Montana Audubon Center Staff | Montana Audubon


Montana Audubon Center 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 Dunford

Youth Programs Coordinator

Hannah 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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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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Cassidy Dinkel

Volunteer Coordinator

Cassidy is a born and raised Montanan. He grew up here in Billings, MT but lived in Northwest Montana for 2 years where he started college for Natural Resource Conservation at Flathead Valley Community College. He transferred to Montana State University-Billings and changed his degree to Outdoor Adventure Leadership. In 2020 he finished his Bachelor’s
degree in Outdoor Adventure Leadership, and started working for the nonprofit world. While in college he interned here at the Center, and fell in love with the area, and the mission. Cassidy has always believed there is happiness tied to introducing people into the outdoors. His goal is to one day open up his own non-profit organization that helps people with mental health issues, Veterans, and At-risk youth get into the backcountry. He has worked as an Interpretive Ranger for Tippet Rise Art Center, Recreation Manager for Alternatives Inc., and a Case Manager for the Tumbleweed Runaway Program.

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Nora Goldhammer

BSWC Restoration

Nora moved to Billings after graduating from the University of Colorado Boulder with two BS’ in Geography and Environmental Studies. Her passion for conservation is rooted in design and hopes to incorporate more Landscape Architecture into restoration projects around the Audubon. In her free time she loves to run, ski, hike, and taste some local beers! She is looking forward to birding and driving the lawn mower.

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Dana Andersson

Teacher Naturalist

Growing up in Billings, MT, Dana learned to love the outdoors from an early age. Her commitment to environmental stewardship can be traced to her Montana roots and working for the Wyoming Nature Conservancy and National Outdoor Leadership School. Dana developed a passion for teaching through her experience as a field educator in both Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks. She received her Masters in Curriculum and Instruction with a focus in Place-Based Education from the University of Montana. After completing her Masters she joined the 4th grade teaching team at a public school in Missoula. Though she loved the relationship-building and antics involved with managing her own classroom of 28 fourth graders, Dana moved home to Billings with little ones of her own in mind. She and her husband have two beautiful daughters and two crazy bird-dogs that keep them on their toes. At her core, Dana believes that when we embed learning in authentic experiences we can increase learner engagement, improve learner outcomes, and create positive impact in our communities.

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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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Ashayla Dahlin

Teacher Naturalist: Fledglings Preschool

Ashayla was born and raised in Billings, Montana. She developed her love of nature and the outdoors from exploring and being immersed in the area. That love was further developed through a degree in Environmental Studies at Montana State University- Billings. During her senior year, she started interning at the Montana Audubon Center, a place she fondly remembered as a kid. Through her time interning, she developed a love for the Audubon and officially started working here during the summer and eventually transitioned to the preschool. Teaching in such an environment is very enriching and rewarding. When she isn’t teaching, you can find her reading, jamming out to music and exploring the great outdoors.

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Lily Simon

BSWC Teacher Naturalist

Lily grew up in Cleveland, OH, and will graduate from The Ohio State University in May 2023 with a Bachelor of Arts in Communications and Environmental Science. Lily first moved to Great Falls, Montana in May of 2021 to serve as a Conservation Intern with the Montana Conservation Corps at the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center. After returning to Ohio to finish school, she realized her heart was back out West and reapplied to work with MCC again as a Big Sky Watershed Corps Member. She works in the education programs here at the center and is working to improve the social media presence of the Montana Audubon during her time here. Lily is a certified bird nerd and loves to go hiking, trail running, and exploring in her free time.

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Rock McLean

Teacher Naturalist

I was born and raised in Billings.  I graduated from West High School and Eastern Montana College (MSUB) with dual degrees in Elementary Education and Special Education.  After graduation I joined the Peace Corps where I served in Paraguay for two years as a Volunteer and one year as the Education Coordinator.  During that time I worked closely with the Ministry of Education to establish special education services for the country.  After Peace Corps, I spent almost the entire next year just traveling through South America.  Later, I moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico and taught at one of the high schools.  Three years later, I left for Crete, Greece to work for the Department of Defense at a military base where I taught first grade. Four years later, I returned to New Mexico and again taught at one of the high schools.  After, I moved to Nashville where I went to Vanderbilt University to earn my Masters Degree in Special Education.  I lived in Nashville for over 20 years and then eventually returned to Billings.  I love teaching for the Audubon Center!

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