“As a young female professional, it is sometimes difficult to be taken seriously in the forestry industry. At the Guild, my knowledge is valued. I enjoy working with landowners, professionals, and community members who share the goal of improving forest health and the benefits to communities dependent on them.”
Southeast Region Coordinator
"I work for the Guild because no other organization I know of so seamlessly blends lofty aspirations with the ability to get good work done on the ground. The Guild’s principles provide a vision for improving our world one stand at a time.”
“I enjoy helping people connect with their environment in a personal way. The Guild community and projects help a wide diversity of people find their way toward those connections.”
“A Guild strength is meaningful partnerships. Part of my job is coordinating field trips, workshops, and webinars on relevant topics that help put science into practice. Our partnerships make that possible.”
Zander was the Guild’s research director for 11 years prior to his current role. His research supports on-the-ground implementation of ecological forestry. He has a PhD from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and worked as a cartographer and spatial analyst with the US Geological Survey.
“In college, I became obsessed with environmental threats and thought the only way to make a difference was through international policy. In contrast, I learned there were opportunities to make a positive impact in forests right where I grew up in southern New England. With just a Master of Forestry and some blue paint, I could change the course of a woodlot for a generation. As the Guild’s executive director, it is incredibly rewarding to see the positive impact Guild members have in the forests they manage and how, collectively, we can tackle the environmental challenges that first motivated me."
The Southwest program continues the legacy started by the Forest Trust in 1984 to practice and promote excellence in stewardship by building a sustainable forest-based economy, developing future forestry leaders, practicing ecological forest restoration, and training and educating fire and forest workers and landowners. Eytan develops, funds, and implements projects to support these goals. The Southwest program currently works on landscape-scale restoration, youth education and training, wildland firefighter training, and effectiveness monitoring. Eytan is involved in several local collaborative efforts to improve forest management and serves on a wildland-urban interface risk reduction grant review panel. He received his master’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania after working as a field archaeologist in the Northeast and a fire effects monitor and wildland firefighter with the National Park Service.
Amanda’s role as Deputy Director builds on seven years serving as the Forest Stewards Guild’s Northeast Region Director. From her base in Maine, Amanda supports the national Women Owning Woodlands network, expands the Foresters for the Birds program begun in Vermont, organizes learning events for the North Atlantic Fire Science Exchange, grows New England’s forest climate adaptation community of practice, and supports Guild members in advancing ecological forestry. Amanda is a licensed forester and holds degrees from Yale University and the University of Southern Maine. She has been an active member of the Forest Stewards Guild and the Society of American Foresters since her student days, and is passionate about supporting succeeding generations of forest stewards.
Born in New Mexico and raised on the principles of responsible land stewardship, Rachel earned her B.S. in Fish, Wildlife and Conservation Ecology with a focus in Ecosystem Management from New Mexico State University. She spent her post-collegiate years immersed in forest thinning and fuels reduction and now works in her capacity at the Guild to support and expand community and organizational land management projects. From fire resiliency learning networks to programs designed to assist landowners reduce pests and disease, these proactive and collaborative projects address a spectrum of challenges facing the landscape and people of the southwest. A typical day may find Rachel assisting the Forest Stewards Youth Corps, in the field performing ecological monitoring, or facilitating wildfire preparedness knowledge sharing between experts and community members. When not at work Rachel enjoys hiking, rock climbing, baking, and settling down with a good book and mug of black tea.
Sam facilitates the return of good fire to the landscapes of New Mexico and beyond by supporting Fire Adapted Communities, prescribed fire training exchanges, collaborative burning, and treatment implementation to improve fire resiliency. Sam also designs written and web materials to increase understanding of the relation of wildland fire to the natural world and communities. Sam has worked on various wildland and prescribed fire crews, engines and wildfire use modules in several states. He worked in the Klamath region of Northern California promoting fire adapted communities, running chainsaws on thinning crews, managing noxious weeds, and on fisheries crew. In Montana Sam developed and completed two oral history projects documenting lives rural communities. In his free time, he enjoys being with his favorite people and dogs, crafting things, cooking, and being outdoors.
Esmé manages Collaborative Forest Restoration Program (CFRP) projects. Her work addresses wildfire on a fireshed scale, with a pro-active and collaborative approach to improve the health and long-term resilience of our forests and communities. Esmé also communicates science to the public through project outreach materials, website design, verbal communication andphotography, helping a range of audiences understand and engage in their natural world. Esmé holds an M.S. in Ecohydrological Science and Management from the University of Idaho in Moscow, and a B.S. in Environmental Biology from Fort Lewis College in Durango, CO. Her work has emphasized the mixed use of watershed and fireshed landscapes and the coupling between human and natural systems to manage forest and water resources at the landscape to regional scale. Esmé’s past research examines the interface between hydrologic and riparian systems and the ecological role of fire in forested watersheds for maintaining forest health and ecological resilience in a changing world.
Cody joined the Guild to work at the confluence of people and forests. With a background in prescribed fire implementation and research, community outreach, and ecological monitoring, Cody supports multiple programs throughout the Southwest. Ever learning, Cody is excited to combine landscape-scale planning with on-the-ground projects to restore, protect, and promote resilient forest communities. He has a B.S. in Resource Conservation from The University of Montana and an M.S. in Forest Resources from Penn State.
Fallon focuses onoperations and employee interests.Herbackground is in the New Mexico timber industry.She worked for several years at a family-ownedsawmill started by her father that specializes in using local timber. Her experience is in operations management, accounting, project management, customer service and collaboration.She is originally from Santa Fe, NM and earned her undergraduate degree from The University of Texas at Austin and MBA from the University of New Mexico. Fallonbecame interested in forest management and sustainable resource management while working in thetimber industry.Working at the guild has inspired her to expand her knowledge.At home, Fallon finds happiness in spending time with her husband, two daughters anda large extended family. She also loves sewing, learning new mountain biking skills, running, andremodeling her house.
Gabe has a strong interest in the human dimensions of natural resource management and wants to develop forest and fire management that strengthens the connection between rural communities and the forestland that surrounds them. He holds a B.A in Environmental Studies from Lewis and Clark College and a M.S in Forest Ecosystems and Society from the Oregon State University College of Forestry. During his graduate studies, Gabe learned to approach natural resource challenges from an interdisciplinary perspective, merging the social sciences with fire science and management. In his work as a social scientist contractor and research associate, Gabe talked with hundreds of natural resource professionals throughout the western US about their experiences, and hopes to bring these diverse perspectives to his work with the Guild. Gabe’s weekends are spent camping, biking, listening to live music, and road-tripping around the states with his girlfriend and their dog Magoo.
Michael focuses on regional research needs, collaboration opportunities, and natural resource planning at a landscape-scale. Michael has specialized experience developing integrated solutions to balance the multifaceted ecological, economic, and social needs of the Lake State’s forest resources. Michael holds a BA from Gustavus Adolphus College with majors in Biology and Environmental Studies and an MS in Biological Integration from the University of Minnesota. Prior to working for the Forest Stewards Guild, Michael worked with the Wisconsin DNR, Minnesota Forest Resources Council/Minnesota DNR, Sugarloaf: The North Shore Stewardship Association, and USDA Forest Service. Michael also operates a southern Minnesota corn and soybean farm that pairs land and water conservation practices with production agriculture. He spends his time away from Guild and farming activities engaging in a variety of outdoor adventures with his wife and kids. Michael's office is located in Mankato, MN.
Maura will be working with the Guild to maintain and expand membership in the Pacific Northwest. She hopes to gain a better understanding of members’ needs to help guide and broaden engagement through programs, policy, and meeting and learning from PNW locals. Maura grew up in NW Oregon, achieved a B.S. Ecology from Unity College in Maine, worked throughout the PNW in various forestry research projects, then worked in the ski industry in Utah to assist with environmental management within National Forest, and recently returned home to Oregon to continue her dedication to conservation. With her background in ecology and sustainability she hopes to help gain stride in achieving genuine conservation and understands, as well as enjoys, the collaboration, research, and hard work it takes with people and on the land to get there. In her spare time, Maura enjoys working on her own forested land, keying out vegetation, woodworking, fly fishing, skiing, and hiking.
Mateo brings diverse international experience to the Guild, having worked for a decade and a half in biodiversity conservation, agroecology and intercultural education throughout South and Central America, southern Africa and the US. Mateo’s interests include traditional ecological knowledge, ecological restoration, protected areas governance and intersections between environmental and social justice. Mateo is ecstatic to join the Guild’s efforts to collaboratively manage forest landscapes in northern New Mexico for resilience, biodiversity conservation and the benefit of local communities. Mateo holds a MSc in Biodiversity and Conservation from the University of Leeds (UK) and a BA from the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill. Mateo is an avid outdoorsman, linguist and songwriter-singer.
Leonora works to empower women woodland owners across the U.S. through the Guild’s Women Owning Woodlands (WOW) Program. In northern New Mexico, Leonora’s work spans community-based forestry, wildfire risk mitigation, forest health and restoration, and youth environmental education and mentorship. In tropical landscapes, Leonora has worked at the intersection of forestry and sustainable agriculture, with projects including a study of traditional açaí cultivation in the Amazon estuary and, most recently, a supply chain analysis of yerba mate agroforestry in southern Brazil. Leonora holds a B.A. in Economics from Smith College and a Master of Forestry degree from the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies.
Colleen describes her perfect work as helping people recognize and acknowledge their own connections to their environment. She has a Bachelor's Degree in environmental education and a broad background in communications. After 10 years with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources' Forest Health Program and 14 years with the non-profit, Friends of Pheasant Branch Conservancy, her knowledge directly relates to our communication needs. She understands our work with forests and the people who own, manage and recreate within them. Colleen maintains our website, member and donor communications, event registrations, e-news, magazine, and Annual Review. Outside the Guild, she is a Wisconsin Master Naturalist course instructor, a Certified Mindful Outdoor Guide, and enjoys time in the woods and on the water with friends and family. She puts high value on locally sourced, healthy food. You'll often hear her say "I belong outside."
My passion with this work goes hand in hand with my previous work experience. I’ve spent a decade working in my hometown as a Wildland Firefighter for the City of Santa Fe Fire Department (SFFD). My focus was wildfire and assisting the WUI specialist, but I’ve done many different things from Fire suppression on a hand crew and an engine, to acting as an EMT-I for medical/rescue assignments. Outside of work I have a fitness background Powerlifting in college at NMSU where I have a bachelor’s in communication. I’m also a martial arts practitioner with 16 years of experience. I hope to incorporate all I know with the Guild’s mission.
Cora is passionate about helping young adults develop professionally within the fields of forestry and conservation. She first discovered this interest as a canoe guide for teens in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, where she enjoyed developing relationships and seeing youth grow in their confidence and understanding of the world around them. Cora continued to pursue her passion by joining the Peace Corps as an agroforestry volunteer in Senegal, Africa, where she worked with middle school aged girls to promote gender equality and environmental leadership. Upon the end of her service, Cora moved to New Mexico, where she fell in love with the mountain and desert landscape and discovered the Forest Stewards Guild. She now works extensively with the Forest Stewards Youth Corps, visiting and supporting crews across Central New Mexico. When she’s not outside with crews or in the office, Cora enjoys going for bike rides, kayaking, hiking, painting, and eating burritos.
Shawn Swartz is a Registered Forester in NC, an SAF Certified Forester, and ISA certified Arborist. He holds an AAS in Forest Management from Haywood Community College and a BS and MNR in Natural Resource Management from Oregon State University. He feels at home working for the Forest Guild because his approach to forest management involves silvicultural methods that mimic historical disturbance regimes and natural ranges of variability. His professional interests include the restoration of forest species including American chestnut, longleaf and shortleaf pine, and eastern hemlock; non-timber forest products such as American ginseng, goldenseal, ramps, tree syrups, and woodland mushrooms; and woody perennial crops such as American hazelnut and pawpaw. When not working, he enjoys hiking, camping, fishing, hunting, playing guitar, and riding his motorcycle.
Dakota Wagner is passionate about bringing the concepts of ecological forestry to all types of communities, particularly those not traditionally involved in natural resource management. She lives in Asheville, North Carolina and is currently the Southeast Region Coordinator with the Forest Stewards Guild, involved in coordinating the Women Owning Woodlands Network, and on the Executive Board of ForestHer NC. She holds a B.S. in Environmental Sciences with a concentration in ecological forestry from Warren Wilson College. In her role at the Guild, her responsibilities include community engagement, forestry education coordination, and forest restoration project management.