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Montana Audubon Center Staff

Staff

Emily Chilcoat

Center Director

Emily moved to Billings from Dayton, Ohio in the fall of 2014 and quickly found the Center through participation of her two sons in the Nature Nuts program. She has a degree in Natural and Historical Interpretation and Applied Science at Hocking Technical College and has provided conservation education programs to local communities ever since, including with the Five Rivers MetroParks. Billings is the farthest west Emily has been and she’s excited to be a part of the Montana Audubon Center.

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Heather Bilden

Master Naturalist Coordinator

Heather is a familiar face to many at the Montana Audubon Center. She served as its first education director from 2008-2014 before moving north to Lavina to help run the family ranch. She returned to the Center part-time in 2015, and is now our coordinator for adult programs. Heather earned her Master’s degree in Environmental Education from MSU-Billings, and spent her graduate residency at the Teton Science Schools in Wyoming. She is also a certified Montana Master Naturalist. Heather enjoys sharing nature with others and helping them discover the endless wonders that await outdoors.

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Sarah Chatwood

Fledglings Preschool Coordinator

Sarah is a native Montana girl with a love for adventure. Formerly a classroom teacher, she enjoys the freedom of discovery that environmental education allows. As a parent and outdoor educator of over 16 years, Sarah believes that spending time outdoors is vital to children’s development and well being.  In 2015, Sarah was honored by the Montana Environmental Education Association (MEEA) as Environmental Educator of the year. She is also a certified Montana Master Naturalist and is passionate about learning outside and enjoying all the world  has to offer.

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Hannah Finch

Youth Programs Coordinator

Hannah Finch fell in love with nature, and specifically birds, while assisting in a mist netting project in the Missouri Ozarks while pursuing her Biology degree from the University of Missouri Columbia. She has worked at the Center since joining our Summer Camp staff in 2016, bringing her previous education and animal experience with her. Hannah is currently leading our youth programs, including Homeschool, Afterschool, and Summer Camps. When she isn’t sharing her passion for nature with students, you can find her exploring Montana, reading a book, or walking her dog Darwin.

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Alina Garner

Private Programs Coordinator

Alina has been at the Montana Audubon Center since 2017. Originally from Walla Walla, WA, she received an undergraduate degree in Biology from Whitworth University. Before arriving in Montana, she worked in a variety of outdoor-related positions around the Pacific Northwest, including multiple summers as a wilderness horse camp instructor. Alina has a passion for all things outdoors, including fly-fishing, hiking, and birding, which she shares with her husband and daughter. As the leader of school programs, she coordinates the Audubon Naturalists in the Schools and other field trips. She is also a professional photographer, often lending her keen artistic eye to projects at the Center.

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Taisha Haggard

Audubon Naturalists in the Schools (ANTS) Coordinator

Taisha has grown up and lived all over the state of Montana. She started at the Montana Audubon Center in the summer of 2016, and loves being a part of the education team. Teaching and being outside are two of her favorite things. She graduated with a BA in Elementary Education from Rocky Mountain College in 2013 and completed her Environmental Science BS in 2019.  Currently, Taisha is the ANTS Program Coordinator, Co-directs Summer Camp and teaches in varies program areas. When she isn’t teaching, she is fishing, kayaking, skiing, birding, or however else she can spend her time outside.

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Erin Douglas

Big Sky Watershed Corps (BSWC) Conservation Steward

Erin was born in Santa Barbara, California and recently graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science and Management with an Emphasis in Ecological Restoration and double minored in Wildland Soil Science and Watershed Management. Before arriving at the Montana Audubon Center, she took part in a wetland restoration project by harvesting and cultivating native plants and assessing water quality. She also spent a year working at a soil fertility laboratory, practicing soil chemistry like a mad scientist! Some passions of hers are issues pertaining to sustainability – especially agriculture – and loves having conversations about how we can move forward within our communities to benefit all life. In her free time, you might find her hiking, rock climbing, drinking tea with friends, or enjoying a book with a scenic view.

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Becca Mathias

Community Programs Coordinator

Becca is an experienced outdoor science educator with a deep love and appreciation for the natural world.  In 2013, she worked with the Audubon Center as a Big Sky Watershed Corps member. She loves sharing the natural world with others and is excited to be back in Montana working with the Audubon Center again. Growing up on a farm in Ohio, she explored the forests, marshes and fields around her and learned early on that no matter where you live, nature will never cease to surprise you.  She has her Bachelor’s degree in Biology with a Marine Specialization and loves teaching about both fresh and saltwater ecosystems and is a true water quality enthusiast.  After many years of seasonal work, she’s happy to be putting down roots and calling Montana home.

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Anthony Sammartano

Land Stewardship Coordinator

Anthony grew up in the Chaparral Mountains of Southern California, and took a love of the natural world with him as he completed his B.S. in Ecological Restoration from Humbolt State. With his education in hand, he set out traveling across the western U.S. as a seasonal environmental tech, working as an alpine forman/ranger in Colorado, a restoration technician throughout the greater L.A. area, and a field ecologist for Nevada BLM. He also is a big fan of cross-country running, amateur botanizing, backpacking, and reading Science-Fiction.

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Kylie Tiller

Teacher Naturalist: Fledglings Preschool

Kylie was born and raised in Utah on a “fun farm” and spent years living and traveling throughout the south and southwest. Montana captured her heart and she put down roots here in 2014. One of Kylie’s children has been in our preschool since the very beginning. She knows a lot about what goes on at preschool and has been honored to watch it grow over the years. Kylie is an artist, community leader and mom of 4. In her free time you can find her camping, hiking, exploring new places with her kids and checking out local events.

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Jennifer Walker

Teacher Naturalist: Fledglings Preschool

Born and raised in Montana and Wyoming, Jenny’s best memories of childhood include time spent in the Big Horn Mountains near Burgess Junction.  She is a graduate of Rocky Mountain College, majoring in Psychology and Sociology and is a budding Master Naturalist.  She loves all adventures but most of all trips with her family to the National Parks.  Jenny also serves as the Program Director of Jane Ferguson Wilderness Adventures, a non-profit leading youth into the Beartooth Wilderness for backpacking experiences.   Jenny is always excited to share her curiosity and love of nature with others.

 

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Nick Goelkel

Big Sky Watershed Corps (BSWC) Education

Nick grew up in a suburb of Chicago and graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign with a B.S degree in Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences with a concentration in Fish and Wildlife. Nick moved to Montana in June of 2021 to serve in Missoula as a Conservation Fellow with the Montana Conservation Corp. After the end of that term he reapplied for MCC’s Big Sky Watershed Corp program where he found his current position in the education programs at the Montana Audubon Center. In his free time Nick likes to go out hiking, snowboarding, mountain biking, and birding.

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Emma Dobesh

Teacher Naturalist

Emma moved to Billings from Portland, OR in the fall of 2018 when she started her freshman year at Rocky Mountain College, working on two BS’ in Environmental Science and Geography. Her passion for environmental education was founded in a high school volunteer opportunity to teach sixth graders about nature using hands-on lessons and activities. She began working at the Montana Audubon Center in the summer of 2020 as a Teacher Naturalist with the Summer Camp program, and is currently starting in the Audubon Naturalists in the Schools program this fall in between her senior class schedule. When she isn’t in class or advancing her interpretation skills, Emma spends her time wooing Rocky students to come to events, taking long walks downtown, and gardening with her grandfather.

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Aly Greer

Teacher Naturalist

Aly grew up in Billings, Montana and is a recent graduate from Rocky Mountain College. She studied environmental science and geology, and has a deep love for plants and all of the creepy crawly things. In her free time, she enjoys writing and participating in water sports, such as paddle boarding and boating. She is an avid hiking enthusiast and plays softball when she gets the chance. She started her job at the Audubon Center as a summer camp teacher and is eager to continue her job as a teacher naturalist into the school year.

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Amanda Martian

Teacher Naturalist

Amanda grew up in Arlington, Washington and is a recent graduate of Washington State University. She graduated with a Bachelors in Earth and Environmental Systems and she majored in Wildlife Ecology and Conservation Sciences and minored in forestry and GIS. In her free time she loves to read, and go on walks with her dog, Demi. She also loves to go on hikes and be outside in nature. She really enjoys playing tennis, hanging out with friends and anything arts and crafts related!

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