PlayCleanGo Advisory Council

Eleven council members and a representative from each North American country are drawn from among PlayCleanGo partner organizations. Each member represents one of the campaign’s primary audiences. These include:

  1. Natl (US) organizations
  2. Natl (CA) organizations
  3. Natl (Mex) organizations
  4. Public organizations
  5. Private organizations
  6. Land management organizations
  7. Western U.S.
  8. Eastern U.S.
  9. Western Canada
  10. Eastern Canada
  11. Motorized terrestrial recreationists
  12. Non-motorized terrestrial recreationists
  13. Motorized aquatic recreationists
  14. Non-motorized aquatic recreationists
  15. At large/general interests

The staff members include:

  1. Council Chair and partnership manager
  2. Council Vice-chair and sponsorship manager
  3. Graphic artist and webmaster

Advisory Council Members:

Julie KraftNational United States organizations - Julie Kraft

Julie works at all levels of invasive species management and feels it is important to serve on and help lead committees at state and national levels to achieve invasive species goals. Julie loves plants! She has always enjoyed learning new plants and is passionate about preserving natural resources. Julie enjoys hiking, fishing and hunting with her husband and two young children, in Pinedale, Wyoming. Julie set her sights on invasive species after she started seeing a beloved meadow invaded by yellow toadflax. She strives to prevent invasive species spread into public lands through education, awareness, and action.

image of Berry GibbsNational Canada interests, Canada - Barry Gibbs

Barry works out of Claresholm Alberta, a small town along the foothills of the Rockies, one hour drive south of Calgary or two hour drive north of the Montana border. His second career began when he started working as the Executive Director of the Alberta Invasive Species Council (2011-2016). He is currently the Executive Director of the Canadian Council on Invasive Species, a national organization committed to engaging more Canadians in responsible actions to reduce the negative impacts of invasive species. He was on the Board of the Invasive Species Council of British Columbia from 2006-2011. His first career began after he received his degree in Agriculture from the University of Saskatchewan. He spent 35 years with Dow AgroSciences Canada Inc. where he gained a lot of experience in weeds, invasive plants, pesticides, sales, marketing, research, product development and regulatory.

Ana GonzelezNational interests, Mexico – Dr. Ana Isabel González

Dr. Gonzalez earned her undergraduate degree in biology at the University of Guadalajara and a Master´s Degree in Conservation Biology at the Durrell Institute for Conservation and Ecology in Canterbury, Kent, UK. She did her PhD in conservation biology at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, UK, her research focused on the application of behavioral information in conservation and management issues of an invasive mammal. She currently works at the National Commission for Knowledge and Use of Biodiversity (CONABIO) in Mexico, where she has been heading the Invasive Species Program since 2007. Her activities, and her team´s, include the development of the National Invasive Species Information System (NISIS), which provides country information to the Global Invasive Species Database, The GIASI Partnership and the Invasive Species Compendium –CABI. Her job also includes extensive efforts in developing standards for IS information sharing, as well as overseeing the development of research projects on IS, providing technical information for decision making, the coordination of CONABIO´s activities to implement the National Invasive Species Strategy and representing Mexico on IAS discussions at a national and international levels.

photo of shantellPublic organizations – Shantell Frame-Martin

Working for the Montana State University, Shantell is the Project Coordinator for the Montana Noxious Weed Education Campaign (MNWEC). The MNWEC is a collaborative effort between federal, state, county, tribal, university, and non-governmental agencies and organizations to educate Montanans about noxious weeds and to encourage participation in ecologically based integrated weed management.  

PlayCleanGo (PCG) has become a huge component of all educational materials developed by the MNWEC for use in Montana. The PCG message is very near and dear to Shantell’s heart, as she loves all things outdoors and enjoys teaching others about the impacts noxious weeds have on our environment and how to stop their spread. Land management and conservation have always been at the forefront of life’s direction for Shantell; throughout college and during the quest to earn her M.S., Shantell worked for the US Fish & Wildlife Service, the US Forest Service, and the US Bureau of Land Management. When not coordinating statewide noxious weed education efforts, Shantell enjoys spending time outdoors; rafting the Missouri River; fly fishing and big game hunting with her husband and exploring the wonders of nature with their two children and two rambunctious fur kids.

clair ryanPrivate organizations – Clair Ryan

Clair is the Coordinator of the Midwest Invasive Plant Network (MIPN), an organization focused on reducing the impact of invasive plants across an eight-state Midwestern region. MIPN is headquartered at The Morton Arboretum, about 40 miles west of Chicago, and completes its mission by collecting and sharing information, developing educational materials, coordinating regional stakeholder conversations, and by developing new tools for invasive species managers. Clair has master’s degrees in environmental science and public policy from Indiana University and a bachelors in natural resources from Cornell University. She spent several years working for non-profit organizations on interstate water quality issues in the Northeast before beginning her work with MIPN in December of 2016.

brett meyerLand management organizations – Brent Meyer

Brent serves as the Lancaster County Weed Superintendent based in Lincoln, NE. He’s spent 24 years working with invasive plants and has served on numerous State and national organizations including serving on the NAWMA (now NAISMA) Board of Director’s and as the organizations President. He currently represents Land Management Organizations on the PlayCleanGo Steering Committee.

As superintendent in Lancaster County he is responsible for carrying out the State’s Noxious Weed Act as well as working with, and educating landowners on invasive plants, their control methods, and potential they have on our environment. Education and Outreach are so important to the success of our program and PlayCleanGo projects the exact message we need the public hear and practice.  It is, by far, more effective to prevent the spread of invasives, than it is to try and treat them after they become established.

besty MacfarlanWestern state interests – Betsy Macfarlan

Betsy Macfarlan is the Executive Director of Eastern Nevada Landscape Coalition (ENLC), a non-profit conservation organization based in Ely, Nevada. ENLC works across landscape boundaries with federal, state, and private land managers on landscape restoration and health issues. Macfarlan has held this position since the organization opened its doors in 2001 and came to ENLC with eleven years’ experience as the executive director of the Nevada Cattlemen’s Association and Nevada Beef Council.  Also among her many responsibilities is overseeing the fiscal management of ten cooperative weed management areas encompassing more than ten million acres in Eastern and Southern Nevada.  Currently Macfarlan serves as the Chairperson for the White River Cooperative Weed Management Area and in her capacity as ENLC’s executive director is working with numerous partners to facilitate establishing a Lower Colorado River Cooperative Weed Management Area, which would extend from the Davis Dam on the Colorado River to the Mexican border.

Macfarlan moved to Nevada in 1988 after receiving her Bachelors and Master’s degrees in Animal Science from Colorado State University. In her spare time Macfarlan and her husband raise cashmere goats, make and market goats’ milk soap and handmade cashmere products, and play with their horses and dogs.

katier grzesiakEastern state interests – Katie Grzesiak

Katie Grzesiak, Coordinator of the Northwest Michigan Invasive Species Network (ISN), graduated from Northern Michigan University with a Bachelor of Arts in Ecology. She continued her education with a Master of Science from the University of Michigan’s School of Natural Resources and Environment (now the School of Environment and Sustainability), focusing her Master’s thesis on the a long-term study on the effects of herbicides native and invasive plant communities while leading the Exotic Plant Management Team at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. Katie has been with ISN since 2013, has been the Coordinator since 2014, and has enjoyed applying her enthusiasm and teaching experience to outreach and education efforts as well as overseeing efforts in the field.  In concert with her work at ISN, Grzesiak currently helps wider invasive species efforts shine through serving on the Michigan Invasive Species Coalition Core Team and the tri-national steering committee for the PlayCleanGo® campaign.

Andrea AltherrWestern province interests – Andrea Altherr

Andrea Altherr moved to the Yukon in 2000 and got involved in the Yukon Invasive Species Council (YISC) in 2008. Since then she has worked as the coordinator for the council and manages all its projects. YISC recognizes the importance of being connected with other jurisdictions and participates actively in the Canadian Council on Invasive Species and the Canadian working group to set up play clean go in Canada. Andrea has a background as a teacher and outdoor guide. Her love for the pristine Yukon is contagious and motivates her to take on the invasive species challenge!

Eastern province interests - vacant

Jeffery PettingillMotorized Terrestrial Recreationists - Jeffery Pettingill

Jeffery Pettingill has been the County Weed Superintendent (CWS) at Bonneville County Weed Control since 1999. He is very active in the ‘weed world’ and is currently on the board of the Idaho Weed Control Association (IWCA) (past chairman) and the board of the Idaho Association of Weed Control (IAWC) (past Chairman). Jeffrey is the current chair of the Idaho Weed Awareness Campaign, and the Upper Snake River Cooperative Weed Management Area. He writes a weekly column titled, “The Weed of the Week”, in the local newspaper, Intermountain Farm and Ranch and a quarterly newsletter for the Idaho Association of REALTORS’ e-letter on environmental issues.

As a nationally recognized American Safety Institute ATV safety Instructor, Jeffrey has had a lifelong passion for riding ATV’s, motorcycles, snowmobiles, and off-road trucks. When not able to hunt or fish he likes to hike the hills with family and friends. When not busy with ‘weed work’, Jeffrey volunteers at Camp Magic Moments, a summer camp for 8 to 12 year olds that have had their lives interrupted by cancer. Jeffery will be serving on the PCG Steering Committee as the Motorized Recreationist Group Representative.

Non-motorized Terrestrial Recreationists – vacant

Motorized Aquatic Recreationists – vacant

Non-motorized Aquatic Recreationists - Michael Kartz, with Earth River SUP

sue staniforthAt Large, general interests - Sue Staniforth

Sue is a biologist and environmental educator, with a passion for outdoor and hands-on conservation education. She brings to her work over 25 years of experience as a biologist, educator and curriculum developer.  Before working with invasive species, Sue worked as a whale researcher in the Atlantic, Pacific and Gulf of Mexico, taught at several universities, and was a long time park interpreter at regional, provincial and national parks. She has developed over a dozen learning resources on topics that range from Garry Oak ecosystems to biodiversity to invasive species, and delivered hundreds of professional development workshops both provincially and nationally. Sue also has broad experience working with many stewardship groups, non-profits, communities and First Nations at local, regional, provincial and national levels.  She is an avid gardener herself, and enjoys taking care of a heritage apple orchard, chickens and ducks, as well as a boisterous dog in her off-work hours.

Past Council Members:

  • Erika Edmiston – Wyoming Weed & Pest Council
  • Pat Conzemius – Wildlife Forever
  • Matt Davis – North Country Trail Association
  • Emily Anderson – Wild Rivers Invasive Species Coalition
  • Jay Peterson – South Metro ATV Club
  • Laura Van Riper – Minnesota Department of Natural Resources

Current Staff Members:

Susan BukrsCouncil Chair/Partnerships Manager - Susan Burks

Susan has over 30 years’ experience in plant health, tree care and forest health protection. Currently, she serves as the Forestry Invasive Species Program Coordinator for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. Besides coordinating invasive plant management on state forest lands, her responsibilities include terrestrial invasive species prevention, monitoring and management; outreach and education; and project and grant management. Susan is the founder of PlayCleanGo: Stop Invasive Species In Your Tracks, an outreach campaign designed to disrupt the link between outdoor recreation and the spread of terrestrial invasive species. While serving as the Forest Health Program Coordinator for the Missouri Department of Conversation, she also founded the Missouri Forestkeepers Network, a volunteer-based program designed to engage citizen scientists in forest health monitoring and protection.

Belle BergnerCouncil Vice-Chair/Sponsorships Manager – Belle Bergner

Belle Bergner has 14+ years’ experience in environmental nonprofit management, fundraising, and conference planning. Belle is the Executive Director of the North American Invasive Species Management Association (NAISMA) based in Milwaukee, WI. NAISMA’s mission is to support, promote, and empower invasive species prevention and management in North America. PlayCleanGo was adopted by NAISMA in 2016 as its official outreach campaign and formed an MOU with MN DNR in 2017 to gradually take over national campaign management in the US. Belle has a BA in Biology from Mount Holyoke College and an MS in Ecology from the University of Pennsylvania. Belle’s master’s research focused on the impact of global warming on boreal forests in Alaska with interdisciplinary training in environmental law, management, and policy. Belle has managed ecology research projects in the forests of Pennsylvania and West Virginia and the prairie of Minnesota. She was an Instructor for the Hurricane Island Outward Bound School after her undergraduate degree. An East Coaster by birth and Midwest transplant, Belle loves life on the shores of Lake Michigan and enjoys doing just about anything outside in any kind of weather with her active family.

kim lahtiGraphic Artist/Web Master – Kim Lanahan-Lahti

Kim Lanahan-Lahti is the PlayCleanGo graphic artist and webmaster with a passion for the outdoors. She is currently undertaking woodland restoration by combating Buckthorn and Dames rocket in her own backyard. Her muddy boot and Leiben the Weimaraner can be seen in various PlayCleanGo publications. Kim has worked for the State of Minnesota for 20 years, the last 12 of which have been with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. She is one of the founding committee members of PlayCleanGo. Kim is an avid gardener and enjoys taking long walks in the woods in search of the next great blueberry patch with her two Weimaraner’s.

Program Coordinator - Hannah Bower