Our Team

We aim to provide the necessary support to Backcountry Squatters’ chapters in their establishment, growth, sustainability, and leadership transition. 

SQUATTERS STAFF

DARBY KNOLL

executive director

darby@backcountrysquatters.org

Darby’s joy for the outdoors started at a young age somewhere between the mountains and rivers of Teton Valley, Idaho and northern New Mexico. While attending Montana State Univrsity Darby earned a dual degree in Microbiology and Animal Science but her free time was quickly focused on making Backcountry Squatters the best club that it could be. Her attention to detail, commitment to the shared vision, and ‘get it done’ attitude made Darby a valuable asset to the initial success of the MSU club and has made her the right person to take charge of this nonprofit.

She thrives on a passion to share her greatest outdoor experiences with others. Darby realizes that she is lucky to have all of the opportunities that Bozeman has to offer, and hopes to make outdoor recreation more attainable for young women across the country. 

ERIN BOLGER

director of outreach

erin@backcountrysquatters.org

Erin moved to Bozeman from Northern Wisconsin to pursue a degree in Exercise Science at Montana State University. Being from Wisconsin, she looked to Backcountry Squatters to help her get involved in the activities that the Montana Mountains provided. After graduating, Erin realized she still wants to be a part of this organization and is excited to use her personal experience to encourage more women to join, the oftentimes, intimidating outdoor community. Erin works full time as a HomeHealth aide and gives back to the ski community by volunteering with the adaptive ski program in Big Sky. Outside of her professional world, you can find Erin mountain biking, skiing, running or enjoying a good beer with friends. 

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Backcountry Squatters board members are dedicated to unleashing college women’s full potential as tomorrow’s leaders

ANDIE CREEL

president

andie@backcountrysquatters.org

Andie grew up in Bozeman, Montana, and stayed to attend Montana State University. She co-founded the first Backcountry Squatters club in 2015 with Kit Kocha. She gained professional skills and personal confidence from the club and is grateful for the opportunity to continue honing these skills while sitting on the nonprofit’s board. These lessons have assisted her when working as a journalist across Montana, testifying in front of state legislators, coaching the Big Sky Big Mountain Freeride team, and creating space for herself at an Ivy League graduate school. Her favorite parts of being on the board are gaining energy from new member’s passion and expanding the club to different communities. Andie is currently a graduate student at Yale University getting her Ph.D. in natural resource economics. She is researching how natural amenities — like parks, open space, clean air, and clean water — are distributed across communities. She hopes that her research will assist in more equitable access to natural resources for all people living in the United States. 

JESS WYSE

treasurer

jess@backcountrysquatters.org

Jess grew up a Montana cowgirl, where the family work of farming and ranching formed an early and close connection to animals and the outdoors. Backcountry Squatters was awarded Student Organization of the Year at Montana State University under Jess’s direction, where she had transformed from a shy meeting attendee to a club leader. Through attending and later planning club events and clinics, she gained confidence and skills that have directly transferred into her career as a field geologist. After receiving a degree in Earth Sciences with a concentration in geology, Jess’s work has spanned a number of states and remote locations. Broadly passionate in the field of natural resource management, she has experience in environmental consulting, mine reclamation, mineral exploration, surface and underground mines, and water resources. Jess rejoins Squatters from a male-dominated industry, freshly passionate about spaces that allow for community, support, mentorship, and visibility of diverse role models that lead to more women in positions of power and leadership. In her spare time she enjoys skiing, camping, hiking, and going home to help the family with calving season and trailing cows.

KELLY BALFANZ

secretary

kelly@backcountrysquatters.org

Kelly graduated from Montana State University in the spring of 2019 with a degree in Business marketing. Growing up on the mountains of Colorado, her passion for the outdoors developed at a young age. While attending school at Montana State University, Kelly was introduced to Backcountry Squatters freshman year by a friend from high school. Her realization of the importance of camaraderie among women in the outdoor industry led her to being an active leader in Backcountry Squatters club in college and the development of the nonprofit after graduation.  Kelly currently resides in Denver, Colorado. She works with her family who owns and operates a small company that sells and overhauls aircraft parts. A self-appointed “weekend warrior”, you can typically find Kelly in the Grand County area on the weekends or enjoying one of the many great mountain bike rides the front range has to offer. 

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