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.
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.
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)
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.
Corey Lucero is an enrolled member of the Sac & Fox Nation of north central Oklahoma, she is also of Kickapoo and Wichita descent and resides in Isleta Pueblo. She is a graduate of Oklahoma State University-Stillwater Campus, with her Bachelor of Science degree in Wildlife & Fisheries Ecology Management.
Before coming back to the Native American Fish & Wildlife Society, she has worked as a Field Biologist collecting biological data for Environmental documents, data for Forestry and roads documents. And has also worked in the fields of Aquatic Invasive Species and as a Wildlife Disease Biologist doing sampling and educating in both Chronic Wasting Disease and the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI).
She has been with the Native American Fish & Wildlife Society as a Fish & Wildlife Biologist since May of 2020.
Robert joined the NAFWS team in 2020 to serve as the Conservation Law Enforcement Officer Consultant and whose primary focus is to support Tribal conservation officer needs on a national level. He graduated with a B.S. in Wildlife Science from New Mexico State University (1991) and worked for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as a Refuge Operations Specialist and Special Agent for nearly 30 years before retiring in 2018. Robert is an enrolled member of the Pueblo of Laguna.
April received a Master of Science degree from the University of Michigan in conservation ecology and environmental justice with a focus in fisheries and aquatic ecosystems. While in Michigan, she worked with the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa to support native fish restoration in the 1836 Treaty Waters of Lake Michigan. Following graduate school, April worked with the Ocean Research and Conservation Association (ORCA) to assess toxin transfer from harmful algal blooms to subsistence fishing communities in southeast Florida. For the past year, April has worked with commercial fishers in the Gulf of Mexico to collect data on fishing efforts and protected species interactions. April joined the NAFWS team in September 2021 as the Public Information Officer in charge of media relations and public outreach initiatives.
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.
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!
Justin was born and raised in Georgia, where he obtained his B.S. from the University of Georgia in wildlife management. He moved to Alaska after graduating in 2008 and has made Alaska home since then. He obtained his M.S. in fisheries from the University of Alaska Fairbanks, where he focused on Chinook salmon in the Yukon and Kuskokwim rivers. He comes to the Native American Fish & Wildlife Society after spending 10 years as a fishery biologist for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. As a fishery biologist, he worked with crab and salmon research, and wild fisheries stock management in Northwest Alaska, the Alaskan interior, and the Aleutian Islands. He lives in Nome, Alaska with his wife and two children. He enjoys hiking, hunting, fishing, foraging, and spending time with his family in his 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.
Christine is an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation. Her family comes from the Red Mesa area of the Navajo Nation in Utah. She graduated from Utah State University in 2020 with her undergraduate degree in Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences with two minors (Hydrology and Geographical Information Systems). She continued into graduate school at Utah State University to complete her degree in a Master’s of Ecological Restoration in 2022. Christine previously worked with Federal and State management agencies in suitability assessments and collection of In-stream or riparian habitat data. She recently worked with The Nature Conservancy to assess the potential restoration sites on the San Juan River, located on the Navajo Nation.
Christine’s passion is working with wetland habitat resiliency. She changed her career, specifically, to work with the tribes and protect our waters. She loves to be outside and you will see her fly fishing or hiking. She is excited to work with many tribes across the Unites States.
My name is Chad Avery, Navajo/Shawnee/Lakota. I am from the four corners area (NM/CO/UT/AZ), but call Durango, CO my home. In May 2018, I attained my Master’s in Natural Resource Stewardship. While completing my degree I worked for the United State Forest Service in the vegetation management, fuels and timber department where I coordinated, managed, and provided oversight on projects while working with several agencies and tribal communities.
My professional and academic energies are directed towards cultural and natural resource management, while incorporating an Indigenous framework. As an Environmental Compliance Specialist for the Southern Ute Environmental Programming Division, I engaged with the tribal community to coordinate inspections, as well as prepared and presented reports to appropriate departments and to tribal council. In the winter, as a side gig, I also enjoy teaching snowboarding at my local ski area to both children and adults which brings me a lot of joy.
Hello all! I am the 2022 CLEO Intern for the NAFWS. I am an enrolled member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. I am currently in my senior year of my undergraduate degree of Environmental Science and Research at the United Tribes Technical College in Bismarck, North Dakota. I am a servicemember with the North Dakota Army National Guard. My children are the main inspiration for me to continue to be better each and every day.
Hannah is the new Tribal Climate Resilience Liaison Intern for the NAFWS. She was born and raised in Alaska and is an enrolled member of the Kenaitze Indian Tribe. She recently obtained her B.S. in Conservation Biology from Union University located in Jackson, Tennessee where she currently resides.
10465 Melody Dr., Ste. 307
Northglenn, CO 80234