Staff

Teresa Erickson, Staff Director

Teresa has been Northern Plains’ Staff Director since 1986. A Colorado native and daughter of a hard rock miner, she holds a degree in geography from the University of Northern Colorado. In 1993, Teresa received the first annual Jeannette Rankin Award from A Territory Resource, recognizing her years of dedication to principles of social justice and land stewardship. In 2010, Teresa and her husband, Pat Sweeney, were presented with the Len and Sandy Sargent Stewardship Award by the Cinnabar Foundation. She is an experienced and respected trainer, and is known for her ability to work with people of all backgrounds. Email: teresa@northernplains.org


Olivia Stockman Splinter, Director of Organizing and Campaigns

Olivia is a 2008 addition to the staff. Having grown up in the Midwest, she earned degrees in political science (B.A. from the University of Kansas; M.A. from the University of New Mexico),and previously worked for the League of Conservation Voters, Service Employees International Union, Montana League of Rural Voters, and Western Organization of Resource Councils. She directs the work of the organizing team, serves on a wide range of our staff teams, and staffs our affiliate McCone Agricultural Protection Organization. Email: olivia@northernplains.org


Svein Newman, Deputy Director of Organizing

A Billings native, Svein joined the staff in 2009 after graduating from the University of Montana in political science. During college, he volunteered with Students for Economic and Social Justice in a multi-year anti-sweatshop campaign (that was covered in The Nation and USA Today). He also volunteered for the Women’s Resource Center, and knocked on thousands of doors in canvassing efforts. He is the lead staff for our Coal Task Force, organizes in the Missoula area, and staffs our affiliate Bull Mountain Land Alliance. Email: svein@northernplains.org


Maggie Zaback, Senior Organizer

Maggie joined our staff in 2013. A native of Wyoming, she has undergraduate degrees in biology and environmental sciences from Gonzaga University and a master’s degree in public administration from Montana State University. Before coming to Northern Plains, Maggie was an active member of the organization and was awarded Crew Leader of the Year while working for Montana Conservation Corps. She staffs Northern Plains’ Agriculture Task Force and two of our Cooke City affiliate, Beartooth Alliance. Email: maggie@northernplains.org


Sydney Ausen, Field Organizer

A native of Billings, Sydney joined Northern Plains’ staff in 2016. She earned a degree in Political Science and Development Studies from the University of Montana and, before coming to Northern Plains, worked as an intern & research assistant at MPG Ranch and helped run a Montana voter registration campaign. Sydney staffs our clean energy task force as well as two of our affiliates, Carbon County Resource Council and Yellowstone Bend Citizens Council in Park County. Email: sydney@northernplains.org


Caitlin Cromwell, Field Organizer

Caitlin joined the Northern Plains staff in 2016. She is originally from Maryland and earned a degree in English from Yale University. Before coming to Northern Plains, Caitlin worked at the Western Organization of Resource Councils as both a summer research intern and a year-long Fellow. She leads our work on oil and gas and staffs our Glendive affiliate, Dawson Resource Council and our Lewistown affiliate, Central Montana Resource Council. Email: caitlin@northernplains.org


Alex Cunha, Field Organizer

Alex joined Northern Plains in 2017.  He is originally from northern California and holds a bachelor’s degree in biology from Harvard University. He worked as a tree technician in Wyoming prior to moving to Montana. His work with Northern Plains is currently focused on helping coal country diversify its economic base as well as staffing our Rosebud County affiliate, Rosebud Protective Association. Email: alex@northernplains.org


Makenna Sellers, Field Organizer

Makenna is a Billings native who joined the Northern Plains staff in 2017. She earned her degree in Environmental Studies and Sustainable Business from Gonzaga University, where she worked closely with the Office of Sustainability. After college, Makenna worked for Nothern Plains as an intern and focused on oil and gas issue work as well as the climate issue canvass. She staffs our Helena and Gardiner affiliates, Sleeping Giant Citizens Council and Bear Creek Council, and works primarily on clean energy policy. Email: makenna@northernplains.org


Steve Paulson, Development Coordinator

A South Dakota native, Steve came to Northern Plains from a business background, joining the staff in 1992. He majored in political science (B.S. Ed. at Black Hills State University; M.S. at Utah State University) and wrote his thesis on mineral tax policy. Steve prepares grant proposals and reports, performs a wide range of editing, assists with hiring and financial tasks, and with other fundraising work. He authored the 2016 book Environmentalists: An Eyewitness Account from the Heart of America. Email: steve@northernplains.org


Caleb Lande, Director of Grassroots Fundraising

A Montana native, Caleb came to Northern Plains in 2008, originally as a research intern, then as an organizer. Caleb holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in economics from the University of Montana, where his thesis dealt with homeowners’ valuation of energy efficiency. Since 2012, he has led  our membership development and grassroots fundraising efforts, and also makes sure our LEED Platinum building and fleet of staff cars are operating well. Email: caleb@northernplains.org


Megan McLean, Communications Coordinator and History Project Manager

Megan joined our staff in January 2018. Before coming to Northern Plains, Megan worked as both a field organizer and canvass manager on issue-based electoral campaigns. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Journalism & Media Arts from the University of Montana and a postgraduate degree in Communication for Social Change from the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia. Megan helps tell the Northern Plains story through email, website, and social media as well as developing world-class graphic designs. She also staffs the Northern Plains History Project. Email: megan@northernplains.org


Karen Olson, Office Manager

Karen joined the Northern Plains staff in 2010. She grew up in Billings and earned a bachelor’s in liberal studies from Montana State University – Billings. Before coming to Northern Plains, Karen was a longtime network technician for Qwest and also worked in printing services for Office Max. She has long been an active community volunteer. Karen performs a wide range of jobs to keep our office running smoothly and works with a large team of volunteers. Email: karen@northernplains.org


Paula Berg, Comptroller

Paula is a Montana native from Lewistown who earned a bachelor’s in business administration at the University of Montana. Prior to coming to Northern Plains in 2011, she performed accounting and administrative work in the private sector. Paula oversees our day-to-day accounting, transactions in our bank and brokerage accounts, and handles state and federal reporting requirements. She staffs our Investment Committee. Email: paula@northernplains.org


Dustin Ogdin, Communications Director

A recent transplant from Nashville, TN, Dustin earned degrees in the visual arts from Middle Tennessee State University in 1999 and Ohio University in 2004. Before coming to Northern Plains, Dustin self-produced a documentary project about criminal justice reform in Chicago, IL and produced multimedia work in collaboration with MTV News and the Associated Press. Dustin also produced a podcast series exploring local agriculture in Nashville. As the Communications Director, Dustin oversees the flow of internal and external communications. Email: dustin@northernplains.org


Kari Boiter, Field Organizer

A Billings native and long-time social justice advocate, Kari joined our organizing team in 2018. Inspired by the injustices she witnessed as a journalist, Kari began organizing around issues and the candidates who supported them in the early 2000’s. Before coming to Northern Plains, Kari worked in nonprofit development for various organizations in Billings. She staffs our Yellowstone County affiliate–Yellowstone Valley Citizens Council–and works on issues surrounding local foods. Email: kari@northernplains.org


Claire Overholt, Grassroots Outreach Coordinator

A former Jesuit Volunteer and canvasser for Northern Plains, Claire is our new Grassroots Outreach Coordinator. The Colorado native graduated with degrees in Environmental Studies and English from Santa Clara University in 2014. Before coming to Northern Plains, Claire worked for the Northern Cheyenne Department of Environmental Protection and Natural Resources in Lame Deer, Montana. Claire assists our communications and organizing teams by working on events, fundraising, and community outreach. Email: claire@northernplains.org


Cody Ferguson, Legislative Organizing Director

We are excited to welcome Cody back to the Northern Plains team as our Legislative Organizing Director! Before working as a lobbyist and organizer for Northern Plains from 2002 to 2005, Cody received a bachelor’s degree in history and political science from Carroll College.  After pursuing both graduate and doctorate degrees in history, Cody worked as an Assistant Professor of History at universities in Texas and Colorado, and authored This Is Our Land: Grassroots Environmentalism in the Late-Twentieth Century, a book that highlights the history of Northern Plains. Cody staffs our Helena office and directs Northern Plains’ legislative and policy efforts. Email: cody@northernplains.org


Mikindra Morin, Field Organizer

A native mid-westerner, Mikindra joined our organizing team in 2018. Before coming to Northern Plains, Mikindra received a graduate degree in Environmental Science from Montana State University and a law degree from the University of Arizona. After working for various environmental law projects on the East Coast and directing an environmentally-focused canvass program in Minnesota, the Indiana native is excited to be back in Montana. Mikindra manages our Good Neighbor Agreement (GNA) with the Stillwater Mining Company and staffs our Sweetgrass County affiliate, Cottonwood Resource Council. Email: mikindra@northernplains.org


Caroline Canarios, Field Organizer

Before coming to Northern Plains in 2018, Caroline worked as a Research Associate at the University of Mississippi for Population Studies in Oxford, MS where she managed projects related to community health and the resilience of county-level food systems in the South. After receiving a bachelor’s degree in environmental studies from the University of Montana, the Tenessee transplant returned to her native region to pursue a postgraduate degree in sociology from the University of Mississippi, where she found her niche working on agriculture and food issues. Caroline helps staff our Billings affiliate, Yellowstone Valley Citizens Council as well as our agriculture task force. Email: caroline@northernplains.org