MUD Folks

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, and the many friends of MUD!

The MUD board is comprised 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! Email for more information!

Layne Fisher
Board President

Layne grew up in Montana, sharing time between Livingston and Missoula.  She has a bachelor’s degree in Journalism from the University of Montana, with a specialty in Radio-Television Production. Out of college, Layne focused her professional energy on work for a Missoula trial attorney. It was through the various responsibilities she had the opportunity to accept in the office, including addition to the trial team, that she found a focus on strategic communication. In her free time, she produced events for local non-profits. The combination eventually drew her to a position in Bozeman managing marketing and events for a sports-based organization. She has returned to Missoula and is thrilled to be back in such a vibrant and caring community culture, which is what lead her to an interest in joining the MUD Board of Directors. In addition to working to support the MUD Mission, Layne enjoys fishing, skiing, documentaries, golfing, playing piano and cooking.

Leidy Wagener

Leidy grew up at the foot of the Tetons in Driggs, Idaho and moved to Missoula after high school to attend the University of Montana. She received bachelor’s degrees in both Photojournalism and French Language and Literature from UM and was fortunate to spend a semester studying abroad in France to improve her language and train-travel skills. Leidy was first introduced to MUD when researching story ideas for a photojournalism project and became so passionate about MUD’s mission and community that she never left. Before becoming a board member, Leidy was an intern at MUD, helping transition to the online tool database system and working in the tool library. Leidy loves all things Missoula: dog hikes, farmers markets, river time, hoppy beers, and growing, cooking and eating local food.

Brittany Palmer

Brittany is from southern Ohio and graduated from the University of Cincinnati with degrees in Anthropology and Spanish. Over the next four years, she farmed on a small production farm in southeastern Ohio, was the Development Coordinator VISTA for an educational nonprofit farm in Reno, Nevada, and managed a fruit and nut tree nursery and homestead in the eastern Sierra outside of Nevada City, California. Brittany came to Montana in 2016 to complete an MS degree in Environmental Studies at the University of Montana. During that time, she assistant taught at the PEAS farm, was a graduate assistant for the YSEALI program, interned for CFAC, and lived at the UM FLAT. Brittany currently works at the Western Montana Growers Cooperative and is the Operations Manager for the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival that takes place each winter. Brittany enjoys growing and cooking food for friends, petting her old cat Tina, and and playing outside.

Elizabeth Weaver

Originally from the Western New York, Elizabeth moved to Missoula, site unseen, in 2013 for an AmeriCorps VISTA position with Montana Legal Services Association. A co-worker who served on MUD’s Board at the time introduced her to the organization and Elizabeth got hooked! She loves learning new skills and MUD’s Blacksmithing Workshop is one of her favorite annual events. 

No longer a VISTA, she now works as the SNAP Outreach Coordinator for the Montana Food Bank Network, where she gets to travel this great state and make food more accessible for all Montanans. A few of Elizabeth’s favorite pastimes include traveling, hunting, hiking/camping, volunteering/civic engagement, and reading a great book. She graduated from Houghton College with bachelor’s degrees in Communication and Political Science, and from SIT Graduate Institute with a Master of Arts in Social Justice in Intercultural Relations. 

DeAnna Bublitz

DeAnna grew up near the Twin Cities of Minnesota but spent many summer weeks backpacking the Superior Hiking Trail up north. School pushed her eastward, eventually completing a Ph.D. in Microbiology and Molecular Genetics in New York. After graduate school, she moved to Montana and has been here for the past eight years. DeAnna has studied infectious diseases in academic, private, and government labs with projects that have taken her to Madagascar and India as well. These days she tries to stay closer to home and is currently a Staff Scientist at the University of Montana. In addition to serving on the MUD Board, DeAnna volunteers as a facilitator for the GUTS program through the Y.W.C.A. and sits on the Open Space Advisory Committee for the city. When she’s not in the lab or volunteering DeAnna loves backpacking with her dogs, hunting, crafting, gardening, and going to concerts.

Lindsey Wallace – bio coming soon!

Without the dedicated efforts of our director, tool librarians, and communications coordinator, 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.

Casey Valencia
Executive Director

Casey Valencia grew up in southwest Colorado where she explored the mountains and deserts of the Four 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 several years working as an AmeriCorps member and then as an AmeriCorps program coordinator. After moving to Missoula in 2014, she received her Master’s Degree in Environmental Studies with a focus in Environmental Education from UM. In her free time, Casey enjoys gardening, crafting, and wandering all over Missoula with her husband, son, and two dogs.

Christian Russell
Head Tool Librarian

Christian grew up in Vermont, near the shores of Lake Champlain. He spent much of his time swimming, boating, and hiking around New England. After moving to Missoula in 1989, he graduated from the University of Montana with a liberal arts degree. In his free time, Christian enjoys hiking and camping in the Rocky Mountains with his wonderful wife (she might read this). Together they frequently travel to the Bay Area to see their adult children perform in various theater productions. Christian is marginally efficient at beekeeping and his dishwashing skills are sublime.

Jonathan Peeblson
Tool Librarian

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.

Park Hoeg
Tool Librarian

Park Hoeg was born in Missoula, Montana, and grew up in nearby Stevensville. Early exposure to computers (and the video games he could play on them, of course) led to an ongoing passion for computers and technology. In his early teens, Park built his first computer from parts salvaged from broken computers donated by family and friends. Shortly after that, he started learning computer programming, making simple video games to entertain his friends.

At MUD, Park maintains the computers and networking infrastructure. He has programmed several modifications for the software MUD uses to manage the tool library, automating certain tasks and adding new features that make your tool librarians’ lives a little easier. After learning a thing or two about small engine mechanics from fellow tool librarian Heather Graham, Park started helping maintain MUD’s fleet of mowers, trimmers, tillers, and other engines.

Jane McGuire
Communications Coordinator

Jane McGuire grew up on the central coast of California. After graduating from the University of California, Santa Cruz, she monitored seabirds on a tiny mid-Pacific island, radio-tracked wolves in Yellowstone’s Lamar Valley, cared for a flock of California condors on the Big Sur coast, and conducted songbird surveys in the Sierra Nevada. She moved to Missoula in 2017 to attend the University of Montana, where she earned her master’s degree in Environmental Studies. She and her husband enjoy playing outside with their daughter and two rambunctious dogs.

Heather Graham
Workshop Instructor

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!

Ellie Costello
Former Executive Director (2015-2018)

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 out 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. 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.

Holly Chandler
Former Board Member

Growing up in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina, Holly developed a love for the natural environment and a passion for sustainable living at an early age. Holly received a B.S. in Environmental Science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2009 and a Master’s degree in Public Administration with a focus on Environmental Policy and Management at The George Washington University in Washington, D.C. in 2013. In 2014, Holly met her husband, a Missoulian, and was easily convinced to move West. Holly moved to Missoula in the summer of 2016 and has since fallen in love with the community. Holly’s professional background and current work include communications, marketing, and organizational development, primarily in the context of promoting sustainability and protecting the environment. Holly’s main interests lie in changing social norms to encourage transitions to zero waste and alternatives to consumption-filled lifestyles.

Kevin O’Brien
AmeriCorps VISTA (2017- 2018)
Kevin grew up in an Indiana town, had good lookin’ parents who always were around. He grew up tall and he grew up right with that Indiana corn on them Indiana nights. Okay, that’s enough Tom Petty. After some time in Indiana, he went out in search of different landscapes and lenses. His spirit of adventure led him first to the mountains of New Mexico then the Appalachians. After an agonizing winter expedition west, he is now spending his nights down in the Bitterroot with his lovely girlfriend and her charismatic cat. When he’s not grinding away at the Tool Library you may find him scavenging for deals, enjoying the outdoors, or spending copious amounts of time working on his cranial capacity. But really he’ll probably be sleeping or defiantly taking steps towards being an adult. He enjoys trying to round out his corners to become a modern renaissance man and is always up for having his perspective widened.

Alexi Corbett
MTCC AmeriCorps VISTA (2018-2019)

Alexi grew up right here in Montana, spending time both in Missoula and Columbia Falls. She recently graduated from the University of Montana with a degree in Political Science and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. She has a passion for civic engagement and hopes to put that passion to good use during her VISTA service. In the future, Alexi hopes to continue her education and pursue a career in law.
In her spare time, you can often find Alexi outside playing soccer, tennis, folfing on Blue Mountain, or lazily floating the river. She also loves being creative in the kitchen and binge-watching crime dramas. Alexi is excited to learn more about the Missoula community and sustainable living practices during her service term here at MUD.

Jain Walsh

Jain is a local attorney in private practice and is passionate about providing underserved and marginalized members of our community with access to justice. She grew up in the Flathead Valley and received a B.A. in History, then a Juris Doctorate at the University of Montana. Jain also volunteers with the Missoula Family Law Self-Help Center, and the Western Montana Bar’s pro bono clinic, and in her free time she enjoys music, hands-on projects, learning new things, dancing and making mixed tapes. Jain believes in MUD’s commitment to social, economic and environmental justice and values being involved in building a healthy, sustainable future.

Aaron Wilson

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.