PlayCleanGo Advisory Council
The PlayCleanGo Advisory Council is made up of eleven council members and a representative from each North American country. All are are PlayCleanGo partner organizations. Each member represents one of the campaign’s primary audiences. These include:
- Natl (US) organizations
- Natl (CA) organizations
- Natl (Mex) organizations
- Public organizations
- Private organizations
- Land management organizations
- Western U.S.
- Eastern U.S.
- Western Canada
- Eastern Canada
- Motorized terrestrial recreationists
- Non-motorized terrestrial recreationists
- Motorized aquatic recreationists
- Non-motorized aquatic recreationists
- At large/general interests
The staff members include:
- Council Chair and partnership manager
- Council Vice-chair and sponsorship manager
- Graphic artist and webmaster
Advisory Council Members:
National 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.
National 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.
National 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.
Public 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.
Private 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.
Land management organizations – Ethan Proud
Ethan Proud is the Archuleta County Weed and Pest Supervisor in Southwestern Colorado’s San Juan Mountain Range. He received a Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Resource Management from Chadron State College. He was raised in Pinedale, Wyoming where he eventually worked as a seasonal at the Sublette County Weed and Pest and learned what invasive species were doing to his favorite ecosystems. After learning about invasive species he couldn’t help but notice them everywhere, from the Wind River Range, to the Black Hills, and now Colorado. When he’s not working, he can be found rock climbing, snowboarding, or backpacking…and usually boring his friends by pointing out all of the weed species, even in the winter when just the tops of the musk thistle or henbane skeletons are poking through the snow.
Western 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.
Eastern 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.
Western 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
Motorized Terrestrial Recreationists - Holly Buss
Holly Buss has a BA in Biology from The College of Saint Benedict, located in her home state of Minnesota. In her senior year, her research was published on the nest founding strategies of the northern paper wasp, Polistes fuscatus. After graduation, as a Junior Scientist, Holly worked with Ph.D.'s in their breast cancer, ALS and diabetes pre-clinical research in the Pediatrics and Biotherapy Institute at the University of Minnesota. After realizing a lab environment was not for her, Holly took a sales and marketing position at a pharmaceutical company. After ten years and graduating with a MBA from the University of St. Thomas, she "retired" to stay home with her two boys.
In 2015, the magic happened when her family moved to a buckthorn infested, two acre wooded lot in Burnsville, MN. Immediately, Holly became engaged in the invasive species battle. The native habitat on her lot has been restored with hundreds of new native trees, grasses and forbs. Her one true love is removing buckthorn, using the cut-stump method, and finding native plants, including Galearis spectabilis (Showy Orchis) growing in their shadow. Holly enjoys educating the public on how invasive species become a problem and how we can work together to end it.
Non-motorized Terrestrial Recreationists – Dana Morawitz
Dana Morawitz works as the Conservation & GIS Program Manager for the California Invasive Plant Council, where she started in 2010 as the lead of the large project to build CalWeedMapper. Dana did her undergrad (Earth Science/English) at Dartmouth College, and her Master’s (Geography) at the University of Washington. She joins the PlayCleanGo Advisory Council because she is passionate about strategic, collaborative and science-based regional decision making, in conjunction with consistent messaging and clear instructions to engage fellow outdoor lovers in regional invasive plant priorities. She also likes the idea of outreach to engage citizen scientists in mapping. Dana is very appreciative of PlayCleanGo’s vision for similar processes/messaging/approaches regardless of whether they’ve crossed state lines! She is a passionate outdoor recreationist who cares deeply about protecting wildlands.
Motorized Aquatic Recreationists – Jessica Abarca
Jessica Abarca attended Bemidji State University and received a double major in Biology and Environmental Studies. After a couple of internships with the MN DNR Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) program, she now work with Anoka County as their AIS Coordinator. Jessica enjoys spending time outdoors doing anything and everything from fishing, kayaking, ATV riding, hiking and so much more. She love teaching others about AIS and showing them how they can make a difference in slowing the spread of new infestations.
Non-motorized Aquatic Recreationists - Michael Kartz, with Earth River SUP
At 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
- Brent Meyer – Lancaster Co. Weed Control, NE
- Jeffrey Pettingill – Bonneville County Weed Control, ID
Current Staff Members:
Council Chair/National Campaign 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.
Communications & Program Coordinator - Hannah Bowers
Hannah Bowers, Communications and Program Manager. Hannah is based in the Northwestern panhandle of Florida and comes with an impressive communications and program management background. Hannah worked most recently for the Florida Forest Service as a Wildfire Mitigation Specialist and Public Information Officer and prior to that, for Oklahoma Forestry Services. Her background includes an array of public outreach, information management, and program coordination experience, including working and communicating with staff and partners across jurisdictional boundaries and wide geographic regions. While not “communicating” she enjoys life in the sunshine state with her husband and toddler.
Past Staff Members:
- Susan Burks – Founder of PlayCleanGo, Retired, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
- Kim Lanahan-Lahti – Original PlayCleanGo graphic artist and webmaster, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources