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Steering Committee

Michael Wood | Jim Burchfield | Perry J. Brown | Debbie Austin
Jane Cottrell | Orville L. Daniels | Gerald Evans | Gordon Sanders C.F. | Harvey Hergett

Michael Wood -- Program Manager

Mike Wood holds an Ph.D in Sustainability Education from Prescott College, a J.D. from the University of Montana School of Law, and a M.S. in Resource Conservation from the University of Montana School of Forestry. He lived and worked in western Montana for over 15 years until moving to Flagstaff, AZ in 2006. He will be returning to Missoula on a part-time basis beginning in 2013 and plans to relocate year-round to Missoula within the next four years.

Mike is very interested in improving the social capacity of organizations to address challenges that arise when confronted with uncertain futures. Mike’s passion around this topic is derived from his interest in moving our society toward more sustainable, environmentally healthy relationships with each other and the natural world. While Mike once practiced environmental law, he left his traditional legal practice to engage communities and organizations in transformative social processes focused on resolving environmental disputes outside the adversarial system. For over ten years, Mike has worked through the University of Montana, College of Forestry and Conservation in the design, implementation and facilitation of the United States Forest Service's Middle Leader Program. Within this context and elsewhere, he has led numerous workshops and sessions that offer participants the opportunity for deep self-reflection focused on discovering our own leadership potential and the self-imposed barriers that often keep them from transforming themselves and their organizations. 

Mike is particularly interested in facilitating dialogue within organizations that fosters identification of the organization's underlying interests related to environmental sustainability, AND building the capacity of the organization to act in accordance with these underlying interests through developing organizational leadership skills and abilities. His primary emphasis area is in the field of emotional intelligence and the intersection of emotion and change within organizations grappling with sustainability challenges in an uncertain future.

The core of Mike’s work involves the creation of “a safe space” or context for individuals, groups and organizations to realistically re-define their understanding of what is possible, particularly when confronted with unexpected change and/or uncertainty. The key transition involves moving from “victim” to “empowerment” through facilitated dialogue, group interaction and self-reflection.

Mike's published dissertation entitled “Modeling Sustainability Through Collaboratively Organizing” is available on-line through Proquest. He currently lives in Flagstaff, AZ with his wife and two step-kids and is an avid trail runner and skier. 

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Dr. Jim Burchfield 

Dr. Burchfield is currently Dean, College of Forestry and Conservation, University of Montana, Missoula, MT, where he provides leadership to the research, instructional, and outreach programs of the College of Forestry and Conservation at the University of Montana. He is trained as both a rural sociologist and a forester, and his major interest centers on how people may reside and interact with forest and grassland settings in a productive, harmonious manner. Dr. Burchfield received his academic training at the University of Washington and the University of Michigan.  He continues to study the effectiveness of community-based groups in the development of plans and activities on forested lands, as well as how people have responded to frequent wildfire events in the West.  Prior to becoming the Dean, Dr. Burchfield served as Associate Dean of the College of Forestry and Conservation and the Director of the Bolle Center for People and Forests at the University of Montana.  Prior to coming to The University of Montana he worked for the USDA Forest Service in several locations in the United States as a silviculturist and timber management assistant.  He has conducted assessments of social conditions in the Columbia River basin, worked in the international division of the Forest Service in Washington, D. C., and helped implement forest management operations on National Forests in Michigan, Ohio, Oregon, and the state of Washington.  

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Dr. Perry J. Brown

Dr. Brown is currently Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at the University of Montana. He is also former Dean and Professor, College of Forestry and Conservation, and Director of the Montana Forest and Conservation Experiment Station, at the University of Montana-Missoula.  He has considerable expertise in natural resource social science, policy and planning, in recreation behavior and planning, and in wilderness studies.  His Ph.D. is from Utah State University and emphasized outdoor recreation and social psychology.  A life-long westerner, he has served on the faculties of Utah State University, Colorado State University, and Oregon State University in addition to his current assignment in Montana.  He has served in formal advisory appointments with both the USDA Forest Service and the USDI Bureau of Land Management, including a recent leave assignment with the International Programs Office of the USDA Forest Service.  He is a Past-President of the National Association of Professional Forestry Schools and Colleges (NAPFSC) and currently is Chair of NAPFSC’s McIntire-Stennis ATR Committee. He served as a member of the National Research Council’s Committee on Forestry Research Capacity and Chair of the Pinchot Institute’s National Panel on Wilderness Stewardship.  He is a member of the executive/advisory boards of NAPFSC, the International Union for Forest Research Organizations, the Center for the Rocky Mountain West, the Ecosystem Management Research Institute (a private non-profit research institute), the National Forest Foundation, the National Forest Service Historical Museum, and he chairs the Executive Committee of the Rocky Mountains Cooperative Ecosystem Studies Unit.  He has published over 100 scientific papers, books, and book chapters and graduated 48 masters and 11 Ph.D. students.

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Harvey Hergett

Harvey's federal service career spans 30 years of experience in engineering, recreation, lands, budget coordination and leadership; including experience in both the Bureau of Land Management and the US Forest Service. Within the USFS, Harvey has worked in three different regions, and has held leadership roles such as a Forest Engineer, Engineering/Recreation/Lands Staff Officer, District Ranger (Detail) Deputy Forest Supervisor (Detail) and Budget Director (Detail). In addition, he is currently the President of the Board of Directors for a large multi-million dollar non-profit corporation dedicated to youth ice sports.

Debbie Austin

Forest Supervisor, Lolo National Forest

 Debbie began her Forest Service career as a firefighter on the Tahoe National Forest in 1978. She has worked on eight National Forests in four of the western Regions of the Forest Service. Her jobs have included Fish and Wildlife Biologist, Range Conservationist, District Resource Assistant, and District Ranger. In 1995 Debbie took the position of Forest Supervisor on the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest where she served until 1999. She then became the Forest Supervisor on the Lolo National Forest headquartered in Missoula, Montana where she currently works.

Throughout her career Debbie has had an interest in leadership and the future of the National Forests. She has been involved in the development of a Leadership Succession model that the Forest Service is now implementing. Debbie believes that good natural resource management begins with good leadership. She feels that working collaboratively with people to find common goals and interests results in better management on the ground.

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Jane Cottrell

Deputy Regional Forester, USFS Region One (Northern Region) 

Jane Cottrell has over 28 years with the Forest Service, managing a variety of resources and public lands issues. She has earned two Bachelor of Science degrees in Forest Management and in Outdoor Recreation Management from Washington State University.

Jane began her career as a pre-sale forester and after 10 years in timber management she moved to recreation management. Her experience in managing a variety of natural resources spans her entire career.

Bouncing through 4 regions and 10 national forests in her career, Jane has a wealth of experience that includes management positions as a District Ranger, Forest Supervisor, Deputy Regional Forester and Acting Regional Forester.. Jane’s current position as the Northern Region Deputy Regional Forester gives her the opportunity to share her expertise of resource issues on a broader scale.

Natural Resource management is a family affair. Dave Henifin, her spouse of 21 years, also works in timber and fuels management.. Both daughters are still in school. Miranda attends Hellgate High School, in Missoula, MT and Amanda attends Lewis Clark College in Lewiston, Idaho.

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Orville L. Daniels 

Orville Daniels retired after 37 years with the US Forest Service as a field forester, District Ranger, Recreation, fire and timber staff officer, Job Corp Center Director and ultimately as Forest Supervisor on the Bitterroot and later the Lolo National Forest. During his career received graduate level training in organizational development from University of California. He was one of the modern pioneers in fire use applications particularly with prescribed natural fire in wilderness and began the first prescribed natural fire program in the nation in 1972, and oversaw the creation of the first national forest long-range management plan under the National Forest Management Act of 1976.

Orville has a very strong interest in ecosystem dynamics led the Lolo National Forest in creating one of the early and successful ecosystem management programs. He was also instrumental in the creation of the Arthur Carhart Wilderness Training Center. Under his direction the Lolo National Forest created the first wildlife interpretive program under auspices of the national Watchable Wildlife initiative and developed the Missoula Trails initiative helping build interconnected trail systems in the valley with linkages to the surrounding mountains.

Orville has extensive policy development work with SAF, Wilderness Society and the Center for the Rocky Mountain West. Since retirement from the Forest Service, Orville has been a trainer and consultant for the Forest Service, Park Service, BLM and a variety of private organizations dealing with strategic planning and leadership issues. He also serves on various non profit boards including being President of Missoula Children's Theater, Montana Community Foundation and others.

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Gerald Evans

Warren and Betsy Wilcox Faculty Fellow
Professor of Management and Information Systems
School of Business Administration
The University of Montana
Missoula, MT

Dr. Evans earned his Ph.D. from The Claremont Graduate University School of Behavioral and Organizational Studies. His undergraduate degree is from The University of Great Falls and he earned two Masters Degrees from Montana State University. He currently teaches in the areas of Information Systems, Leadership, and The Contemporary Organization. He has won several teaching awards including the department undergraduate teaching award in 2002-2003 and 1991-1992, and the Outstanding MBA Faculty Award in 1998-1999, 1996-1997, and 1995-1996 His research areas include technology leadership and information systems evaluation. Additionally, Dr. Evans is active in consulting in the business and professional community. Recent activities include leadership training for the US Forest Service, strategic planning for several healthcare organizations, and negotiation training for the Montana Department of Transportation. Dr. Evans serves on the Board of Directors of the Montana Chamber of Commerce Foundation which sponsors the Montana Governors' Cup Golf Tournament, the Montana High School Business Challenge, and Leadership Montana.

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Gordon Sanders C.F.

Resource Manager
Pyramid Mountain Lumber, Inc.
PO Box 549
Seeley Lake, MT 59868
(406) 677-2201 ext 27
(406) 239-3145 - Cell


  • 1971 - B.S. Forest and Range Management, University of Minnesota
  • 1986 - M.S. Forest and Range Management, Washington State University


  • 1996 - Present: Resource Manager, Pyramid Mountain Lumber, Inc.
  • 1993-1996: Senior Forester, Manager Log Planning and Procurement - Plum Creek Timber Company
  • 1972-1993: Procurement Manager, District Land Manager, Forester - Champion International Corp.


  • SAF Certified Forester
  • Past State Chair, Montana SAF
  • Chair, Montana SAF Policy Committee
  • SAF Fellow
  • Member, National SAF Committee on Forest Policy
  • Past State chair, Montana Tree Farm Program
  • Past President, Forest Stewardship Foundation
  • Co-authored Montana Streamside Management Act and State of Montana SMZ Guidebook
  • Team leader/auditor, Forestry Best Management Practices Audits in Montana
  • President, Intermountain Logging Conference
  • Instructor, Prescribed Fire Management, NWCG
  • Program Manager, National Tree Farm Convention
  • Member, University of Montana College of Forestry and Conservation Advisory Board
  • Coordinator, Western Governor's Association - Conference Montana Field Day

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