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A Conservation District is a local unit of state government with statutory powers and responsibilities to carry out programs of natural resources conservation and encourage wise land management. Our Staff team works with the Board of Directors, neighboring Conservation Districts, and partnership organizations to implement environmental conservation projects.

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Meet Our Staff
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Brian Talsma, Executive Director

Brian.Talsma@macd.org

(269) 941-6108

Brian Talsma joined the Allegan Conservation District in October of 2018. He graduated from Central Michigan University with a B.S. in Biology with a focus on Natural Resources. Before joining us, he worked as an intern at a black bear sanctuary in Minnesota, taught high school Biology in Detroit, and served as an AmeriCorps member at the Antrim Conservation District in Bellaire. He is an avid backpacker and canoeist who is excited about restoring and sustaining wild areas.

Brian previously worked as our Watershed Technician and focused on reducing sediment and nutrients in our county's rivers by securing multiple funding opportunities and exciting conservation projects. As Executive Director he hopes to continue this effort and make our District the destination for conservation expertise in Allegan County.

Mike Ludlam, MAEAP Technician

Mike.Ludlam@macd.org

(269) 941-6165

Mike Ludlam started with the Allegan Conservation District in October 2012 as the Allegan County MAEAP Technician. Mike graduated from Michigan State University with a B.S. in Resource and Development. In 2014 and 2020, Mike was named by The Michigan Department of Agriculture as the MAEAP Technician of the year. In 2017, he was the recipient of the MAEAP Technical Assistance award and received the Exceptional Service Award from the Ottawa Conservation District.

 

He and his wife, Heather, live on a 50 acre MAEAP Verified farm in Hopkins – Windswept Farms. Windswept Farms was established in 1993 when the Ludlams began raising registered Shetland and Commercial Sheep.

Jason Cass, Conservation Technician

Jason.Cass@macd.org

(269) 941-6165

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Jason Cass joined the Allegan Conservation District in August 2023 as a Conservation Technician. He graduated from the State University of New York at Albany with a BA in Geography and Environmental Planning. Prior to joining the Allegan Conservation District, he worked with the Natural Resources Conservation Service with a focus on wildlife habitat creation and maintenance. Jason relocated to Michigan in 2020 after five years as a Conservation District Manager in Schenectady NY. He has also managed a commercial compost and recycling facility, volunteered at an environmental education center, and completed major infrastructure improvements at several nature preserves. Jason is dedicated to protecting the environment and promoting practices leading to a more sustainable future.

When not working, Jason can be found outdoors hiking with his dog and exploring new places.

Nathan Hilbrands, Watershed Technician

Nathan.Hilbrands@macd.org

(269) 941-6165

Nathan Hilbrands started with the Allegan Conservation District in February of 2024 as a Watershed Technician. Nathan graduated from Calvin University with a BS in Environmental Health and Conservation and a BA in Geography. Before joining the Allegan Conservation District, Nathan served as an AmeriCorps member with Michigan Natural Features Inventory surveying for rare species across the state and working on their heritage database. He has also helped out the Lower Grand River Organization of Watersheds with writing watershed climate resiliency reports, and studied dune characteristics and vegetation distribution. When not working, Nathan enjoys bird-watching, playing board games, and spending time in the woods.

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Alison Peterson-Loll, Administrative Specialist

Alison.PetersonLoll@macd.org

(269) 941-6165

Alison joined the Allegan Conservation District team in March of 2023 as the Administrative Specialist. She opened her first business at just 15 years old. Following college at Oklahoma City University then Columbia College, Alison traveled the United States working as a dancer and choreographer. While engaged as an artist, she was usually holding down multiple jobs. She has worked as an administrator for several prestigious organizations, including the Howard Hughes Medical Institute at Vanderbilt University and a start-up IT company that was featured in Entrepreneur Magazine. When Alison’s mother became ill, she moved back to Allegan in 2011 to help with her care and her local business. She then opened her own arts academy in Allegan, but after 7 years she had to close its doors due to the COVID-19 epidemic. Alison is very excited to utilize her marketing and administrative experience to help the ACD grow and connect with its community. Alison grew up playing in what is now the Armintrout-Milbocker Preserve and hikes there to this day. When not working you can find Alison enjoying time in her dance / aerial silk studio at home.

Meet Our Affiliate Staff
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Ben Savoie, District Forester

Ben.Savoie@macd.org

(269) 908-4134

Ben Savoie earned a B.S. in Forestry from Michigan State University, specializing in Resource Management. He has spent many years in community organizations such as the Boy Scouts of America, and has worked in the field for MSU and the USFS. He is passionate about community involvement in ecological restoration and improving public knowledge on conservation management.

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Patrick Gordon is a Produce Safety Technician with the Berrien County Conservation District in Southwest Michigan, working primarily with growers in Allegan, Berrien, Kalamazoo, and Van Buren counties. Patrick earned his Master of Natural Resources from Virginia Tech University and has a Bachelor of Science degree in Geography with a specialization in environmental analysis and land management from Western Michigan University. He is excited to work with farmers in South West Michigan to improve safety in the agricultural food chain. For more information regarding produce safety, visit www.miofps.org.

Patrick Gordon, Produce Safety Technician

Patrick.Gordon@macd.org

(517) 331-0093

Meet Our Board of Directors

Mark Ludwig

Chairman

Mark has worked with the Allegan Conservation District through several grants as a Conservationist and Technician. Today, Mark is a local farmer and an advocate for no-till farming practices. 

Board terms through 9/2023

Kameron worked for Michigan’s Departments of Natural Resources and Environmental Quality for 32 years, retiring in June of 2019. He has experience reviewing water related construction projects for impacts to fisheries, wildlife, botanical resources, and water quality.  He is familiar with issues related to wetlands, inland Lakes and streams, floodplains, critical dunes, and high risk erosion areas.

Board term through 9/2024

Kameron Jordan

Treasurer

Dale Hedberg

HR Liaison

Dale Hedberg is a machine tool industry veteran with over 30 years’ experience. As an operations executive, his singular focus has been on vendor and customer relationships, end-to-end North American sales operations, product and parts strategy,
product management, and the national service center.
His career path in machine tools came as a natural outgrowth of a fascination with the mechanical and he is often found tinkering with his impressive collection of John Deere tractors and stationary engines, many of which are vintage. When time allows, Dale
enjoys spending time at the 115-acre, MAEAP-certified farm that he shares with his wife and family, indulging his passion for natural conservation by reestablishing wetlands and restoring native plant species.

Board term through 9/2027

Peter A Robertson

Board Member

Pete and partner Lori Evesque purchased their farm in 2016. The MAEAP-certified farm is managed with Holistic principles. Ruminants (primarily sheep) , poultry,  and seasonal fruits and vegetables are direct marketed. Produce is USDA Organic and Certified through Certified Naturally Grown (CNG).

Prior to this farm Pete was at Tillers International in Scotts, MI. Past farming includes managing CSA’s including the DeLano Farm CSA at KNC. Pete has taught organic farm and gardening at organizations and Conferences. His first garden was in 1985.

Education includes a BS Agriculture, Univ of Illinois, C-U

In his limited spare time he appreciates live performances of  folk/roots music, bicycling, paddling, hiking and always has something to read! 

Board term through 9/2024

Caleb Smith

Board Member

Field Workflow Coordinator at Walters Gardens.

Board term through 9/2024

State of Michigan Special Tributes

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