Photo: Black-bellied Plover
"A large shorebird of coastal beaches, the Black-bellied Plover is striking in its black-and-white breeding plumage." Learn more about this and other birds at The Cornell Lab of Ornithology All About Birds website. Photo courtesy of Tom Grey.
The Playa Lakes Joint Venture (PLJV) benefits from a staff with a wide range of professional experience, including non-profit management, bird conservation science, Geographic Information Systems, policy and strategic marketing and communications. The staff has also worked with a diverse set of organizations, from state and federal wildlife agencies and non-profit groups to Silicon Valley high-tech companies.
Anne Bartuszevige, Conservation Science Director
Anne joined the PLJV in 2008 as Conservation Science Director and brings a wealth of experience focused on grassland ecosystems, avian science and private lands conservation. Anne most recently worked at Oregon State University’s Eastern Oregon Agricultural Research Center in Union, Oregon. There, she studied the change in territory occupancy of Red-tailed, Ferruginous and Swainson’s hawks on a northeast bunchgrass prairie known as the Zumwalt. Anne earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from Hope College in Holland, MI and a master’s degree in biological sciences with a conservation biology emphasis from Illinois State University (ISU). While at ISU she studied pesticide contamination in grassland songbirds in Illinois. After completing her master’s degree, Anne attended Miami University in Ohio and received a Ph.D. in botany in 2004. During her Ph.D., she studied the spread of an invasive shrub to new forest fragments. Anne also has extensive experience working with PLJV partner organizations such as the USDA Forest Service, USDA Farm Service Agency and USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service and The Nature Conservancy.
Mike Carter, Joint Venture Coordinator
Mike brings to the PLJV 20 years of experience in the bird conservation field. He joined the Joint Venture in May 2001 after serving as executive director of the Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory, a non-profit organization he founded in 1988. The Observatory, formerly named the Colorado Bird Observatory, employs more than 20 full-time staff members specializing in conservation-based research and public education about Rocky Mountain and Great Plains birds. Mike also served in the Peace Corps from 1985-1986 in Liberia, West Africa. While in Liberia, he worked as a biologist and conducted bird inventories of a newly formed Liberian national park on a grant from the World Wildlife Fund. He has twice returned to Liberia with teams from the American Museum of Natural History on grants from the National Geographic Society to continue work on documenting birds of that country. Mike received his master's degree in zoology in 1984 from Oklahoma State University where he studied wintering Northern Harriers and Red-tailed Hawks on a tall grass prairie in Oklahoma. He has given more than 80 presentations at technical meetings and contributed to mainstream publications such as Birding and Bird Conservation and technical publications such as The Auk,Audubon Field Notes and Bulletin of the British Ornithologists' Club, as well as proceedings, transactions and chapters in books.
Barth Crouch, Conservation Policy Director
Barth brings 37 years of bird conservation experience and working directly with landowners to his role as Conservation Policy Director for Playa Lakes Joint Venture (PLJV). After serving on the PLJV Board of Directors from 1997 through 2008, he joined the staff in May 2008. Prior to that, he was a regional wildlife biologist for Pheasants Forever, Inc. (PF) for 18 years. While there, Barth worked with volunteers and natural resources agencies in Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas. From 1975 to 1990, Barth worked as a conservation officer and an assistant regional supervisor for the South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks. He graduated from the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology with a bachelor's degree in geological engineering in 1970. After graduation, he joined the U.S. Air Force, successfully attended their Officer Training School (distinguished graduate), and served as a missile launch officer until 1973. He went on to earn a bachelor's degree in wildlife and fisheries sciences from South Dakota State University in 1975. During his career in wildlife conservation, he helped start the Kansas Association for Wetlands and Streams, a non-profit devoted to conserving, restoring and protecting the wetlands and riparian areas of Kansas. He was also recognized by the Environmental Law Institute in 2005 as their National Wetlands Award Co-Winner in the Wetland Community Leader category.
Alex Daniels, Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Director
Alex joined PLJV in 2012 with a broad range of experience using GIS in natural resources. Most recently Alex worked at Colorado State University in the department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture where he applied GIS to investigate water conservation, plant physiology, and global climate models. Prior to that, he earned a master’s degree in Forest Sciences with a specialty in GIS at Colorado State University. Alex also has a background in wildlife biology. As a post-graduate researcher for the University of California at Davis, he studied the effects of stress on native salmon populations in California’s Sacramento/San Joaquin delta. He earned a B.S. in Wildlife, Fish, and Conservation Biology from the University of California at Davis in 2003.
Linda Foster, Business Manager
Linda has more than 18 years of office and business management experience. She has worked with Air Force defense contractors at military installations and brings more than seven years of non-profit experience with Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory. As a technical field coordinator, her 8 ½ year tenure at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada included working with McDonnell Douglas Corporation, the BDM Corporation on the Multinational Operational Test and Evaluation of the F-16 fighter jet, and Cubic Corporation on the Air Combat Maneuvering Instrumentation System used for simulated air combat. Linda received a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration with an emphasis in management from the University of Denver. As a volunteer, she has worked as an accounting technician with the City of Thornton and taught English as a Second Language (ESL) in Northglenn, Colorado. Linda joined PLJV in April of 2007.
Bob McCready, Deputy Coordinator
Bob has been involved with conservation for the past 20 years and has managed large-scale projects across the Great Plains of North America, Mexico, Chile and Mongolia. After 13 years with The Nature Conservancy, and serving on the PLJV board for eight years, Bob joined the PLJV team in August 2010. While with The Nature Conservancy, he held several positions including the Director of the Northeast Mexico Program, Director of Prairie Wings, Director of Conservation for the Migratory Bird Program, and Director of the Great Plains Initiative. He also served as a board member for the Prairie Potholes and Northern Great Plains Joint Ventures. As well as extensive program management experience, Bob has been closely involved in developing conservation partnerships among state and federal agencies, non-governmental organizations, public agencies, landowner groups and academic institutions. Bob received his undergraduate degrees in Environmental Studies and Political Science from the University of Montana and his Master’s degree from the School of Marine and Environmental Affairs at the University of Washington.
Christopher Rustay, Conservation Delivery Leader
Christopher joined the PLJV in January 2003 and currently serves as the Conservation Delivery Leader. He started working for the JV as the Shortgrass Prairie Bird Conservation Region coordinator, a role he also served prior to joining the PLJV staff. Previous roles have included the New Mexico Partners in Flight coordinator from 1999 to 2002, where he compiled and wrote the first New Mexico Flight Plan and developed partnerships and habitat projects throughout the state including North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) proposals, one of which became the first Standard NAWCA Grant awarded in the state. While in New Mexico, he has also worked for Hawks Aloft as their songbird coordinator, organizing bird surveys for agencies such as the USDA Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management. Christopher has mapped nesting raptors and conducted raptor counts at potential wind power generation sites in Texas. He has conducted more than 50 USGS Breeding Bird Surveys in New Mexico since 1988. His prior professional experience has been in the arts grants management and social service fields. Christopher has been involved with Audubon New Mexico since 1986. He has served as a member of the New Mexico Bird Records Committee and on the board of the New Mexico Ornithological Society. He earned a degree in psychology from Oberlin College in 1982.
Misti Vazquez, Communication Director
Misti has 22 years experience developing and managing marketing communication campaigns—including direct mail, radio, video, websites, and social media—for a wide variety of healthcare and non-profit organizations. Most recently she worked as a consultant in the healthcare industry, providing communication services for many California hospitals, healthcare systems and physician groups, as well as Blue Cross of California and the Los Angeles County Department of Health. Misti received her Bachelor of Science degree in business administration with a concentration in marketing from Walla Walla University in 1991.