Montana Audubon works at the local, state and national policy levels to protect our natural heritage.
Larry Berrin has dedicated his career of more than 25 years to conservation science and environmental education in multiple states including Maine, Massachusetts, New York, Vermont and Oregon. Berrin came to Montana Audubon most recently from Asbury Woods Partnership in Erie, Pennsylvania. As President/CEO, he led a major acquisition of the 205-acre Asbury Woods and Nature Center, which included securing over $1.3 million in government grants, representing some of the largest acquisition grants ever awarded to Erie County. During his tenure, he also helped launch a $4.5 million capital campaign for the center.
Previously, Berrin served as Branch Director for Discover Your Northwest in Central Oregon. In this role, he was responsible for managing multiple visitor centers, retail operations, recreation sites and programs in the Deschutes National Forest and Newberry National Volcanic Monument. He also led the effort to develop the Deschutes Children’s Forest, the first of its kind in the northwest.
Earlier in his career, Berrin served as State Education Director in Vermont for the National Audubon Society where he oversaw centers and education programs in addition to leading birding trips to places such as Mexico, Costa Rica, the Galapagos, the Amazon, and Kenya.
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 as a Teacher Naturalist in 2016, and is now our program lead for community 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 firmly believes that nature provides endless beneficial opportunities for the minds and bodies of people of all ages.
Carmen grew up in the suburbs of Chicago, Illinois, taking family vacations to visit Montana every year. Little did her family know, they planted a seed that kept growing. When it came time for college, she did not want to be a flatlander any longer, so Carmen packed her bags and moved to beautiful Missoula, Montana in 2014. There she received her Bachelor of Science in Resource Conservation at the University of Montana. While in college she spent summers working in Glacier and Grand Teton National Parks, hiking and camping within these vast and breathtaking parks, which fostered her passion for conservation and love of Montana. This led her to work with Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks at Lewis and Clark Caverns State Park, where she conducted cave tours, interpreting the many different elements of this unique cave system, from history, geology, wildlife and conservation. Carmen is excited to be at Montana Audubon in Helena, Montana, working to protect birds and the pristine landscapes where they thrive. When she is not at work, you can find her in the mountains on a long day hikes, camping, backpacking or skiing.
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.
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.
Boaz (Bo) Crees grew up in Israel, where he gained a deep appreciation of nature while hiking with his father throughout the beautiful Valley of Springs. He moved to Michigan with his family in 1995 and then West after high school to pursue rock climbing, backpacking and other outdoor adventures. He graduated from the University of Montana with a BS in Wildlife Biology and has been involved in many bird research projects there and with various agencies. Bo loves to travel and has worked as a wildlife technician in every western US state, British Columbia and Mexico. He moved to Helena with his wife Alexis in 2016 after living in the Coast Mountains of northern British Columbia for two years. He most recently worked with Montana Natural Heritage Program and Bird Conservancy of the Rockies. In his free time, he enjoys creating wildlife art, hiking, and birding.
Danielle relocated to Helena Montana with her husband and 2 children in the summer of 2019 from the foothills of Northern California. She has two decades of special events and management experience and has created and coordinated special events of all types in California, Washington, and Hawaii. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree from California State University, Chico, in Resort and Lodging Management. Danielle loves to spend time outdoors with her family, hiking, rafting, camping and skiing, and hopes to help make the world a more beautiful place for this and future generations.
Cathie Erickson joined Montana Audubon in 2010. Cathie uses her considerable experience to manage our finances on a day-to-day basis, maintaining accurate reports so that Montana Audubon remains financially strong and fiscally responsible. In addition, since 2014 Cathie has coordinated Montana Audubon’s annual Bird Festival, Wings Across the Big Sky. Cathie grew up on a ranch on the Smith River.
Hannah Finch has worked at the Center since joining our Summer Camp staff in 2016. Her immediate past position was at Rock Eagle 4-H Center in Eatonton, GA, in school programs similar to those we provide in Billings. Hannah is particularly knowledgeable about raptors, having worked with live birds at the George Miksch Sutton Aviation Research Center at the University of Oklahoma. Hannah is now leading our Out-School programs, including Homeschool, Afterschool, and Summer Camps.
Norane Freistadt joined the Montana Audubon team in 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.
Alina comes to Billings from Walla Walla, Washington, having worked in a variety of positions in the Pacific Northwest since 2012. She has an undergraduate degree in Biology from Whitworth University. Alina has a passion for outdoor activities, with her particular interest in fly fishing well suited to her new home in Montana. In her role as school programs lead, she coordinates the ANTS program. She is also a professional photographer, often lending her keen artistic eye to projects at the Center.
A native Montanan, Robin grew up on her father’s farm and ranch operation north of Choteau, along the Rocky Mountain Front. A country girl at heart, she appreciates nature and all living things! After graduating from Choteau High School, Robin attended the University of Montana where she majored in music with an emphasis on piano performance. She later taught piano lessons in Helena and also studied social sciences at Carroll College for a short time. Her work experience in Helena includes many years with several nonprofits. During her free time, Robin still enjoys playing the piano and observing nature.
Amy Seaman joined Montana Audubon in 2013 to work on the Important Bird Area (IBA) Program and many other bird conservation projects. She joined us after having spent time earning her M.S in Biology from the University of Nevada, Reno, and after spending many seasons surveying birds out west and in Montana in particular. Her avian research experiences have taken her to Montana locations such as the Madison and Missouri Rivers, the Helena, Mission, and Blackfoot Valleys, the Charles M. Russell NWR, the Bitterroot Valley, Glacier National Park, the Bridger Ridge, and many more. In 2015 Amy became our lead lobbyist during the Montana Legislative session, and she continues to work on policy issues like Greater Sage-grouse conservation and bird hazing at the Berkeley Pit throughout the year. She believes and is committed to preserving the values of the natural world for current and future generations, is excited by the education values in our mission, and holds a love for the natural world, and especially bird songs, above all else.
To learn more about the staff at the Center in Billings, please see the staff list on the Center page here.