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Staff

Mike Koopal: Executive Director & Founder
mike@whitefishlake.org

Mike is the founder and executive director of the Whitefish Lake Institute. He has a biology degree from Luther College. Mike's professional career began with the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks as a fisheries technician working in the Clark Fork and Blackfoot River drainages. Mike also traveled to Nevada to study Lahontan Cutthroat trout for the Summit Lake Paiute Tribe, and in Alaska he worked with sockeye salmon for the Prince William Sound Aquaculture Corporation. Upon his return to Montana, Mike was a partner at Watershed Consulting for eight years where he specialized in fisheries related issues in Montana, Idaho and Nevada.

Mike serves on the Upper Columbia Conservation Commission (UC3), the Flathead Basin Commission, the Whitefish Climate Action Committee, and provided technical assistance to the Bigfork Stormwater Advisory Committee. He was a co-coordinator of the second and third editions of the Montana Lake Book. He co-authored the Whitefish Water Resources Report: A Status of the Whitefish Lake Watershed (2015) and is an author of the Investigation of Septic Leachate to the Shoreline Area of Whitefish Lake (2012). Mike is also a Level II trained Aquatic Invasive Species Inspector/Deontaminator.

Mike is a past recipient of the Individual Achievement Award by the Montana Chapter of the American Fisheries Society for his outstanding contribution to the protection and enhancement of fisheries resources in Montana.


Lori Curtis: Science & Education Director
lori@whitefishlake.org

As Science and Education Director, Lori ensures that Whitefish Lake Institute's science and educational programs perform to their potential. She has a Master of Science in Environmental Studies from Green Mountain College and a Bachelor's degree in Business Management. Lori has contributed to research in aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems in California, Colorado, and Montana. Her career includes diverse management roles across a variety of disciplines.

Lori is the author of the Flathead Watershed Sourcebook: A Guide to an Extraordinary Place, a book and companion website that illustrates the natural and cultural histories of the Flathead Watershed, while detailing biodiversity, water quality, land management, agricultural production, and economics. It identifies conservation and education resources and is being used by educators in grade schools, high schools, and colleges including the University of Montana. She was a co-coordinator of the third edition of the Montana Lake Book. Lori co-authored the Whitefish Water Resources Report: A Status of the Whitefish Lake Watershed (2015) and was lead author on the Investigation of Septic Leachate to the Shoreline Area of Whitefish Lake (2012).

Lori serves as the Chair of the Upper Columbia Conservation Commission (UC3), on which she represents the Conservation Districts of Montana. She also serves as a Supervisor on the Flathead Conservation District Board, and is a Master's Adjunct Instructor and Thesis Advisor for Green Mountain College. Lori is a Level II trained Invasive Species Inspector/Deontaminator. She is a past recipient of the Outstanding Writer Award from the Montana Chapter of the American Fisheries Society and the Partner of the Year award from the Northwest Regional RC&D.

Cynthia Ingelfinger: Science & Education Coordinator
cynthia@whitefishlake.org

Cynthia is the Science & Education Coordinator for the Whitefish Lake Institute, where she coordinates the Northwest Montana Lakes Volunteer Monitoring Network (NWMTLVMN)—the long-standing citizen science program managed by WLI and funded by Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks. She also conducts educational programs and baseline field work. Cynthia joined WLI from the Flathead Conservation District where she was the Assistant Conservationist. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Environmental Studies from Brown University, a Master of Science in the Field Naturalist Program from the University of Vermont, and completed a one year Professional Residency in Environmental Education at the Teton Science School. Prior to her work at the Conservation District, Cynthia was an Outreach Coordinator for the Ipswich River Watershed Association and prior to that, a Research Associate for the Wilderness Society—both in Massachusetts. Cynthia is knowledgeable about scientific research processes and has experience integrating science, fieldwork, critical thinking and public outreach. She has extensive experience writing, public speaking, grant writing and developing educational programs.