Board of Directors
Former Board of Directors
Cliff Montagne, Ph.D., President
Founding Board member of BioRegions International, has worked in Mongolia since 1996, Professor Emeritus
at Montana State University in Land Resources Environmental Sciences Department, worked in Japan 1989-90.
Joan Montagne, Secretary/Treasurer
Is a Founding Board member of BioRegions International and has traveled to Mongolia since 1998, an environmental,
community and social justice activist.
Jerry Nielsen, Ph.D.
Nationally recognized soils scientist, Professor Emeritus Montana State University Land Resources and Environmental
Sciences Department, worked in Afghanistan 1970-1974. Worked with BRP in Mongolia, summer 2000.
Architect, community activist, worked with BRI in Mongolia in summers of 2000 and 2004, 2006, 2007, 2010. Blue Valley
Awards/Festival, supports the artist/apprenticeship program, and publisher of their children’s art book “Visions of the
Blue Valley”, active in Russian Altai, Tuva on cultural preservation/awareness
Director of Academic and Technical Programs for Office of International Programs
at Montana State University, Network Manager for US Arabic Distance Learning Network, Project Manager and Internship
Coordinator MSU NSF Partnerships for International Research and Education (Wildfire PIRE), Doctoral Candidate, Administration
of Higher Education.
Mark Johnstad, JD
Has over 30 years of experience supporting a variety of conservation and development activities across Mongolia including
establishment of Mongolia's modern system of protected areas. Mark founded Mongolia River Outfitters. Mark is an international
Bill Harjo-LoneFight, Ph.D.
President American Native Services, member of the Muskogee (Creek) Nation . He consults with First Nation non profits throughout
the USA making sure that grants are culturally appropriate. Instructor at MSU in Native Food Systems.
owns Tibetan Trader Inc., a small business devoted to providing sustainable work for a group of talented artisans in Kathmandu, Nepal.
She designs and guides production of hand crafted clothing, using local weavers for unique fabrics and local tailors to sew the beautiful
trapunto designs. Jennifer lived in India and Nepal for over 13 years, and during that time served as a volunteer for the Thomas A Dooley
Foundation, teaching English in a Nepalese orphanage and a Tibetan Refugee center in Kathmandu. She raised a daughter in Kathmandu, and has
led cultural trips throughout the Himalaya in Nepal, Tibet, and Bhutan. She currently lives in Bozeman, Montana, where she is active in local
efforts to protect open space and wildlife habitat.
Will Swearingen is the Executive Director of TechLink, a nationally recognized technology transfer and commercialization
center at Montana State University. A geographer by training, he has conducted extensive research on agricultural development,
drought, and the environment in North Africa. He is the author of two books and more than two dozen articles on these topics.
Will also has over ten years of experience directing projects focused on agriculture and the environment in sub-Saharan Africa
(Madagascar, Eritrea, Mali, and Cape Verde) and Mexico. Prior to coming to MSU in 1991, he taught at Colgate University and
the University of New Mexico, where he also worked at a NASA-funded technology transfer center. Will and his wife, Jennifer,
have lived in Morocco and southern France. He fly fishes twelve months a year in the streams around Bozeman.
is an internationally renowned photographer and writer whose work has taken him to some of the world's remotest locations, including previously
unexplored wilderness regions of Antarctica, the Arctic, Central Asia and South America. For more than 30 years, his pictures have been published
around the world, including numerous feature articles for National Geographic. Although Wiltsie is best known for his coverage of leading-edge
mountaineering, dog sledding, skiing, and archaeological expeditions, his true passion has always been capturing intimate images of the people
he encounters en route. He cares deeply about vanishing ways of life and with guidance from BioRegions president, Dr. Cliff Montagne, spent two
months in the Darhad Valley of Mongolia, documenting the winter migration of nomadic herders with whom we work. (His pictures appeared in the
October, 2003 issue of National Geographic.) A book of his expedition photographs, " To the Ends of the Earth" which includes a chapter about
the migration, was published in 2006.
Mishig Jijigsuren, BioRegions' Senior Advisor in the Darhad Valley,
is former governor of Renchinlhumbe, member of the local government council, and a small businessman.
Mishig also works for Boojum Expeditions.
Sunjidmaa Tsagaan (Sunjee) is the Mongolian Logistics Coordinator from her home in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. Sunjee, a doctor
by training, is also a mother, restaurant owner, and a serious student of English.
Badmaa is trained as an English teacher and is the Communications Coordinator for BioRegions. After growing up in the western
Mongolia countryside, she guided for Boojum Expeditions and other organizations. Badmaa's ambition is to further her formal education and continue to
work for improvement of Mongolian countryside life. She has been working with BioRegions since May of 2008.
is a Montana State University Environmental Studies graduate and has spent the past several summers managing animals as a tool for promoting a healthy
environment. Inspired by her upbringing on an Idaho farm, living in the mountains of Montana, and furthered by her experience with Holistic Land Management,
she has developed a strong passion for working to promote healthy landscapes. In the summer of 2009, Lora gained invaluable experience in Mongolia's Darhad
Valley learning alongside local herding families. Her project focused on Grassland Ecosystem Health combining scientific and traditional ecological knowledge
and was continued during the 2010 BioRegions Work Trip.
Teki Tsagaan Sankey completed her Ph.D. in Land Resources and Environmental Sciences at Montana State University
(MSU). Originally a linguist from Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, she has worked as a translator for the United Nations Development
Program, a trip leader for Boojum Expeditions, and director of Mongolia activities for the MSU BioRegions Program.
Teki is now an assistant research professor at Idaho State University where her husband Joel is a post-doctorate research scientist. Teki,
Joel, and their twin boys, Levi Tengis and Luka Temuun, live in Boise, ID. Teki's research focuses on field and remote sensing analysis of
rangeland changes in the Darkhad Valley region of northern Mongolia and the Rocky Mountain region of the western US.
Loren Barber Franklin
has worked for and with the BioRegions Program since 2006 when she completed a water quality study of the human drinking water supply around
Renchinlhumbe Soum in the Darhad, including a community education initiative. She returned to Mongolia in 2007 to complete her Master's thesis
research on the "salty plant" utilized by Darhad residents. The study included a dietary risk assessment of the human consumption of hujir (through
tea) by the Darhad people. She now works for Reclamation Research Group, a Division of KC Harvey Environmental, LLC in Bozeman, MT as a
Kate Burnaby Wright
worked as the founding Program Director for BioRegions International from 2004-2006. Her work with the
Wildlife Conservation Society, the United Nations Environmental Program, and local non-profit organizations
supports BioRegions' organizational development. Living with the Pribilof Aleut of Alaska and the Samburu
and Kikuyu tribes of Kenya kindled Kate's concern for cultures in transition and inspires her work to empower
local peoples to protect their culture and environment. Kate now works as Stewardship Coordinator for the Gallatin Valley Land Trust.
has been involved with BioRegions since 2007, designing publications, helping to create an ecological education curriculum, and assisting with
BioRegions organizational functions. In the summer of 2007, he completed a research project on pasture fertility and sand dune movement in the
Darhad Valley. He currently is a graduate student at MSU and will continue to work with BioRegions on upcoming projects.