Our Staff

Carol Abrahamzon

Executive Director
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Carol Abrahamzon is the Executive Director at Mississippi Valley Conservancy. She has nearly 20 years of experience with non-profit management and donor relationship cultivation.  She and her husband Bill, own a sustainable farm in southeast Minnesota where they grow beef, pork, chicken, and most of their own fruits and vegetables. They employ conservation practices on their farm including wildlife enhancement projects, invasive species removal, and a forest stand improvement program. In her free time Carol enjoys running in nature, competing in triathlons, gardening, nature photography, and spending time with her family including her four grandchildren.

Abbie Church

Conservation Director
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Abbie brings a diverse background in natural resources, having worked in the state, federal, private and non-profit sectors. Abbie began her career working at the Wright County Conservation Board’s Lake Cornelia Park near Clarion, Iowa. She soon realized her passion lies in working with private landowners to conserve declining species in working with The Nature Conservancy in Iowa and Minnesota. Her background also includes national non-profit, The Conservation Fund, as well as a role as Mississippi Valley Conservancy's conservation specialist from 2007 until 2012. She earned a degree in biology from Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa.

Abbie’s experience in land management, land and conservation easement negotiations, grant writing, species inventories and land use planning is valuable to the Conservancy. 

Abbie lives near Stoddard and enjoys canoeing, camping, gardening and especially hiking with her dogs Oscar and Hazelnut.

Chris Kirkpatrick

Conservation Specialist
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Chris Kirkpatrick comes to the Conservancy with 20 years of experience in the land trust industry. He has spent most of his life growing up in the Driftless area, calling Galena, IL his hometown. Chris attended the University of Dubuque, IA and received a B.S. in Environmental Science and Biology. He then worked for the Jo Daviess Conservation Foundation, a land trust in northwest Illinois, to permanently protect areas in the same community he grew up in as a kid.

Prior to working for Mississippi Valley Conservancy, he served as the Executive Director for The Prairie Enthusiasts. Chris brings years of experience working with private landowners to help permanently protect their land, and offering technical assistance on ecological restoration & land management advice.

In his free time you can finding him hiking state natural areas, fishing, or camping. Chris is also a singer and song writer and plays guitar, mandolin and drums.

Krysten Strong

Stewardship Associate
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Krysten is a wildlife biologist with a Bachelor’s degree from SUNY Cobleskill and her M.S. in Wildlife Science from New Mexico State University. Krysten has worked all across the country, from New York to Oregon, researching how different management practices affect local wildlife populations. She comes to the Conservancy after working as a Farm Bill Wildlife Biologist with Pheasants Forever in Northeastern Colorado, where she worked daily with landowners to create and maintain high quality habitat. Krysten brings her 10 years of experience to the Conservancy’s Land Protection Team, which is dedicated to permanent land protection, habitat restoration, and public outreach.

In her free time, Krysten enjoys volunteering with The Wildlife Society, reading, and knitting, and can be found hiking, kayaking, and birding with her sidekick pup Ellie.

Zac Millbrand

Stewardship Coordinator
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Zac Millbrand is an ecologist, with a focus on boreal habitats in the Great Lakes Region.  He holds a Master of Science degree in Conservation Ecology from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor.  Prior to joining Mississippi Valley Conservancy, Zac worked as a Biological Science Technician for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and was the Wildlife Technician at Fort McCoy. His experiences include collecting soil samples in the Mississippi River, winter wolf and carnivore track surveys, prescribed burning, and monitoring Farm Bill easements in the Driftless Area.  Zac also served with the 10th Mountain Division of the U.S. Army as an Infantry Recon Scout from 2004-2009.  As Stewardship Coordinator, he ensures the Conservancy’s protected lands comply with the conservation agreement by working with landowners and volunteer monitors. He also assists with habitat improvement projects at the Conservancy.

When not working on land protection, Zac enjoys spending time with his wife Sarah and their two huskies, hiking, kayaking, and working in his yard to incorporate more native pollinator plants. 

Levi Plath

Land Management
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Levi is an avid outdoorsman and a wildlife biologist with experience managing an array of different habitat types. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in ecology and field biology with wildlife emphasis from St. Cloud (Minnesota) State University. Levi comes to Mississippi Valley Conservancy with a variety of experiences. He previously worked with the Minnesota DNR, Iowa DNR, Iowa State University and the Minnesota Conservation Corps. He worked as an authorized Mojave Desert tortoise biologist in Southern Nevada and has an array of volunteer experiences in the field of natural resources and biological research. Levi manages The Conservancy's lands to retain high quality habitat for wildlife and educating the public about effective land stewardship.

In his free time, you can find Levi out fishing on the river, out west backpacking, or hiking the local state natural areas.

Siena Muehlfeld

Restoration Coordinator
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Siena is an ecologist from Wauwatosa, WI specializing in habitat management for rare and vulnerable species. She attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she earned a B.S. in Wildlife Ecology and a certificate in Environmental Studies. She developed a passion for environmental stewardship and volunteer coordination while serving as Outreach Coordinator for the UW-Madison Student Chapter of The Wildlife Society. After graduation, Siena learned the basics of land management as a Prairie Partners Intern with Madison Audubon, Groundswell Conservancy, and three other nonprofit organizations. She is excited to return to the nonprofit sector!

Before coming to Mississippi Valley Conservancy, Siena spent two years working as a State Natural Areas Crew Member with the Wisconsin DNR in Kettle Moraine South. The hilly glacial topography served as “training wheels” to prepare her for work in the Driftless Area. Siena is grateful for the substantial training and experience she gained during her time with the DNR, which will allow her to help Levi and volunteers take care of our nature preserves. 

In her spare time, you can find Siena exploring natural areas, squinting at plants or through binoculars, sampling local restaurants and breweries, and listening to music.

Nancy Larson

Financial and Operations Manager
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Nancy began her management career by working her way up through the Fortune 500 Company, G. Heileman Brewing. She has over 30 years of success in management, administration, accounting and organizational skills and puts those skills to work for the Mississippi Valley Conservancy. 

Nancy, her husband Randy, live in Chaseburg. Nancy likes to volunteer in her local community. She currently volunteers as treasurer and council member in her church.

In her free time, Nancy enjoys music, camping, boating, walking and sporting activities.

Sarah Bratnober

Communications Director
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Sarah brings extensive communications skills to her role at the Conservancy. During her eight-year tenure as Organic Valley’s Director of Marketing Communications, she promoted the land/water stewardship role of family farms across the country. Sarah has also offered her services as an independent content strategist and creative director to help socially responsible businesses to build their brands. She served four years on Valley Stewardship Network’s board of directors, where she crafted communications about conservation challenges and solutions in southwest Wisconsin. Born in St. Paul, Minnesota, her years of land ownership, trail maintenance, and silent sports recreation have endowed Sarah with much respect for our fragile environment and all the creatures who depend on it. She enjoys kayaking on the Mississippi River and many of its tributaries.