At MUD, we believe in the power of community, and this is the community of people that help us help you: Our Board of Directors, Staff, Key Volunteers, and Residents!
MUD Board of Directors
The MUD Board is comprised of a variety of Missoulians, with a range of experiences, knowledge, and skills. MUD’s board is a working (all volunteer) board, actively involved with site maintenance, MUD programs, events, fundraising, and marketing. We greatly appreciate the time and effort our board members contribute to MUD and its programs.
We currently have OPEN Board Positions –
Ryan Bundy grew up in Homer, Alaska. At 18, he spent a year in Philadelphia before discovering Montana, where he got a business degree from the University of Montana. Afterward he served as an Americorps tech corps volunteer for two years, teaching technology to kids in Missoula, and then he spent a number of years parsing his time between swinging a hammer (being a carpenter) swinging his axe (being a musician) and slinging code (being a web designer). He went to graduate school and received a Masters in Architecture from the University of Utah in 2012, where he nerded out as much as possible about energy efficient building performance and how architecture relates to social sustainability. He now works back in Montana for MMW Architects in Missoula. Ryan is thrilled to be a part of MUD, and wants to use his construction knowledge and history in Missoula to further MUD’s mission. If the time is right, and the moon is full, you can observe Ryan in dimly lit venues playing a banjo and slide guitar. He might even be playing one he built himself.
Kitty was raised on an island in the Puget Sound, and spent much of her youth exploring the oceans, forests and mountains of the beautiful Pacific Northwest. She took a circuitous route to further her education – she spent her days as a backcountry guide, farmer, foot traveler, baker, environmental educator and cake decorator, exploring cultures and ecosystems from the southern wilds of Patagonia to rocky coastline of northern Maine. Eventually, she found her way home to the PNW and self-designed a major of Sustainable Agriculture and Environmental Education at Huxley College in Bellingham, Washington. She moved to Missoula in 2010 and worked in water resource education until 2014, when she reoriented to once again focus on farming and connecting people with hands-on sustainable food systems. Kitty jumped at the chance to join the MUD Board in 2015, excited to share her passion for both ‘urban homesteading’ and community education to further MUD’s mission. When she is not digging in the dirt or on an adventure with her pup, Kitty may be found working with awesome GUTS girls, building something with clay or paint, or generally in pursuit of time outside.
Chris grew up in the Blue Ridge mountains of Virginia and graduated from St. Andrews University after studying music and political science. After various stints as a backcountry guide, farmer, touring musician, and director of a sustainable housing not-for-profit, he moved to Missoula in 2012 and works in affordable housing as Facilities Project Manager with Homeword. Chris joined the MUD Board in December 2013 with an eye on pursuing sustainable community on a neighborhood scale. When he’s not troubleshooting something at work, he’s troubleshooting something at his fixer-upper, or on some adventure in the backcountry involving troubleshooting something because he forgot to bring the right thing.
John Smith leads change and learning for organizations with social and environmental missions. From Minnesota to Montana, John has served the non-profit, for-profit and public sector as an educator, organizational leader, and board member. In 2016, John participated in Seth Godin’s AltMBA workshop on business development and marketing. He’s currently pursuing a Masters in Public Administration at the University of Montana to defend and improve the public and non-profit sectors.
Katie grew up among the waves and tropical forest of Honolulu, Hawaii. She brought her sunny disposition with her to the University of Oregon where she fell in love with whitewater kayaking and rock climbing. She majored in Accounting with a minor in Outdoor Recreation. Since then she has split her career with being a tax accountant and outdoor educator for NOLS and Outward Bound. She followed her husband to the mountains of Montana in 2013 and has loved putting their roots down in Missoula. Katie is excited to bring her passion for finances and empowerment to MUD. When Katie is not playing outside you will likely find her dancing…….anywhere possible!
Bio Coming Soon!
Elizabeth was born and raised in Western New York. Upon graduating from Houghton College with a Bachelor’s in Communication and Political Science, she moved to Jamaica for a year to work for a human rights/advocacy group. It was here she found her love for social justice work and community living. Elizabeth returned to New York for about two years working in broadcast communication but she wanted to pursue nonprofit jobs that made a difference. In 2010, she moved to Vermont to attend SIT Graduate Institute and spent the next two years pursuing a Masters in Social Justice in Intercultural Relations. She found a position as an AmeriCorps VISTA with Montana Legal Services Association, and in January 2013 moved to Missoula. A huge proponent of sustainable living, Elizabeth began volunteering at MUD events. Her love for Missoula made it easy to support and spread MUD’s mission. She was thrilled to join the MUD Board in September of 2014.
Aaron grew up in Missoula, Montana then headed east to study biology at Cornell University. After graduating, he spent the next several years working in various research and resource conservation jobs across the western U.S. before deciding to bring ideas of ecology and science to city planning. Studying Urban & Regional Planning at Portland State University was an immersive experience in a sustainable hotbed, so his graduate work naturally focused on applying ecological principles to urban sustainability. Aaron joined the MUD Board in 2015 to put his interest in sustainable cities and ecology background to work in the community. When not at work planning the future of transportation in Missoula, he is probably helping his wife Amy wrangle their two unruly adopted mutts or working on a new map project.
Colin grew up in Minneapolis, Minnesota and graduated from DePaul University in Chicago after studying Political Science, Non-Profit Management, and Urban Geography. He moved to Missoula in 2009 and works in affordable housing as a Licensed Property Manager with the Missoula Housing Authority. He is passionate about helping to create sustainable communities at the neighborhood, policy, and personal scales. Colin joined the MUD Board in December 2012 to strengthen his working knowledge of community and economic development while enjoying the company of great MUD folks. Colin is often plotting his next project, amassing a sprawling VHS collection in his barn, and spending time with friends exploring the outdoors.
Casey Valencia grew up in southwest Colorado where she explored the mountains and deserts of theFour Corners with her family. She graduated from Fort Lewis College with degrees in Environmental Studies and Spanish and spent a semester living in Mexico improving her language skills. After college, Casey spent a year as an AmeriCorps member with a conservation nonprofit in New Mexico before moving to Helena, Montana. In Helena she became the team leader for the Montana State Parks AmeriCorps program and spent the year leading field trips at various state parks and helping with statewide parks programs. She moved to Missoula in 2014 and her passion for national service has led her to become the AmeriCorps Coordinator for Montana Legal Services Association. In her free time Casey enjoys gardening, crafting, spying on birds, and wandering all over Missoula with her husband and two dogs.
Without the dedicated efforts of our Director, Tool Librarians, program coordinators, and VISTAs, MUD would not be able to provide you the high quality services you expect. We’d like you to recognize the following individuals, so you can help us appreciate them as much as we do.
Organizational Director (since 2015)
Ellie Costello made her way to Montana from Massachusetts via Virginia. Arriving in VA at ten, she hesitantly expected overalls, farms, and homemade bread. Instead, she discovered the sprawl of the Washington D.C. suburbs. She attended the University of Virginia , receiving her B.A. in Modern Studies in January of 2009. A week later, she packed up her car and made her way west to serve as an AmeriCorps VISTA for CASA: Advocates for Kids in Helena, MT. In 2010, she made Missoula and the mountains of the MT-ID border her home as a Trail Crew Leader for the Montana Conservation Corps. Realizing her love of outdoor physical work, she then exuberantly sought out farms and overalls.
Since 2011, Ellie has spent her warm seasons working on small-scale sustainable farms from the Bitterroot northward through the Mission valleys. To round at her childhood fears and adult dreams, her winters she was employed making bread at local bakeries. Receiving her M.S. from the University of Montana in Environmental Studies in January of 2015, Ellie studied food systems and agriculture. While obtaining her degree, she completed research for the Western Montana Growers Coop, Organic Seed Alliance, and FedCo Seeds and worked for Garden City Harvest as the PEAS Farm Caretaker. Ellie is excited to become a part of MUD’s legacy. She has been a fan of MUD since living across the street from the original Northside location in 2011. When you don’t see her working on urban sustainability education and demonstration at MUD, you might find her at a yoga studio, running between the mountains, or with her hands in the dirt growing a really good lunch.
Head Tool Librarian (since 2014)
Tool Librarian & Garden Steward (since 2016)
Jonathan has lived most of his life in Missoula. In 1987 his parents moved to the Miller Creek valley, south of Missoula and began farming the land. By the age of 3 he had started his agricultural education, growing fruits and veggies and raising chickens, ducks and turkeys, with his parents and his grandfather, a Puerto Rican immigrant, who lived with them off and on until his passing. Missoula and the surrounding rural and wild landscapes shaped many of his childhood experiences. After graduating from Sentinel High School he spent a 3 year stent in Bellingham Washington, and Vancouver BC, where he studied Applied Arts and Design. After returning to Missoula he spent the next 5 years working as a graphic designer and web developer before deciding to return to school at the University of Montana, where he enrolled in Environmental Studies, focused in environmental design and sustainable business strategies. During this period he met and married his glorious wife, Jessica, became a father (several times over), and resumed farming on the family homestead. At the same time he transitioned to landscape design and installation, spending several years working at Marchie’s Nursery and attending multiple courses in gardening, earthworks, plant breeding, propagation and seed saving, and attended his first Permaculture Design Course in 2014. Since then he has integrated many of the principles and ethics of the practice into his own gardens personally and professionally.
AmeriCorps VISTA (2017)
So many people have been a part of MUD over the years they’re almost impossible to count! Here are a few folks who have helped keep us running and still donate tons of their time to our future!
Membership Campaign Coordinator (2013), MTCC VISTA Member (2011-2013)
For three years, Ann was MUD’s keystone employee and we’ll be forever grateful for her efforts. She grew up in Columbia, Missouri, where she enjoyed horseback riding, playing and listening to music, and volunteering with a number of community organizations. Ann attended Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana where she majored in Biology and minored in Art History. She spent the fall semester of her junior year on an interdisciplinary program in Tanzania. Ann studied subjects ranging from the Ecology and Behavior of African Animals to Cultures of Tanzania, Human Demography and Sustainability, and intensive study and applied use of Kiswahili. She lived with a number of families throughout the country including Mgeta in the Uluguru Mountains and the small Maasai village of Loibersoit in Northern Tanzania. While in Mgeta she observed, worked with, and learned from local farmers as they put into practice farming techniques keyed to the problems of raising crops more sustainably on the area’s extremely steep slopes. Living with these families taught her about the complexities of conservation and the practical differences that seemingly small changes can make in enabling people to continue to live and farm on their homeland in more environmentally sustainable ways. She’s currently looking to continue her graduate level education and is still an avid supporter and volunteer for urban sustainability.
Former MUD Resident (2011-2013)
Erin spent three years as a resident of the 633 house, lovingly dubbed the “MUD Hut.” After graduating with degrees in Brain and Cognitive Sciences, Anthropology and Spanish at the University of Rochester, Erin moved to Missoula in 2011 for an AmeriCorps VISTA position at the GUTS! (Girls Using Their Strengths!) program of the YWCA. Erin is now fully employed with this non-profit and is excited to invest in the Missoula community and to continue to embrace the communal living style of MUD and its sustainable practices and mission. Born and raised in New England, the mountain views and diversity in outdoor recreation have done a good job convincing her that Montana is where it’s at! You can find her frolicking up mountainsides, bombing down powdery slopes, and cooking up massive amounts of garden-fresh veggies.
Former Education & Events Coordinator (2013)
Anna first arrived in Missoula over a decade ago, and has been happily drawn back to town after every adventure in other parts of the world. After graduating with degrees in Biology and Flute Performance she began teaching environmental education, both at camps and in the classroom. As a Peace Corps Volunteer in Paraguay she organized naturalist training courses, taught environmental education in the schools, and led groups of young adventurers through the jungles near their community. More recently she spent a year in El Salvador developing and implementing a youth volunteerism program for the Salvadoran Ministry of Education. Back at home, she has continued to develop her eclectic skill set by working with youth, organizing service learning programs, and finishing up her Master’s in Intercultural Youth and Family Development. Anna has been involved with MUD since 2009 when she re-started the Youth Education Program (YEP!), and she’s still active as a volunteer and MUD supporter.
MUD Northside was the original MUD location and is situated on three lots containing two houses, an office, a small tool library, chickens, gardens, and a large demonstration site. The residents helped us keep the houses, gardens, and chickens in good shape, and provide a stellar example of how to live sustainably in an urban environment. The site is currently for sale, so we have no current residents at this time. The MUD Board hopes to reintroduce a residency component to our mission again in the near future.