Staff & Contact Information

Natalie Dawson

Natalie Dawson

Natalie Dawson is the director of the Wilderness Institute. She also coordinates and teaches the Wilderness and Civilization program. Natalie has a Ph.D. in biology from the University of New Mexico, where she studied biogeography and evolutionary history of small carnivores on the islands of coastal British Columbia and southeast Alaska. She continues research in southeast Alaska and teaches field courses in ecology and environmental policy in the region. Natalie also teaches field courses for the Wild Rockies Field Institute. She is always in search of the perfect vista, and can be found searching for them along wild rocky coastlines, in the wild mountains of the west, across the red rock deserts, or along a river in a quiet hardwood forest. Hear her read a selection of Kim Heacox's book The Only Kayak in celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Wilderness Act.

Contact: natalie.dawson@umontana.edu 

Joanna Campbell

Joanna Campbell

Joanna Campbell is the assistant director of the Wilderness Institute. She is an alumna of the Wilderness Institute's Wilderness and Civilization Program from 2000-2001 and graduated from the University of Montana with a B.S. and M.S. in Resource Conservation. She was a recipient of a Ford Foundation Community Forestry Research Fellowship for her graduate research in the Swan Valley, Montana. She also holds an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Seattle Pacific University. An Orion Bread Loaf alumna, Joanna’s essays can be found in numerous anthologies as well as Orion Magazine, Farming Magazine, Art House America, and Relief Journal. Joanna returned to the post oaks and pines of Arkansas in 2007 to facilitate community-based projects in restoration ecology, small farm education, and sustainable agriculture, including statewide sustainability education festivals. She has delivered ecological education lectures at Claremont Graduate University, Beijing Normal University, and Hunan Agriculture University.  In her spare time, Joanna prefers walking aimlessly, making photographs, and finding beauty in unexpected places.

Contact: joanna.campbell@umontana.edu

Lisa Ronald

Lisa Ronald

Lisa Ronald is the Wilderness Communications Coordinator for the Wilderness Information Network, one of the Wilderness Institute's programs, that disseminates current information about wilderness to the public through nationally-recognized web, social media, and other communications tools. In 2014, Lisa coordinated the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act campaign including leading a national team of advocates, land managers, and volunteers to host more than 850 local community events, the “Wilderness Forever” photography exhibit in the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, the D.C. Wilderness Week, and the National Wilderness Conference. For her leadership during the anniversary year, Lisa was recognized by the National Interagency Wilderness Policy Council and received the Forest Service’s Wilderness Education Leadership Award and Wilderness Legacy Award. Lisa holds an M.S. in Forestry from the University of Montana, a B.S. in Chemistry and a B.A. in Journalism. Lisa enjoys hiking and backpacking in Montana's remote areas, and paints watercolor portraits of wildlife.

Contact: lisa@wilderness.net 

Kari Gunderson

Kari Gunderson

Kari Gunderson is the Education Coordinator and Instructor for the Wilderness Management Distance Education Program, Wilderness Institute, College of Forestry and Conservation at the University of Montana (UM). She also teaches recreation and wilderness management courses at UM and at Salish-Kootenai College on the Flathead Indian Reservation. Kari received her B.A. in Elementary Education and Special Education and a M.S. in Environmental Studies from the University of Montana. She has a Ph.D. in Recreation, Park, & Wilderness Management from the University of Minnesota. Kari completed her post-doctorate at the Aldo Leopold Wilderness Research Institute where she conducted research on mapping place meanings for landscape level fuel reduction projects on the Bitterroot National Forest and the Flathead Indian Reservation. She serves as an Associate Editor for The International Journal of Wilderness. Kari makes her home in the Swan Valley of northwestern Montana, where she recently retired after 35 years working as a wilderness ranger in the Mission Mountains Wilderness. Her passion in life is to teach in, about and for Wilderness.

Contact: kari.gunderson@umontana.edu 

Lisa Gerloff

Lisa Gerloff

Lisa Gerloff joined the Wilderness Institute in the spring of 2014 as the Citizen Science Program Director. She is also the Executive Coordinator for the Rocky Mountains Cooperative Ecosystem Studies Unit (university/federal agency partnership facilitating research, technical assistance and education projects for the federal land management agencies). Lisa has a M.Sc. in geology from the University of Calgary, where she studied late Pliocene/Holocene environmental change in the Mission Mountain Wilderness in Montana.  She is a founding board member and chair of the Selway-Bitterroot Frank Church Foundation, a volunteer stewardship organization for the Selway-Bitterroot and Frank Church River of No Return Wildernesses. She is excited to bring her program development and management skills to work for the Citizen Science Program. When not working for wilderness, you can find Lisa in wild places or dreaming of being in wild places. 

Contact: lisa.gerloff@umontana.edu 

Will Fabro

Will Fabro

Will Fabro is the manager of the Wilderness Management Distance Education Program. He graduated from the University of California, San Diego with a degree in Literature/Writing and Critical Gender Studies, and his short fiction, essays, and poetry have been published in various anthologies and journals. A native to Los Angeles and transplant from New York, Will is new to Montana and enjoys exploring its wondrous landscapes.

Contact: william.fabro@umontana.edu