Staff

Executive Director

Adam Burnett serves as the Executive Director of the Beaver Institute after a career of building and running non-profits in the performing arts and environmental conservation. He received his BA from the University of Kansas in Theatre and spent a dozen years as the co-founder and artistic director of Buran Theatre. His plays, poems, and essays have been produced and published internationally, many of which concern pathways of cooperation with animals and the environment, including Mammoth: a de-extinction love story, T.B. Sheets, and Holidays In / Coyote; a geological, indigenous history of north-east Kansas as dreamt by the Topeka Holidome at 6th & Fairlawn, spring 1989, among others. As a Development Director and fundraising consultant, Adam has worked with a bevy of institutions including Exit Art, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Dixon Place, Queer|Art, and Health In Harmony, among others. Creating intentional communities, reaching consensus, and manifesting opportunities for plurality are traits he relies upon in leading Beaver Institute. Adam’s passion for beavers developed in 2020 as he navigated co-managing a prairie pond with beavers and local farmers. Contact: adam@beaverinstitute.org

Communications & Finance Manager

Avary Sassaman serves as the Communications & Finance Manager for Beaver Institute. After completing a B.S. in History and International Studies at Concordia University Irvine, Avary went on to pursue her M. A. in Communication from La Salle University in Philadelphia. Over the last decade, she has worked in higher education, empowering students to find their voices as public speakers. In addition to her time teaching at the college, she has worked with several nonprofit organizations supporting initiatives in public media, community advocacy, and education in restorative ecology and agriculture. A passion for animals has been a driving force in her life and she spends her free time assisting her local Audubon chapter and rehabilitating wildlife near her home in central Pennsylvania. Contact: avary@beaverinstitute.org

Associates

BeaverCorps Program Director

Dr. Aaron Hall serves as the Beaver Corps Program Director for Beaver Institute. Aaron is an aquatic biologist who works to protect species in aquatic and riparian habitats, finding scientifically sound and pragmatic solutions for the threats these species face. He holds a BS and MS in Environmental Science from The Rochester Institute of Technology, and a PhD in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from The University of Toronto. Aaron has a diverse background in field ecology and has worked with many species groups and in many ecosystems, and has lived in Central New York, Alaska, Maine, Colorado, and currently resides in Ontario, Canada. His primary focus for the past decade has been working with beaver by leveraging their ecosystem engineering skills to create and enhance habitat for many at-risk species including freshwater fishes, amphibians and reptiles, shorebirds, aquatic insects and others. He is passionate about protecting the delicate balance of the natural environment in an increasingly human-influenced world. Aaron is an avid outdoors person and enjoys hiking, canoeing, camping, birding, disc golf, woodworking, board games, and gardening. Contact: aaron@beaverinstitute.org

BeaverCorps Program Manager

Loren Taylor serves as Program Director of BeaverCorps. She is a Certified Wildlife Biologist and received her BS in Wildlife Management from Eastern Kentucky University. She worked as an ornithological researcher in Michigan and Florida before becoming an avian biologist with the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. She spent a decade researching and monitoring eastern bird populations and worked closely with private and public landowners to implement best management practices and resolve human-wildlife conflicts. During her time as a state agency biologist, she also worked to develop and improve wildlife laws and regulations. Loren currently resides in eastern Idaho where she began working with conservation-based nonprofits. She became passionate about beavers soon after moving to the western U.S. and witnessing firsthand how critical beavers are for the greater Yellowstone ecosystem. She worked with nonprofits to encourage landowners and agencies to implement nonlethal options for beaver damage mitigation. Through this work, she was introduced to the Beaver Institute and the BeaverCorps Program. Loren is passionate about solution-based management and empowering landowners and land managers with reasonable and equitable resolutions that foster living with wildlife. She plans to utilize her experience, knowledge, and national network to amplify and expand this revolutionary program. Contact: loren@beaverinstitute.org

BeaverCON Event Producer

With a diverse background spanning Los Angeles, New York, Kansas City, and now Denver, Lara has worn many hats — from documentary film producer and commercial AD to creative copywriter, Senate campaign field director, and Sunrise Movement communications lead. A pro at executing projects of all sizes, Lara is a master of lists, ensuring every detail is checked off with precision. Perhaps it’s her Midwest values or an inner motor that doesn’t know when to quit… but no matter what needs to get done, Lara is all over it, without question or wasting time.

 

Beaver Help Desk Manager

John Egan has been installing flow devices to resolve beaver flooding issues with Mike Callahan and Beaver Solutions since 2012. In addition to installing hundreds of flow devices throughout southern New England and New York, he has consulted with clients and has created management plans for homeowners, utility companies, and government entities. He currently manages the North American Beaver Help Desk, and enjoys helping people with any and all inquiries that are submitted.

Volunteers

Founder/President

Mike Callahan is the founder of the Beaver Institute Inc. He received a B.A. from St. Michael’s College and worked for 20 years as a Physician Assistant providing medical care to under-served populations. He began saving beavers in 1998 after founding the Pioneer Valley Wetland Volunteers with his wife Ruth. In 2000 he started Beaver Solutions LLC and has personally resolved over 1,900 beaver-human conflicts. He teaches beaver workshops, started an online Beaver Management Forum on Facebook, and created an instructional DVD to teach others to do this work. In 2017 he founded the Beaver Institute, Inc. to promote coexistence with beavers for watershed restoration, biodiversity and climate resilience. His duties as President of the Beaver Institute include training BeaverCorps professionals across North America. In his spare time he loves being outdoors, reading, spiritual pursuits, and time spent with friends and family.

PR/Marketing

Amy Hunter is a publicity and marketing veteran whose clients range from Fortune 500 companies to fledgling start-ups, and from tech to travel. She is passionate about bringing compelling stories to light and has garnered national and local publicity in all forms of media. Based in Portland, Oregon, Amy joined the Beaver Institute team in 2021, and she’s excited to help spread the word about beavers, their vital importance to the planet, and how we can support them.

IT Consultant

Michael Kesten met Mike Callahan in the 90’s back when Mike was running the Pioneer Valley Wetlands Volunteers.  Michael ran a business for 25 years, engineering and building video production facilities. He was a Beaver Institute board member when it launched. In his retirement he volunteers with various non-profits working to benefit the environment, animals, and democracy. Michael sees beavers as integral to rebuilding ecosystems that man has altered.

Librarian

Logan Pitcher grew up in Granville, Ohio and studied Operations Management at The Ohio State University. He has a passion for operations, reading and data/research that he hopes to use to help support the Beaver Institute. He loves spending time with his girlfriend & family, hiking with his Labrador Retriever (Zoey) and trail running/mountain biking. Logan resides in Columbus, Ohio and is excited to volunteer as the BI Librarian to further the mission of BI to benefit beavers, our communities, and our planet.