Staff

Joni Carswell

CEO and President

Austin, TX

Joni Carswell is the CEO and President of Texan by Nature where she is responsible for leading the mission to bring business and conservation together. As a proud, fourth generation Texan, Joni pairs her business strategy, engineering and technology background with her passion for Texas and the outdoors to realize Texan by Nature’s vision of bringing business and conservation together for long term, sustainable impact. ... Read More

Prior to Texan by Nature, Joni was the President and CEO of LivingTree where she grew the company from 1000 to 73 million interactions and 1M+ users. Under Joni’s tenure, LivingTree was recognized with the Stevie Women in Business Gold Award for Community Involvement Program of the Year and Silver Award for Mobile App of the Year. The National School Board Association also named LivingTree to the Innovation Showcase in 2017. Before LivingTree, Joni held leadership roles in planning and strategy at Polycom and Dell where she managed three-year planning for multi-billion dollar product portfolios.

As a top graduate of the Kellogg School of Management (Masters, Business Administration) and Northwestern McCormick School of Engineering (Masters, Engineering Management), Joni is a member of Beta Gamma Sigma and served on the Advisory Board for the Kellogg Women’s Business Association. Joni holds a B.S. in Industrial Engineering from Texas A&M University #GoAggies! She and her husband Scott reside in Austin with their two boys, Dixon and Rigby.

Taylor Keys

Program Manager

Austin, TX

Taylor received her B.S. in Wildlife Biology from Texas State University. She has been with Texan by Nature since May of 2016 and enjoys strategic and creative planning to positively impact and amplify TxN’s programs. Prior to TxN, Taylor taught vertebrate physiology labs at Texas State University and worked for the Edwards Aquifer Habitat Conservation Plan as Conservation Crew member doing educational outreach, planting, and river clean-ups on the San Marcos River. On the weekends Taylor enjoys seeing live music in Austin, going on adventures with her dog Sanford, and traveling to State and National Parks for camping trips.

Jenny Burden

Program Manager

Leander, TX

Jenny received her BA from the University of Texas at Austin and her MA from Texas State University in Public History. She joined Texan by Nature in February of 2018 and is thrilled to be working to spread a sense of conservation as integral to Texan identity with others. She has been working in the nonprofit field since 2011 as a project coordinator and fundraiser and has also worked as a Park Ranger at both the federal and municipal levels. She is a volunteer board member for the Austin Ridge Riders, a Central Texas trail building and advocacy organization. In her free time, she enjoys mountain biking, bow hunting, fishing, hiking, camping, trail running with her Blue Heelers, Ranger & Hammer, or finding any other way to be outdoors!

Christie Cowan

Program Manager

Austin, TX

Christie Cowan is a Program Manager at Texan by Nature. A Texan through and through – she was born in Houston, went to Texas A&M in College Station, and now lives in Austin. Christie holds her B.S. from Texas A&M University and while she was there, she was an active member of Howdy Farm, a student-run organic and sustainable farm on campus. Christie was also a Texas State Parks Ambassador, participating in and coordinating community outreach events concentrated on conservation. At Texan by Nature, she is focused on creating and nurturing business partnerships; specifically, to bring Texan by Nature and corporations together with the goal of encouraging businesses in Texas to engage in conservation and sustainability practices. Prior to Texan by Nature, Christie developed her business finesse during her tenure as a Territory Manager at an enterprise technology company, Oracle. Christie is excited to join the Texan by Nature team and merge her two passions – business and conservation! Outside of work, she enjoys spending time in the great outdoors, especially when she’s exploring National Parks and Texas State Parks by way of hiking, paddling, and backpacking.

Matt Wagner, Ph.D.

Project Development

Austin, TX

Recently retired from state service after 33 years, Matt was the deputy director for the Wildlife Division of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. He supervised the administrative functions of the division including over 300 employees, a $30 M budget, and multiple federal grants, contracts, and wildlife research projects. His 28-year tenure with the department included four years as program director for nongame and endangered species science and policy, and eight years as a technical guidance biologist working with private landowners. Matt received a Ph.D. from Texas A&M in Regional Planning in 2005. He teaches Wildlife Law at Texas State University, and is an adjunct faculty member of the Department of Ecosystem Science and Management at Texas A&M. Matt is a certified wildlife biologist, a certified professional in rangeland management, and is past president of both the Texas Chapter of the Wildlife Society, and the Texas Section, Society for Range Management.

Amy Snelgrove

Data and Project Management

San Antonio, TX

Amy joined Texan by Nature in February 2017 as a project manager.  She brings 25 years of experience working on natural resource and endangered species issues to Texan by Nature where her primary role has been facilitating the organization’s monarch and pollinator projects.  She also provides geospatial analysis and mapping support for TxN efforts.  Before joining Texan by Nature, she led the geospatial and information technology resources team within the Natural Resource Institute at Texas A&M University where she worked with an interdisciplinary team of researchers focused on high-profile, state, regional, and national conservation issues. Amy has a B.S. in Urban Forestry and an M.S. in Forestry with a Geographic Information Systems emphasis from Texas A&M University.

Teri Piersall

Operations Manager

Austin, TX

Teri graduated from Texas A&M in 1989 with a B.A. in Finance. She joined Texan by Nature in January of 2018, and since that time, has managed the day-to-day finances of the organization. She worked previously as a commercial real estate appraiser and has volunteered as treasurer for Boy Scout Pack 90, Boy Scout Troop 421 and the LASA Robotics Association. While neither she, nor her husband Jay are native Texans, they have spent the past thirty years in Austin, where they have raised their three children, as well as various dogs, cats and rabbits. She enjoys spending her spare time with family and friends, or on home improvement projects and gardening.

Meagan Doyle

Social Media & Marketing Intern

Austin, TX

Meagan is a junior Marketing major at the University of Texas. In the Fall of 2018, she completed the McCombs BBA Exchange Program in Milan, Italy and developed a growing interest in environmental impact due to its prevalence in the country’s culture. Born and raised in the Texas Hill Country, she has an instilled appreciation for its unique wildlife and scenery – a quality that goes with her to see the beauties of other places. Because of this, she values traveling in every sense, whether it’s a night at Pace Bend or on an airplane hundreds of miles away. In other spare time, she enjoys river tubing, photography, and window shopping.

Erik Hernandez

Programs Intern

Austin, TX

Erik is a senior Environmental Science and Policy Major at St. Edward’s University. Originally from the Rio Grande Valley, Erik has a passion for conserving the beautiful natural environments of Texas. Erik was instilled with this appreciation by growing up being an avid camper with the Boy Scouts of America and his family. Erik believes that the right to a sustainable and preserved natural environment is essential. With this, he also has a strong passion for equality and ending any type of discrimination. Erik loves to do almost anything as long as he is with his friends and/or family that he loves.

Abbey Mesler

Programs Intern

Austin, TX

Abbey is a recent graduate of TCU with a B.S. in Environmental Science. She grew up in Katy, Texas and since then has lived in Fort Worth and Austin. She has developed an appreciation for the diversity of Texas landscapes and believes in the importance of preserving its natural areas. At TCU, she was involved in a bat monitoring program and studied abroad in both South Africa and Costa Rica. Her studies at TCU and traveling to pristine natural areas around the world led to her finding a passion for wildlife and conservation. In her spare time, Abbey loves to walk her dog, go hiking, and spend time with friends and family.

Kaleb Ward

Programs Intern

Austin, TX

Born and raised in Odessa, Texas, Kaleb moved to the Hill Country to attend school at Texas State University in 2015.  He graduated from Texas State in May 2019 with a degree in wildlife biology and a minor in nature and heritage tourism, and then moved to Bartow, West Virginia 2 weeks after graduation to work a summer job term as an environmental instructor at a children’s camp in the Monongahela National Forest.  The Lone Star state was calling him home, so he decided to come back and settle in the Austin area.  In his free time, he likes to hunt and fish, go hiking with his dog, add to his vinyl record collection, check out live music, and travel.  In the future, he plans to go to grad school to obtain his master’s degree in aquatic parasitology.