Anne Hedges

Policy and Legislative Director

As a member of MEIC’s Executive Leadership Team, Anne Hedges is MEIC’s director of policy and legislative affairs. She directs MEIC’s program work, including its legislative, policy, and legal activities. She began work at MEIC in 1993 and has worked on a wide range of pollution related issues during that time but most recently her primary focus is climate change, fossil fuels, clean air, and energy.

Anne received her B.S. in environmental policy analysis and planning from the University of California at Davis and a Masters of Environmental Law from Vermont Law School. She served in the Peace Corps as a national parks/environmental education volunteer in Paraguay.

She has received a number of awards, including the Cinnabar Foundation’s highest award, the Len and Sandy Sargent Stewardship Award; the Montana Wildlife Federation award for lobbying on behalf of conservation interests; Women’s Voices for the Earth ‘s Woman of the Year; and the Outstanding Preservation Leadership award from the Montana Preservation Alliance for “Championing Preservation of the Great Falls Portage National Historic Landmark.”

Anne can frequently be found hiking or riding her mountain bike on Helena’s trails, rafting western rivers, backpacking with her husband, or cooking for family and friends.

Contact Anne at: ahedges[at] or 406-443-2520 x102

Cari Kimball

executive director She/her

Cari Kimball’s work as a member of MEIC’s Executive Leadership Team focuses on ensuring the health of the organization’s finances and relationships with funders, members, and partners. She joined Team MEIC in 2018 as Development Director and took on the role of Executive Director at the beginning of 2021. Growing up on the outskirts of Billings with the Beartooths gracing the horizon, Cari gained a bone-deep appreciation for Montana’s expansive skies and awe-inspiring landscapes.

She brings deep non-profit experience to her work; in other professional capacities, Cari has raised money for a variety of non-profits, coordinated place-based outdoor education programs, noodled up conservation science-art projects, executed door-to-door political campaigns, and facilitated equity and inclusion development for non-profits.

Cari holds Environmental Studies degrees– a B.S. from Linfield College and an M.S. from the University of Montana, where she earned a certificate in Natural Resource Conflict Resolution. Cari is an alumna of the Wyss Scholars Program and the New Leaders Council. When not working with MEIC’s extraordinary staff, board, and members, Cari feeds her soul by hitting the trails with her husband, Brian, and daughter, Ruby.

Contact Cari at ckimball[at] or 406-443-2520 x100

Shannon James

climate & campaigns organizer | she/her

Shannon is thrilled to be joining the team as MEIC’s Climate and Campaigns Organizer. Shannon’s roots in Montana cultivated a profound experiential bond with the natural world, shaping her into the environmental steward she is today. Shannon’s personal journey has highlighted the pressing need to address the climate crisis, emphasizing the importance of collective action for positive change.

Shannon earned her BS in Natural Resource Conservation and a minor in Climate Change Studies from the University of Montana. Post-graduation, she ventured along the west coast, engaging in teaching, research, and skiing. Following a rewarding year teaching science in Hong Kong, Shannon felt a calling to further her education, leading her to recently complete her MS in Environmental Studies from the University of Montana. She is genuinely grateful for the opportunity to contribute to MEIC’s remarkable efforts in safeguarding the landscapes that bring her immense joy. In her free time, you’ll find her frolicking in the mountains with her partner and dog.

Contact Shannon at: sjames[at] or 406-443-2520 x006

Derf Johnson

deputy director | he/him

As Deputy Director, Derf is a policy advocate, attorney, and lobbyist, and works to address the climate crisis by holding the fossil fuel industry accountable and to transition the energy system to cleaner sources. Derf is also the staff lead on MEIC’s hardrock mining program and leads the Save Our Smith campaign.

Derf grew up in Montana’s Gallatin Valley. He received his JD from the University of Montana School of Law, and his BA from the University of Montana. During law school, Derf worked in the land use planning clinic and served as a staff member for the Public Lands and Resources Law Review. He has a certificate in Natural Resources Conflict Resolution from the Center for Natural Resources and Environmental Policy, and he is a member of the Montana Bar Association (MBA) and the MBA section on Natural Resources, Energy, and the Environment. 

In his free time, Derf enjoys rafting and fishing Montana’s rivers, hiking, biking, and skiing in our beautiful mountain ranges, and laboring on his 140+ year old house.

Contact Derf at: djohnson[at] or 406-443-2520 x103

Nick Fitzmaurice

energy transition engineer | he/him

Nick is excited to join the team as MEIC’s Energy Transition Engineer, managing energy campaigns throughout Montana. Growing up in north central Washington, he instilled a deep-rooted love for the natural world and the communities it nourishes. He has long been driven to preserve the environment, with particular dedication to mitigating global anthropogenic climate change through energy system transformation. To eliminate our climate-altering greenhouse gas emissions in the state, a just and equitable transition from fossil fuel dependency to environmentally-friendly, carbon-free energy sources is essential.

Nick holds a BS in Industrial and Management Systems Engineering from MSU, focussed through a minor in Sustainability and Environmental Stewardship to establish a technical foundation from which he grounds his energy and environmental advocacy work. He worked at the university’s Office of Sustainability for four years and was a key contributor to securing an ambitious carbon neutrality goal for the institution. He has also worked in Washington, D.C. in energy policy and modeling.

When his own energy needs replenishing, Nick can most often be found playing music or recharging in the mountains.

Contact Nick at nfitzmaurice[at] or 406-443-2520 x007

Peyton Olson

administrative & development assistant | she/her

Peyton was born and raised in rural northwestern Minnesota. Growing up in the countryside ingrained her love for wide open spaces and landscapes. She received her Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of North Dakota. Following graduation, she lived in Minneapolis where she held administrative roles within the real estate and property title industries. Although her education and professional experience were in the realms of the business world, she carried with her the understanding that environmental consciousness is relevant in all fields. This core value led her to seek out the opportunity to combine her experience in administration with her passion for the environment when she moved to Montana earlier in 2022. Peyton is excited to channel her love for nature and her passion for protecting it into her work with MEIC.

 Contact Peyton at: polson[at] or 406-443-2520 x008

Katy Spence


Katy offers a range of experience from feature writing and social media management to business development and project management. She received a graduate degree in Environmental Science and Natural Resources Journalism from the University of Montana in 2018. After a foray into the world of tech business, Katy comes back to environmental work with a passion to make a difference and connect people to the information they need to get involved.

In her free time, Katy enjoys board games, time with friends, and reading.

Contact Katy at kspence[at] or 406-443-2520 x005

Julie Wintersteen

Administrative Officer | she/her

Julie was born and raised in the West and is in love with the western landscape. She is excited to join the fight for the protection of the places she holds dear.

Julie has a background in earth sciences, earning both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree from Montana State University. Her focus of study was biogeography, and in particular, the climatic and land use changes over the years that affect lower timberline in the Madison range. Historical data clearly illustrated to her how human actions lead to environmental changes and if not recognized and addressed, lead to irreversible changes. That knowledge has been driving her ever since.

Contact Julie at jwintersteen[at] or 406-443-2520 x104

Board of Directors

The Board of Directors has complete legal control of MEIC and overall responsibility for its well-being and success.

Kathy Juedeman

president | Helena, MT | she/her

I grew up in the South, and have lived in Houston and New Orleans, where I supported historic preservation, local food and farming, and reuse and repurposing organizations. My family was displaced from New Orleans by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, which increased my personal focus on climate change and community resilience. I was introduced to Montana in the mid-80s, soon after meeting my husband whose family lives and ranches here. Since then we’ve come to Montana several times a year to help with harvest, calving, and other farm and ranch activities, as well as for camping and hiking. I am still continually awestruck and inspired by the landscape and wildlife here. We moved fulltime to Montana in 2015, upon my retirement.

I worked in the energy industry for 32 years. My career included broad experience in management, Project Management, and a background in global information technology. I have been a supporter of MEIC since the 1990s, and intend to be a strong advocate for advancing Montanans’ right to a clean and healthful environment.

Gary Aitken

Ovando, MT | he/him

MEIC’s mission is pretty straight forward – to protect our clean and healthful environment. But straight forward doesn’t necessarily mean easy. MEIC’s strengths have always been its depth of knowledge, its attention to detail, and its ability to get things right. MEIC has been fortunate to recruit and retain outstanding, competent, dedicated, and talented staff. It can do this because what we do is meaningful, important, and successful.

The board’s primary job is to help set MEIC’s goals, ensure that the resources necessary to achieve those goals are available, and to generally ensure that the organization stays on track. I am interested in serving on MEIC’s board because I believe MEIC’s mission is critical to making life on this planet and in this state worthwhile. I hope my analysis and organizational skills and attention to detail will help keep the organization successful. If MEIC succeeds, we all benefit.

Dan Belcourt

Missoula, MT

Protecting our homelands and natural resources are of critical impor-tance to me as a Montanan and Chippewa Cree Tribal member in our great State. This has been my journey since graduating from law school in 1993. In my Indian law practice over the last 30 years I have worked to protect tribal natural resources, cultural properties, water rights and our fight for environmental justice in Indian Country. I am honored to be a board member for the Montana Environmental Information Center and will carry out my board duties as passionately as I practice Indian law.

Grace Gibson-Snyder

Missoula, MT | she/her

I’m so grateful to have grown up in Montana. As I’ve grown, I’ve also grown more aware of the threats to our home. I’ve become involved with environmental work across the state, including lots of local projects in Missoula, working as an intern with MEIC, and serving as a plaintiff in the Held v. Montana constitutional lawsuit. Now, I’m studying Global Affairs and focusing on environmental policy. By serving on MEIC’s board I will contribute a young perspective to the conversations and decisions that shape the organization’s direction. Perhaps more importantly, it is an opportunity for me to learn from incredible environmentalists, community members, and people who love our state. 

Diana Hammer

helena, MT | she/her

I am trained as a Life Scientist and am an avid user of public lands and waters and enjoy exploring nature with friends and family. I studied environmental science at Macalester College (B.A.) and in India, was an Agroforestry volunteer in Peace Corps in Niger, West Africa, and then as a consultant for WWF/IUCN. I earned a Master’s in Public Health from Johns Hopkins and a Master’s of Science in Biomimicry from Arizona State University. Through my community volunteer efforts and my work with ReGenerous Cities, LLC, I am committed to creating more resilient communities in a changing climate. I worked for the US Environmental Protection Agency for 29 years in Superfund (e.g., the Milltown Dam Removal and Clark Fork River Restoration) and other environmental programs; most recently, as a Tribal Program Manager, working to address environmental challenges in Indian Country. While at EPA and now, I have been keenly aware of MEIC’s critical role in protecting our right to a ‘clean and healthful’ environment and the places where we live, work, and, of course, where we play!

Jim Sayer

Missoula, MT | he/him

I’m excited and honored to be an MEIC board member. I support MEIC’s mission 1000 percent and want to ensure that this essential organization grows even stronger and better-resourced to protect our constitutional right to a clean and healthful environment.  With all the new folks moving to our state, we need to advocate for policies and models that reduce the impacts of growth on Montana’s ecosystems and wildlife – and in the process, create good places for people to live. 

Roger Sullivan

Kalispell, MT | he/him

MEIC is the most effective environmental advocacy organization in Montana! It has been a great honor to work with MEIC in the ongoing effort to vindicate the right of this and future generations of Montanans to a clean and healthful environment. In this effort I have advocated on behalf of MEIC on a number of occasions, including against oil and gas exploration adjacent to Glacier National Park, against the Highwood Coal-fired Generation Station near Great Falls, and in helping to achieve closure of Colstrip Generating Units 1 and 2. It has also been my great pleasure to have previously served on the board of MEIC. If selected to serve again, I would hope to contribute to MEIC through participating in the thoughtful analysis of requests for MEIC’s involvement in new matters, in the effective management of litigation, and in envisioning a sustainable future for MEIC.

Beth Taylor Wilson

Missoula, MT | she/her

I grew up in Missoula. Post high-school, I took a break from studies at the University of Montana, and took a “summer job” in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, moving away from Montana just as our fair state was drafting and adopting our extraordinarily prescient, forward-facing Montana Constitution. Montanans became constitutionally assured the “fundamental right to a clean and healthful environment.” When I left, Missoula had some of the worst temperature-induced winter “inversion” air pollution in the country. But thanks to activists like the Gals Against Smog and Pollution (GASP), who numbered my mother as a member, Missoulians forced the then Hoerner-Waldorf paper mill plant to start cleaning up its corporate act. Missoula’s air became far cleaner and healthier thanks to environmental mitigation and citizen activism. Environmental activism and stewardship is in my family DNA, and I’m excited and honored to have the opportunity to work with our state’s premier environmental watch-dog. 

Neal Ullman

helena, MT | he/him

I have a record of protecting clean air and water working in Congress and alongside MEIC’s lobby team as a lobbyist for Montana Conservation Voters. As a congressional staffer, I led efforts to defend the Clean Water Rule and preventing new industry loopholes in the Clean Air Act. In Helena, I worked with allies to come within a single vote of expanding clean energy by creating aggregate net metering. When I worked at MCV, I successfully urged the organization to join MEIC in a lawsuit designating the Hecla Mining Co. as a “bad actor,” helping to protect water and sacred cultural sites on the Flathead Indian Reservation. I’m excited to bring my experiences to MEIC’s Board and look forward to addressing climate change, expanding clean energy, and protecting Montana’s streams and rivers.

Jessie Wiles

helena, MT | she/her

I am a mom of two young kids and an attorney living in Helena. I have an undergraduate degree from the University of Montana in Recreational Management of public lands. I also have a law degree from Lewis and Clark Law School with a certificate in Environmental and Natural Resources Law.  For the last ten years I have been working in areas of public land law and Indian law for the federal Department of Interior Solicitor’s Office, for the State of Montana DNRC, and now in private practice. As a mom, I am passionate about giving our kids the chance to thrive in a clean and healthful environment and supporting our Montana families as we work to address the challenges and inequities brought on by climate change. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to work with the amazing staff and Board of MEIC to raise awareness of the most effective environmental advocacy organization in Montana doing the hard work to advocate on behalf of concerned citizens every day.

Board Emeritus

MEIC honors exceptional board members with a Board Emeritus title when they have been termed out of serving on our board.

Steve Gilbert

helena, MT | he/him

Steve Gilbert has been a Montana resident since 1967. For 43 of those years, he worked as a biological consultant. For 25 years, he was part-owner and president of an environmental consulting company that specialized in wildlife, aquatics/fisheries, soils, vegetation, forestry, range and hydrology. During that time, he worked on a couple hundred projects, mostly in the Rocky Mountain west. Separate from his business, Steve worked in Alaska on salmon studies, Yellowstone Park on grizzly bears, and the Teton Wilderness on an early satellite/radio-telemetry study with elk; did wildlife inventories in the North Cascades and Pasayten Wilderness in Washington; studied Icelandic gulls on Baffin Island, NWT, and cliff-nesting raptors in Glacier Park. He is an associate with the Montana Peregrine Institute and has conducted neo-tropical bird and raptor surveys in the west nearly every year since 1971. 

Steve is a strong environmental advocate and served on the boards of the Montana Environmental Information Center and Northern Plains Resource Council for many years. He was chosen as the MEIC Community Activist of the Year in 2003. In 2013, he received the Len and Sandy Sargent award for meritorious service. In 2017, Steve was named the MEIC Conservationist of the Year. He has testified in the Montana Legislature and U.S. Senate on water and air quality, soils, aquatics and wildlife habitat issues relating to irresponsible energy development, coal and hardrock mines. He was on the board of Great Old Broads for Wilderness, an organization based in Durango, Colorado, and he was on the board of Western Lands Project in Seattle for 8 years.

For 20 years, Steve was a professional licensed Montana fly fishing guide. During those years, he guided on nearly every trout stream of note in Montana. Steve was an Orvis endorsed guide for many years and National Guide-of-the-Year in 1990. He came to his senses a few years ago and now spends as much time as possible fishing on his own in less well-known areas.

Steve has worked and/or played in all 56 Montana counties and every mountain range, wilderness area and national park in the state. He has skied and walked through the Bob Marshall and Scapegoat Wilderness, the Mission Mountain Wilderness, Bitterroot-Selway Wilderness, Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness and into every corner of Yellowstone and Glacier Parks. He has paddled thousands of miles of Montana’s spectacular canoe waters.

He has a daughter and son and spends lots of time each fall filling freezers with elk, deer, waterfowl and upland game birds with their assistance.

Steve retired in 2012 from Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks where he was the state non-motorized trails specialist. As such, he helped administer the federally-funded Recreational Trails Program (RTP) and inspected trails projects funded by the program from border to border and through wilderness and backcountry areas. The RTP in Montana funds about 60 groups, agencies and communities annually with about $1.5 million. Part of his work at FWP involved periodic inspections of the several hundred projects across Montana paid for in part by the Land and Water Conservation Fund.