Staff

Ellen Kazary - Executive Director

Ellen joined the wonderful team at Great Land Trust in August 2016 as the Executive Director. She brings 20 years of non-profit experience, including serving in a leadership role for the past decade where her responsibilities included strategic planning, fiscal management, and building and leading productive teams who completed large-scale, complex projects in remote areas.

Ellen grew up in Western Maryland working with her family’s businesses – remodeling centuries-old houses and running a country inn, restaurant, greenhouse, and law practice.  After graduating with a degree in Geology & Environmental Studies from Oberlin College, Ellen spent several years working in environmental policy and teaching science before moving to Alaska. She spent a decade with the Rural Alaska Community Action Program (RurAL CAP), working in partnership with tribes statewide on a broad range of environmental and energy conservation programs which received state and national awards for innovation and excellence. Ellen then served as RurAL CAP’s Development Director for four years, successfully securing millions annually to support the organization’s diverse work statewide.

She is a dedicated year round bike commuter, passionate gardener, and enjoys painting watercolors as well as spending time at the cabin that she and her partner Chris built near Montana Creek. Ellen and Chris can often be found on Alaska’s trails with their dogs Tucker and Finley.

ellen@greatlandtrust.org

Kim Sollien - Mat-Su Program Director

In 1999, after reading the Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight, by Tom Hartmann, Kim decided to quit her job as a social worker, sell everything she owned and move to Alaska to work toward living a more sustainable life. She landed in Palmer, found a wonderful community who shared similar values and got involved in the local food movement. Prior to joining GLT, Kim worked for Chickaloon Native Village as their Director of Health and Social Services and as Sustainable Foods Coordinator where she helped to start their Elder Lunch program and managed two community gardens.

As the Mat-Su Program Director, Kim works with communities, local governments and private families to identify and protect open lands that benefit the whole community.  Kim’s diverse skills and interests have allowed her to lead acquisition projects like the Butte Summit and build new trail systems in Palmer Hay Flats Refuge. Through community outreach efforts blending science based GIS resources with storytelling Kim has found a way to help residents see land conservation as the solution to maintaining the Alaskan outdoor lifestyle. This approach, along with her ability to build effective partnerships has led to the conservation of over 8,000 acres of land in the Mat-Su Valley since 2009.

Kim has served on Mat-Su Basin Salmon Habitat Partnership Steering Committee, Mat-Su 2050 committee, the Mat-Su Borough Parks, Recreation and Trails Board, and is currently Vice President of Fishhook Community Council. Kim holds a Masters of Arts from Alaska Pacific University in Sustainable Community Design and has Bachelors degree in Social Work from University of Southern Maine.

ksollien@greatlandtrust.org

Dave Mitchell, MESc - Conservation Director

Dave graduated with a BA in geography from the University of Colorado and received his Masters in Environmental Science from Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies where he focused on land conservation and land management and was awarded a Doris Duke Conservation Fellowship. Before joining the Great Land Trust he worked for four years as a wildlife biologist for the USGS researching beaver declines in the Rocky Mountains. Since 2002, Dave has taught college field studies programs for the Wrangell Mountains Center in McCarthy, AK where classes are taught in the backcountry on multi-week expeditions among the glaciers, alpine tundra, and boreal forests of Wrangell-St. Elias National Park.

Dave joined Great Land Trust in 2005 and works as the Conservation Director. Dave is responsible for managing GLT’s conservation program which consists of conservation planning, land acquisition, conservation easements, and land stewardship. He works closely with landowners and partnering organizations to coordinate GLT’s conservation efforts. Dave is also responsible for GLT’s wetland mitigation program which directs funds towards critical wetland conservation projects in Southcentral Alaska.

dmitchell@greatlandtrust.org

Austin Quinn-Davidson - Legal Affairs & Land Transactions Director

Austin graduated with a degree in Environmental Studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and earned her law degree at the University of California, Davis. She has practiced land use and environmental law in a number of settings, including a private firm where she advised clients regarding the development of renewable energy projects and as in-house counsel for the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, a bi-state regulatory body. She also worked for the White House, where she conducted research on urban sprawl. Before moving to Alaska, Austin served on the California Bar Association’s Environmental Legislation Committee and the California Environmental Law and Policy Center’s Advisory Board.

Austin was raised in a remote timber town in Northern California surrounded by national forest, making Alaska a natural fit. After moving to Alaska, Austin clerked in federal court and worked for The Nature Conservancy. She joined GLT’s staff in 2013. She enjoys working with landowners and other partners on diverse projects throughout GLT’s service area. Austin loves exploring new places and has lived in Mexico, England, and Japan. Instagram: @akaqd

austin@greatlandtrust.org

Amanda Hults - Lands Manager

Amanda grew up loving the outdoors, which led her to a career in land management. This passion led to a degree in Natural Resource Management from the University of Alaska Fairbanks. She has worked as a backcountry ranger, trail crew member, wildlife manager, natural resource specialist, and outdoor recreation and land use planner with the US Army Corps of Engineers, National Park Service, and Alaska Department of Natural Resources. Her journey has taken her from the southeast, through southwest parks, and then north to The Last Frontier.

Amanda joined the team as the Lands Manager in July 2014. She is responsible for monitoring and stewarding GLT lands, mapping, and providing support for GLT’s conservation efforts throughout Southcentral Alaska.

When not in the office, Amanda enjoys exploring the natural world via skiing, hiking, biking, kayaking, and rafting. She also enjoys arts and crafts to get through the dark days of fall and winter. Instagram: @strangerranger

aphults@greatlandtrust.org

Matt McMillan - Stewardship Coordinator

Matt came to Alaska in 2013 after spending a few years on a small island in the Caribbean doing public health and wildlife research at a veterinary school. He grew up in Colorado spending as much time exploring mountains and canyons where he got his B.S. in Landscape Architecture at Colorado State University. Matt recently received his M.S. in Environmental Science from Alaska Pacific University where his thesis focused on climatic and land use effects on water quality in lakes in the Matanuska-Susitna Valley. While in graduate school Matt worked for a consulting firm doing everything from wetland restoration and permitting, trail design, and leading GIS projects.

Matt joined GLT in the spring of 2016 as the Stewardship Coordinator and is responsible for monitoring and stewarding GLT lands, mapping, and outreach and communications about the unique habitats and characteristics of GLT lands in Southcentral Alaska.

When Matt is not working he can be found hiking with his wife Ashley and their son Burke, riding his bike on the many Southcentral Alaskan trails, skiing, fishing, kayaking, working in his greenhouse, or tending to his chickens. Instagram: @mateo_mcmillan

matt@greatlandtrust.org

Libby Kugel - Grants Administrator & Office Manager

Libby grew up in Anchorage, leaving after high school for Maine, where she received a degree in Environmental Science at Colby College. Since graduating, she has taught science in the mountains of Southern California, moved back to Anchorage, and worked as the Program Assistant at the Anchorage Park Foundation. Libby loves cross-country skiing on the Coastal Trail in the winter, hiking in the Chugach in the summer, and riding her bike year-round on any trails she can find. Instagram: @libbychanga

lkugel@greatlandtrust.org

Katya Koteff - Accountant

Katya grew up in south-east Russia, in fun and dynamic port city Vladivostok. She visited Alaska in 2006. What was to be a summer trip turned into a lifelong adventure. She graduated with MBA in Finance from Russian Far East Fisheries University and B.A. in Accounting from University of Alaska, Anchorage. She worked as an auditor for Mikunda, Cottrell, and Co, CPAs, Inc (now BDO LLP) for four years before opening her own practice in 2012.

Katya focuses her business on serving non-profit groups and small businesses. She admires the great work her clients do to preserve our beautiful state and to support, strengthen, and educate the community. Katya has been with GLT since 2012 as their contract Accountant and is proud to be part of the team.

As an Alaska lover, Katya spends her free time outdoors. You can often find her ice-skating at Westchester lagoon, skiing Hilltop trails, or putting new sledding routes along the Powerline Pass. No summer goes without kayaking at Resurrection Bay, hiking and biking local trails.

Katya@koteffgroup.com

Dexter (Dex) - Ambassador of Goodwill

Dexter relocated from a remote Yukon River village to Anchorage three years ago and hasn’t looked back. He has a tremendous appreciation for the outdoors, and is committed to a thoughtful trail access plan so he (and others!) can enjoy and experience the great landscapes he loves to play in and explore. He brings excellent people skills to his new role with GLT and especially loves collaborating with a wide range of stakeholders and agencies to conserve and protect what he considers his playground. Dexter grew up thriving on the mighty Yukon king salmon and wants to see salmon habitat in Alaska protected, so future generations of dogs can continue to be sustained by Alaska’s state fish.

When not in the office, Dex loves to play fetch, play tug-o-war, chew on bones, and chase birds. Instagram: dexterakdog

Talkeetna (Keetna) - Chief Fun Officer

Keetna is new to urban life, but is quickly discovering the joys of being able to “Live, Work, and Play” in Alaska’s biggest city. He loves exploring the vast outdoor playground that is his backyard, and adventure of all kinds, from skating at Westchester Lagoon to leading the charge up and down a snowy mountain. His favorite thing in the world (besides food of course!) is skiiing.

As Chief Fun Officer, Keetna is responsible for ensuring work-life balance at the office: making time for sunny mid-day walks as well as sunny mid-day naps, and also getting out into the field to remember why we do the work we do.

Rhubarb (Ruby) - Queen of Pathways to the Chugach

Old Man Ding, Ghani, and a girl named Merle - Explorers of the Mat-Su

Though full of hugs and kisses, these rescued-from-the-pound hooligans are much too wild to spend their days in the Mat-Su office. They prefer couch time, rides in the car, and mountain runs.

Lucy - Lead Toy Destroyer