National Forest Foundation

Our Staff

Mary Mitsos

President & CEO

mmitsos@nationalforests.org

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.

Ray Foote

Executive Vice President

rfoote@nationalforests.org

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.

Marcus Selig

Vice President, Field Programs

mselig@nationalforests.org

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.

Edward Belden

Southern California Program Manager

ebelden@nationalforests.org

Edward Belden joined the NFF in August 2012 after working as a consultant for seven months. Prior to joining NFF he managed watershed-monitoring programs and green infrastructure projects at the Council for Watershed Health in Los Angeles. His past nine years of environmental work has ranged from evaluating the environmental impacts of dust control measures in Owens Lake, developing a trails manual for the County of Los Angeles, to working as a biologist with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. Edward is a native of Los Angeles who loves observing nature, hiking, biking, green building, and cooking in his spare time. Edward holds a Bachelor's Degree in Biology from Hobart College and a Master’s in Environmental Science and Management from UC Santa Barbara.

Austen Bernier

White Mountain National Forest Community Engagement Coordinator

abernier@nationalforests.org

Austen joined the NFF in September 2016. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies from the University of Colorado at Boulder, with a concentration in Sustainable Development. During his time in Colorado Austen worked extensively in environmental and non-profit work, most notably as a Volunteer Coordinator for the CU Environmental Center and in the Service Learning Program at the GrowHaus Urban Farm in Denver. In 2016 Austen moved home into the heart of the White Mountain National Forest searching to leverage his skills for the betterment of his community and backyard forest. As the Community Engagement Coordinator on the WMNF, he has found a meaningful way to connect the community and the forest that lie so close to his heart. Austen spends his free time trail running, backpacking, skiing, climbing or kayaking the White Mountain’s many trails, cliffs and rivers.  

Shereé Bombard

Director, Administration

sbombard@nationalforests.org

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 National Forest Leadership Council on scheduling and logistics for the NFF Board meetings. 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 employee benefits support. 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.

Kim Carr

Director, California Program

kcarr@nationalforests.org

Kim Carr joined the NFF in March 2017, as the Director, California Program.  She has been working on sustainability issues, focusing on climate, renewable energy, forestry, water and local economic development for the past 25 years. She most recently worked as the Assistant Deputy Director for Climate and Energy with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) focusing on climate policy and biomass market development. Prior to this she led the southern sierra team for the Sierra Nevada Conservancy engaging communities in sustainable forest management. She has worked  for the U.S. EPA in Washington D.C. focused on recycling market development and also in the private sector offering a variety of environmental consulting services. She has a graduate degree in Natural Resource Planning and Bachelor of Business Administration. Kim lives in South Lake Tahoe with her husband John and daughter Rosie. Kim and her family enjoy the many recreational opportunities offered throughout the Sierra Nevada mountain range.

Rebecca Davidson

Director, Southern Rockies Program

rdavidson@nationalforests.org

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.

Karen DiBari

Director, Conservation Connect

kdibari@nationalforests.org

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.

Hannah Ettema

Digital Communications Coordinator

hettema@nationalforests.org

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.

Robin Hill

Controller

rhill@nationalforests.org

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.

Ben Irey

Conservation Connect Associate

birey@nationalforests.org

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. 

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.

Adam Liljeblad

Director, Conservation Awards

aliljeblad@nationalforests.org

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.

Zia Maumenee

Conservation Programs Officer

zmaumenee@nationalforests.org

Zia Maumenee joined the NFF in November 2012. She previously worked at The University of Montana in the Division of Biological Sciences for the Herbarium where she managed database development and a corresponding web interface for this historic collection of Montana plant specimens. Zia holds a Master’s Degree from the University of Montana Geography Department. Her thesis focused on community involvement in resource management of marine protected areas for French Polynesia. Before moving to Montana, she developed an education and outreach program for stream monitoring of the Kiski-Conemaugh River Basin in Western PA. She is thrilled to support the mission of the NFF while enjoying the public lands for recreation in her free time.

Luba Mullen

Associate Director, Development

lmullen@nationalforests.org

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.

Emily Olsen

Colorado Program Manager

eolsen@nationalforests.org

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.

Marlee Ostheimer

Philanthropy and Partnerships Coordinator

mostheimer@nationalforests.org

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.

Greg M. Peters

Director, Communications

gpeters@nationalforests.org

Greg Peters joined the NFF in October of 2010. He holds an Master's Degree from the University of Montana in Environmental Studies. Prior to working at the National Forest Foundation, Greg worked at Wildlands CPR under a number of job titles and was the coordinator for a small watershed group based in Missoula. Greg is also a writer and active adventurer; if he’s not in the office, he’s likely out skiing, hiking, canoeing, or playing somewhere. Greg is excited to help the NFF fulfill its mission by working to connect communities to their National Forests.

Spencer Plumb

Southern Rockies Program Associate

splumb@nationalforests.org

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.

Lee Quick

Accountant

lquick@nationalforests.org

Lee Quick joined the NFF in August 2014 as the Accountant. She has over 8+ years of accounting experience in the newspaper and advertising business. Lee attended MSU-Billings earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Business with an Accounting emphasis. Lee is originally from Billings, Montana and moved to Missoula in 2003. When not at work Lee enjoys spending time with her family at Flathead Lake and rivers. She is excited to share her skills as well as learn and be a part of the NFF.

Evan Ritzinger

California Program Associate

eritzinger@nationalforests.org

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.

Patrick Shannon

Director, Pacific Northwest Field Program

pshannon@nationalforests.org

Patrick Shannon joined the NFF in December 2015 as the Director, Pacific Northwest Field Program. He has over 18 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 Forest Service contracting.


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.

Mark Shelley

Director, Eastern Field Program

mshelley@nationalforests.org

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.

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.

Deborah Snyder

Manager, Development Services

dsnyder@nationalforests.org

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.

Emily Struss

Event Planner and Coordinator

estruss@nationalforests.org

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.

Wes Swaffar

Director, Ecosystem Services

wswaffar@nationalforests.org

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.

Dayle Wallien

Director, Conservation Partnerships

dwallien@nationalforests.org

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.