“The continued existence of wildlife and wilderness is important to the quality of life of humans.”

~ Jim Fowler

Our Staff

Matt Lucia – Executive Director

Matt Lucia – Executive Director

A native of southeastern Idaho, Matt began his conservation career 16 years ago with the Idaho Department of Fish and Game. There he worked in a variety of capacities, from managing wildlife habitat on the 115,000-acre Craig Mountain Wildlife Management Area, to helping farmers and ranchers access Farm Bill programs for improving wildlife habitat on their lands.

In 2005, Matt joined Teton Regional Land Trust in Driggs, Idaho as the Land Protection Specialist. For several years, he launched and closed conservation easements on working farms and ranches along the Henry’s Fork and Teton Rivers. He promoted to Stewardship Director in 2008 where he oversaw TRLT’s easement and ecological monitoring program.

In 2013, Matt joined the Colorado Department of Natural Resources, Division of Parks and Wildlife and moved to Boulder, Colorado where he managed a state –wide conservation program for the Division. Matt had stewardship oversight of 200 conservation easements and administered a grant program which provided $10,000,000 annually to fund conservation easements and public access easements throughout the state of Colorado.

While Matt has enjoyed working with landowners and conservation throughout the west, he dreamed of coming home to southeastern Idaho. Over the years, even while far away, he has served Sagebrush Steppe as a member and volunteer. When the opportunity to become executive director arose in 2016, he took it and began applying his energy and expertise to leading and building southeastern Idaho’s local land trust.

When he’s not in the office or visiting partners, landowners or supporters, Matt spends his time with friends and his dog Darby exploring all that Idaho has to offer from floating rivers and fishing creeks to backcountry skiing and bird hunting across Idaho’s uplands.

Kelly Conde - Conservation Manager

Kelly Conde - Conservation Manager

Kelly Conde joined the Sagebrush Steppe Land Trust team in July, 2016. As the Conservation Manager, Kelly spends her time working with willing landowners and partners to conserve the lands of southeastern Idaho through conservation easements. 

Before SSLT, Kelly worked for the Stanley, Idaho based conservation group the Sawtooth Society as their Outreach and Volunteer coordinator, got a master’s degree in environmental journalism from the University of Montana, a bachelor’s degree in environmental science from Montana State University, and spent two years volunteering for the Peace Corps in Morocco.

Kelly is a native of Boise and spent most of her life exploring the open spaces of Idaho via raft, skis, and hiking boots. She is excited to now dedicate her time to protecting some of those spaces through her role with the Sagebrush Steppe Land Trust.

james bailey sagebrush land trust

James Bailey - Operations Manager

James joined the Sagebrush Steppe Land (SSLT) Trust in September 2017 after graduating from Idaho State University with an Associate Degree in Administrative Management and an Intermediate Technical Certificate in Accounting. 

James is from Pocatello and enjoys living in such a beautiful area. He spent much of his childhood camping and working on his family cattle ranch in Teton County, Idaho. James became acquainted with conservation easements when his family protected some of their land along the Teton River in 2009.

James is eager to apply his skills and education as the Operations Manager for SSLT and will be assisting with outreach, communications, accounting, and office administration.  

Babette Thorpe - Thorpe Fundraising Solutions, LLC - Development Officer

Babette Thorpe - Thorpe Fundraising Solutions, LLC - Development Officer

Babette enjoyed her time as interim executive director so much she decided, with the blessing of Board and staff, to stay on as a consultant. Babette has worked with boards, staff and volunteers to raise over $18,000,000 for conservation in Idaho and Virginia. She loves the landscape, communities and wildlife of southeastern Idaho and looks forward to continuing to help the land trust build its capacity to be an effective force for conservation in such an important place.

Our Board of Directors

John Sigler, President
Pocatello, ID

John Sigler is a westerner. And although born in Ames, Iowa in 1946, he moved to Logan, Utah with his parents and older sister in early 1947 and remained there through a Bachelor of Science degree from Utah State University College of Natural Resources and a Master’s of Science (Water Quality) degree working on Bear Lake. John then spent 3 years with the U.S. Air Force at the Air Force Armament Test Laboratory at Eglin AFB, FL and the Air Force Weapons Laboratory at Kirtland AFB, Albuquerque, NM. John completed his Ph.D. in Fisheries Biology and Management in the Cooperative Fisheries Research Unit at the University of Idaho, Moscow and returned to Logan with his growing family in 1980, working with his father in natural resources consulting.

Until 2006, John worked in environmental consulting on National Environmental Policy Act evaluations on Air Force bombing ranges in the California desert, the nuclear weapons complex at Pantex Nuclear Facility near Amarillo, TX and Los Alamos National Laboratory, New Mexico, as well as municipal water management projects on the Rio Grande. From 2006 to 2012, John was the Senior Environmental Coordinator for Pocatello, managing the newly minted Phase II National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System storm water permit.

John now enjoys hiking, cycling, motorcycling, reading and writing. He hosts “Southeast Idaho Environs,” a Channel 12 Public Access TV program exploring southeast Idaho outdoor issues.

Tom Lucia
Preston, ID

Tom Lucia grew up in a small town in Northern Vermont where he worked on a small dairy farm and fell in love with all things outdoor. His early childhood was filled hunting, fishing, hiking, swimming, skiing, and ice skating. Upon graduating from high school he attended Utah State University where he received a BA degree in wildlife management.

After graduation from Utah State University he worked two years for the BLM and then took a position with the Idaho Department of Fish and Game. His Fish and Game career took him from Idaho City, Boise, Eagle, Preston, and Pocatello, where he retired as the regional enforcement supervisor.

During his years stationed in Eastern Idaho he watched as urban sprawl started creeping into Idaho and small farms and ranches were being transformed into subdivisions. In 2004 he and a group of very dedicated friends and associates got together and formed what is now The Sagebrush Steppe Land Trust in an effort to preserve open space, wildlife habitat, and keep working farms and ranches from being lost to development. He is presently an active member of the board of directors of the land trust and is proud of what has been accomplished over the last 14 years.

Jennifer Cornell, Secretary
Pocatello, ID

Jennifer came to Pocatello in 2006 with her husband who had taken a position at Idaho State University. Moving across country from Syracuse, NY, with their two small children presented a great adventure for them. It turned out to be the best place to raise their children with all the wonderful open spaces and outdoor activities that are available. Jennifer has a bachelor’s degree in Landscape Architecture from the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY ESF) and a Master’s degree in Stream Ecology from Idaho State University (ISU). In Syracuse, Jennifer worked for the Syracuse and Onondaga County Planning Agency as an ArcGIS professional. Upon coming to Pocatello, she took a position as the lab coordinator for the Stream Ecology Center in the biology department of ISU conducting experiments and field work which led her to pursue her master’s degree. Currently, Jennifer works for the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality as a surface water analyst monitoring the waters of Idaho in order to improve water quality. Being part of the SSLT presented an appropriate venue for her to pursue conservation efforts in southeast Idaho and she looks forward to giving back to the area that has been a great source of enjoyment for her family.

Donna Lybecker
Pocatello, ID

Donna grew up in northern Colorado, and moved to Pocatello in 2007 to take a position teaching Political Science at Idaho State University. She is now a Professor of Political Science and Chair of the Political Science Department where she specializes in Environmental Politics and International Relations. Donna’s research activities focus on the impact of borders, along with environmental and agricultural issues in the Western United States and Latin America. She is involved in local projects focused on understanding the public’s values and visions for the Portneuf River. Donna loves spending time exploring outdoor Idaho and is excited to be a part of protecting the open spaces. 

Deb Mignogno: Vice President
Pocatello, ID

Deb is originally from Maryland. After high school, she joined the Air Force and became an Air Traffic Controller. Afterwards, she attended college, gaining a Bachelor’s Degree in biology, and graduate school, focusing on marine, estuarine and environmental sciences. After a series of exciting and varied jobs, she found her dream job with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as a biologist. After more than 20 years with the Fish and Wildlife Service, during which she lived and worked in a number of wonderful places (including Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and Pocatello, Idaho), Deb retired in 2006. This is Deb’s second time on the Board. She had left the Board to travel and volunteer around the world and around the United States. She is back in Pocatello now and is excited about working with the Land Trust to help us fulfill our mission. Deb loves the outdoors and especially loves wildlife and enjoys skiing, hiking, gardening, camping and anything that has to do with being outside.

Garry Ratzlaff
Pocatello, ID

Garry is an avid sportsman who is passionate about Southeastern Idaho’s open spaces. He has a B.A. Architecture, Montana State University and has actively practiced architecture for thirty years. Garry is responsible for business development, programming, construction document preparation, and on-site construction observation. When he is not working, Garry can be found hunting, biking, and enjoying all that Southeast Idaho has to offer.

 
Mark Gamblin
Pocatello, ID
 
Mark Gamblin joined our Board in 2016.  He moved to southeastern Idaho as child in 1964, graduating from Bonneville High School in 1971 and obtaining his B.S in Conservation and his M.S. in Zoology from Idaho State University.
 
Except for three years with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, Mark has spent his career studying, managing and conserving fish and wildlife in Idaho, mostly in eastern Idaho.  He’s worked for the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes and for the Idaho Department of Fish and Game.  Until he retired this past September, he served as Regional Supervisor for the Southeast Region of the Idaho Department of Fish and Game.
 
Mark brings to his board service a deep knowledge and love of place, thoughtful leadership and a calm, effective approach to problem-solving.  We’re lucky to have him on our board.  

 

Shawna Engen, Treasurer
Pocatello, ID

Shawna Engen, is the Treasurer of Sagebrush Steppe Land Trust and a member of the Board of Directors and Chair of the Finance Committee. She is currently employed as the Chief Financial Officer of NeighborWorks Pocatello and joined the staff early in 2008. Before joining the staff, Shawna served on PNHS’ Board of Directors and Executive Board of Directors. (PNHS changed its name to NeighborWorks Pocatello in 2014) Shawna has a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology and her Masters of Accountancy degree. She is a Certified Public Accountant with a Chartered Global Management Accounts (CGMA) designation from the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). She is a HUD Certified Reverse Mortgage Counselor and has her NCHEC Certification in Financial Capability. While working on her Master’s Degree, Shawna was a member and officer of the Eta Lambda chapter of Beta Alpha Psi that received a 2013 National Ethics Award sponsored by Grant Thornton. Shawna enjoys spending time outdoors and the open spaces in Idaho.

Conservation Committee Volunteers – Bray Beltran, Paul Wackenhut, Mike Larkin, Alison Wiens, Karen Rice, Sandra Thorne-Brown

Fundraising Committee Volunteers – Rebecca Hale, Beth Johnston