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.
Emily moved to Billings from Dayton, Ohio in the fall of 2014 and quickly found the Center through the participation of her two sons in the Nature Nuts program. She has a degree in Natural and Historical Interpretation and Applied Science from 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.
An avid outdoorsman, Christian grew up in wooded Pennsylvania. Moving to Montana in 2006, some of his noteworthy accomplishments include contributing to the Statewide Management Plan for Common Loons and the USGS grizzly bear DNA project in the Cabinet/Yaak ecosystem. Christian comes with a swath of bird-related experience including the management of Montana’s Integrated Monitoring in Bird Conservation Regions program (MT IMBCR) and facilitating field work for the World Wildlife Fund Sustainable Ranching Initiative (WWF-SRI) and the WWF Ranch Systems and Viability Planning Network program (WWF-RSVP).
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 the outdoors.
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.
Hannah 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 youth programs, including Homeschool, Afterschool, and Summer Camps.
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. As the leader of school programs, she coordinates Audubon Naturalists in the Schools and field trips. She is also a professional photographer, often lending her keen artistic eye to projects at the Center.
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.
Jessica grew up in the deserts of Arizona and spent much of her youth volunteering at the Phoenix Zoo in their education programs. This is where she learned to love teaching others about wildlife and conservation. She graduated from Arizona State University with a Bachelors’s in Conservation Biology and went on to help run school programs at the Arizona Humane Society. Between visiting schools, running private programs, and taking care of the animal ambassadors, she thrived in the environmental education sphere. New to Billings now, she will be the School and Private Programs Coordinator, taking on the ANTS program. She is an avid fan of reptiles and insects but is excited to expand her knowledge of Montana wildlife. She is a lover of cinema and enjoys writing in her time off.
Joanna brings 14 years of experience in the nonprofit world to Montana Audubon. She is a native Montanan and a UM graduate. She has been married to her husband, Steve, for 37 years. Their 25-year-old son, Jackson, is an Air Force veteran and a Carroll College graduate. She and her family moved from Missoula to Helena in 2001. It was with the move that Joanna’s interest in birds began to get serious, especially because their house was next to Helena Reservoir’s regulating canal. She discovered red-winged blackbirds flocking to nearby fields and mallard ducks raising broods of chicks every spring. Joanna’s career includes time in the legal and medical fields, but she has most enjoyed working as an Executive Assistant in the nonprofit world. She is excited to be a part of Montana Audubon’s community and learn more about birds!
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.
Lauren Smith joined Montana Audubon in August 2023 as the Communications Specialist. Her background is in science communication, nonfiction writing, and bird research (songbird banding is her favorite, and she has handled wild birds ranging in size from Rufous Hummingbirds to Trumpeter Swans). She believes that clear, accessible communication is essential, and is excited to help share Montana Audubon’s conservation efforts with a wide audience.
Lauren first really got into birds while banding in her advisor’s backyard as an undergraduate at Ohio Wesleyan University, where she studied Zoology and English. After working in locations across North America as a seasonal researcher and environmental educator, she settled in Montana and earned a graduate degree in Environmental Studies with a writing focus from the University of Montana in Missoula. Lauren can often be found outside, where she enjoys exploring trails, climbing rocks, and collecting bird stories from everyone she meets.
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 the Montana Natural Heritage Program and Bird Conservancy of the Rockies. In his free time, he enjoys creating wildlife art, hiking, and birding.
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 at West Laurel Hill Cemetery and Chanticleer Garden in Philadelphia, PA. Peter took a leap of faith a couple of years ago and accepted a Conservation Fellowship with Montana Conservation Corps that placed him with the Forest Service Trail Crew in Hungry Horse, MT. Peter is looking forward to working on Montana Audubon’s Conservation Ranching Program out of Helena, which represents an intersection of his interests in native plants, resource conservation, and agroecology. In his free time, you can find him hiking, birding, playing music, or searching for the few squash courts in Montana.
To learn more about the staff at the Center in Billings, please see the staff list on the Center page here.