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Staff

Tom Bailey, Executive Director
Tom has been Executive Director of the Little Traverse Conservancy since late 1984. He currently serves on the Michigan State Park Advisory Committee, and was a member of Governor Snyder’s Blue Ribbon Panel on Michigan State Parks and Outdoor Recreation. He was appointed by Governor Engler to the Michigan Water Resources Commission in 1993 and subsequently to the Technical Advisory Board of the Michigan Great Lakes Protection Fund, which he chaired for two years. He has also served on the National Land Trust Council of the Land Trust Alliance.  He was co-founder of the Top of Michigan Trails Council and also the Heart of the Lakes Center for Land Conservation Policy, which serves as a coordinator, policy voice and think-tank for Michigan’s land conservancies. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in Park and Recreation Resources from Michigan State University, and also pursued graduate study at MSU in the fields of land use, resource economics and environmental law. Before joining the Conservancy, Tom spent six years with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.  He was previously a citizen representative and lobbyist for several local, state and national conservation groups, and first testified before the US Senate Interior Committee at the age of 17.  He is a former National Park Ranger, and also worked as a fishing guide in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula where he grew up. Tom resides near Petoskey, Michigan. Direct phone line: 231.344.1001. Email: bailey@landtrust.org.

Tom Lagerstrom, Associate Director
Tom grew up in suburban Detroit and summered in the Gaylord area of Northern Michigan. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in Wildlife Management. Following graduation he was a partner for six years at Morgan Engineering, a sheet metal fabrication company. He returned to Michigan State and received his Masters degree in Environmental Education. Tom began working at the Conservancy in 1984 as the half-time membership coordinator. In 1987 he became the Associate Director where his responsibilities include managing business operations, membership and fundraising. During that time the Conservancy’s membership have grown from 500 members in 1984 to more than 4,000 at present and the Conservancy has successfully raised funds to protect preserves such as Seven Springs, Little Sand Bay, Oden Island and North Point. Tom is married to MaryAnne Griffin who was the Administrative Coordinator for the Conservancy for nearly 20 years. Together they have four daughters. Direct phone line: 231.344.1003. Email: toml@landtrust.org.

Melissa Hansen, Education Coordinator
Melissa earned a Bachelor of Science degree from the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources of Michigan State University. She completed an internship jointly with Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council and Little Traverse Conservancy in 1994, and was hired by the Conservancy as a full time stewardship staff person. “I am a native of Charlevoix, MI and northern Michigan is very near and dear to my heart. It is extremely satisfying to be part of the Conservancy team working to protect some of the same wildlife habitat and beautiful landscapes I grew up exploring and enjoying. It is assuring to know future residents and visitors (both wildlife and human) may continue to do the same.” Direct phone line: 231.344.1004. Email: melissa@landtrust.org.

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Ty Ratliff, Senior Land Protection Specialist

Ty is a native of northern Michigan and has grown up enjoying the outdoors of Antrim County. Ty has past work experience that includes river restoration, watershed management planning, and a ruffed grouse research project in the Pigeon River State Forest. Ty joined the Conservancy in 1999 and has completed dozens of major land protection projects – including partnerships with the MDNR, the U.S. Forest Service, the Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy and the Rocky Mtn. Elk Foundation.  In his spare time he enjoys hunting, fishing and exploring the northwoods with his wife, Sarah, and their three children Audrey, Emmitt, and Grayden. Direct phone line: 231.344.1005. Email: ty@landtrust.org

Kieran Fleming, Director of Land Protection
Kieran joined the Little Traverse Conservancy in February, 2000. A native of Wisconsin, he holds both bachelors and masters degrees from the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point. Kieran spent ten years doing wildlife research on a variety of species including bear, deer, prairie chickens, waterfowl, songbirds and birds of prey. While his days of exploring bear dens are now years behind him, Kieran has taken his love of animals to the world of small farming and raises a variety of animals to feed his family and friends. Deer, duck hunting, and fishing are other favorite pastimes he has enjoyed in the wilds of northern Michigan. Kieran’s direct phone line: 231.344.1015; Email: kcfleming@landtrust.org.

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Anne Fleming, Communications Coordinator
Anne has worked as a communications consultant for LTC since 2000. A northern Michigan native, she was an education intern with LTC in 1992 shortly after getting her bachelor’s degree from Hope College. After working summers in the Apostle Island National Lakeshore, and a year teaching at the Montessori School of Duluth, she attended grad school at the University of Wisconsin working with the World Wildlife Fund for her master’s thesis. From Wisconsin, Anne and Kieran landed in Traverse City where they both worked at the Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy. When they started their family, the two migrated north and began working for LTC where they’ve been ever since. The Flemings live on a small hobby farm in Bliss just a few miles down the road from where Anne was raised. Direct phone line: 231.344.1007; Email: anne@landtrust.org

Charles Dawley , Stewardship/GIS Specialist
Charles, a native of Petoskey, joined the Conservancy as an intern in the spring of 2003. Charles has a multitude of talents ranging from building boardwalks to producing maps and documentation for the land and stewardship projects and Conservancy publications. His formal education is a Bachelors Degree in Geographic Information Systems and Environmental Land Use and Planning from Central Michigan University . “I get the best of both worlds; I spend lots of time in nature and lots of time with high technology. What a great job. I love what I do and am proud to be a part of saving my heritage.” Charles is married to Sarah, a Petoskey school teacher, and has two sons and a daughter. Direct phone line: 231.344.1019. Email: charles@landtrust.org.

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Cacia Lesh, Volunteer Coordinator and Outreach
After working as LTC’s administrative coordinator for more than two years, Cacia has moved into the Conservancy’s first formal position to coordinate the growing pool of volunteers . Born in Vermont, Cacia has conservation in her blood with both parents working in related fields. In her young life, she has already lived in and traveled to numerous places including a year of high school in South Africa on a Rotary Exchange program. After graduating from Prescott College in Arizona with a degree in Environmental Conservation, Cacia lived in Wyoming, Maine, and for two years in Alaska. Her husband, David Lesh, has connections to northern Michigan on Burt Lake and after several years of moving, the young couple decided that northern Michigan had everything they wanted. You might also find Cacia teaching yoga at the Yoga Roots studio or running the North Country Trail. Direct phone line: 231.344.1002. Email: cacia@landtrust.org.

Sarah Mayhew, Education Coordinator
The Education department received an infusion of enthusiasm and passion for this work when Sarah came on board in February, 2011. The granddaughter of Dana Houseworth, a well-known Michigan state park manager whose duties included Petoskey State Park, Sarah has conservation in her blood. In 2006, she received a B.S. degree in Outdoor Recreation Leadership & Management from Northern Michigan University. Since then, her experiences have taken her to places such as Hawaii and the Pacific Northwest where she has taught in a variety of education and outdoor leadership settings. “As an environmental educator I am able to expand on a traditional classroom lesson into one that will reach multiple learning styles while providing a REAL life, hands-on experience. They can see it, feel it, smell it and understand it. They are “experiencing” nature. This experience gives them a sense of adventure, confidence and accomplishment. It’s a really rewarding feeling for me to be a part of that experience.” Direct line: 231.344.1018. Email: sarah@landtrust.org.

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Mike Lynch, Preserve Stewardship Specialist
Mike first joined LTC in Summer 2012 when he  was hired for a temporary seasonal position. He moved to northern Michigan from Illinois 6 years ago after spending many summer vacations in the area, and can’t imagine living anywhere else. Mike holds a  B.S. in Fisheries and Wildlife Management from Lake Superior State University. Last summer, he quickly demonstrated his strong work ethic and ability to handle whatever was asked of him. When a staff vacancy was created later in the season, Mike was the obvious choice to come on as a full-time staff member. “It is an honor and a privilege to be a full time member of the LTC staff,” Mike said. “Working for LTC gives me the opportunity to protect what I love, but also a sense of accomplishment  that I have never encountered before, and that means the most to me!  I’m looking forward to expanding my knowledge and protecting the natural beauty that is northern Michigan.” Direct phone line: 231.344.1011; Email: mike@landtrust.org.

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Sarah Gurney, Administrative Coordinator
The Conservancy is thrilled to welcome Sarah Gurney to the LTC Team in Spring, 2013. A native Michigander, Sarah didn’t experience northern Michigan until her early 20s. She then knew this was where she wanted to be. But before permanently landing here, she fulfilled a childhood dream by dancing for Disney at Disneyland in southern California. After settling in northern Michigan for good, Sarah obtained her bachelor’s degree in Business from Lake Superior State University and worked for Irish Boat Shop in Harbor Springs for 13 years. Sarah brings strong communication, organization, and business skills to LTC as well as a familiarity with many Conservancy members and projects. Sarah is married to Pete Gurney and the couple are avid outdoor lovers. From road and mountain biking to backcountry skiing, you can find them and their English Yellow Lab, Billy, all over Michigan through all four seasons. Direct phone line: 231.344.1000; Email: gurney@landtrust.org.

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Caitlin Donnelly, Land and Stewardship Specialist

Following a six-month AmeriCorps tenure as a Stewardship Technician with LTC in 2013, Caitlin Donnelly has stayed on to help out in both the stewardship and land protection departments. After growing up in Harbor Springs, Caitlin first attended Michigan State University in the pre-vet program, later switching to the Fisheries and Wildlife program. “My greatest memory of college is my study abroad trip to Svalbard, in Arctic Norway. I spent time on an ice breaker, at approximately 80 degrees north, where I saw ice as far as the eye could see, glaciers, reindeer, sea and bird life, and of course polar bears in their natural habitat.” After graduation, Caitlin backpacked extensively in Argentina, Chile, and Peru, and then returned to northern Michigan to work and volunteer as an environmental educator and continue working at the Harbor Springs Marina. “I cannot be more grateful for this opportunity to take advantage of everything the Conservancy has to offer,” Caitlin said. “I look forward to being involved in an extremely respected and successful organization, learning from everyone on staff.” Direct phone line: 231.344.1010; Email: caitlin@landtrust.org.

 

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We are pleased to welcome Derek Shiels as the Conservancy’s new Conservation Easement Specialist. A native of Rockford, Michigan, Derek spent his childhood exploring a large parcel of wild land right near his home, prompting an early desire for a career in the outdoors. After two years of undergraduate study, Derek spent a semester in Wyoming with the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS), an experience that he described as life changing. Derek holds a B.S. in Natural Resource Management from Grand Valley State University, a Master’s Degree in Environmental Science from Taylor University, and a Master’s in Biology from Central Michigan University with an emphasis in Plant Systematics. He spent two years in Missouri working for the Missouri Department of Conservation as a cave biology technician monitoring endangered gray bats and crawling, canoeing, and rappelling into caves to document other cave life.  Last summer, he worked with the Leelanau Conservancy’s Invasive Species Team, spending a week assessing invasives at a handful of LTC preserves. Derek, his wife Adrienne, and daughter Ayla will be making their home in Petoskey. “It hasn’t taken long to see why this area is so special—it is a privilege to be able to work here and with the many private land conservationists. My family and I are excited to settle into northern Michigan.”