps and school programs in Ohio, to teaching environmental science in Washington State. She has more than 15 years of environmental and conservation education experience, including spending a year in Thailand working in conservation and wildlife rehabilitation.  Frances has a degree in Environmental Science she earned in South Africa. She is very excited to move to her bucket list state, Montana—and she can’t wait to explore all the area has to offer!  

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Amy CilimburgAmy Cilimburg, Director of Conservation and Climate Policy, began with Montana Audubon in 2007. She works to educate and inspire action around issues related to climate change, birds, wildlife, and energy, working closely with Janet Ellis on these policy issues. Beginning in 2008, Amy spearheads our Important Bird Areas (IBA) Program and collaborates with other key biologists and conservationists to protect Montana's birds and their habitat. Prior to coming to Audubon, Amy was the Assistant Director of the University of Montana's Avian Science Center. She received a M.S. in Wildlife Biology from the University of Montana in 2001. Prior to this she spent 10 years teaching with the National Outdoor Leadership School both around the west and internationally. She lives and strives to reduce her carbon footprint in Missoula with her husband and daughter.

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Janet EllisJanet Ellis, Program Director, has coordinated Montana Audubon’s legislative and public policy work on behalf of Montana’s wildlife and wildlife habitat since 1983.  She became Program Director when the office opened on a full-time, year-round basis in 1989.  Previously, Janet was a ranger and naturalist for Yellowstone and Zion National Parks, Cedar Breaks National Monument, and Lewis and Clark Caverns State Park.  She has received several awards for her work, including “Conservationist of the Year” from the Montana Environmental Information Center, Montana Wildlife Federation, and Montana Audubon; and a 2013 "Special Achievement Award" from the Montana Native Plant Society.  She holds a degree in biology from the University of Montana. Janet lives in Helena with her husband and son.

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Norane Freistadt
Norane Freistadt
, Development Director, joined the Montana Audubon team in September 2010. She comes to us with a strong fundraising background, tremendous passion for our work, and diverse life experiences. She has lived in the Helena area for 3 decades. During that time, she ran Days of Yore, a retail antique shop, for 20 years. In the last decade, she has become increasingly involved in community groups that better fit her life-long passion for land conservation and “smart growth” issues. She is a founding member of Prickly Pear Land Trust, where she worked as Development Director before moving to the Montana Wilderness Association, where she also served in that position. She holds a degree in Anthropology from the Washington State University. Norane and her husband Rob have three adult children.

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Darcie VallantDarcie Howard, Center Director, Audubon Conservation Education Center, began working for Montana Audubon in April of 2010. She comes to us with extensive experience in environmental education and conservation. Darcie studied Wildlife Conservation as an undergraduate and then received a Master’s in Conservation and Biodiversity Biology from the University of Leeds, England. She taught 8th-12th grade science in a suburb of Boston. Realizing that she belonged in an outdoor classroom, she joined Columbus Parks and Recreation in Ohio as a Center Director, and over five years she developed and implemented environmental and adventure programming for the community. Her next adventure lead her to Nantucket, MA to work as the Education Director for a science and education non-profit, the Maria Mitchell Association. There she once again developed a slew of successful hands-on and place based science educational programs. New to the West, Darcie spends her time exploring Montana and surrounding states hiking, camping and birding.

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SaraSara Lipscomb, Office Manager, began working at Montana Audubon in 2014.  She came to us with a long and varied history of administrative and management positions in the Missoula nonprofit community. Sara has an incredible set of skills in administrative support, database oversight, customer service, and office management. She is also resourceful and a clear communicator.

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Trinity PierceTrinity Pierce, Land Stewardship Coordinator. Trinity Pierce began working with Montana Audubon in April of 2014. She is excited to explore our relationship with the land in partnership with the restoration community of Billings. Trinity studied History at Wheaton College (IL) and received a Master’s in Landscape Architecture at the University of Michigan. She has worked on green roofs inGermany, horticulture at the EPCOT Center in Disney World, and the development of a restoration management plan for the Wilds in Cumberland, Ohio. From Oak Park, outside Chicago, Trinity is an avid gardener and is eager to learn from the beautiful and diverse ecosystems of Montana.

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Amy SeamanAmy Seaman, Bird Conservation Associate, new to Montana Audubon as of September 2013, is assisting with our Important Bird Area (IBA) Program. She earned her M.S in Biology in 2012, during a teaching assistantship 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 and likes to call both states and most places outdoors home. She has traveled widely throughout the west, and currently resides in Helena with her husband and orange cat.

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