The landscape around me and particularly our public lands has always been a defining and inspiring aspect of my life. I feel lucky to have gotten to live, work and play in a vast variety of America’s public lands.

I grew up outside of Bozeman, Montana riding my horse into the adjacent Gallatin National Forest and watching wintering elk feed in the foothills. I spent three years in Maryland where I camped and hiked with friends in my Appalachian backyard, and then a decade living in California’s Sierra Foothills hunting mushrooms in the oak and pine woodlands and views in the high granite. In between, frequent road trips have taken me into and through the canyons and sky islands of the Southwest, the cliffs and redwoods of the Pacific coast, bottomlands of the Southeast, and expansive views of the Great Lakes and Plains.

Kerry along the South Yuba River.

The power of the surrounding landscape led me to a career in conservation-focused nonprofits, and I’ve worn many hats over the last 15 years—administration, communications, grant-writing, program management and others—but throughout it all has been a unifying desire to help people work better together to make an impact in place-based communities.

Career highlights include a summer conducting education about invasive species in the ranching communities of Montana’s Big Hole valley through The Nature Conservancy and the Big Hole Watershed Council; nearly a decade of work with The Sierra Fund to help build a program to clean up the legacy of pollution and lasting environmental health threats from California’s Gold Rush-era mining; and most recently creating communication strategies and tools to help University of Montana research benefit the lives of rural people with disabilities across the US. 

Kerry playing fiddle.

Prior to starting my career, I earned my BA in Liberal Arts from St. John’s College in Annapolis, Maryland where I studied philosophy, the history of math and science, music, Greek, French and other topics through their broad and unique curriculum. Over the years I’ve continued to pursue a variety of academic interests including graphic design, web design, organizational development, communications, facilitation and nonprofit administration.

Montana called me home in 2016 and since 2017 I have been thrilled to bring my background and interests to the NFF’s grant-making programs. Supporting place-based work on our public lands around the country and building the capacity of our partners doing work on the ground is truly a dream job for me.

When not at my desk or exploring local forests on backroads, foot or cross-country skis, I can most often be found playing music—I’ve played Irish fiddle since age 10 and tenor banjo for over a decade. Between tunes with friends at Missoula’s numerous excellent breweries I also love to cook (fun new recipes using my CSA share), knit (hats and gloves), read (all kinds of things), and paint (portraits and landscapes in oils).

National Forest Foundation