MBHI Staff

Photo of volunteer board member, Stacy Carr-Poole.

Stacy Carr-Poole

Operations Director

Stacy has always loved connecting with nature! This led to a 30-year career in environmental education, including as the Executive Director of Bucks County Audubon Society near Philadelphia. With a graduate degree in non-profit management, Stacy loves working with small non-profits and helping them be their best. In 2021, Stacy and her family relocated to Missoula and they are loving being so close to nature. They can often be found exploring the many natural areas in the region. Stacy is excited to reconnect with her passion for nature and education by joining the MBHI.

Photo of staff member, Miriam Bayer, holding a praying mantis.

Miriam Bayer

Lead Animal Keeper

Originally from the deep south, Miriam moved to Missoula in 2012 to complete a Masters of Science in Wildlife Biology from the University of Montana. When not creating artificial streams in the woods of New Hampshire, Miriam spent a good deal of her masters teaching—first as a TA and then as an intern with the Clark Fork Watershed Education Program. After graduation, she continued to combine her love of science, the outdoors, and education through her teaching roles at the Montana Natural History Center and as the sole proprietor of her own tutoring company. Miriam is excited to support the Missoula Butterfly House and Insectarium’s mission through her role as Lead Animal Keeper where she does everything from feeding millipedes to identifying insect samples and researching the needs of tropical beetles. In addition to arthropods, Miriam fills her life with board games, weaving, and spoiling her two cats.

Photo of MBHI team member, Shelby Fisher.

Shelby Fisher

Administrative Coordinator

Shelby grew up in the small town of Ronan, Montana. She made Missoula her home in 2010 where she attended the University of Montana and studied History and Political Science. Shelby enjoys Missoula's close-knit community. In her spare time, you can find her kayaking, volunteering, or baking something new. A “Bugs and Brews” event sparked Shelby's fascination with Missoula’s Insectarium. It was here that she developed a newfound interest in spiders. She is enthusiastic about expanding her knowledge of entomology while providing support to the dedicated team at the Missoula Butterfly House and Insectarium's new location.

Photo of Andie with a blue morpho butterfly resting on her forhead.

Andie Hernandez

Live Collections Assistant

Hailing from Stana Cruz, California, Andie first discovered her passion for all things buggy while earning her AS in Horticulture at Cabrillo College. During a pest management class, she was captivated by the insects found under the lense of her microscope and the identification process, and went on to earn her BS in Entomology from UC Davis. In 2020, Andie moved to Montana to be closer to family and like all of us, fell in love with the mountains, making her home in the Bitterroot Valley. An avid gardener, with over 30 years in the field of horticulture and expertise in purning, organic farming, landscape design, and so much more, she's found her happy place with her fellow bug and plant nerds at MBHI where her wicked sense of humor, award-winning personality, and joy of sharing knowledge is a perfect fit!

Photo of MBHI team member, Madeline, with an Australian walking stick on her sweater.

Madeline Kleeman

Museum Interpreter

Going against the grain since childhood, Madeline has always been intrigued by the things that perplexed those around her. Though she was born in Chicago, Madeline had a geographically expansive childhood, growing and learning alongside her family in three different countries. These experiences have foraged a curiosity that defines her life, one where her fears have turned into her passions and the unknowns into explorations. That very same curiosity is ultimately what led her to attend UMT for her undergraduate degree, where she worked closely with invertebrates as well as the University’s Zoological Museum. There, Madeline quickly fell in love with the opportunities and the growth that museums have to offer to those who engage with them (shout out UMZM!). After having spent the last two years back in Chicago working as an educational taxidermist for the Chicago Academy of Sciences, finding her place within the Missoula Butterfly House and Insectarium has become a dream come true. Though she will always carry the Midwesterner in her heart, Madeline is so eager to call Missoula home again.

Photo of Kate in front of the Bugzoola Gift Shop holding a stuffed toy tarantula.

Kate Likvan

Gift Shop Manager

A 40+ years resident of Missoula, Kate moved here from her home in Chicago. As a child, she always wanted to play "store" with her friends and have a shop of her own when she grew up. Her love of retail grew as she worked at Pier One Imports, Lord & Taylor, TJMaxx, Missoula Art Museum gift shop and as a vendor in Target & Walmart. After visiting the Botanical Gardens in Chicago, she wanted to manage a gift shop as wonderful as theirs. Luckily the Butterfly House opened in Missoula! Kate's worked in a varied retail capacities from sales clerk, stock and merchandising to product development, management and online fulfillment. One of her favorite parts of retail, though, is working with customers of all ages who visit locally and from all over the world. When Kate is not behind the counter, she has a graphic design business which satisfies her art background. She loves to cook and build puzzles for relaxation, plus she's in the process of learning to become a Master Gardener. She invites you to stop in the shop when you visit the Butterfly House to buy a memento of your experience here or a gift for someone you want to share your experience with!

Photo of Jen Marangelo, Executive Director, with a Australian Walking Stick Insect on her shoulder.

Jen Marangelo

Executive Director

Jen moved to Missoula, MT to return to school and earn a degree in Wildlife Biology. Turns out, she ended up studying wildlife that was smaller than she anticipated — insects. Her work in a research lab studying dung beetles led to involvement in school presentations and other educational programs. Stemming from a desire to combine her passions for natural history, science education and entomology, the idea for the Missoula Butterfly House and Insectarium was born. Jen returned to school to get a Master’s degree in Museum Exhibit Design and Curriculum Development. Since graduating, she launched the Missoula Butterfly House and Insectarium and serves as the President of the Board of Directors. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her husband Glenn, black lab Mono, cat Hemi…and a growing array of invertebrate pets.

Photo of Development & Community Relations Director, Glenn Marangelo holding a Chilean Rose Haired Tarantula Rosie.

Glenn Marangelo

Development & Community Relations Director

Originally from NJ, Glenn has called Missoula, MT home since 1995. He has worked as a non-profit fundraiser ever since moving to Missoula, having worked with Five Valleys Land Trust and Wilderness Watch, among other positions. In 2009 he helped found the Missoula Butterfly House and Insectarium and in mid 2016 became the organization’s first Development Director. In addition to fundraising, Glenn makes insect-filled visits on Montana Public Radio’s Pea Green Boat, contributes to our What’s Buzzin’ reports, writes our Bug Bytes podcast, and loves to “talk bugs”. In his spare time, he enjoys hiking, fishing, hunting, birding …and of course, observing and learning about insects.

Photo of MBHI employee, Morgan McNeill, smiling at the camera while holding the tarantula, Rosie.

Morgan McNeill

Marketing & Events Coordinator

A 6th generation Montanan from Plains, Morgan attended the University of Montana and received a B.A. in Elementary Education. With over 15 years of marketing and graphic design experience, she is a dedicated, driven professional who is passionate about education and providing digital content of value. Morgan’s love for the ‘Little Things That Run the World’ began early in the vegetable garden playing with wolf spiders. Her mother fostered a passion for learning about insects, encouraging her to observe, identify, and research first before passing judgment on the smallest of creatures. Fascinated by arachnids, she enjoys studying local populations around her home in Lolo and always looks forward to visits with Pink, Rosie, and the other tarantulas and spiders of the Missoula Butterfly House & Insectarium.

Hallee Olsen

Museum Assistant

Hallee is originally from Seattle, Washington, and moved to Missoula in 2019 to attend the University of Montana. She graduated in May 2023 with a bachelor's degree in Wildlife Biology and Climate Change Studies minor. She has always enjoyed the little things in life. When she was a young child, she created a strict rule in her household that any bugs found in the house were not to be killed, but instead had to be gently removed and put outside. When she started volunteering at the Missoula Butterfly House in 2021 her passion for arthropods only grew. She is more than excited to be officially part of the team. On her off days, you can find her enjoying the great outdoors; camping, rafting, ice skating, hiking, or bird watching. Other than that, she enjoys cuddling up inside watching movies, or reading a good book.

Photo of Lead Animal Keeper, Brenna Shea, holding Milton our Giant African Millipede.

Brenna Shea

Interpretive Writer & Educator

Brenna is a western Washington transplant who moved to Missoula in 2013. Growing up in a rural part of the Pacific Northwest fostered a lifetime love and fascination of the natural world, and led to many outdoor pursuits as an adult. After finishing her stint with the Montana Conservation Corps, Brenna decided to (finally) finish the bachelor's degree she started nearly ten years prior. She graduated from UM with a Bachelor of Science in biology, with a concentration in organismal biology and ecology. Brenna has been involved with the Missoula Butterfly House and Insectarium since 2017, and continues to explore her interest in arthropods through ongoing community science programs. When she’s not wrangling bugs, Brenna spends her time working on a myriad of unfinished art projects, cozying up to a good horror flick, or exploring outside with her husband Collin and their absolute nut of a cattle dog, Rocko.

Photo of MBHI team member, Ashley, holding a large beetle in her hands.

Ashley Sinclair

Admissions Associate

Ashley was born in Billings, MT but was raised in Bozeman, Montana for most of her life. She has gained a lot of her knowledge and experiences not only growing up in Montana’s beautiful habitats, but also through volunteering and work with organizations and businesses such as Big Boys Toys Outdoor Equipment Rental, the National Parks Conservation Association, Montana Cooperative Wildlife Research Unit, and more! Her passions for the outdoors, science, and education led her to pursue a BS in Wildlife Biology and certificate in Global Leadership at the University of Montana, which she received in the spring of 2021. While living in Missoula, she has been involved with Missoula’s youth and the community, educating them about wildlife through MBHI, MNHC, as well as the Boys and Girls Club of Missoula County. When she is not at MBHI, you can find her playing ultimate frisbee here in Missoula, otherwise she enjoys snowshoeing, snowmobiling, backpacking, river floating, hiking, gardening, crafting, watching tv/movies, and cooking. She is so excited to help the Missoula community through MBHI and continue learning how to be a natural steward.

Photo of Museum Educator, Carolyn Taber, with a Walking Stick Insect on her shoulder.

Carolyn Taber

Museum Educator

Originally from the East Coast, Carolyn studied documentary filmmaking at Ithaca College’s Park School of Communications, graduating in 2008. The call of the mountains inspired her move to Colorado shortly thereafter. In Boulder, Colorado for 6 years, Carolyn co-founded Earth Explorers, a STEM education nonprofit that connects student filmmakers with working scientists in their community. Seeking a new challenge, and looking to reconnect with family in Missoula, Carolyn switched gears and joined the Missoula Butterfly House and Insectarium team to focus on developing and facilitating a wide range of informal learning experiences for kids and bug lovers of all ages. Carolyn has a passion for fostering curiosity and loves answering all of the great questions that come her way. She is currently working towards her Masters in Museum Studies from the Harvard Extension School to further hone her skills as a museum educator.

Photo of Lead Horticulturalist, Rob Taylor, with a large atlas moth resting on his shirt.

Rob Taylor

Lead Horticulturist

In 4th grade, Rob gave a class presentation on carnivorous plants that sealed the deal on his passion for the plant kingdom, and in doing so, completely crushed dinosaurs as being the coolest things ever. Step aside Triceratops. In his adult form, Rob has traveled from pole to pole exploring Life’s green things. While working for the United States Antarctic Program, he grew veggies in Antarctica for scientific research stations, and studied on a prototype growth chamber for NASA’s Mars Mission located at the South Pole. On the other end of the planet, he was sacrificially mauled by mosquitoes in Alaska while participating in an Arctic plant census. Now, Rob spends time loving up on his elderly dogs with whom he practices the art of reduced speed hiking. He also aspires to have Missoula’s best collection of totally ugly irises. Only the ugly ones.

MBHI Volunteer Board Members

Photo of Board Vice-President, Lisa Verlanic-Fowler.

Lisa Verlanic-Fowler

President

Anaconda native Lisa Verlanic has been teaching T-1 and 1st grade at Florence Carlton School since 1994. Lisa was inspired by friend and colleague Byron Weber to protect the environment and to share our natural world with her students. As a participant in the ECOS program at the University of Montana, Lisa was instrumental in the Florence Carlton Outdoor Classroom’s certification as a Schoolyard Habitat by the National Wildlife Federation. The children in Ms. Verlanic’s room can watch the intricate movements of Rosie the tarantula and love to feed crickets to Lizzy, the bearded dragon. In addition to serving on various committees at school, Lisa enjoys spending time with family and friends, practicing yoga and traveling.

Kathryn Herman

Vice President

Having grown up surrounded by the beautiful lakes and seasons of Wisconsin, Kathryn developed a deep appreciation for the outdoors. In the summers, she cultivated a love for insects while gardening with her neighbor, a professor emeritus of entomology, who also shared his antique collection of butterflies. Kathryn graduated from Colorado College with a Bachelor of Science in biology. She has worked in data and analytics for a risk, retirement and health consulting firm since 2012. After moving to Missoula in 2017, she became involved with the MBHI as a volunteer. She is dedicated to sharing the essential role that insects play in our natural world. If she’s not out hiking with her giant pup Jenkins, she’s probably taking a new art class, learning how to fly fish, or spending time with family and friends.

Nicole Toone

Treasurer

Born in Seoul, South Korea, Nicole was one of seven adopted children by a Montana couple. Her family moved to Missoula when she was twelve and she’s lived under the Big Sky ever since, even receiving her bachelor’s degree in Business Finance from the University of Montana. Nicole is currently a commercial lender at First Security Bank, and has been employed there for over 16 years. She is the mother of two, an avid runner, and loves to be outdoors.

Mike Carter

Secretary

Born and raised in central Illinois; since childhood Mike has always been interested in the outdoors. After graduating from high school he went on to attend Eastern Illinois University receiving his BS in Zoology and MS in Fish & Wildlife Management. Mike worked for the Illinois Department of Conservation for 12 years starting as a district wildlife manager and spending 10 years as regional fish and wildlife administrator.

His interest in wildlife and natural resources led him to a field position with the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. He spent 14 years with RMEF holding senior level positions as National Director of Field Operations and Southwest Regional Vice President. Mike’s love of wildlife allowed him to serve as Executive Director of ZooMontana and Botanical Gardens in Billings, MT and CEO of the Tucson Zoological Society in Tucson, AZ. and Tribal Deputy Manager of the National Bison Range in Moeise, MT. After 30 years of combined natural resource management and senior level nonprofit experience, Mike is retired and enjoys his grandchildren and his hobby of collecting Hostas!

Photo of Board President, Marcy Allen.

Marcy Allen

Board Member

Marcy Allen planted her roots in Missoula in 1991. With a background in economic development and entrepreneurship, Marcy brought strategic insight to businesses and non-profits, aiding in their growth and expansion. Prior to her current role, she served as the Executive Director of an economic development organization, where she facilitated funding and conducted market research to support business advancement.

Marcy's fascination with insects started during her youth, nurturing monarch caterpillars in restuarant size mayonnaise jars into magnificent butterflies. Beyond her professional pursuits, she finds solace in outdoor adventures, skiing, biking, and sharing recreational moments with her partner and their two sons. She loves the curiosity that the Missoula Butterfly House and Insectarium inspires in its visitors. As the Executive Director of the Missoula Community Foundation, Marcy continues to channel her passion for community development and innovation, driving positive change throughout the region.

Douglas J. Emlen

Board Member

Douglas J. Emlen studied at Cornell University (B.A. 1989), Princeton University (Ph. D. 1994), and Duke University (Postdoctoral Research Fellow 1994-1997), before joining the faculty at the University of Montana where he is a full professor and recently served as director of Ecology and Evolution, one of UM’s three “Programs of National Distinction.” He is the first scholar from any Montana institution to be elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2016) and was the first Montanan to receive the U.S. Presidential Early Career Award in Science and Engineering (2002). In 2014 he was awarded UM’s Distinguished Teaching Award, and in 2015 the Carnegie/CASE Professor of the Year Award for the State of Montana. His book Animal Weapons: The Evolution of Battle (Henry Holt, 2014) won the Phi Beta Kappa science book of the year award in 2015, and his textbook Evolution: Making Sense of Life (co-authored with award-winning journalist Carl Zimmer, Macmillan Publishing, 3rd edition 2020), is presently adopted by more than 250 universities and colleges. His research has been featured in outlets including The New York Times, National Public Radio’s Fresh Air and Science Friday, and YouTube’s SciShow and MeatEater. He recently starred in documentaries about his work for the BBC (Nature’s Wildest Weapons) and NOVA (Extreme Animal Weapons), and his first narrative nonfiction book for middle school readers (Beetle Battles: One Scientist's Journey of Adventure and Discovery, Roaring Brook/Macmillan) appeared on shelves in December 2020.

Lucca Scariano

Board Member

Native Missoulian, Lucca Scariano has an affinity for nature and being outdoors. As a beekeeper, Lucca understands the importance of pollinators and their ability to indicate the overall health of an ecosystem. If he's not biking up Pattee Canyon, then you’ll find him tending to his bees or chickens, skiing at the Bowl, volunteering at Toastmasters, or relaxing in the backyard with his wife Caitlin, their two dogs Rue & Lucy.

Byron Weber

Board Member In Memoriam

Byron Weber was a founding board member of the Missoula Butterfly House & Insectarium. He was a teacher at Florence-Carlton School for 26 years, the “Bug Guy” on MT Public Radio’s Pea Green Boat, and a passionate naturalist. He inspired so many of us to learn about the natural world. Byron passed away in 2010. We are constantly striving to continue his legacy of nurturing naturalists.