President & CEO
Mary Mitsos joined the NFF in July 2001 and serves as President and Chief Executive Officer. Prior to that, Mary was Director of Community-Based Forest Stewardship at the Pinchot Institute for Conservation where she provided leadership for the program in sustainable forestry and sustaining rural communities. She brings expertise in a range of topics relating to the protection and sustainable management of forest ecosystems and sustainable development. Her specialized interests are in collaborative stewardship, and contracting mechanisms on public forestlands, conservation-based development and strengthening the working relationship between local communities and forestland managers. She is currently a member of the Managing Partner team that provides assistance to non-profits that are participating in The Ford Foundation Community-Based Forestry Demonstration Program. With more than two decades of experience in the natural resources field, Mary holds a Bachelor of Arts in International Business from the University of Colorado-Denver. In addition, she earned a Master of Science in Natural Resources, and a Masters of Arts in Applied Economics, from the University of Michigan, where she complete her Masters project on Sustainable Management of Common Property Resources. She served on the steering committee of the Seventh American Forest Congress Communities Committee, as a Board member of the National Network of Forest Practitioners and serves on the advisory board for the W.A. Franke College of Forestry & Conservation at the University of Montana.
Executive Vice President
Ray A. Foote joined the NFF in April 2013, as Executive Vice President. Based in Washington, DC Ray has 26 years’ experience in nonprofit organizations, 19 of them in conservation related work. Most recently, he served for nearly seven years as Vice President of Development for the National Parks Conservation Association where he planned and oversaw the successful “Renewing Our Promise” campaign which exceeded its $125 million goal by $9 million. Ray has worked with federal agencies, community-based groups, volunteer leadership, elected officials on local, state, and federal levels, and all sectors of the philanthropic community. He has held leadership positions at the Washington National Cathedral (Senior Director of Membership & Development) and Scenic America (Vice President, Program Development). Ray began his nonprofit career in corporate development at the National Trust for Historic Preservation. He holds a Bachelor's Degree and Master's Degree in History from the University of Pennsylvania and has spoken at conferences nationwide. Ray serves on the Advisory Board of Scenic Virginia, and has served on the Environmental Quality Advisory Council of his own Fairfax County, VA, and the national board of Earth Share.
Vice President, Field Programs
Marcus Selig joined the NFF in January 2013. Marcus is the Vice President, Field Programs. He has over 10 years of experience working with government agencies, the private sector, and non-profit organizations on forestry and environmental issues. Prior to joining NFF, Marcus managed Arizona forest programs for the Grand Canyon Trust, where he helped lead the Stakeholder Group of the Four Forest Restoration Initiative – a 2.4 million acre forest restoration project on northern Arizona’s National Forest – and helped develop various funding mechanisms to support forest restoration activities. Marcus also spent 3 years practicing environmental law in Washington, DC, where he primarily focused on climate change-related issues and the use of financial incentives for developing renewable energy and energy efficiency projects. Before attending law school, Marcus was a research scientist at Purdue University, where he studied natural forest regeneration, forest plantation establishment, and the effects of forest management on carbon sequestration. Marcus earned a Master's Degree in Forest Biology and Bachelor's Degree in Forest Resources Management from Virginia Tech, and a Juris Doctor from Indiana University School of Law.
Shereé Bombard joined the NFF in July 2003 serving as Director, Administration. She is responsible for supporting the NFF President, as well as working with the NFF Board of Directors, and the Chairs of the Audit & Finance Committee, Nominating & Governance Committee, and National Forest Leadership Council on logistics and minutes for the NFF Board & Committee meetings. She manages the human resource functions ensuring benefits are re-negotiated each year and provides benefit support to NFF employees, assists with positions ads and descriptions, employment agreements, the performance review process, and other employee issues. Sheree' ensures risk management policies are maintained and certificates of liability are coordinated for the many NFF events. She ensures the NFF technology is competitive and up-to-date and infrastructure is maintained taking on projects to this end. She assists NFF staff with supplies and equipment and provides support. And, she manages the agreement signature, tracking, scanning, and filing process. Before joining the NFF, she spent a total of 24 years serving in the United States Air Force with the last nine years being assigned to the Montana Air National Guard. She held a variety of positions within the Human Resource career field to include: Personnel and Casualty Manager, Staff Writer, Retention Manager, and Recruiting Supervisor. Shereé enjoys serving in another type of mission driven and caring organization--the National Forest Foundation.
Zoe Bommarito joined the NFF in May 2018 as Communications Associate shortly after graduating from Michigan State University in 2017. Prior to joining NFF, Zoe gained invaluable experience working for several natural resources management organizations including the National Association of State Foresters and the Department of the Interior. Zoe loves to write about forests and also manages NFF’s tree-mail newsletter, blog and assists with digital media platforms. Originally from Michigan, she looks fondly on the Great Lakes region and grew up fishing, hiking, camping and exploring outdoors.
Director, Southern Rockies Program
Rebecca Davidson joined the NFF in September 2016. Rebecca is the Director, Southern Rockies Region, covering programs in Arizona and Colorado. She has over 15 years of experience working on natural resource issues, across agencies and jurisdictions, including in multi-stakeholder collaborative and partnership endeavors. Prior to joining NFF, Rebecca worked as a Senior Analyst in the Salt River Project (SRP) in the Water Rights and Contracts group. At SRP, Rebecca worked on issues associated with water policy and management, strategic watershed initiatives, and the development of projects to protect water supplies while also promoting watershed restoration and stream conservation activities. In a partnered effort between NFF and SRP, Rebecca helped develop and implement the Northern Arizona Forest Fund, which is now being cited as a unique model for innovative watershed investment funding mechanisms. Before SRP, Rebecca worked for the Arizona Game and Fish Department, and gained experience in federal land planning, natural resource and wildlife management, environmental regulations, and endangered species biology and monitoring. Rebecca has a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science from Northern Arizona University, and a Masters in Environmental Law and Policy from Vermont Law School (VLS).
Rebecca fancies herself a ‘climate geek’ and in her spare time, serves as a Teaching Assistant to a VLS Climate Law and Policy class, travelling with students to UNFCCC climate negotiations around the world. She also loves every moment of spending time with her daughter, a self-proclaimed ‘desert rat’, kicking around streams in the desert southwest.
Director, Conservation Connect
Karen DiBari joined the NFF in September 2006, and is Director of Conservation Connect, the NFF’s technical assistance program in support of collaboration. In her time at the NFF, she has grown Conservation Connect from its beginning to the suite of services now offered: collaborative process assessment, design, and facilitation; web-based peer learning sessions; workshops; a library of best practices and tools; partnering with research and academic institutions; and convening of in-person workshops. She is an experienced facilitator, and has worked with collaborative groups in Idaho, Utah, Montana, Florida, and North Carolina. Karen graduated from the University of Montana with a Master's of Science in Environmental Studies, and earned a Bachelor's Degree in Geography from Dartmouth College.
Sarah Di Vittorio
Northern California Program Manager
Sarah Di Vittorio joined the NFF in September 2017 as the Northern California Program Manager. She serves as project manager and facilitator for the Lake Tahoe West Restoration Partnership, a collaborative, landscape-scale effort to restore the resilience of the west shore's forests, watersheds, recreational opportunities, and communities to disturbances. Sarah also facilitates the San Gabriel Mountains Monument Collaborative on the Angeles National Forest. Prior to joining the NFF, Sarah facilitated collaborative policy efforts throughout California on a diverse range of policy topics including forest management, coastal protection, and public health. Having completed undergraduate studies in forestry and a doctoral dissertation on the policy and politics of watershed restoration in the Feather River watershed, she brings a deep background and passion for Sierra Nevada communities and forest ecosystems to her role at the NFF. Sarah holds a Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, in Environmental Science, Policy and Management and a Master of Science from the University of Colorado, Boulder, in Environmental Studies.
Hannah Ettema joined the NFF in September of 2011 after graduating from Michigan State University with a degree in Arts and Humanities and Professional Writing. Prior to joining the NFF, she worked for the Michigan Nature Association and the Michigan Association of School Boards. Hannah manages NFF’s website, social media, email distribution and various other communication needs. She grew up in the “thumb” of Michigan, spending lots of time on the lakes and exploring outside. When not working, she’s often a volunteer stage manager for community theatre productions or exploring the public lands throughout the region.
Southern California Program Manager
Dania Gutierrez joined the NFF in February 2019 as Southern California Program Manager. She works with NFF staff to provide project management and program development support. Prior to joining the NFF, she worked for the LA Better Buildings Challenge and the Green Sports Alliance, where she brought together key stakeholders to develop strategies and programs that encourage sustainable business practices at the intersection of the public and private sector. Dania also has several years of experience managing environmental education and community outreach initiatives for various NGOs. With a passion for public lands, Dania is excited to bring together her experience in project management and stakeholder engagement to protect Southern California forests. Dania has an MS in Natural Resources and Environment, with a focus on environmental education and environmental policy, from the University of Michigan, and a BS in Wildlife Conservation from the University of Florida.
Robin Hill joined the NFF in October 2013 as the Controller. She has over 18 years of accounting experience in the healthcare industry. Robin attended the University of Montana earning a Bachelor’s Degree. with an emphasis in Financial Management and a Masters of Accountancy (MAcct). Robin is originally from Great Falls, Montana but spent her summers exploring the woods of northern Minnesota. When not at work, Robin is busy running her four amazing kids to sporting, music and drama events. She is excited to bring her accounting knowledge to a great organization that gives back to the community.
Conservation Connect Associate
Ben Irey joined NFF in April of 2017 as an Associate for Conservation Connect, the NFF’s learning network serving community-based groups and Forest Service employees involved in collaborative stewardship. Ben conducts web-based peer learning sessions, maintains an online library of best practices and tools, convenes in-person workshops, and facilitates collaborative groups. Ben has over 15 years of experience in engaging stakeholders in public land conservation. Before joining the NFF, he worked as a social scientist for Ecosystem Research Group, where he facilitated collaborative groups and performed socioeconomic assessments for public land stakeholders. Ben has a Master’s degree from the College of Forestry and Conservation at the University of Montana, where he studied stakeholder perspectives regarding the relative importance of ecosystem services coming from the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness. Read more...
After earning a bachelor’s degree in Resource Conservation from the College of Forestry and Conservation, Ben spent a decade on trail crews and as a wilderness ranger in the Northern Rockies before landing behind the visitor information desk at Lolo National Forest. Ben spends his free time either seeking domestic tranquility on twenty acres of trouble in the Bitterroot Valley or seeking wild experiences in the mountains and rivers of the West.
Grants and Contracts Coordinator
Beth joined the NFF in January 2019 as the Grants and Contracts Coordinator. Prior to working with the NFF, Beth worked for two years as a Project Coordinator for an International Development NGO in Washington, DC where she focused on management of large government projects by tracking expenditure monthly, completing quarterly reports, carrying out trainings for field staff, and initiating and finalizing procurements. Beth spent one year working as a Wildland Firefighter for the Forest Service on the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest in Whitehall, MT working on many fires throughout the West and Southwest United States. Before moving to Washington, DC, Beth spent two years in Togo, West Africa as a Community Health Specialist with the Peace Corps. Read more...
Beth has BA degrees in Anthropology and French from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and a Masters in International Development from the University of London-SOAS where she also worked as a Research Assistant focusing on rural development in West Africa. In her free time, Beth enjoys trail running, snowboarding, paddle boarding, mountain biking, hiking, and knitting.
Director, Conservation Awards
Adam Liljeblad joined the NFF in July 2006 and currently oversees the national grantmaking program and helps coordinate conservation partnerships. Previously, he worked with the Aldo Leopold Wilderness Research Institute and The University of Montana, studying social issues related to the management of public lands and resources. Adam has a strong interest in community based-conservation and effective natural resource stewardship. He serves on the Board of Directors of the Missoula Nordic Ski Club, volunteers regularly with a local sustainable agriculture organization, and served multilple appointed terms to a local open space advisory committee. He holds a Master’s degree in Resource Conservation from the University of Montana, and a Bachelor’s degree in Natural Resource Management from the University of Alaska Fairbanks. In his spare time, Adam enjoys cross-country skiing, road and mountain biking, hiking, gardening, cooking and reading.
Conservation Programs Officer
As the Conservation Programs Officer, Kerry Morse manages our grant award programs in support of the strategic conservation goals of the NFF and its local, regional and national partners. Kerry brings a broad range of skills and experience with conservation causes and organizations to the NFF, having worked for over 15 years in a variety of capacities including program management, development, administration, outreach and communications. Prior to joining the NFF in December 2017, Kerry worked for nearly a decade at The Sierra Fund in northern California. Other noteworthy positions include the Rural Institute at the University of Montana and The Nature Conservancy of Montana. Kerry received her B.A. in Liberal Arts from St. John’s College in Annapolis, Maryland. When not working, she can be found playing Irish music on fiddle and tenor banjo, cooking, hiking, cross-country skiing, and exploring backroads in her home state of Montana.
Associate Director, Development
Luba Mullen joined the NFF in June 2014. Currently based in the Greater Washington, DC area, her diverse career has spanned roles, sectors, and countries. Immediately prior to joining the NFF, Luba has been growing the foundation support for the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. Before that, she led corporate and foundation partnerships to support Independent Sector’s Annual Conference. Prior to moving to the U.S., Luba worked at Preng & Associates, Inc. in Moscow, Russia helping to bring top-notch executives to natural resources companies working across the country. She began her career in the Russian Far East as a grants program manager with the Eurasia Foundation, an international development organization. Luba earned a Master’s Degree in International Relations and Development Studies from the University of East Anglia in Norwich, England and a Bachelor’s Degree in English from the Russian Far East State University in Vladivostok, Russia. When she is not writing proposals or talking with supporters, Luba loves spending time outside with her husband, an environmental scientist, and their two young daughters. She is thrilled to join the NFF to help continue engaging American companies, foundations, and citizens like you in protecting our nation’s iconic treasure - beautiful forests - for many generations to enjoy.
Colorado Program Manager
As the Colorado Program Manager, Emily Olsen supports the Southern Rockies Program on National Forests and Grasslands across the amazing Centennial State. Emily has worked for the NFF since 2013, first as a consultant and then as Associate for Conservation Connect, the NFF's technical assistance delivery program. Prior to joining the NFF, Emily worked to bring citizen stakeholders together around water resources, wildlife, hunting access, climate change, and other issues at the Center for Natural Resources and Environmental Policy in Missoula, MT. While completing her M.S. from the University of Montana College of Forestry and Conservation, Emily specialized in forest planning and policy and natural resources conflict resolution. She also worked at the Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Lab for several years. Emily loves spending as much time as possible on public lands and feels fortunate to be surrounded by amazing recreation opportunities in Colorado.
Philanthropy and Partnerships Coordinator
Marlee Ostheimer joined the NFF in January 2013. She holds a Bachelor's Degree in Environmental studies from the University of Montana where she also studied Nonprofit Administration and Resource Conservation. Marlee grew up in Montana and found her love of nature hiking in the hills and forests around her home. Prior to working with the NFF Marlee worked and volunteered with several conservation and local food and agriculture organizations, including a year working in Bozeman with Gallatin Valley Farm to School as an AmeriCorp VISTA. Outside of work Marlee enjoys playing outside with her son and dog. Marlee is excited to be working with the NFF to restore our public lands.
Tree Planting Coordinator
Monica Perez-Watkins joined the NFF in March 2018 as Tree Planting Coordinator. She has worked for several environmental and conservation organizations in a variety of capacities, including communications, outreach, program management, and wildlife field work. Monica has an M.S. in Environmental Studies from the University of Montana and a B.S. in Wildlife and Conservation Biology from Ohio University. Monica is excited to support the NFF's efforts to improve and reforest our national forests for the benefit of both humans and wildlife. In her free time, Monica enjoys reading, drawing, hiking, trying to improve her kayaking skills, and playing with her dogs.
Arizona Program Manager
Spencer Plumb joined the NFF in March 2017, as the Southern Rockies Program Associate. He is a social scientist focusing on issues of natural resource management and policy. Spencer spent a year (2015-2016) with NFF as the Southern Rockies Program Coordinator helping manage the Northern Arizona Forest Fund. Prior to (re)joining the NFF, he finished his Ph.D. and worked as postdoctoral fellow at the University of Idaho, researching federal and state natural resource policy and Payment for Ecosystem Service programs in the Americas. Spencer holds a Ph.D. in Natural Resources from the University of Idaho, a M.S. in Environmental Science and Policy from Northern Arizona University, and a B.S. in Organizational Communication from University of Portland.
California Program Associate
Evan Ritzinger joined NFF in September 2017 after receiving his Master’s in Environmental Science & Management from the Bren School of Environmental Science & Management at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Prior to moving to California, Evan earned his Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science from Boston University. His diverse background includes experience in project management, environmental policy, institutional analysis, carbon emissions reductions, and environmental field work. When not at work (and sometimes at work), you can find Evan outdoors. He especially enjoys hiking, mountain biking, skiing, and photography. Evan is thrilled to be working with the NFF to protect the natural areas to which he has always felt drawn.
Director, Pacific Northwest Program
Patrick Shannon joined the NFF in December 2015 as the Director of the Pacific Northwest Program. He has over 20 years of experience working in conservation and natural resource management for a variety of nonprofit organizations across the country. Prior to joining the NFF, Patrick was the Forest Program Director for Sustainable Northwest where he guided the organization in creating and developing collaborative forest restoration impacting over 1 million acres of national forests in the Pacific Northwest. He brings knowledge in ecological restoration, landscape-level planning and implementation and National Forest management. Read more...
Patrick earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from the University of Minnesota – Duluth and a Master of Science degree in Forest Resources from the College of Forestry at Oregon State University. When not working Patrick can be found wading in a river fly fishing or backpacking the myriad of trails in the Pacific Northwest.
Director, Eastern Field Program
Mark Shelley joined the NFF in April of 2015. Mark has been actively engaged in building community support for conservation efforts across the nation for more than 20 years and counting. He came to NFF from the Pew Charitable Trusts, where he was a Field Officer for Field Operations, working on public lands and marine fisheries campaigns. Prior to working at Pew, he served as the Executive Director for the Southern Appalachian Forest Coalition for 10 years where he was responsible for coordinating a network of southeastern conservation groups working to protect, connect and restore the forests of this beautiful region. Mark built his conservation career serving in the military, working for Marriot and earning a Business/Marketing degree from Virginia Commonwealth and an Environmental Science degree from Shippensburg, University of Pennsylvania. Read more...
His home is the Blue Ridge Mountains, in the shadow of the Black Mountains and the highest points east of the Mississippi R. (in Asheville, North Carolina) – close to another similarly famous home, the Biltmore and the Cradle of Forestry and not far from Curtis Creek, the first tract of land purchased under the Weeks Act, which created the Pisgah National Forest – which initiated the process for establishing all National Forests east of the Mississippi River. Ideally close by are Shining Rock and Linville Gorge – two of the areas that became the first formally designated Wilderness areas of the new National Wilderness Preservation System in 1964.
When not working diligently to bring folks together to protect America’s backyard, you can find him playing in it – trail trudging, biking, canoe/kayaking and just about anything out of doors.
Manager, Development Services
Deborah Snyder joined the NFF in October 2008. Debbie graduated from Portland State University with a Bachelor's Degree in Education, and has spent over 15 years in the nonprofit sector. Debbie possesses a diverse background in all areas of nonprofit work, including operations, membership, grant writing, and financial recordkeeping. After spending thirteen years in Idaho as the Director of Business Operations and Membership for the Friends of Zoo Boise (FoZB), Debbie moved to Montana. She is pleased to be working with the NFF to help further their important work on behalf of our remarkable forests and grasslands. When not working, Debbie enjoys travel, cooking, reading, nature walks, and spending time with her family.
Northern Rockies Program Manager
Dani Southard joined the NFF in October 2018 as the Northern Rockies Program Manager. She provides support to collaborative efforts as well as regional conservation and restoration projects in Idaho and Montana. Dani has over 15 years of experience working on natural resource issues through the non-profit sector. She has personally served on numerous multi-stakeholder collaboratives focused on public lands related issues. Prior to joining NFF, Dani was the Central Idaho Director for the Idaho Conservation League and oversaw ICL’s public lands and community conservation programs in central and eastern Idaho. During this time, Dani led the effort to establish the first Dark Sky Reserve in the United States. Dani has also worked with the Joint Fire Science program examining strategies to increase public acceptance of smoke from prescribed fire. Read more...
Dani has a Master’s degree in Environmental Social Science from Oregon State University and a Bachelor’s degree in Natural Resource Management and Rangeland Ecology from Colorado State University. Dani and her family enjoy being on rivers, camping in our national forests, and generally just getting outside to enjoy every season.
Event Planner and Coordinator
Emily Struss joined the NFF in January 2013 and is an Event Planner and Coordinator. Emily has a Bachelor's Degree from the University of Montana in Business Administration with emphasis in Marketing and Event Management. She spent her time before the NFF mainly working at REI in Missoula. She grew up in Michigan but has lived in Montana for about seven years with a few years spent in Seattle and traveling. When not at work Emily loves playing outdoors doing everything from hiking, biking, paddling, and especially skiing. Other interests include: travel, cooking, reading and spoiling her dog Russ.
Director, Reforestation and Partnerships
Wes Swaffar joined the NFF in June of 2012. He holds a Master's Degree in Environmental Science and Policy from Northern Arizona University, where he investigated the feasibility of funding based watershed partnerships for supporting landscape-scale forest restoration. Prior to joining NFF, Wes has worked for the United States Forest Service in a variety roles, from Wilderness Ranger to Trail Crew Leader. When he’s not focused on ecosystem service partnerships at NFF, Wes enjoys fly-fishing, hunting, and exploring National Forests on foot and on bike.
Director, Conservation Partnerships
Dayle Wallien joined the NFF in November 2013 as the Pacific Northwest (PNW) Field Representative. Prior to joining the NFF, Dayle was the Executive Director of the Western Nebraska Community College Foundation. Dayle is an attorney and spent 9 years in a private law practice, in Fairbanks, Alaska, and in Scottsbluff, Nebraska, where she focused on business law, environmental law, and litigation. Before attending law school, Dayle worked for the U.S Forest Service, in the Range Department, on the Okanogan National Forest and then as an Initial Attack Firefighter on the Malheur National Forest Rappel Crew in eastern Oregon. Dayle earned a Juris Doctorate from the University of Washington School of Law and a Bachelor’s in Physical Geography, Natural Resources Management, with a minor in Environmental Studies. When she is not at work or volunteering, Dayle enjoys distance running, hiking, mountaineering and skiing, usually in a National Forest.