NAISMA Welcomes New Executive Director

A message from Christie Trifone Millhouse, NAISMA's new executive director, with an introduction by Kate Wilson, NAISMA board president.
a woman stands in front of emerging spring plants; the woman is white with long, blonde hair; she wears a gray blazer over a purple shirt and thick-rimmed teal glasses

On behalf of the NAISMA board, I am very happy to welcome our new Executive Director, Christie Trifone Millhouse. Christie comes to us with extensive experience in conservation and natural resource management, nonprofit leadership, and fundraising/development work. Most recently she has served as the associate director of the Jo Daviess Conservation Foundation. We are also saying farewell to our beloved Belle Bergner – we are so thankful for her leadership, innovation, and positivity over the past six years.

I would also like to take this opportunity give a BIG, BOLD, SHOUTED thank you to the board and the hiring committee for their attention, time, and effort over the past three months as we initiated and implemented the process. Christie will be starting in mid-May, and the board and staff will work closely with her to ensure a smooth transition. I am confident that NAISMA is a strong and able organization that will weather the changes and indeed, continue to grow and flourish in the future. Thank you for your continued support.

— Kate Wilson, NAISMA board president

A Message from Christie Trifone Millhouse

Greetings North American Invasive Species Management Association members and friends,

I am honored and humbled to join you as the next executive director of NAISMA. Throughout my entire career and in my personal prairie and woodland restoration projects, I have fought against invasive species through education, outreach, management strategies, and prevention. I have seen firsthand how they alter our natural world. I have also seen native spring ephemerals pop up after clearing out a tangle of invasive buckthorn and honeysuckle…There is hope. I know you see signs of a brighter future through your work, too.

I began my career in the biological world more than 20 years ago, working with the Army Corp of Engineers and Iowa-Department of Natural Resources both Parks and Fisheries divisions; a position with SWCD/NRCS/FSA/Pheasants Forever that entailed working with farmers and hunting groups in central Minnesota to implement Farm Bill programs; and the National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium. I have led initiatives on a national scale that focused on bringing people to our rivers to engage in their protection. During these projects, I worked with 40 of the top environmental NGO’s in the nation to link together water, land, and people in ways that would address conservation issues concerning the Mississippi River along its entire breadth from Lake Itasca to the Gulf.

I found my way to the Jo Daviess Conservation Foundation (JDCF) 15 years ago. This nonprofit land trust in Northwest Illinois has given me the opportunity to work with rural communities to restore and maintain habitats on a series of preserves along the bluffs and riverways of the Driftless area. Due to my experience with a diverse mix of stakeholder groups, I evolved from a biologist and director of public lands to a fundraiser in 2008. What an evolution this was! I was tasked with creating an advancement program at JDCF that would assure the growing organization had a significant revenue stream for its work and the ability to attract more substantial and diverse funding sources in the future. Through countless conversations with our leadership, many partners from varying backgrounds and organizations, and strategic directions that focused on outside-the-box solutions, this program has stabilized the organization’s financial footing and allowed it to expand its mission throughout Northwest Illinois. I am proud of my contribution to this organization and am honored to be a part of the community conservation efforts that have preserved and restored some truly spectacular natural and cultural lands for future generations to not only enjoy, but also steward.

To be a part of a movement that has the power to change lives and landscapes is why I have wholeheartedly accepted the leadership role at NAISMA. This organization is poised for incredible growth over the next several years. With an inspirational staff and board, amazing programs that will push the limits of what we already know about invasive species management, and dedicated supporters like you, we are ready to lead the way together. I think it is fitting to begin this new adventure at the same time the delicate yet resilient spring ephemerals pepper our Driftless landscape. The future is indeed bright.


Christie Trifone Millhouse

P.S. I want to hear from you. Drop me an e-mail and let me know how you are currently connected to NAISMA.

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