Sandstone outcrops at MPF’s Schwartz Prairie. Photo: Bruce Schuette

Missouri Prairie Foundation Board of Directors

The Missouri Prairie Foundation is a private, nonprofit, 501(c)(3) prairie conservation organization and land trust governed by a volunteer board of directors.


David Young

David Young


David B. Young is retired from the Missouri Department of Conservation where he was a wildlife regional supervisor responsible for more than 100,000 acres of public lands, developing and supervising wildlife management programs in west-central Missouri. As a retiree, he was self-employed as a part-time landscape maintenance technician and is a Master Gardener Emeritus in Johnson County. His hobbies are hunting, fishing, family activities, and traveling. He holds membership in MPF (life member); CFM (life member); and NWTF. 

Committees: President serves on all committees.


Maddie Johnston

Vice President

Kirkwood, MO

Maddie received her B.A. in environmental studies from Denison University in 2014 and her J.D. from St. Louis University School of Law in May of 2017. While at SLU law, Maddie served as president of the Environmental Law Society, lead editor of the Journal of Health Law & Policy, and writer for the ABA’s Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources. She has previously worked and researched for the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation in Florida, the Department of Natural Resources and MPF in Missouri, People Endorsing Agricultural Sustainability in Ohio, and the School for Field Studies in Turks & Caicos. She is currently an attorney at Fox Smith, LLC.

Committees: Governance, Development

Bruce Schuette

Bruce Schuette

Vice President of Science And Management

Troy, MO

Bruce Schuette is recently retired from working 36 years as a park naturalist at Cuivre River State Park, where he was involved in natural resource management (prescribed burns, exotic species control, ecosystem management), natural resource inventory, collections, monitoring, working with researchers, and nature education. He has served on the MPF board since January 2000, served as secretary 2005-2012, and is vice president of Science & Management and chairman of the Science & Management Committee. He has a Bachelor’s degree in wildlife management from the University of Missouri-Columbia.

Committees: Executive, Science & Management (Chair), Land Acquisition Subcommittee, Outreach & Education

Laura Church

Laura Church


Kansas City, MO

Laura Church is a CPA with a Masters in accounting from the University of Missouri – Kansas City and has 20 years of experience in public, private and governmental accounting. Laura is a committed conservationist, a long time member of MPF, and joined the board in 2009 as treasurer.

Committees: Executive, Awards, Finance & Budget

Sarah Hinman


Springfield, MO

Sarah is a native Kansan and a recent transplant to Missouri. She holds a B.S. and M.S. in biology and tries to spend as much time as possible outdoors—hiking, biking, camping. She has worked in grasslands and savannas in Kansas, Missouri, Mississippi, and Massachusetts, and is excited to bring her energy and enthusiasm to MPF.

Committees: Executive, Governance, Science & Management Committee

Dale Blevins

Immediate Past President

Independence, MO

Dale Blevins has a B.S. in physical geography, an M.S. in watershed management, and additional graduate work in fish and wildlife at the University of Missouri. He worked 31 years for the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) as a hydrologist and supervisory hydrologist, mostly in Missouri. Blevins manages about 1,100 acres of farm land, some of which has been converted to native grasses and forbs.  He is a past president of MPF and has been on the board of directors for over 10 years.  Dale’s interests include water-quality of prairie streams, wet (wetland) prairies and restoration of native landscapes.

Committees: Executive, Science & Management, Land Acquisition Subcommittee


Brian Edmond

Board Member
term Expires October 2022


Brian Edmond works by day as an IT professional at Missouri State University with a particular interest in open source software and the community development methodology. Much of his extracurricular work occurs at the intersection of biology and technology. Edmond is an author on the Atlas of Missouri Amphibians and Reptiles and has crunched massive datasets for several field research projects. He also manages web sites for several non-profit organizations, including Missouri Native Plant Society, Missouri Herpetological Association, Midwest Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation, Grow Native!, and the Missouri Prairie Foundation. He has a specific interest in native plants, amphibians, reptiles, scientific collections, habitat restoration, conservation issues, and exploring natural areas, particularly rivers and streams. Edmond holds a Bachelor of Science in wildlife biology from the University of Missouri.

Committees: Science & Management, Outreach & Education; Brian also serves as Parliamentarian for the board of directors

Dennis Evans

Board Member
Term Expires October 2021
Neosho, MO

Dennis Evans is from Neosho, MO. He received his Bachelor’s degree in agriculture from MSU in 1983. He has been involved in agriculture lending, land management, and finance for the last 35 years. Dennis is a past president of the Missouri Walnut Council and is a presently a board member of CASA (court appointed special advocates) for Newton and McDonald Counties. Dennis is a devoted advocate of preserving and managing our native prairies in Missouri. He enjoys photography and working on his tree farm in Neosho.

Committees: Budget & Finance

Jan Sassmann

Board Member

Term Expires October 2021
Bland, MO

Jan Sassmann, a retired Rolla art teacher, is an active partner in the restoration of the 120-acre Osage county Prairie Star Farm. Sassmann has played an active role in the conversion of 60 acres from fescue pasture to native warm season grasses and wildflowers. Her specimen garden is a tool for plant identification and propagation. Woodland and aquatic farm restoration projects compliment her comprehensive land restoration efforts. 

Committees: Awards


Glenn Longworth II

Board Member

Term Expires October 2022
Kansas City, MO

Glenn Longworth is a graduate of UMKC with a B.S. in communications studies. After 13 years as the City of Kansas City’s chief elevator inspector, he retired with 36 years of service within various departments. Glenn served on the board of directors for Martha Lafite Thompson Nature Sanctuary in Liberty, MO for 20 years and chaired the Land and Resources Committee for the Sanctuary for 10 years. In his free time Glenn enjoys bird watching, landscaping with native plants, participating in Rails to Trails, and bicycling. Glenn hopes to learn more about prairie restoration and Grow Native! while serving on the Missouri Prairie Foundation Board.

Committees: Science & Management, Awards (Chair)


Doug Helmers

Board Member

Rothville, MO

Doug Helmers retired in 2018 from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as the Iowa private lands state coordinator. As project leader for the Partners for Fish & Wildlife program, Doug worked with private landowners to improve fish and wildlife habitat on their lands. The Partners Program in Iowa worked diligently with partners to implement restoration/establishment of monarch/pollinator habitat. Prior to working for USFWS, he was a wetland emphasis team leader with the Natural Resources Conservation Service in Missouri. In addition, he spent three years working for the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network in Massachusetts. Doug received his B.S. and M.S. in fisheries and wildlife from the University of Missouri. He grew up in the corn fields of western Illinois and has lived in Missouri for over 35 years. He enjoys traveling, various outdoor recreation activities, and spending time with his dogs at the farm. Doug and his lovely wife are restoring and managing 65 acres of prairie and woodland on their farm in Chariton County.

Committees: Outreach & Education

Presidential Appointees

Vernon Elsberry

Presidential Appointee

Warrensburg, MO

Vernon Elsberry is a graduate of Central Missouri State University, now the University of Central Missouri, with a degree in biology. He spent four years in the United States Air Force as an air traffic controller, 11 years teaching biology in west-central Missouri, 26 years appraising real estate in west-central Missouri, and has been retired since 2014. He is a past president of Citizens for Environmental Action, a local environmental group involved in a variety of environmental issues, one of which is managing a seven-acre created prairie tract established in 1997 by Warrensburg Parks and Recreation. Vernon is an avid birder, fisherman, wood worker, husband, father, and grandfather.

Committees: Land Acquisition Subcommittee

Honorary Board Members

Peter Raven

Dr. Peter Raven


Peter H. Raven is president emeritus of the Missouri Botanical Garden, George Engelmann Professor of Botany Emeritus at Washington University in St. Louis, and a trustee of the National Geographic Society and chairman of the Society’s Committee for Research and Exploration. For more than 39 years, Dr. Raven headed the Missouri Botanical Garden, an institution he nurtured to become a world-class center for botanical research, education, and horticulture display. During this period, the Garden became a leading center for botanical research and conservation in Latin America, Africa, Asia, and North America and co-sponsored with the Missouri Department of Conservation a thorough revision of Steyermark’s Flora of Missouri, completed in August 2013. 

Since the mid-1960s, Dr. Raven has been an outspoken advocate of the need for conservation throughout the world based on efforts to attain sustainability and social justice everywhere. He has received numerous prizes and awards, including the International Prize for Biology from the government of Japan; Volvo Environment Prize; the Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement; the Sasakawa Environment Prize; and the BBVA Prize for Ecology and Conservation, Madrid. Dr. Raven has also held Guggenheim and John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Fellowships.

In 2001, Dr. Raven received the National Medal of Science, the highest award for scientific accomplishment in the United States. He has been president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Sigma Xi, the American Institute of Biological Sciences, and a number of other organizations. He served for 12 years as Home Secretary of the National Academy of Sciences, to which he was elected in 1977.  He is also a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and of the American Philosophical Society, of the academies of science in Argentina, Australia, Austria, Brazil, Chile, China, Denmark, Georgia, Hungary, India, Italy, Mexico, New Zealand, Russia, Sweden, Taiwan, Ukraine, the U.K. (the Royal Society), and of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and the Academy of Sciences for the Developing World (TWAS).

Emeritus Board Members

William A. Davit

Washington, MO

Bill Davit played an instrumental role in cultivating interest in prairie in the St. Louis area in the 1980s and 1990s through his work establishing prairie plantings at Shaw Nature Reserve in Gray Summit, MO. Even though his formal education was geophysical engineering, and his early work took him around the world measuring the earth’s magnetic field for the U.S. Navy, he went on to enjoy a 30-year career with the Missouri Botanical Garden, its Shaw Nature Reserve, and the Litzsinger Road Ecology Center. In retirement, Davit continues his interest in vegetable gardening, prairie restoration, and tree propagation at his home in Washington, MO. Davit served many years as an MPF board member and participates in as many MPF activities as he can.

Warren Lammert

St. Louis, MO

Appointed MPF Director Emeritus for exemplary service to MPF for many years.