10465 Melody Dr., Ste. 307
Northglenn, CO 80234
Dr. Julie Thorstenson (Lakota) is the Executive Director for the Native American Fish and Wildlife Society. She grew up on a cattle ranch on the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation in Northcentral SD, where a love for the land and the environment was instilled in her. Dr. Thorstenson earned a B.S., M.S. and PhD in biological sciences from South Dakota State University. Her research focused on cottonwood site selection using GIS for riparian restoration and incorporating culture into ethics education for scientists and engineers. Dr. Thorstenson has worked in Indian Country her entire career in various positions, including Wildlife Habitat Biologist and Health Department CEO for her tribe. She currently lives on the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation in South Dakota with her husband and three children.
Robert Romero is the Deputy Executive Director for the Native American Fish and Wildlife Society. Robert initially joined the NAFWS team in 2020 where he initially served as the Conservation Law Enforcement Officer Consultant and moved to the Deputy Executive Director position in early 2023. He was raised in rural southern New Mexico where he developed a strong connection with the natural world. Robert graduated with a B.S. in Wildlife Science from New Mexico State University (1991) and pursued a career with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as a Refuge Operations Specialist and Special Agent that spanned for nearly 30 years before he retired in 2018. Robert is an enrolled member of the Pueblo of Laguna.
Heidi is an enrolled citizen of the Yavapai-Apache Nation. She graduated from the University of Colorado Boulder (CU Boulder) with a B.A. degree in American studies and a minor in History. She also earned a Master’s in Museum and Field Studies. Prior to joining the staff, she was a Research Faculty member, Associate Scientist II at the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) where she conducted research on the Exchange for Local Observations and Knowledge of the Arctic (ELOKA). Her published research includes articles and a book chapter on stewarding Arctic Indigenous Knowledge data. She has worked diligently on Indigenous culture and language preservation projects with her tribe and conducted research in partnership and collaboration with Arctic Indigenous People. She is a strong advocate for co-production of Indigenous knowledge and the decolonization of Indigenous Knowledge research.
Her love of the outdoors brought her to Colorado and has steered her career into the environmental field. She is currently working on an administrative and photo collection archiving project at the Native American Fish & Wildlife Society, while also working on increasing and engaging membership.
Laurel James is an enrolled member of the Yakama Nation and an Interdisciplinary PhD Candidate at the University of Washington in the School of Environmental & Forest Sciences and the Department of Anthropology. She also holds a MS Degree in Fire Ecology and a BS degree in Wildlife Science. Laurel has worked her entire career in the field of Natural Resources beginning as a wildland firefighter (engine, helitack & hotshot) then mostly in Wildlife Resources (endangered species, timber sales and NEPA assessments). She was a member of the 2012 Indian Forest Management Assessment Team (IFMAT), as a graduate student observer and was recognized for her work with Tribal Communities in receiving the State of Washington, E3 (Education-Environment-Economy) Green Apple Award for Diversity in Action in 2013. Laurel continues to pursue her Interdisciplinary PhD at the University of Washington and her dissertation focuses on a Forest History for the Confederated Salish & Kootenai Tribes. As the Director of Programs for NAFWS, Laurel is excited to work with Natural Resource professionals, across the nation!
Diné (Navajo) from Tohatchi, NM. Alumni from Colorado State University-B.S. in Fish, Wildlife & Conservation Biology (2017). M.S. in Conservation Leadership (2019) Ashley joined the NAFWS in 2019 and is responsible for Youth programming, Summer Youth Practicum (high school), Mentoring Program (college), Scholarships (college), Internship (college), and Resources (high school & college)
Judith McKenna was born and raised in beautiful Colorado. She graduated in 2022 with a Bachelors in Forestry from the University of British Columbia. After graduation she moved back to Colorado to be closer to family and is so excited to join the NAFWS team as an administrative assistant! In her free time, she loves to read, explore nature with her dog, and do fiber arts.
Sean was born and raised on the Flathead Reservation. He attended University of Montana after leaving the Army and has worked for many organizations like , USFS-Powell RD Wildlife, Fisheries and Hydrology, Nez Perce Fisheries Program in Orofino, Idaho, Confederated Salish & Kootenai Tribe Fisheries Program. Sean was the NWRS-Refuge Manager at Medicine Lake Refuge MT, Modoc Refuge CA.
My name is Shailyn Wiechman and I was born and raised in central Montana. I am a member of the Chippewa-Cree Tribe of the Rocky Boy’s Indian Reservation, Montana. I graduated from Montana State University-Bozeman in 2019 with a Bachelor’s degree in Fish and Wildlife Ecology & Management. I moved to Denver, Colorado after graduating and since then have worked seasonally for Colorado Parks & Wildlife, USDA Forest Service and an ecological consulting firm. In my free time, I love to hike, fish, hunt, workout and spend time with my husband and our cat.
Emily Hagler (Southern Paiute) grew up in central Washington State with a strong tie to the environment. Her experiences with the natural world led her to earn a B.S. from Washington State University in environmental science and an M.S. in environmental science and natural resources from the University of Nevada, Reno. Her research focused on resource selection of newly introduced bighorn sheep. Dedicating a career to conserving and restoring natural resources, Emily has spent much of her career implementing conservation in Paiute country. She has extensive experience in habitat restoration, big game, and diversity biology. In her free time, she pursues year-round recreation opportunities in the Sierra Nevada Mountains near her home in Northern Nevada. Emily joins NAFWS as a fish and wildlife biologist with a focus on threatened and endangered species.
Hannah Golden was born and raised in Anchorage, Alaska. Hannah is a member of the Kenaitze Indian Tribe located in Kenai, Alaska. She graduated from Union University in 2022 with a bachelor’s degree in Conservation Biology. After graduation, she I moved to Jackson, Tennessee working remotely for the NAFWS first as an intern for the Alaska office and now a part of the team as a Fish and Wildlife Biologist with a focus on biodiversity. In Hannah’s free time, she loves to hunt, hike, spend time with friends and family, and make pottery.
Lori is a dedicated naturalist with experience working as a field ecologist in interior and northern Alaska. She holds a Masters of Science degree in Wildlife and Fisheries from West Virginia University and a B.S. degree in Ecology from Seattle Pacific University. 🌎Her interests in community science and natural history have shaped her career. As part of her master’s research, Lori launched a climate history project in the state of West Virginia to gather ecological observations from citizens over the past century to use in climate change analyses. She enjoys exploring the trails of interior Alaska and reading in her free time.
Kaitlyn is Dena’ina Athabascan born and raised in Alaska, where she built a career on 11 seasons of field work in Forestry, Parks and Outdoor Recreation, and conservation work. Through her work history she has gained valuable skills and experience in natural resource management ranging from stream bank restoration to group facilitation of educational activities. She completed her undergraduate degree in Environmental Studies in southwest Colorado at Fort Lewis College and returned home every summer to work and play under the midnight sun. Through her employment, Kaitlyn has earned her wildland firefighting Red Card and S-212 chainsaw certification; built trails and campgrounds; maintained local, state, and tribal parks; assisted with community outreach; worked on interior Alaska forest inventory projects, participated and led the monitoring and removal of invasive plant species; worked with youth introducing them to the outdoors; and currently sits on the board of her local Citizen Advisory Board for Alaska State Parks. In her spare time, Kaitlyn enjoys hiking, kayaking, reading, beading and spending lots of time with her loved ones.
Tess (she/her) is an enrolled citizen of the Igiugig Village Tribe. She grew up on the shores of Lake Iliamna—home to her, freshwater seals, and millions of wild salmon. She is an advocate for tribal sovereignty, stewardship, and management and has an emulsion of experiences working for federal, state, and tribal agencies; including various seasonal field positions, working as a domestic violence advocate, and, most recently, assisting in the development and execution of a Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) study for the Yakutat Tlingit Tribe. She brings her love and enthusiasm for rural Alaska communities— their diversity, and rich cultures— to provide support to projects tailored to the many and various landscapes and peoples of Alaska.
Jerilyn Kelly (she/her) is from Quinhagak, Alaska. She is an enrolled member of the Native Village of Kwinhagak, a shareholder at both Qanirtuuq and Calista corporations. Jerilyn is a mother to four, one son & three daughters. Her lifelong experiences started with the growth of her children. She has been involved with early childhood, elementary education, youth group as well as local government in Quinhagak, regional and statewide levels. Jerilyn currently serves on the Mount Edgecumbe High School Advisory School Board as a Parent Representative and on the Alaska Municipal League Board of Directors – Representing Unit 8. She enjoys reading books, subsisting, and playing cards with family & friends.
Mitzi Reed served as the Director of Choctaw Wildlife and Parks Department for the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians (MBCI), where she also served as the Tribal Biologist. She has worked for 22 years for the MBCI in the Environmental (6 years) and Wildlife Programs (16 years). She received her bachelor and master’s degrees from the University of West Alabama. She is passionate about natural resources conservation and works diligently to ensure the integrity of these resources for future generations. She has served on numerous boards and committees, including the NAFWS Board of Directors over her career. She is a strong advocate of educating youth in the fields of conservation and has coordinated the Choctaw Youth Conservation Corps since 2016. As an amateur wildlife photographer, avid bass fisherman and hunting enthusiast, she has found a niche that fits her interests and love for the outdoors. With her love for snakes, it is not a surprise to find her with a snake in hand while she is talking about conservation.
Thomas Hafen has worked as a Fish Biologist for the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs for the past 2 years. He earned his B.S. from Utah State University in Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences and a M.S. in Natural Resources Ecology and Management from Oklahoma State University. He has devoted his career to monitoring and research on native salmonid and trout species, investigating the effects of invasive brook trout on the endangered bull trout, and performing habitat surveys on aquatic environments. In his spare time, he enjoys hiking and mountain biking.
Annette Bravo has been ranching full time with her husband and son, who are members of the Hualapai Tribe. Annette earned her B.S. in Environmental Biology from Grand Canyon University and M.S. in Fisheries Biology from Tennessee Technological University. Before ranching full-time, Annette worked for the Hualapai Tribe’s Natural Resources Department for 22 years, where she gained skills in administration, communication, grant writing, NEPA compliance, wildlife monitoring, wildlife habitat improvement, feral livestock removal, riparian restoration, preservation of endangered species, and aquaculture. Annette was a past student of the Native American Rangeland Training Program. She currently contracts with First Nations Development Institute and helps tribes in developing rangeland conservation plans.
Wade Reiter is a member of the Menominee Indian tribe located in Keshena, WI. The past 10 years, he has collaborated with the Menominee Tribe’s environmental services and conservation department and has worked as an Invasive Species/Environmental Tech for the past 5 years. He helped manage aquatic and terrestrial invasive species within the borders of the Menominee Indian reservation; as well as help with the Fish and Wildlife surveys that range from stocking walleye to howling for grey wolves in the middle of the night. He counts himself lucky enough to get to work outdoors every day for work and has a passion to share his experiences with others that are not so fortunate! In his free time, he enjoys hunting, fishing, spending time with family and friends, especially entertaining a growing dinosaur (son).
Megan (Davenport) Hawkins is a wildlife biologist with a background in several different species and areas. She has a Masters in marine biology, worked for the National Park Service in all different ecosystems for years, and then served for the last 5 years as a Wildlife Biologist for the InterTribal Buffalo Council. She’s passionate about supporting Tribal wildlife work and is excited to join NAFWS. Outside of work, she enjoys spending time with her husband, daughter, 3 dogs and tortoise and has been spending more time foraging and learning about many different plant and fungi species and cooking them up!
Andy Edwards was born and raised on the edge of the Ozarks in Missouri. His love of the outdoors led him to the northern tip of Wisconsin where he received a BS in Natural Resources Management from Northland College and then a MS in Biology from the University of Minnesota-Duluth.
Andy has many years of experience working with tribes in the Great Lakes region, both as Director of the Resource Management Division for 1854 Treaty Authority where he focused on ceded territory resources, and most recently as Administrator of the Treaty Natural Resources Division for the Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa where he oversaw their on-reservation and Lake Superior programs. Andy is looking forward to his new role with the America the Beautiful Challenge program and the opportunities it will bring to meet new people and learn about tribal priorities and resources outside the Great Lakes region.
Outside of work Andy loves spending time in the outdoors fishing, hunting, foraging and just enjoying nature with his wife and family.
Katie Schultz was born and raised in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and is an enrolled member of the Sault Ste Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians. She has a M.S. degree in Wildlife and Fisheries Resources from Clemson University, a B.S. degree in Biology from Saginaw Valley State University, and has served as a wildlife biologist for her tribe’s natural resource department for the past several years. She is passionate about protection and conservation of natural resources and is excited to be a part of the NAFWS team. In Katie’s free time, she enjoys hiking, fishing, hunting, and reading a good book.
10465 Melody Dr., Ste. 307
Northglenn, CO 80234