Board of Directors
Elizabeth Neipert, President
Elizabeth (Liz) Neipert’s career in DoD natural resources started in 2008. She currently works for Colorado State University’s (CSU) Center for Management of Military Lands (CEMML) as a Wildlife Research Biologist. She possesses expertise in planning and implementing wildlife monitoring and habitat management projects on DoD lands nationwide that assist in supporting the military mission.
Liz’s 5+ years of experience as a Wildlife Biologist/Natural Resources Specialist at USAG Fort Wainwright’s Donnelly Training Area (DTA), Alaska provided her with extensive insight on the management and monitoring requirements of DoD training and testing land. Her duties allowed her to work with diverse and varied fauna including game, song, and shorebirds, anadramous fish, Dall sheep, bison, and bats. She gained a deep understanding of how to balance the DoD mission with stakeholders from federal, state, and local agencies, special interest groups, tribal groups, and the public, while maintaining focus on the environment. She understands the importance of agency coordination when dealing with federal initiatives, working side-by-side with range managers and unit leadership.
Since joining NMFWA she has been heavily involved, serving as Vice-President, the NMFWA Working Group Coordinator, and previously serving as a Western Regional Director. She currently is assisting in the formation of a NMFWA Bird Conservation Working Group, which will liaison with the DoD Partners in Flight Steering Committee, to ensure all avian conservation and mission-relevant issues are being addressed at installations. She believes that DoD has the opportunity to be a leader in natural resource conservation and stewardship and that NMFWA offers the perfect platform for such initiatives. She is excited about the opportunity to serve this group of professionals and raise awareness about NMFWA and the exceptional work its members do.
Nicole Olmsted, Vice President
Nicole is currently a Natural Resources Specialist for Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Marianas focusing on the relocation of Marines from Okinawa to Guam. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Ecology, Behavior, and Evolution from the University of California, San Diego and worked for NAVFAC SW for seven years before moving to Guam. She became a NMFWA member in 2008, has served in secretary position for the Board of Directors since 2013, plans the Show and Tell, and participates in the working groups. At work, her interests include invasive species control and management. Guam provides a unique opportunity to deal with biosecurity in an island ecosystem. Other experience includes working on INRMPs, Section 7 consultations, endangered species surveys, NEPA documents, and GIS projects. Nicole loves to travel, dive, and spend time outside in her free time.
Janet Johnson, Secretary
Janet is Natural and Cultural Resources Program Manager for the Arizona Army National Guard and has worked for the Guard since 2009. She manages a wide variety of wildlife wildlife habitats, and historic and pre-historic resources on Arizona Guard installations including mixed-conifer / pine forests and WWII historic resources at Camp Navajo near Flagstaff and Sonoran desert habitats that housed pre-historic communities at Florence Military Reservation near Phoenix. Janet also serves as the Committee Chair for the NGB Conservation Committee, and has been a member of NMFWA since 2010.
Janet received her B.S. (1995) in Wildlife Biology with a minor in Botany from Colorado State University. Before completing her M.S. (2005) in Forestry from Northern Arizona University (NAU), she conducted research on avian ecology and habitat use in California, New Mexico, Colorado, El Salvador, Panama, and Mexico. Janet also worked as a research program coordinator for NAU where she developed and facilitated educational and research partnerships and collaborative projects between the University and public and private landowners. Janet’s interests include wildlife habitat connectivity and climate change, conservation planning, and bridging the gap between research and land management. In her free time, Janet can be found somewhere recreating outdoors, searching out live music, or laughing loudly and often with family and friends.
Lauren Wilson, Treasurer
Lauren is currently a Regional Natural Resource Specialist for the U.S. Air Force Environmental Center of Excellence, working to support seven Air Force Bases in California. She started as an ORISE Intern at U.S. Army Dugway Proving Ground and then moved into civil service at Dugway, Vandenberg Air Force Base, and now Travis Air Force Base. She graduated from the University of Maryland with a Bachelor of Science in Zoology and University of California Berkeley with a Masters in Range Management in 2016. She served as Secretary for the Utah Chapter of The Wildlife Society for almost four years (2009-2012) and Treasurer for NMFWA since 2014. Lauren was a part of the Vandenberg Natural Resource Team when it won the 2011 Department of the Air Force Thomas D. White Award for Outstanding Natural Resources Management and the 2015 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Military Conservation Partner Award. As a military wildlife biologist she has implemented state-wide bat monitoring protocols in Utah, created a base-specific bat monitoring program at Vandenberg, managed complex listed species issues, worked to further white-nose syndrome awareness, built experimental bat condos, wrangled permitting issues from Section 7 to 404, and strategic planning and implementation of invasive species management at four California bases. Lauren’s field work experience with threatened California red-legged frogs, bats, herps, raptors, and endangered California least tern and unarmored threespine stickleback have kept her grounded and mindful of the value of conservation. Lauren has wonderful parents, a twin sister, and a ginger fiancé; she enjoys acroyoga, hiking, volleyball, skiing, art, a good book, the quiet beauty of the desert, the striking power of the coast, and (since finishing her new degree) the tremendous biodiversity and ecological complexity of California grasslands.
Coralie Cobb, Past President
Coralie is a Senior Natural Resources Specialist working for Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Southwest. Her father was in the Navy and she was born at the Naval Hospital on Port Hueneme. Being a Navy child she lived a little bit of everywhere but only for two to three years before going to college in San Diego at the University of California, San Diego. Her first professional job was at Naval Air Station Miramar as a Biological Aide, Natural Resources Specialist, and Botanist. During those seven years, the installation won the Secretary of the Navy Installation award for Natural Resources Conservation Award in recognition of outstanding achievements (1991, 1994 and 1996) and Coralie was the recipient of the 1994 Secretary of the Navy, Natural Resources Conservation Individual Award. She moved to Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Southwest in 1996 to work as the biologist overseeing the avoidance, minimization and mitigation measures related to the $350 million dollar realignment of NAS Miramar to MCAS Miramar. Most recently she worked on a 10 month detail to NAVFAC Pacific and was the lead biologist for the Section 7 consultation for the relocation of Marines from Okinawa to Guam and Tinian. When not working, Coralie enjoys spending time with her husband (Jess) and two boys (Ethan and Bennett) enjoying the great outdoors in Colorado.
Jim Swift, Director At-Large
This is my second go around as a NMFWA Board Member and I am excited to be a part of this organization. I am a Natural Resources Specialist at NAS Patuxent River, where I have worked since 1997. My program responsibilities include the Bird/Animal Aircraft Strike Hazard (BASH) program, hunting and fishing programs, and environmental education. I have also been a volunteer hunter safety instructor since 2000. I am a 1995 Graduate of Virginia Tech in Wildlife and Fisheries Management. I moved to Maryland in 1985 where my father finished his last tour in the Navy and where I volunteered for the same office that I now work. My ten year old twins, Jake and Sadie, keep my wife Kristin and I very busy. I also enjoy hunting and working with my four legged hunting companion.
Rick Lance, Director At-Large
I have been a member of the National Military Fish & Wildlife Association since the 2002 meeting in Dallas, TX. Over that time I have come to greatly appreciate the organization and its mission to serve the warfighter, and am very grateful for the friends I have made as a result of my membership in NMFWA. I am looking forward to an opportunity to serve the membership of our great organization, and as a result of that service, providing support to our critical national defense mission.
I grew up in Las Vegas, NV and graduated with a degree in Zoology from Brigham Young University in Provo, UT in 1994. Having spent plenty of time in deserts, both low and high, I next headed to the swamplands for a PhD in Evolutionary & Environmental Biology from the then University of Southwestern Louisiana. After graduating I spent a year at The University of Memphis as a post-doc and then started in 2000 as a contract scientist with the US Army Engineer Research & Development Center’s Environmental Laboratory in Vicksburg, MS. Since signing on as a federal employee for the Environmental Lab in 2001, I have worked as a research biologist, with a 3-year stint as branch chief somewhere in there. My work tends to focus around developing and using genetic tools for studying plant and animal ecology, though I have become interested in pollinator issues in recent years, as well. At one point, I was the editor of our newsletter, The FAWN, which I greatly enjoyed, and served as the Bat Working Group Chair for a year, as well. I live in Vicksburg with my wonderful wife of 23 years, Christina, 5 kids (Sam, Anna Leigh, Ewan, Jonathan, and Matthias in descending, chronological order), 4 cats, 3 fish, and 3 parakeets. I enjoy birding and other outdoor fun, playing games with the family, and hopelessly rooting for several sad-sack sports teams. I really love spending time with DoD natural resource managers on their incredible lands.
Michele Wright, Director, East
Mrs. Wright was elected as a NMFWA Eastern Regional Director in 2017. She is a member of most NMFWA working groups. She is a past chairman for the NMFWA’s Bird/Animal Aircraft Strike Hazard (BASH) Working Group (WG). Her term as a chairman and immediate past chairman for the BASH WG ran from 2012 to 2016.
Mrs. Wright has over 14 years of experience working with Natural Resources for the Department of Defense (DoD). Her DoD natural resources career started in 2003 as a Wildlife Research Biologist for the US Army out of Fort Carson Military Reservation in Colorado thru the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE).
Currently, Mrs. Wright is a US Navy Natural Resources Specialist and certified Airport Biologist. She serves as an installation Natural Resources Manager and Team Leader for several installations in the Mid-Atlantic region and is home based out of Naval Air Station Oceana’s Public Works Department. She has been in this position since 2007.
Mrs. Wright provides assistance to any US Department of Defense (DoD) facility, primarily in the state of Virginia, related to bird management as part of her duties as a DoD Partners in Flight (PIF) representative. Mrs. Wright started with DoD PIF in 2003 as the Western US Research and Monitoring Representative. She took on the roll as the Virginia DoD PIF steering committee representative in 2007. Mrs. Wright serves on several DoD PIF working groups.
Prior to working with the Navy, Mrs. Wright held biological science technician, researcher, internships, and/or volunteer positions with the US Fish and Wildlife Service, University of Arkansas at Monticello, Old Dominion University, Virginia Zoological Park, and Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center.
Mrs. Wright has an undergraduate degree in Zoological Park and Wildlife Management and a master’s degree in Forest Resources and Geographic Information Systems (focus in Wildlife Management).
Ian Trefry, Director, East
Mr. Ian Trefry is a Natural Resources Specialist serving as the Natural Resources Manager and Integrated Pest Management Coordinator (IPMC) for Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Mid-Atlantic Region (MIDLANT) Public Works Department-Maine (PWD-ME) Environmental Division located at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard (PNSY) in Kittery, Maine. Mr. Trefry manages the natural resources program for PWD-ME which has an Area of Responsibility that includes 19 Navy installations and reserve centers occupying more than 16,200 acres of land within six states across the Northeast. Mr. Trefry is directly responsible for the management and implementation of three Integrated Natural Resource Management Plans and a Consolidated Integrated Pest Management Plan for Navy installations in Maine.
Michele Richards, Director, Central
For almost a decade Michele has worked at Ft. Custer Training Center as a natural resources specialist for Michigan Army National Guard. She holds a Bachelors Degree in Earth Science and Environmental Studies from Western Michigan University earned in 1998. Natural resources management at Ft. Custer includes prescribed fire, invasive plant management, ecological restoration, endangered species management, avian studies and the occasional foray into wetland ecology and issues.
Michele has served broadly in organizations relevant to the maintaining the military mission through responsible environmental stewardship. She has served/is serving as chair, secretary and outreach coordinator for the Michigan Prescribed Fire Council, as natural resources team lead on the Army National Guard Environmental Advisory Council’s Conservation Committee, and participates in the Michigan Climate Coalition, The Joint Fire Sciences Program’s Lake States and Tallgrass Prairie Consortiums and Michigan Invasive Species Coalition. From very local concerns, to national issues, Michele stays connected and provides valuable interconnectedness between the groups and people who depend on them for information, decision support, and research.
In her life outside work she’s raising two lovely daughters, Rowan and Sage, with her husband Peter on their 1877 homestead (which includes a flock of chickens and a sprouting orchard).
Shawn Stratton, Director, Central
I look forward to having the opportunity to serve as one of the Central Regional Directors for NMFWA. I am currently the Supervisory Fish and Wildlife Biologist at Fort Riley, KS, where I work with a team of environmental management professionals who execute a wide range of activities to protect and otherwise manage natural resources in accordance with Department of Army policy and program objectives. Hobbies include: Hunting, Fishing, and being outdoors. Married to a wonderful wife and we have three amazing kids. Community involvement includes coaching youth recreational sports, actively serving on boards with Pheasants Forever, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation & National Wild Turkey Federation and serving on the Men's Ministry team at my church.
Charlie Baun, Director, West
Mr. Charlie Baun has been the Conservation Branch Manager for the Idaho Army National Guard's (IDARNG) Environmental Management Office (EMO) located at Gowen Field in Boise, Idaho for the last six years. Mr. Baun manages the natural and cultural resource programs as well as state-wide NEPA and land use planning. The Idaho Military Division (IMD) manages 28 armories, readiness centers, and training areas state-wide, including the Orchard Combat Training Center (OCTC). At 143,300 acres, the OCTC is the second largest National Guard (NG) training center in the United States, and is the only military training facility wholly within a National Conservation Area. In 2014 Mr. Baun's Conservation Program was awarded the US Fish and Wildlife Service's Military Conservation Partnership Award. This was the first NG program to ever win this prestigious award. The IDARNG was also presented with Environmental Security Awards in 2012 and 2013. This is Charlie's 5th year as a member of NMFWA and is currently Co-chair of the Climate Change committee.
Roland Sosa, Director, West
Roland is a Southern California native that currently works as a biologist for the Navy, in San Diego, managing natural resources projects. In addition to working for the Navy and other federal agencies, he has worked for various consulting firms. Roland has a B.S. in Biology and has participated in post-baccalaureate studies at a few universities. Roland has been a member of NMFWA since 2007 and is a current member of The Wildlife Society, and the Society for the Studies of Amphibians and Reptiles.