Regional Rep - Montana, Washington, Idaho, Oregon, Canada, Alaska
Chad grew up in the small town of Harrisville on the shores of Lake Huron in Northern Michigan. Raised in a family that loved the outdoors, much of his youth was dedicated to hunting and fishing. After earning a bachelor's degree in Business Administration from Michigan Technological University, he followed career opportunity to Oregon while continuing to pursue personal interests afield and share experiences to promote the hunting lifestyle. Hunting big game, fowl, and upland birds across the western states and Canada fostered a rising passion for wildlife and habitat conservation. A desire to give back to the wild things and wild places that shape our lives led Chad to Pheasants Forever.
State Coordinator - Montana / Wyoming
Hunter grew up hunting and fishing in Montana which sparked a passion for wildlife conservation. He received his B.S. in Wildlife Biology from the University of Montana. Hunter has worked as a watershed technician for the MT DNRC, a wildlife intern for MT FWP, and has been a farm bill biologist with Pheasants Forever in Chinook, MT for the past 4.5 years. During his time as a biologist for Pheasants Forever, Hunter led efforts to secure a $6.4 million-dollar RCPP award for big game habitat improvement work in Central Montana, he received Ducks Unlimited Montana's Partner of the Year award in 2019, and he received Pheasants Forever's Acre Maker award in 2020 for his conservation impacts in Montana." Hunter VanDonsel was recently selected to be the Montana/Wyoming State Coordinator for Pheasants Forever. In this role VanDonsel will coordinate and lead new and existing landscape level habitat initiatives and partnerships that advance our mission in Montana and Wyoming. This position will allow for statewide coordination and leadership, resulting in more strategic implementation of wildlife habitat conservation and bigger outcomes for wildlife.
Joshua C Hobbs
Coordinating Wildlife Biologist – Petroleum, Fergus, Garfield and Musselshell Counties
Josh grew up on the family farm in North Central Kansas chasing Mulies, Whitetails, wild roosters, quail and turkeys after the NWTF helped get them reintroduced in the 80’s. The NWTF is the group who forged Josh’s desire to improve habitat and wildlife diversity. Growing up he read every Fur Fish and game magazine then reread every Lew and Charlie adventure until the pages where wore out. From then on it was a dream to move to the NW. It took a long time to realize that dream, as at graduation from Oklahoma Panhandle State University he was offered a position as Visiting Instructor at the college teaching Biology I & II, Intro to Wildlife Biology and associated labs. In Oklahoma he helped start a Quail Unlimited chapter and became heavily involved in the National Wild Turkey Federation which led him to serve several years at the Vice President of the Kansas State National Wild Turkey Federation. He also became involved with conservation through the State Association of Kansas Watersheds and served for 8 years and as the Treasurer of the board of directors. Josh finally realized if one is going to realize a dream, one must just do it or die wishing he had. Josh is excited about the opportunity to continue learning, introducing habitat and generally giving back a portion of what we as humans take each year. If you see Josh on his days off you will probably see him chasing birds with his herd of Chesapeake Bay Retrievers, Fishing, camping, hiking, big game hunting or reading. Or dreaming about it!
Coordinating Wildlife Biologist - Mission Valley
Liam grew up in eastern Iowa hunting and fishing every chance he could get. His passion for the outdoors and conservation led him to a B.S. in Wildlife and Fisheries from South Dakota State University. His first order of business upon graduating was to find a woman. He was able to do so, and spent the past fall hunting birds with Mugget, his year-old German Wirehair Pointer (only woman that can pull of a beard). Montana has been the dream for Liam as long as he can remember, and to be working as a Habitat Specialist in the Mission Valley is a real honor. Liam’s work in the Valley revolves around prairie restoration and maintenance on the WPAs around Ninepipe National Wildlife refuge. When he’s not working, Liam can be found hiking around the mountains wrestling Grizzly Bears, fly-fishing, chasing birds and big game, and strumming a six string.
Big Game Project Coordinator
Seal is originally from a ranching family in Nevada but has made Montana her home since 2019. In 2011, she received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Montana Western in Dillon, with an emphasis in sustainable natural resource management. After graduation, she returned to Nevada and served as the Executive Director of Nevada Cattlemen’s Association while working with other natural resource industries to find common ground and improve greater sage grouse habitat. Seal left Nevada Cattlemen’s Association in 2014 to pursue her law degree. She graduated from the University of Idaho, College of Law in 2018 and has practiced law in Billings, Mont. since 2019. She’s currently based in Hinsdale, Montana. The Big Game Habitat Improvement Project is a collaborative initiative to implement conservation and restoration efforts for the connectivity of grasslands and rangelands from the Canadian border to the Musselshell Plains. Pheasants Forever received $6.4 million as a Regional Conservation Partnership Program grant and 16 partners have matched the grant to deliver $12.8 million in support of conservation efforts for north-central Montana, leaving lasting impacts for upland wildlife habitat and the surrounding communities.
Farm Bill Biologist - Billings
Crystallaina was born and raised in Montana, where she grew up hunting and fishing leading to a passion for wildlife conservation. She received a B.S. in Environmental Science from Rocky Mountain College and had the opportunity to conduct research on snapping and spiny softshell turtles. This last summer Crystallaina was able to spend 11 days traveling around the Galapagos Islands studying the native fauna and flora. Additionally, she has worked as a wildlife intern for Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks. Crystallaina loves exploring and continuing to learn new things. With her position as a Farm Bill Biologist with Pheasants Forever in Billings Montana she will be delivering conservation programs to landowners that benefit both wildlife conservation and agriculture operations. When not working, Crystallaina can be found spending time with her husband and dogs and enjoys going backpacking, fly fishing and skiing.
Farm Bill Biologist - Chester
I grew up in the small town of Inverness in North Central Montana involved in farming, ranching, hunting, and any other aspects of the outdoors that I could get my hands on. My passion for wildlife and conservation began by hunting whitetail, mule deer, elk and upland birds. This passion led me to pursue an Associate degree in Natural Resources Conservation and Management from Flathead Valley Community College in Kalispell, Montana. Here I studied wildlife, soils, waters, forestry and many other aspects of the outdoors. After college I moved home to continue working in the farming community and ranch on our family homestead. I am excited to start this career with Pheasants Forever and have a whole lot to learn!
Range and Wildlife Conservationist- Hysham, MT
Cole grew up in Cedaredge, Colorado. A rural community on the Western Slope. There he spent his time playing sports, participating in FFA, while hunting and fishing whenever possible. With a background in agriculture and a passion for the outdoors, he was drawn to Montana and the opportunities it held. He attended Montana State University where he earned his bachelor’s degree in Fish and Wildlife Ecology along with a minor in Rangeland Ecology and Natural Resource Management. Through college he took a different approach, working primarily as a ranch hand during the school year and over the summers. It was through these experiences where Cole further developed a passion for agriculture and decided to pursue a career where he could work alongside producer to benefit their operation and wildlife. Starting in January of 2022, Cole is new to the field of wildlife conservation, he is excited to take his past experiences and education to SE Montana. Working out of the Hysham NRCS office, he will help improve wildlife habitat through NRCS conservation programs along with other NGO sponsored programs. Counties: Carter, Custer, Fallon, Powder River, Rosebud and Treasur.
Coordinating Wildlife Biologist - Lewistown, MT
Lesley Rolls grew up in the mountains of southern California. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, birding, fishing and hunting. After graduating high school, she moved to Montana to receive her Bachelor of Science in Resource Conservation from the University of Montana. Since graduating in 2020, she has worked with a variety of bird species from the swamps of Florida to the tundra of Alaska, but always returning home to Montana. Lesley started her position as a coordinating wildlife biologist for Pheasants Forever and the BLM in Lewistown, MT back in November 2022. Her position involves securing public access, helping with conservation easements, monitoring sage grouse populations through breeding surveys, conducting research focused on short-eared owls, collaborating on breeding bird survey efforts with other agencies, and aiding with wildlife friendly fencing and mesic restoration. Lesley is excited to be in a position that allows her to work with wildlife, secure access to continue Montana’s hunting traditions, and support and learn about proper resource management techniques to support conservation efforts in Central Montana.
North Central MT - Coordinating Biologist
Martin’s love of hunting, ranching, conservation and the outdoors comes from frequent visits to his family’s ranch in Southern Phillip’s County. Growing up he would spend time there during hunting season, holidays and the summers helping his uncle with ranching activities and as time allowed hunting all things the ranch has to offer. It was where Martin’s love of bird hunting began with ample opportunity on the ranch for pheasants, sharptail and sage grouse, morning dove and Hungarian partridge. Martin grew up in the Gallatin Valley of Montana near the headwaters of the Missouri so fishing was a nearly daily activity. Martin attended Northwest College in Powell, WY earning an Associate degree in Agricultural Communications. He finished his Bachelor’s degree at Montana State in Agriculture Education and Relations. Martin’s prior work experience includes being a Sage Grouse Initiative Range Conservationist partner in the Malta NRCS office. Martin now serves as a coordinator for the group Ranchers Stewardship Alliance where he works to increase the capacity of their partnership driven conservation efforts. The group’s rancher-led conservation projects serve to improve habitat, improve ranching and provide value to the area communities through a network of involved conservation partners. When not working Martin and his wife Sarah are often visiting her home ranch near Lewistown, spending time with family in Malta, or just trying to keep the dogs busy.
Coordinating Wildlife Biologist – Miles City, MT
Originally from Minnesota, Neil grew up spending ample amounts of time outside hunting and fishing in his home state and neighboring Wisconsin. Having a strong interest in biology and a desire to work outdoors, he attended the University of North Dakota for a bachelor’s degree in Fisheries and Wildlife Biology. Following graduation in 2017, he moved to central Wyoming and began working for an environmental consulting firm. As a biological field technician, he worked on a variety of projects involving eagles, other avian raptors, swift foxes, black-footed ferrets, skunks and turkeys. In 2021 he moved to Billings and spent the next two years working on a sage grouse study in south central Montana. In 2022 Neil started his current position with Pheasants Forever as a Coordinating Wildlife Biologist. Neil works on a mix of sage grouse field surveys and public land access programs with the Bureau of Land Management and Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks in Miles City. During his free time Neil can usually be found hunting, playing hockey, shooting his bow and backpacking.
Habitat Specialist - Yellowstone Valley
Steve grew up on a farm in Powell, Wyoming. There began his passion for agriculture and the outdoors. After obtaining his BS Degree from the University of Wyoming, Steve spent 25 years with Coors Brewing Company, where his team was responsible for buying all the brewing ingredients, managed company farms and ag facilities. Now back in Montana where he had spent 10 years of his career, he returns back home to continue the love of wildlife habitat and enjoying Montana's great outdoors. Steve can usually be found enjoying Montana's outdoors with his sidekick black Labrador Ali!