Prickly Pear Land Trust Board Of Directors

Nicole Anderson Board Member

With PPLT Since: 2022

Raised in the Pacific Northwest, Nicole is proud to have had the opportunity to call Central Washington home. Nicole’s journey to Montana was driven by her thirst for any type of adventure and desire to be a part of a community that values relationships and hard work. After a few years in Bozeman as a young professional, Nicole and her husband Chance settled in Helena. Of all the places she has lived, Helena is her favorite town she has ever had the pleasure of calling home. Nicole is an Architect with SMA Architecture + Design focusing on commercial design of all scales in a variety of market sectors including multifamily, civic, healthcare, and higher education. Outside the office, Nicole spends her time experimenting in the kitchen, hiking Montana’s picturesque trails with their chocolate lab Chevy, and traveling all over our beautiful country. Most recently she has taken up skiing, which has proven to be one of her biggest adventures yet.

Pam Bucy President-Elect

With PPLT Since: 2020

Pam was born and raised in Townsend, Montana. It took only a short stint of city living to convince her that fresh air and wide-open spaces were a necessary ingredient for her happiness and success. She has been incredibly fortunate to live and work only 30 miles from where she grew up, surrounded by her large family. She is an attorney by trade and has had a wide variety of legal positions in both the private sector and state government. She currently serves as the Chief Discipline Counsel for the State of Montana. When not at work, you will find her with her family, Mark, Errol, Emma and Quinn and their two dogs, Piper and Daisy, hiking, boating, and exploring Montana.

Betsy Burns Board Member

With PPLT Since: 2024

Betsy grew up fishing, skiing and hiking in Colorado. She’s called  Clancy, Montana, home for the last 30 years. She earned degrees in geology and environmental policy and management and worked for 38 years in air quality and as a Superfund project manager. She finished her career working on the East Helena smelter site, where she developed a passion for the community and land. She is excited to work with Prickly Pear Land Trust on the East Helena Greenway project. She also volunteers with the Myrna Loy, Special Olympics, and the Prickly Pear Land Trust education program. Since retirement, she’s been busy traveling, camping in her RV, hiking with her dog, Casey, and enjoying the Last Best Place.

Marly Ellis Board Member

With PPLT Since: 2023

Marly grew up in central Ohio, roaming the Hocking Hills and the shores of Lake Erie with her two younger sisters. Her career took her to Chicago and then New York City, where she spent the last two decades helping to build brands and digital businesses and traveling in relentless pursuit of nature and open spaces. Marly’s family brought her to Helena. She and her husband (a Helena native) are raising their three young boys here, and are wildly grateful to call the Prickly Pear Valley home. Marly is excited to bring her over 20 years of experience in marketing, strategy, and creative storytelling to PPLT. On weekends she is outside exploring with her kids or reading books.

Jeannie Etchart Board member

With PPLT Since: 2020

Jeannie is a fourth generation Montanan from a well-known and respected ranching family in Northeastern Montana.  She grew up in Helena and later went on to attend the University of Notre Dame, graduating with a Bachelor of Business Administration in 2006.  Following graduation, Jeannie moved to Washington, DC where she held multiple political, event-planning and fundraising positions including at The White House, United States Senate and The Prince of Wales Foundation.  In December 2015, Jeannie moved back to her dear hometown of Helena. She always knew she wanted to return to her beloved Montana and is happy to be back to her roots and a part of the wonderful and thriving community.  Jeannie recently formed her own event planning business, Etchart Events LLC, to assist the area with planning, coordinating and executing a variety of functions. She is also very involved in the community and serves on the Boards of the Helena Area Community Foundation, Carroll College Saints Athletic Association, Green Meadow Country Club, St. Peter’s Health Foundation and most recently PPLT. Jeannie enjoys many things Helena and the surrounding areas have to offer such as skiing, golfing, rafting and hiking Mount Helena and is excited to join the PPLT Board and help further their mission to help preserve the beautiful public lands we are so lucky to get to call home!

Eliza Frazer Board Secretary

With PPLT Since: 2017

Eliza first fell in love with Montana as a teenager, enchanted by the brilliant stones sparkling in the rivers (not at all like Pittsburgh’s), the unimaginable space and the smell of sagebrush. She came often to ski, fish and bird hunt, and finally moved to Helena in 1992. The move “home” to Montana was delayed by a BA at Wesleyan, an MBA at the University of Chicago, and a dozen years of desk jobs, mostly in finance. In Helena, she has been on the boards of several nonprofits including the Holter Museum and the Montana chapter of the Nature Conservancy. Eliza and her husband Barry Hood are thankful to have raised their son, Jack, in Helena. They continue to enjoy Montana’s outdoors most every day.

Tyrrell Hibbard Board Member

With PPLT Since: 2013

Tyrrell enjoyed an agricultural upbringing in a generational ranch family where work and recreation often coincided. Montana’s rich character, natural bounty, and historic working landscapes inspired Tyrrell to expand on his background and pursue conservation on a scale larger than his family’s ranch. He joined Western Sustainability Exchange where he has worked in market-based conservation through sustainable agriculture. Recently, the Helena native has begun adding value to Montana agriculture commodities by distilling fine spirits, as a proprietor of Gulch Distillers. When not ranching, distilling, or developing markets for farmers and ranchers, Tyrrell chooses to enjoy the outdoors with his wife and two young daughters, usually skiing, hunting, mountain biking, or fishing. He has every intention to preserve these opportunities for his community, his daughters, and the generations after them.

Jill Lloyd Board Treasurer

With PPLT Since: 2023

Jill Lloyd is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). The road to becoming a CPA is something she fought by exclaiming “I don’t want to wear a black suit and have people think I’m boring!” So in addition to her business classes, she enrolled in MTB101 and informed her parents she needed a mountain bike for school.

Professionally, Jill has spent her recent years working at professional associations. She has grown her expertise in nonprofit accounting, Federal grant management, human capital management, and lobbying regulations.

Jill became involved with Prickly Pear Land Trust (PPLT) when she attended a family hike hosted by PPLT. Her family of four still enjoys hikes, though 50% of the family would prefer to always be on a bike, 25% could go either way, and the remaining 25% is hiking only.

Jill is excited to join the PPLT board and share her professional knowledge, joy of community, and commitment to land conservation and accessibility for all.

Joe Schmechel Board Member

With PPLT Since: 2024

Joe comes from a long line of Montanans, with his roots in Butte. He has lived in every corner of the state, from his childhood on the mean streets of Billings to working as a lifty in Red Lodge, digging dinosaurs in Fort Peck, and leading hikes in Glacier. Joe received his B.A in History from the University of Montana and his M.S. in Environmental Engineering from Montana Tech. These days, Joe and his wife Sarah own and operate the Western and Gold Bars on Last Chance Gulch, where they make sure no Helenians go thirsty. In his free time, Joe is an avid hunter, dog walker, splitboarder, and mountain biker. Joe is passionate about open lands, wildlife management, and flowy single track.

Bill Shropshire Board Member

With PPLT Since: 2019

A life-long visitor to Helena, Bill Shropshire and his family finally became full-time residents in early 2013. Bill began his visits in 1976, first to see family, but later to explore. It became a life goal to live here. He has worked for American Chemet Corp. since he left the trading floors of the Chicago Board of Trade in 1998.  As Bill’s responsibilities at American Chemet increased, so did the frequency of his visits to Helena and East Helena. By 2013, Bill and his wife of 20 years, Audra, decided: “Hey, let’s go live there”! Bill and Audra have been PPLT supporters since their arrival, and are delighted they and their three kids, Ella, Maya, and Will, get to call Helena home. A long-time skier and cyclist, Bill’s road bike has been feeling increasingly neglected as he spends more and more time on fatter, knobbier tires. Bill is honored to serve on the board, noting he loves not only the trails and conservation efforts, but that Prickly Pear stays true to its motto of “connecting land and people.”

John Tietz Board President

With PPLT Since: 2020

John moved to Montana from Colorado in 1977 when his father accepted a job at Montana State University. After graduating from Bozeman High School and MSU, John moved to Seattle, Washington to pursue a career in environmental remediation & consulting. In 2001, John decided he needed a new adventure, and enrolled at Seattle University School of Law. After graduating in 2004, John and his wife Leah and son Bridger moved to Helena so John could join the law firm of Browning, Kaleczyc, Berry & Hoven, PC, where his practice focuses water rights, land use, and environmental law. John became involved in protecting Montana’s open lands when he joined the Heritage Lands Working Group, an ad hoc committee established by the City of Helena, Lewis and Clark County, and PPLT to make recommendations to the L&C County Commission regarding options to preserve the county’s heritage working lands. John subsequently served on the county’s Citizens Advisory Committee on Open Lands, which provides guidance to the County Commission on the funding of conservation projects under the county’s Open Lands Program. When he is not riding his bike, John can be found skiing, backpacking, canoeing, or hiking somewhere in Montana’s public open lands.

Willis Yarberry Board Member

With PPLT Since: 2023

Willis spent the last twenty-five years in conservation with stints at The Nature Conservancy, Western Rivers Conservancy, and Ecosystem Investment Partners, a mitigation banking firm. He specialized in land transactions and federal lobbying for appropriations in his years in conservation. Prior to that, he spent the first twelve years of his career in commercial real estate banking. He enjoys fly fishing, camping, bird hunting, snowboarding, and mountain biking. And with more time on his hands since his retirement in late 2021, he has gone completely bonkers over saltwater fly fishing.