Staff

Since 1972, Northern Plains has been helping Montana citizens organize to protect their communities. Our dedicated staff is committed to fighting for the things that matter most to our members.

Andrew Amrein

Andrew Amrein

Community Organizer
Andrew joined the Northern Plains staff in early 2022. Born in Kansas, he has lived across the US and overseas. He graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 2015 with a degree in Biology and then built a career in natural resource management and wildlife conservation, living and working in rural communities and landscapes across the west for state and federal agencies and other conservation non-profits. In addition to spending time outdoors, he enjoys reading, board games, and practicing and learning about traditional tradeskills. He staffs Carbon County Resource Council, Stillwater Protective Association, and the Good Neighbor Agreement Task Force. Email: andrew@northernplains.org
Emily Auld

Emily Auld

Community Organizer
Emily grew up in the New York City area and earned her undergraduate degree in Environmental Studies and English from the University of Vermont. In college, she focused on food access and environmental justice and spent summers farming and building trails. In the winters, she studied abroad in Ecuador and Nepal to learn about energy resiliency and indigenous relations. After moving to Montana, Emily served an AmeriCorps term at Giant Springs State Park in Great Falls, and most recently lived in Gardiner giving tours for the nonprofit Yellowstone Forever. She loves everything outside, including climbing, running, and backpacking. Emily staffs the Sleeping Giant Citizens Council in Helena, Golden Triangle Resource Council, and the Clean Energy Task Force. Email: emily@northernplains.org
Sydney Ausen

Sydney Ausen

Co-Director of Organizing & Campaigns
Sydney was born, raised, and remained in Montana. She grew up on the great reaching plains of Billings, where she loved to hike and climb in the rimrocks. She earned a degree in Political Science and Development Studies from the University of Montana. Before joining the Northern Plains staff in 2016, she worked on a voter registration and civic engagement campaign. Sydney guides the overall work of Northern Plains’ organizing team and directs Northern Plains’ issue campaigns. Sydney loves working with neighbors, community leaders, and activists to build thriving Montana communities. She staffs the Cooke City affiliate, Beartooth Alliance. Email: sydney@northernplains.org
Paula Berg

Paula Berg

Director of Finance and Administration
Paula hails from Lewistown, Montana and 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 Northern Plains’ day-to-day accounting, transactions in the bank and brokerage accounts, and handles state and federal reporting requirements. Email: paula@northernplains.org
Caroline Canarios

Caroline Canarios

Legislative Organizer
Caroline started with Northern Plains in 2018 as a Community Organizer. Before arriving, she worked as a Research Associate at the University of Mississippi Center 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 Tennessee transplant returned to the South to pursue a postgraduate degree in sociology from the University of Mississippi. There, she found her niche working on agriculture and food issues. Caroline is based in Helena where she staffs Northern Plains’ legislative work and the Agriculture Task Force. Email: caroline@northernplains.org
Gusty Catherin-Sauer

Gusty Catherin-Sauer

Community Organizer
Gusty was born and raised in central Idaho and spent many summers in eastern Montana, visiting ranches where her father was working. She earned her undergraduate degree in Environmental Studies at Hampshire College. While there, she focused on environmental microbiology and community organizing as tools for adapting to a changing climate. Gusty has worked as a river guide in the Frank Church Wilderness, a volunteer coordinator at Deer Flat National Wildlife Refuge, and as a biological technician for the Forest Service located in White Sulphur Springs, MT. Gusty enjoys exploring her backyard via skis, boats or horseback. She staffs the Livingston affiliate, Yellowstone Bend Citizens Council, and leads the Soil Task Force. Email: gusty@northernplains.org
Jim Cooper

Jim Cooper

Facility Manager
Jim joined the Northern Plains staff in 2018 to oversee the care and maintenance of the Home on the Range office. Before coming to Northern Plains, Jim built a robust career working in a broad range of positions from managing the supply chain for a rural hospital to groundskeeping and maintenance for Stockman Bank. Originally from the Big Sky State, Jim earned a bachelor’s degree in History from the University of Montana, with an emphasis in Chinese language and culture.
Caitlin Cromwell

Caitlin Cromwell

Co-Director of Organizing & Campaigns
Caitlin joined the Northern Plains staff in 2016. She grew up in Maryland, where she grew to love all things rural while watching her dad raise chickens and keep bees. She attended Yale University and worked at the Western Organization of Resource Councils before coming to Northern Plains. Caitlin helps guide the overall work of Northern Plains’ organizing staff and directs the leadership development program. Her favorite part of her job is getting to introduce people to their own power and developing their leadership and confidence to participate in public life. She also staffs the Glendive affiliate, Dawson Resource Council. Email: caitlin@northernplains.org
Maggie Gordon

Maggie Gordon

Executive Director
Maggie has been with Northern Plains since 2013, starting as a Community Organizer and later serving as the Director of Organizing and Campaigns and Director of Mission Engagement. Born and raised in 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. Maggie’s an avid gardener, backpacker, and baker. Email: maggie@northernplains.org
Anna Kerr-Schneider

Anna Kerr-Schneider

Design and Communications Strategist
Originally from Sacramento, California, Anna joined the staff in 2020 with a background in photography and graphic design. She received her degree in Anthropology from Illinois Wesleyan University in 2017 and studied UI/UX Design in 2019. She takes particular interest in the creative direction of organizing campaigns and the intersection of visual storytelling and progressive movements. Anna maintains design, content, and functionality of the website, creates and manages social media content and strategy, designs print and digital outreach materials, and supports all organizational communications efforts. Outside of work she loves hanging out with her lovable dog and bouncing between various creative projects. Email: anna@northernplains.org
Caleb Lande

Caleb Lande

Director of Fundraising
Born and raised in Western Montana, Caleb holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in economics from the University of Montana. Since 2008, he has worn many hats at Northern Plains: Research Intern, Lead Organizer, Good Neighbor Agreement Manager, Grassroots Fundraiser, and now Fundraising Director. He uses this varied experience to guide Northern Plains’ grassroots and foundation fundraising efforts. Caleb enjoys helping staff and leaders find their full potential as fundraisers. He is an avid car enthusiast and loves sharing the beauty of Montana with his wife Kristin and two children, Nora and Ava. Email: caleb@northernplains.org  
Bronya Lechtman

Bronya Lechtman

Community Organizer
Bronya joined the organizing team in early 2021. Bronya earned a degree in Environmental Policy from Colby College in Maine. While there, she was involved in organizations throughout Maine focused on regenerative agriculture and local food, and conducted research on stakeholder dynamics in determining the future of the coal industry in Montana. This research is what first brought her to Montana, and she fell for the grasslands, mountains, and Northern Plains. After graduating, she apprenticed on an organic farm in Western Maine, before making her way to Billings. Bronya staffs the Lewistown affiliate, Central Montana Resource Council, the Bull Mountains affiliate, Bull Mountain Land Alliance, and the Rosebud County affiliate, Rosebud Protective Association. Bronya also leads the Coal Task Force. Email: bronya@northernplains.org
Effy McEldowney

Effy McEldowney

Grassroots Fundraising Coordinator
Effy joined the Northern Plains staff in the summer of 2022. She is originally from Alabama and fell in love with Montana while regularly exploring the state with her family. After graduating from the University of Alabama, Effy spent time in Texas working as an outdoor educator where she was able to share her love for getting outside. She then moved to upstate New York and completed a master's degree in public administration and environmental policy at Syracuse University. Her research focused on climate change resilience and adaptation. Before making her way to Billings from South Carolina, Effy worked in government affairs in the energy sector. She enjoys hiking and camping with her dog Bean, climbing, and practicing yoga. Email: effy@northernplains.org.
Jackson Newman

Jackson Newman

Community Organizer
Jackson joined the organizing team in 2022. Jackson graduated with a degree in political science from Washington University in St. Louis. After graduating, inspired by the book A Sand County Almanac by Aldo Leopold, he moved to Wisconsin to work in the natural resources field. While there, he fell in love with the prairies, savannas, and working lands of the Sand Counties and the Driftless region. During his time in Wisconsin, Jackson also performed research on the history of agriculture conservation and became convinced of the importance of productive lands in the conservation landscape. Jackson’s favorite quote is “there are two things that interest me: the relation of people to each other, and the relation of people to land” by Aldo Leopold. Jackson staffs the Glendive Affiliate, Dawson Resource Council, and the Rural Power Campaign. Email: jackson@northernplains.org
Svein Newman

Svein Newman

Political Organizing Director
Svein joined the staff in 2009 as a community organizer in the Billings office. During his time with Northern Plains, he has staffed a handful of affiliates and Task Forces, most notably working on coal issues. He is currently the staff lead on civic engagement and democracy issues, he generally oversees our canvassing program, and leads our narrative work as a part of Northern Plains' Communications Team. Svein is based in the Missoula office, and he is a 2020 recipient of the University of Montana Alumni Association's "Grizzly of the Last Decade" award. He enjoys reading, hiking, and riding his bicycles. Email: svein@northernplains.org
Dustin Ogdin

Dustin Ogdin

Communications Director
Originally from Nashville, TN, Dustin earned degrees in the visual arts from Middle Tennessee State University (BFA) in 1999, and Ohio University (MFA) in 2004. Before coming to Northern Plains, Dustin worked as a multimedia filmmaker and journalist contributing to outlets including MTV News and the Associated Press. Dustin also produced a podcast series exploring family agriculture projects in Nashville. As the Communications Director, Dustin oversees the flow of internal and external communications. Dustin enjoys hiking, photography, and playing banjo and guitar for the captive audience of his dog, Otis. Email: dustin@northernplains.org
Karen Olson

Karen Olson

Office Manager
Karen joined the Northern Plains staff in 2010. She grew up in Billings and earned a bachelor’s degree 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 an office supply store. She has long been an active community volunteer. Karen performs a wide range of jobs to keep the office running smoothly, coordinates printing & mailing jobs, and works with a large team of volunteers. She enjoys photography/Photoshop, stained glass, creative home projects, and baking. Email: karen@northernplains.org
Michael Skinner

Michael Skinner

GNA Manager and Community Organizer
Michael grew up in Kyiv, Ukraine. He went to school in Illinois at Olivet Nazarene University and graduated in 2016 with a BA in philosophy and religion. He worked in the arts-focused, nonprofit space for several years in Seattle, but most recently moved to Billings from the small town of John Day, Oregon where he worked as a saw filer for two years. He started work with Northern Plains in May of 2022 as the GNA Manager. He also staffs the Big Timber affiliate, Cottonwood Resource Council. Email: michael@northernplains.org
Melodie Snyder

Melodie Snyder

Data Engagement Specialist
Melodie is from a rural town in Washington state, and she started working at Northern Plains in 2021. She started her education at Centralia College, where she graduated as an Outstanding Student of the year and earned her Associate Degree in Mathematics. Melodie then moved to Montana and attended Rocky Mountain College where she received her Bachelor’s Degree in Small Business Management. She has volunteered over 600 hours with Americorp, led a group at RMC to help stop the hunger crisis in Billings, and was awarded the 25 Under 25 Forward Montana award in 2021 for her work to make Montana a better place. Her job includes data entry and database related tasks, aspects of fundraising and membership retention, lead staff for merchandising, and administrative support. Email: melodie@northernplains.org
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