Kasey grew up in Georgia near the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. A passion for the outdoors and animals kept her busy exploring, but riding horses and competing in rodeos was her main focus. Soon after receiving her BBA from the University of North Georgia, she moved to southwest Colorado for a change of scenery and quickly discovered ranching at the intersection of her business background and love of the natural world. She worked on cattle and bison ranches implementing land health initiatives and community outreach and engagement programs. Ready to further her conservation and development interests, she joined the philanthropy and communications team at a land conservancy in the Inland Northwest before finally landing in Missoula. Kasey is thrilled to continue these pursuits as the Missoula Butterfly House and Insectarium's Development Associate. Outside of MBHI she can be found riding horses, skiing, attempting to ID birds, and untangling knots in her fly line.
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.
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.
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.
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 Polly, Rosie, and the other tarantulas and spiders of the Missoula Butterfly House & Insectarium.
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.
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.
MBHI Volunteer Board Members
Marcy Allen grew up in Vermont and moved to Missoula in 1991. Marcy owns a consulting business, providing businesses and non profits with strategic assistance with growth and expansion. She previously worked for many years at the Executive Director of an economic development organization focused on helping businesses obtain funding and market research for growth and expansion. Her love for insects started in her youth collecting monarch caterpillars and watching them transform into beautiful butterflies. She spends her free time skiing, biking, and recreating with her partner and their two sons.
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.
Megan Robson is originally from Billings, Montana but found her way to Missoula when she enrolled at the University of Montana. Growing up, her grandparents instilled a love for the outdoors through their passion for bird watching and as a parent, she hoped to find a similar shared interest with her son, Luca. Despite her persistent (and admittedly unjustified) fear of spiders, Luca fell in love with Polly, a bird-eating tarantula, and consequently Megan fell in love with the Insectarium. In her free time, Megan camps and skiis, and now takes photos of weird bugs to send to Glenn and Jen.
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!
Douglas J. Emlen
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.
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.
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.
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.