Snow geese on Freeze Out Lake. Photograph courtesy of Scott Bischke.



Thomas R. Armstrong is President of the Madison River Group (MRG) and served as a senior advisor for the Montana Climate Assessment. He also serves as an Affiliate Faculty Member at Montana State University. Prior to MRG, Dr. Armstrong served within the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy as the Executive Director of the United States Global Change Research Program. He was the lead in the development of the USGCRP’s new Ten Year Strategic Plan and a key player in the Third National Climate Assessment, the President’s Climate Action Plan, and other activities related to the federal climate change enterprise. He also served as the US Head of Delegation to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fifth Assessment Report. Before Joining the White House, Tom served as the Department of the Interior’s Senior Advisor for Climate Change.


Ashley P. Ballantyne is an Assistant Professor of Bioclimatology at the University of Montana. Dr. Ballantyne’s background is in the ecological and Earth sciences and he is curious about the interactions between Earth’s climate and biology over a range of scales. His research seeks to gain insight into factors regulating Earth’s climate in the past as well as factors limiting CO2 uptake in the future. Dr. Ballantyne earned an MS from the University of Washington and a PhD from Duke University. Dr. Ballantyne’s research explores how Earth’s climate and biogeochemical cycles are inextricably linked.


Anton Bekkerman is an Associate Professor in the Department of Agricultural Economics and Economics at Montana State University. His research interests include price analysis in grain markets, agricultural marketing, and the economics of production and management in the agricultural industry. Anton’s recent research focus has been on improving wheat price predictions for the northern United States, identifying the economic impacts of changes in the grain handling industry, and understanding the market-level impacts of increased pulse production in Montana. On campus, Anton teaches the Economics of Agricultural Marketing and Managerial Economics courses and is a faculty advisor to a collegiate student club.


Scott Bischke of MountainWorks Inc. served the Montana Climate Assessment as Science Writer. Scott is a BS (Montana State University), MS (University of Colorado) chemical engineer who has worked as an engineering researcher at three national laboratories: the National Bureau of Standards (now National Institute of Science and Technology), Sandia, and Los Alamos. He worked for roughly 11 yr as lead environmental engineer for a Hewlett-Packard business unit. Scott has authored, co-authored, or edited two environmental impact statements, book chapters, technical papers, four popular press books, and successful proposals totaling multiple-millions of dollars.


Madison Boone graduated from Hendrix College with degrees in Biology and Environmental Studies. She has worked for Heifer International’s Heifer Farm in Rutland, MA where she was a livestock steward and led educational programs. Madison moved to Bozeman, MT in January 2016 to serve with the Big Sky Watershed Corps, through which she worked for the non-profit One Montana on their Resilient Montana program. She is now serving a second term of the Big Sky Watershed Corps program in 2017, during which she will continue to work with One Montana as well as MSU-Extension on their Climate Science Team.


Samantha Brooks is the Lead Director for Science, Policy and Programs at Madison River Group (MRG) and an advisor to the Montana Climate Assessment. Prior to MRG, Ms. Brooks served for 3 yr with the US Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) as Executive Secretary, and a member of the USGCRP Leadership Team, providing strategic advice and direction to the White House Subcommittee on Global Change Research (SGCR). Her academic background is in international environmental policy with a particular focus on climate change. She holds a BA in International Relations from James Madison University and MA in Global Environmental Policy from American University. She holds the title of Affiliate Professor in Political Science at Montana State University.


Colin Brust is an undergraduate student at the University of Montana majoring in resource conservation and minoring in climate change studies and Spanish. Colin currently works as an intern for the Montana Climate Office. 


Laura Burkle is an Assistant Professor in Ecology at Montana State University. Her research is focused on the biodiversity and function of complex communities of flowering plants and pollinators. She uses plant-pollinator interactions as a tool to understand how environmental conditions—including climate change, land-use change, and disturbances like wildfire—influence the structure and function of ecological communities. At MSU, she teaches Principles of Biological Diversity, Plant Ecology, and Community ecology, and she mentors undergraduate and graduate students in field-based research. 


Mary Burrows obtained her PhD in Plant Pathology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She started her position as the Extension Plant Pathology Specialist at Montana State University in August of 2006. Her extension and research activities focus on diseases of field crops. She directs the Schutter Plant Diagnostic Laboratory, the Regional Pulse Crop Diagnostic Laboratory, serves as the Integrated Pest Management coordinator for Montana, the IR-4 Project State Liaison Representative, and has an active applied research program. 


Wyatt F. Cross is Director of the Montana University System Water Center, and an Associate Professor of Ecology at Montana State University. His current research focuses on ecological responses of streams and rivers to human activities, including climate warming, river regulation, and nutrient enrichment. Wyatt is also working to strengthen connections between the Montana university system and state agencies and non-governmental organizations in the context of water resource science and management.


Edward Dunlea is the Chief Scientist for Madison River Group. Prior to MRG, he was a Senior Program Officer at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine with the Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate; he led studies on high profile topics in climate and atmospheric sciences, including climate intervention (geoengineering), seasonal forecasting, abrupt climate changes, and climate modeling. Previously, Edward was a Program Manager for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in the Climate Program Office, and a post-doctoral researcher in atmospheric chemistry at the University of Colorado and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Edward holds a doctorate in atmospheric physical chemistry from the University of Colorado and an AB in chemistry from Harvard University. 


Paul Herendeen is an environmental scientist and engineer, working to provide practical solutions to environmental problems. Initially trained in research, he worked in silviculture, hydrology, and biogeochemistry for the US Geological Survey and Forest Service. After earning a graduate degree, he has shifted his focus to the built environment, with the goal of integrating human activity into the natural world. He holds a BA in Biology from the University of Virginia and a MS in Biological & Environmental Engineering from Cornell University.


Laura Ippolito is an honors student and sophomore at MSU dual majoring in Economics and Sustainable Foods and Bioenergy Systems with a concentration in Agroecology. She graduated from Phillips Academy Andover in May of 2014, and took a gap year before attending MSU in the fall of 2015. During her gap year, Laura got her certified Wilderness EMT license from NOLS, worked on a permaculture farm in Ecuador, and volunteered in Nepal and Thailand. At school, Laura is still working on agricultural research under the guidance of Bruce Maxwell.


Kelsey Jencso is an Associate Professor of Watershed Hydrology at the University of Montana and the Director of the Montana Climate Office. His research focuses on forested mountain watersheds and the mechanisms that influence forest growth and the movement of water, nutrients, and sediment in upland and aquatic environments. In his capacity as the Montana State Climatologist, Kelsey is leading efforts to provide climate and meteorological information to the public in a user specific context, the development of a statewide soil moisture and weather measurement network, and a collaborative effort to develop satellite based evapotranspiration and water deficit tools in agriculture and rangeland settings.


W. Matt Jolly is a Research Ecologist in the Fire, Fuel and Smoke Science Program at the US Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Missoula Fire Sciences Laboratory. His research explores the influence of live fuels on wildland fire behavior and it also explores ways to use this improved understanding to develop predictive tools that can help support strategic and tactical wildland fire management decisions.


John LaFave is a senior research hydrogeologist and manages the Montana Ground Water Assessment Program at the Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology. His research interests include characterizing large groundwater flow systems and identifying areas of anthropogenic recharge in western Montana using environmental tracers, long-term water level measurements and water chemistry data. John has Bachelor’s degree in Geology from the University of Wisconsin and a Master’s degree in Geology from the University of Texas. 


Andrew J. Larson is Associate Professor of Forest Ecology at the University of Montana. His research examines disturbances and dynamics of forest ecosystems, including forest management strategies for forest restoration and climate change adaptation and mitigation. Themes in his research program include forest productivity and carbon storage; rates, causes, and consequences of tree mortality; development and functional consequences of spatial heterogeneity in forest ecosystems; and fire-effects and succession in mixed-conifer forests. Dr. Larson instructs at UM and serves as Associate Editor for the journal Fire Ecology. His fire ecology research in the Bob Marshall Wilderness was recognized with the USDA Forest Service National Award for Wilderness Stewardship Research.


Alex Leone works for the Clark Fork Coalition on stream restoration in the Upper Clark Fork focusing on water planning efforts and conservation projects aimed at enhancing flows and restoring aquatic habitat. Alex has spent most of his life in Montana and attended both the University of Montana (BS in Forest Management) and Montana State University (MS in Earth Sciences). Alex spends the majority of his free time chasing trout on Montana’s seemingly endless supply of streams and exploring wilderness areas in the Northern Rockies.


Whitney Lonsdale has a strong interest in climate change and water resources in Montana and the West, particularly water scarcity and its implications for human and ecological systems. With a background in education and a graduate degree in Natural Resources from Cornell University, Whitney is dedicated to informing strategies that build resilience in Montana and bringing science to the public in ways that are relevant and accessible. Whitney joined the Montana University System Water Center as Assistant Director in early 2017.


Bruce Maxwell is Professor of Agroecology and Applied Plant Ecology in the Department of Land Resources and Environmental Science (LRES) and co-Director of the Montana Institute on Ecosystems at Montana State University. Maxwell was instrumental in the formation of the Department of LRES and has received national awards for outstanding teaching, best peer reviewed papers and outstanding graduate student from the Weed Science Society of America. He has published over 100 scientific journal articles and book chapters, chaired and been a member of numerous agricultural and ecological research grant review panels and been a member of two National Academy of Science National Research Council Committees on Agriculture. He was a Fulbright Fellow in Argentina in 2007. His research has historically straddled the disciplines of invasion biology and agroecology.


Stephanie McGinnis is the outgoing Assistant Director of the Montana Water Center and the Coordinator of Education and Outreach at Montana Watercourse. Throughout her career, Stephanie has been heavily involved in environmental education and outreach, working for public schools, state and federal agencies, and currently as an adjunct faculty member at MSU. She has also conducted research in Montana and Wyoming focused on the conservation and restoration of freshwater ecosystems.


Megan Mills-Novoa is a PhD student in the School of Geography and Development at the University of Arizona. A native Minnesotan, Megan graduated with a BA in environmental studies and biology from Lewis & Clark College in 2009. Following graduation, Megan worked as a Fulbright Scholar with the Global Change Center in Santiago, Chile and as a Luce Scholar with the Centre for Sustainable Development in Hanoi, Vietnam. In the summer of 2016, Megan worked as a Sustainability Fellow with One Montana where she worked with the Montana Climate Assessment team. 


Thomas Patton holds a MS in Geology from Montana Tech and is the Research Division Chief at the Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology. Tom was instrumental in early development of Montana’s Ground Water Information Center and Montana’s first statewide long-term groundwater monitoring network. His research interests include relationships between groundwater-level changes in wells and departures from average precipitation at various accumulation periods.


Alisa Royem grew up in the West and is deeply concerned with water resources, water rights, and climate change. She has a BS in Environmental Biology from Fort Lewis College and an MS in Hydrology and Natural Resources from Cornell University. Today she lives in Montana where she works with emerging water issues, climate change, mitigation, and resilience.


Nick Silverman is a Research Scientist at the University of Montana. His academic interests include mountain landscape hydroclimatology, remote sensing, land surface modeling, and hydroeconomics. Nick has received an MS from the University of Washington and a PhD from the University of Montana in Regional Hydroclimatology. Nick is passionate about making connections between science, people and policy. He spends his free time speaking to farmers, ranchers, government agencies, and water resource professionals throughout Montana about impacts and adaptations related to climate and water interactions.


Kristina Sussman has over 11 yr experience in brand and marketing communication strategy, graphic and web design. She has her Bachelors in Graphic Design and is the UX/UI Designer and Marketing Strategist with the Madison River Group (MRG) team. She was the Lead Web Designer for 5 yr at the USGS and recently launched their new Drupal website in April 2016. Kristina has designed a variety of marketing and branding materials to include brand strategies, style guides, logos, identity packaging, direct and email marketing, animations/video, website design, exhibits, infographics, advertising, and more.


Michael Sweet is a data manager and analyst with the Montana Climate Office at the University of Montana. After a 27-yr stint in applied forest management research, in 2010 Mike was presented with the opportunity to revive the dormant Montana Climate Office. He enjoys problem solving and the challenge of packaging information into a tasty morsel. When he’s not attached to a keyboard you will find him on the water, in the mountains, on the dance floor, working in the garden, or playing music.


Anna Tuttle is the Program and Communications Manager for the Institute on Ecosystems (IoE) at Montana State University (MSU), and is also a non-tenure track faculty member at MSU. After receiving her MS in Environmental Studies from the University of Montana, Anna spent 10 yr teaching leadership, communication, safe backcountry travel, and college-level academics for several field-based schools and university programs. This work involved researchers, ecologists, ranchers, farmers, tribal members, educators, and guides from across the country.


Alisa A. Wade is an Affiliate Faculty member at the University of Montana. She is a conservation scientist with a particular interest in bridging the gap between science and management by creating analytical and decision-making tools for conservation planning. Dr. Wade’s research has focused on assessing climate change vulnerability across broad spatial scales, with a particular emphasis on freshwater ecosystems. She earned degrees in political science (BA, UC Santa Barbara), public administration and environmental policy (MPA, San Jose State University), environmental planning (MCP, UC Berkeley) and Earth science (PhD, Colorado State University), and she completed her post-doctorate position at the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis.


David Weaver is Professor of Entomology in the Department of Land Resources and Environmental Science at Montana State University. Prior to MSU, he worked for USDA-ARS for several years on automated detection of insects in stored grain, insect biological control and insect ecology. He is former editor-in-chief for the Journal of Agricultural and Urban Entomology and has published over 100 scientific journal articles, in addition to book chapters and outreach materials. Since 1997, he has worked primarily on the chemical ecology, biological control, and biorational management of agricultural pests. A particular focus is the wheat stem sawfly, a native pest that has damaging populations that are currently expanding southward.


Becky Weed is currently a research associate at Montana State University, combining her backgrounds in agriculture and the geological sciences. Becky raises sheep and operates a fiber-processing mill on the ranch that she has been operating with her husband for 30 yr. She has worked as a geologist/geochemist in the environmental consulting industry in Montana, Colorado, and Utah, and in a research capacity in Antarctica and Greenland. Her degrees are in the geological sciences from Harvard University (BA) and the University of Maine (MS). She has served on the Montana Board of Livestock and on the Conservation and Science Board for Lava Lake Land and Livestock.


Cathy Whitlock is Professor of Earth Sciences, Fellow, and former co-Director of the Montana Institute on Ecosystems. She is recognized nationally and internationally for her scholarly contributions and leadership activities in the areas of paleoecology and paleoclimate. Whitlock has published over 180 scientific papers on these topics and her research has been supported  by grant-funding from the National Science Foundation, Joint Fire Sciences Program, National Park Service, USDA Forest Service, and Department of Energy. She is  a Fellow  of the  American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Geological Society of America and received the international EO Wilson Biodiversity Technology Pioneer Award in 2014 and Professional  Excellence Award in Academic/Research, Association of Women Geoscientists in 2015.