Grant Kier, Executive Director Grant took over the helm of Five Valleys at the close of 2007, after serving for two productive and successful years as Executive Director of the growing Bitter Root Land Trust, located in Hamilton, Montana. During his tenure at the Bitter Root Land Trust, Grant was instrumental in advancing the organization’s conservation work and establishing key partnerships that led to the passage of a $10 million Open Space Bond in Ravalli County. Grant is a graduate of the University of Colorado, and holds an MS degree in geology. He has parlayed that degree and a lifelong devotion to the outdoors and the natural world into a career in research, scientific consulting, outdoor education, and, of course, plenty of hell-bent-for-leather outdoor recreation. Whether you are out on the river or biking, hiking, or skiing on some of our wonderful open lands around Missoula, don’t be surprised if you run into Grant, his wife Bex, their daughter Fiona, and their two Siberian huskies, Kenai and Kanchi.

Ryan Chapin, Stewardship Director – Ryan Chapin is the director of Five Valleys’ stewardship program. This involves overseeing the annual monitoring and compliance of conservation easements, managing lands owned by the land trust, and leading the “Hands-On-The-Land” volunteer program. Ryan holds a BA in Business from Montana State University and a MA in Geography from the University of Toledo. Ryan has owned his own small business and worked in the Bob Marshall Wilderness. He grew up in Ohio near the farm his extended family still runs today. Ryan and his wife Kate have two children, Quinn and Ella. He enjoys camping, trail running, gardening, and hunting with family and friends.

Beth Cogswell, Associate DirectorBeth manages internal operations for Five Valleys Land Trust and oversees the outreach and education department. She co-chairs the banquet committee and enjoys being part of such a fun, successful event that continues to grow each year. Beth has seventeen years of non-profit management experience. She is a fourth generation Montanan who grew up in Great Falls. She has always found solace in Montana’s wild places whether it’s hiking, skiing, or swimming in a pristine, mountain lake. She is grateful to be part of an organization that works to retain Montana’s rural character. Beth and her husband Rick have two sons, Finn and Sam, and a Standard Poodle named Harry.

Patience Grant, Office Manager – Patience grew up on a working dairy farm in Vermont, a portion of which remains in her family and is currently sustainably managed forestland under conservation easement. She holds a B.S. in Animal Science from the University of Vermont. After discontinuing farming she moved to Washington where she raised her children. She recently moved to Missoula to be close to family and spend time with her granddaughter. Patience enjoys hiking, biking, and cross-country skiing through the forested mountains.

Pelah Hoyt, Lands DirectorPelah directs Five Valleys' lands program and works with landowners and partners to reach shared conservation goals. Among the many landowners she has been honored to work with, she found it particularly rewarding to help Bob Hayes protect his Evaro ranch and its meadows of camas that she loved as a kid while growing up in the nearby Jocko Valley, north of Missoula. Pelah has a Master’s in Resource Conservation from the University of Montana College of Forestry and Conservation, and served in the Peace Corps in Ecuador. She thinks she may have the best job in the world and is blessed to have twin boys with her husband Mark.

Alice Jones, Lands Attorney – Alice was born in Missoula and grew up in Portland, Oregon. Alice returned to Missoula to get her English degree at the University of Montana. After graduating from UM, Alice received a Fulbright Scholarship to teach English for a year in Madrid. Alice earned her J.D. from the University of Washington School of Law in Seattle in 2013. While in law school, Alice focused on environmental and public interest law. Alice came to Five Valleys on a post-graduate fellowship in September 2013 and was delighted to join Five Valleys’ staff in January 2014. As Lands Attorney, Alice primarily works on writing and interpreting conservation easements. When she's not working on land conservation, Alice spends as much time as possible outside enjoying Montana's incredible open spaces.

Sarah Richey, Conservation Project Manager – Sarah Richey is a conservation project manager at Five Valleys. Sarah is originally from Salt Lake City, Utah and holds a B.S. in Biology and an M.S. in Environmental Studies, both from University of Montana, Missoula. Her work experience includes positions in field biology, environmental education, and natural resource management in western Montana. Sarah serves on the board of directors for the Wild Rockies Field Institute. She and her husband Dave love raising their two boys in the mountains, rivers, and wide open spaces of western Montana.

Lena Viall, Development and Communications CoordinatorLena joined Five Valleys’ team in 2015. She helps manage Five Valleys’ events, publications and social media. A fourth generation Montanan, she grew up on a farm on the Yellowstone River, north of Miles City. Her upbringing instilled in her a deep love for Montana’s open spaces and rural way of life. Lena received a BA in English-Creative Writing from the University of Montana, and has called Missoula home ever since. An established freelance writer, Lena is excited to use writing and editing skills to further the Five Valleys mission. Lena enjoys gardening, hiking, fishing and furthering her Master Naturalist skills with her fiancé, Erik.


Whitney Schwab, Philanthropy Director – Whitney brings a passion for fundraising and development as director of Five Valleys philanthropy program. Whitney earned a MS in Environmental Studies from the University of Montana and a BS in Natural Resources Recreation Management from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. She holds the mission of Five Valleys close to her heart having grown up on 6 acres of land that backed up to protected open space. She is now pleased to have recreated that connection from her childhood by living at the base of Mt Jumbo and having daily access to some of Missoula’s best open space. Whitney spends her time running, biking, skiing, and playing with her son, Lander, and husband, Nate, in Montana’s open spaces near and far.

Jenny Tollefson, Stewardship Manager – Jenny joined the Five Valleys staff in 2011. She monitors conservation easements, works with landowners on restoration and management projects, and coordinates educational programs and partnerships. Jenny grew up in western Washington and fell in love with Montana while spending summers with extended family on Swan Lake. Jenny holds a MS in Botany from the University of Vermont and has over 20 years experience in ecology, conservation, and environmental education. She enjoys gardening, camping, skiing, and reading books with her husband Winsor and two children, Will and Iris.

Vickie Edwards, Conservation Project ManagerVickie has worked in the natural resources field within the Five Valleys’ service area for 15 years for local, state and federal agencies, as well as non-governmental organizations. Her work has focused on conserving fish and wildlife resources, identifying priority habitats for conservation, managing and researching wildlife populations, and developing and cultivating partnerships to accomplish challenging projects and goals. As a wildlife biologist for Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks managing big game and other wildlife over a 2 million acre management area, she worked with an interdisciplinary team to successfully purchase the 41,000-acre Fish Creek Wildlife Management Area and State Park.  In addition, she strategically planned and implemented a response strategy for the Bonner bighorn sheep pneumonia outbreak and the white-tailed deer epizootic hemorrhagic disease outbreak in the Missoula area.  Vickie also effectively managed the logistics and landowner relations over a 1 million acre study area in the Blackfoot drainage as part of the Northern Continental Divide Grizzly Bear DNA Project.  Vickie’s professional and scholastic efforts have garnered her the Doris Duke Conservation Fellowship, the Montana Governor’s Award for Excellence in Performance, the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Director’s Special Achievement Award and the Director’s Certificate of Excellence.

Fast Facts

All the species that Lewis and Clark observed in Western Montana 200 years ago still exist in our service area today. >>

News & Events

View a Selection of our Exciting Banquet Live Auction Items >>

22nd Annual Banquet & Auction! >>