Matthew Koehler joined WildEarth Guardians in 2020, bringing nearly 30 years of experience working to defend public lands, wildlife, and the environment. He grew up in the Village of Elkhart Lake in rural Wisconsin, surrounded by the Kettle Moraine State Forest. His love for nature came from his parents, a housepainter and a nurse, and time the family spent hiking, canoeing, cross-country skiing, and camping on public lands. He moved to Missoula, Montana in 1995 after graduating from the University of Wisconsin-Parkside with a history degree and later obtained a secondary teaching certificate from the University of Montana. He’s the former executive director of the WildWest Institute and former communications director of the National Forest Protection Alliance, a national coalition of 130 grassroots groups. He was invited to give expert testimony before the U.S. Senate twice, opposing President George W. Bush’s Orwellian “Healthy Forest Initiative” and against a massive public lands logging bill. Voted “best activist” by the Missoula Independent in 2007 and awarded the Fund for Wild Nature’s “grassroots activist of the year” in 2010, he enjoys growing garlic, native landscaping, spending time in nature, and an occasional old fashioned.