Fresh Faces: New Staff at The Center

As the Center has taken on new work to lead connectivity and resiliency efforts in the US and across the globe, we’ve welcomed new staff to help lead the charge!

Read on to ‘meet’ some of our newest team members.

Terry Tatsey: Senior Advisor

Terry Tatsey served as an elected council member of the Blackfeet Tribal Business Council from 2016-2020, and served as the Vice-Chairman of the Rocky Mountain Tribal Leaders Council, representing the tribes of Montana, Wyoming and Idaho and advocating for funding and improvements in services to the respective tribes.

Terry’s Blackfeet name is Maistowahtsis (Crow Tailfeathers) and a respected leader and advocate of Creators Natural World, Native livelihoods, agriculture, education and the future of the Niitsitapi people. 

He is the former Director of Institutional Development and Department of Agriculture for the Blackfeet Community College, and was instrumental in the planning and development of the Blackfeet Community College’s (BCC) campus. Terry served in various leadership positions for 23 years at BCC, including as its Department Chair of Natural Resources and the land grant director.

Terry is a founding Board member of the First Americans Land Grant Consortium (FALCON), a founding Board member of the Indian Nations Conservation Alliance (INCA) and founding member of the Blackfeet Tribal Natural Resource Conservation District.  He has served as a tribal college representative on the Policy Board of Directors at the Association of Public and Land Grant Universities (APLU), on numerous USDA committees and task forces, and as a leading voice on tribal land grant policy and programs.

Abigail Breuer: Program Officer

Abigail brings her background in in project development and management in complex landscapes and research with inter-disciplinary teams in US and global contexts to the Center. As Program Officer, Abigail contributes to strategy, research, and project development in order to further the ability of agency, industry, nonprofit and community partners to forward on-the- ground habitat connectivity.

Abigail has examined emerging practices by farmers, ranchers and herders on coexistence with wildlife and regenerative agriculture across several continents on behalf of food and textile industry partners, and contributed to standards through which for profit entities integrate conservation into their supply chains. Abigail also has extensive experience with community- based conservation projects in southwest Montana.

Outside of work, Abigail helps with local watershed restoration efforts and enjoys outdoor activities including hiking, skiing, gardening and more.

Grace Stonecipher: International Program Coordinator & Geospatial Analyst

As part of the International Connectivity Program, Grace works on connectivity projects across the globe and uses spatial science to examine the impacts of roads, rails, and transmission lines on biodiversity.

Grace joined the Center for the first time in 2017, assisting with projects across all three of the Center’s programs. After a brief stint in the midwest for graduate school, she is excited to return to Bozeman and build upon her previous work.

With a broad interdisciplinary background in environmental studies, Grace pursued a Master’s degree in Environmental Observation and Informatics to develop expertise in acquiring, analyzing, and communicating spatial data. For her capstone project, she worked with Conservation International to build a land-use planning tool to help decision makers prioritize areas for restoration investments. She also interned with the National Park Service, where she used satellite imagery to identify disturbances in National Parks and created a story map to communicate the results of these studies. Grace is passionate about the process of linking knowledge to action, and through her work hopes to use geospatial data to inform land-use decisions that balance the needs of people and biodiversity.

In her free time, Grace enjoys climbing, cross-country skiing, and jigsaw puzzles.

Melissa Butynski: Conservation Associate

As a Conservation Associate, Melissa provides support to the international program. She helps manage the Center’s global network, serves as a logistical coordinator and promotes international scientific collaboration.

Prior to joining the Center, Melissa worked as a wildlife biologist researching a wide range of species from warm water minnows and white-tailed ptarmigan to African lions. She has worked extensively with private landowners across the western US, helping to facilitate conversations around conservation and learning about the importance of working lands for the health of communities and wildlife.

While living abroad in Kenya, Melissa’s graduate work focused on landscape genetics where she was able to help collect data on the genetic connectivity of African lion. She is excited to join the Center and continue fostering her passion for connected landscapes, healthy ecosystems and community engagement.

When not in the office Melissa can be found on flowy single-track, talking about her dog or getting skunked by trout on any one of Montana’s wild and scenic rivers.


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