Board of Directors

Amber Sherrill, President – Amber Sherrill was born and raised in Indianapolis, Indiana. She graduated from Ball State University with a degree in Business and Psychology. She is a strong advocate of protecting open space for wildlife habitat and low-impact recreational use. She has experience in wildlife research focusing on behavioral tendencies. Her professional experience includes many years of marketing and risk management. Amber is on the board of the Missoula International School. She enjoys skiing, backpacking, and mountain biking.

Jeffrey Roth, Secretary – As someone who grew up in Missoula, Jeff recognizes the changes in the local landscape and values the importance of stewardship. He is an attorney with Garlington, Lohn, & Robinson. Prior to entering private practice, he worked for the Honorable Donald W. Molloy, the chief federal judge in Montana. Jeff attended college at the United States Naval Academy and law school at the University of Montana. He served as a commander and naval aviator in the Navy. He currently is a commissioner with the Missoula County Airport Authority.

Mary Babson, Treasurer - Mary is originally from Denver.  She holds a B.A. and an M.B.A. Mary spent most of her professional career associated with Arthur Andersen & Co., where she held a number of positions including Worldwide Director of Communications. She now devotes a majority of her time to nonprofit causes, including serving on the boards of the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago, the Board of Regents at the University of the South, and the Alliance Francaise de Chicago. She is past president of the Boards of the Association of Junior Leages, International, the Hadley School for the Blind, and The Jane Addams Hull House Association. Mary and her husband, Nick, are avid outdoors people and have a passion for land conservation and protection of wildlife habitat.

Kathy McAllister, At Large – Kathy grew up in Tucson, Arizona. She earned her degree in Forest Management at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, Arizona. She spent 33 years working for the US Forest Service in a variety of locations across the country, serving in many capacities. Kathy moved to Missoula in 1996 where she served as the Deputy Regional Forester for the Northern Region, until her retirement in 2008. Kathy is learning how to be retired with the able assistance of her husband Martin, an archaeologist, and their dogs Pearl and Cheyenne.

David BanksOriginally from Texas, David spent two years in Ghana as a Peace Corps volunteer planting trees to slow the spread of the Sahara. He then attended Indiana University where he earned a Masters degree in Public Administration and Natural Resource Management. David started work as an Intern with The Nature Conservancy in Indiana and has served in various jobs at TNC including Director of Stewardship, Conservation Planner, and Alaska State Director. He launched TNC's Africa program in 2007 and serves as the Regional Director for Africa today. David has also had a long interest in Land Trusts serving on the board of the Sycamore Land Trust in Indiana and the Great Land Trust in Alaska. After living in Tanzania and searching all over the USA, David and his wife, Joey, chose Missoula as the best place in the world to live, work and play. He wants to keep it that way.

Jim Brown – Jim spent his early years growing up in Kansas, New Mexico, Utah and Minnesota. He pursued a career in Forestry obtaining degrees from the University of Minnesota, Yale University and University of Michigan. In 1965, he came to Missoula where he worked as a Forest Scientist and Project Leader at the U.S. Forest Service, Fire Sciences Laboratory. Since retiring it 1996, he consulted wildland fire problems and works with Montana Audubon and the Five Valleys Audubon Societies, where he is past president of the boards, to pursue conservation of important bird habitats.

Ken Burd – Ken grew up in Denver, Colorado. He and his wife, Stephanie, now live in Philipsburg, Montana, where they bought their house in 1997. In between and related to Ken’s career in real estate and finance, they lived throughout the Western US and East Asia. These combined experiences fueled a deep interest in conservation and land use planning. In the early 2000s, friends introduced him to the Five Valleys Land Trust through the annual banquet. Ken quickly grew to admire and support the Five Valleys Land Trust’s respectful and patient approach to conservation in Western Montana. As he believes in community involvement, Ken is also the Board Chair of the Granite County Hospital District.

Jim Cusker – Jim ranches just west of Missoula on the place his parents bought in 1937. He placed a conservation easement on his land in 1998 and was “so impressed with the staff and mission of FVLT,” that he became a volunteer and then joined the board. Jim earned his MS from Montana State University, and taught high school biology for years before turning to ranching full time. He is a past chairman of the Missoula Farmers’ Market board, the Missoula 4H Council, and the MT Science Teachers Association. Jim wants to “preserve farm land and open space wherever possible to leave a trace of the beauty . . . that I enjoyed in my youth.”

Mary Lynn Eiseman – As a 5th generation Montanan Mary Lynn grew up in the mountains, lakes and rivers of western Montana. Guided by her parents and maternal grandmother her early years were shaped by the great outdoors. She and her husband Charlie are the parents of two grown children. A retired dental hygienist she is presently a partner in the PEAK Health and Wellness Center. Mary Lynn and Charlie placed a conservation easement on their Pattee Canyon property in 2001. She is excited to work with Five Valleys to continue the legacy of conservation that has shaped her life.

Julie Gardner – Originally from Indiana, Julie attended Indiana University where she earned a B.A. in Economics and Spanish, a Masters of Public Affairs, and a J.D. from the I.U. School of Law. Julie's work as a real estate attorney and, more recently an agent at Lambros Real Estate, affords her countless opportunities to work with others who care deeply about our precious open spaces. Julie is an avid and devoted volunteer within the Missoula community. In addition to serving on the board of Five Valleys Land Trust, Julie is a volunteer for the Missoula International School, where she served on the Board for five years. Julie and her husband Phil are outdoors enthusiasts, and love spending time with their three daughters biking, hiking, rafting and skiing in this magnificent Five Valleys region.

Tom McDonald – From Ronan, Tom was born and raised in Montana and has spent the majority of his life working and playing in the open spaces and waterways of Bitterroot, Clark Fork, and Flathead drainages. A member of the Salish and Kootenai Tribes and current administrator of their fish, wildlife and recreation programs, he has a degree from the Evergreen State College and has spent the last 32 years managing natural resources for the Tribes. Tom’s earlier career involved wildfire suppression (smoke jumping) and prescribed fire management with the Forest Service, BLM, and BIA. Included in his interests and hobbies are fishing, boating, hunting, watching sports, playing with grandchildren, and preserving open space for grandchildren yet to come.

John RimelJohn is the publisher at Mountain Press Publishing, an independent press that has achieved national recognition for its books for both young and old on natural history and history, located in Missoula. He served as president of the Rocky Mountain Book Publishers Association and as a board member of the Publisher's Association of the West. A native Montanan, John is active locally, serving as a trustee of the Historical Museum at Fort Missoula, on the Missoula County Weed Board and formerly on the Missoula County Open Lands Committee. John was a member of the original Open Lands Working Group that presented the county commissioners with a report in June 2006 which resulted in the Open Space Bond being placed on the ballot later that year. In 2007, the Rimel family placed their ranch under a conservation easement with Five Valleys Land Trust. In his spare time, he lives to sail on Flathead Lake, horseback ride, run rivers, take off in his sea kayak or motorcycle, or ski when there’s snow. With John’s daughter and son both out of the house, he and his wife Karen are left to do the chores themselves on the family ranch in the foothills of the Sapphire Mountains, south of Missoula.

Greg Tollefson – Greg worked as a conservation professional for nearly three decades, including stints as Executive Director, Conservation Director, and Director of Special Projects at Five Valleys. He worked as an environmental consultant, a fishing guide, a newspaper reporter, and a high school English teacher. He is a free lance writer whose weekly column appeared in the Missoulian newspaper for 27 years. His column continues now as the weekly blog, "Montana: An Embarrassment of Riches-Life in the Outdoors" at

Charles Tribe – Chuck, a graduate of the University Of Montana School Of Forestry, retired from the US Forest Service after 31 years where he worked in a variety of resource management positions in N. Idaho and Western Montana. Chuck has a strong commitment to the protection of our open lands, intact ecosystems and clean waters. He was one of the early members of Missoula’s Open Space Advisory Committee as well as a founding Board member for Five Valleys Land Trust. Chuck is a sailor, canoeist and fresh water “sea” kayaker. He enjoys building and using boats that are both beautiful and functional, and traveling with his wife, Virginia.

Jim Valeo - Jim is a businessman and wheat farmer who has been interested in land use planning and conservation of important properties since first owning land in Montana over 20 years ago. He and his wife, Marci, placed a conservation easement on their property in 2007. Jim serves on the Finance and Executive committees and has experience in direct solicitation of donors.

Pam Volkmann – Pam is on her second “tour of duty” as a Five Valleys board member, having previously served from 1996 to 2001. A graduate of Stanford University, Pam first visited Montana during one of her college summers and fell in love with western Montana’s mountains, lakes, and rivers. She moved to Missoula about thirty years ago. Pam worked for many years as a registered nurse and a full-time mom of two. She and her husband, Sandy, have been long-time supporters of Five Valleys Land Trust and are active with numerous non-profit organizations throughout the community.

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