Staff

Joni Carswell

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.

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.

Learn more about Joni, and what makes her Texan by Nature, in this blog post.

Aaron Bowen

Chief Administrative Officer

Austin, TX

As Texan by Nature’s Chief Administrative Officer, Aaron brings his expertise in internal process enhancement, contract management, financial reporting, and business administration, ensuring streamlined operations to drive the organization’s mission of conservation forward. Combining his knack for scaling organizations with a deep-rooted passion for wildlife conservation, Aaron is dedicated to empowering Texan by Nature to effectively advance its conservation endeavors across the Lone Star State.


Before embarking on his journey with Texan by Nature, Aaron served as the General Manager overseeing a $7 million portfolio of businesses within a rapidly growing tech startup in the Manufacturing sector. Prior to that, he co-founded and steered The Folde, a groundbreaking laundry startup that reshaped the landscape of laundry services. The innovative business model and market potential of The Folde caught the eye of a nationally renowned competitor, leading to its acquisition in May 2023. Aaron’s entrepreneurial background has equipped him with invaluable skills in leadership, strategic planning, and fostering meaningful relationships.


Beyond the boardroom, Aaron finds solace in the great outdoors, indulging in hunting, fishing, golf, and soaking up the warm Texas sun alongside his wife Lindsay and daughter Cameran.


Learn more about Aaron and what makes him Texan by Nature in this blog post.

Taylor Keys

Taylor Keys

Program Director

Austin, TX

Taylor has been with Texan by Nature (TxN) since May 2016. As a TxN Program Director, she works to amplify and accelerate conservation projects’ impact across the state of Texas through TxN’s programs and statewide initiatives. Taylor also leads the facilitation of TxN’s conservation partner network coordinating communication with TxN’s 105+ conservation partners. Taylor enjoys using her creativity and organization to manage programs and implement strategic and innovative project planning to achieve TxN’s mission to positively impact people, prosperity, and natural resources. Taylor received her B.S. in Wildlife Biology from Texas State University. 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. Taylor currently sits on the Outdoor Leadership Board Committee for the Girl Scouts of North East Texas.

Learn more about Taylor, and what makes her Texan by Nature, in this blog post.

Jenny

Jenny Burden

Director of Development

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 create a legacy of conservation as big as the Lone Star State. 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, which includes the Ride Like a Girl Women’s mountain biking program. She is also a mentor for Little Bellas, a nonprofit program that encourages confidence in young girls through mountain biking. In her free time, she enjoys mountain biking, dirt biking, bow hunting, fishing, hiking, camping, trail running with her Blue Heelers, Ranger & Hammer, or finding any other way to be outdoors!

Learn more about Jenny, and what makes her Texan by Nature, in this blog post.

Karina Araujo

Marketing Director

Edinburg, TX

Karina joined the Texan by Nature team in 2022. As a Marketing Director, she works to help realize the TxN vision for the future: for every business, every Texan to participate in conservation, and for Texas to be a model of collaborative conservation for the world. Drawing on her background in Mass Communication from the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, Karina brings her passion for nature, creativity, communication, design, and data analysis to help advance conservation. By leveraging the power of social media, she works to build communities that champion TxN’s mission. Prior to TxN, Karina worked on introducing and executing digital marketing strategies for companies across various industries including aesthetics, fitness, and healthcare. Outside of work, Karina enjoys hiking, powerlifting, discussing the world of mixed martial arts, exploring pop culture history and soaking up the South Padre Island sun with her daughter Kimora, her husband Fabian, and her furry family member Benito.

Learn more about Karina and what makes her Texan by Nature in this blog post.

Amy Snelgrove

Amy Snelgrove

Data and Project Manager

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 is facilitating the organization’s conservation projects with business partners. 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.

Learn more about Amy, and what makes her Texan by Nature, in this blog post.

Urvi Dani

Senior Partnership Manager

Houston, TX

Urvi joined the Texan by Nature team as Senior Partnership Manager in 2023.  Coupling her industry experience and collaborative approach with her passion for nature conservation, she helps connect businesses and conservation groups to pave the way for a sustainable future. Urvi earned her B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Rice University in 2006.  She committed to environmental conservation activities and organizations throughout school and college. Prior to joining Texan by Nature, she spent 16 years at a major energy corporation where she supported oil and gas developments around the world. She gained experience in safety and environmental program management, risk management, strategic and business planning, career development, and leadership of engineering teams. Outside work, Urvi has always enjoyed finding new ways to explore the outdoors. During her first summer in college, she completed a 4,000 mile cross-country bicycle ride across rural America. Nowadays you can find her camping and hiking, traveling with her family, playing viola in the Energy Corridor of Houston Orchestra (ECHO), volunteering at the Houston Arboretum and Nature Center, playing board games, or reading a good book!

Learn more about Urvi, and what makes her Texan by Nature, in this blog post.

Teri Piersall

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.

Learn more about Teri, and what makes her Texan by Nature, in this blog post.

Kenzie Cherniak

Program Manager

Austin, TX

Kenzie joined the Texan by Nature team in January of 2021. Kenzie provides strategic support and program management to various organizations through TxN’s Conservation Wrangler and Business Member programs. She earned her B.S. in Environmental Science from Texas Christian University, with minors in both Biology and Human-Animal relationships, along with two certificates in both Sustainability and Wildlife Management. Prior to TxN, Kenzie was an undergraduate teaching assistant and field technician for a bat monitoring program at TCU, studying the flight patterns and behaviors of Texas bats. During her time at TCU, Kenzie also had the opportunity to travel to South Africa, Costa Rica, and Indonesia to study some of the world’s most endangered species in their natural habitats. In her free time, Kenzie enjoys baking, gardening, and doing agility with her two dogs, Zora and Banksy.

Learn more about Kenzie, and what makes her Texan by Nature, in this blog post.

Caitlin Tran

Program Manager

Houston, TX

Caitlin joined the Texan by Nature team in June of 2021. She works to amplify and accelerate conservation in Texas through TxN’s Conservation Wrangler programs, Business Member projects, and other statewide initiatives. Caitlin utilizes her engineering background to support and manage projects to amplify the TxN mission of positively impacting people, prosperity, and natural resources. Caitlin received her B.S. in Geosystems Engineering and Hydrogeology from the University of Texas at Austin. Prior to joining TxN, Caitlin researched potentiometric water balances between native grasslands and oak/juniper forests. During her time at UT Austin, Caitlin also taught geology to high school students at a summer camp that worked to broaden opportunities for lower socio-economic students and diversify the field of geosciences. Caitlin enjoys hiking, cycling, swimming, exploring new foods, and road-tripping with family and friends in her free time

Learn more about Caitlin, and what makes her Texan by Nature, in this blog post.

Jake Cooper Headshot

Jake Cooper

Program Manager

San Antonio, TX

Jake’s passion for the environment runs as deep as the lakes and forests he grew up exploring in his hometown of Mexia, Texas. Bringing his legal and business background to the forefront, he now works to champion conservation initiatives across the Lone Star State. Jake joined the Texan by Nature team in February of 2024 and works with the TxN Conservation Wrangler Program. Jake believes that every Texan has a role to play in nurturing our state’s natural treasures and he knows that begins with a deep understanding of both the land and the many dedicated stewards who work to preserve it.

Jake received his B.A. in Psychology from Texas A&M University and his JD from South Texas College of Law in Houston, Texas. Prior to joining the TxN team, Jake practiced law in areas ranging from business transactions to the mediation of commercial dispute, leveraging his down to earth approach to build on common interest rather than be divided by our differences. Outside of work, Jake enjoys weightlifting, hiking, cycling, and exploring all the beautiful natural areas our great state has to offer. Outside of work, you can often find him out exploring the beautiful Texas Hill Country with his husband, and their two pups, Stevie and Pippa.

Learn more about Jake, and what makes him Texan by Nature, in this blog post.

 

Tiara Chapman Headshot

Tiara Chapman

Social Media and Marketing Manager

Tiara joined the Texan by Nature team as the Social Media and Marketing Manager in 2024. As an innovative science communicator, Tiara is dedicated to helping all Texans anywhere explore the natural world around them by building fun and inclusive digital spaces to celebrate the outdoors. Before joining Texan by Nature, Tiara worked in parks all across the Lone Star State and beyond including Ray Roberts Lake State Park, Lewisville Lake Environmental Learning Area, and Wrangell St. Elias in Copper Center, Alaska Her passion for building thriving digital communities extends to her volunteer services as an active board member of the Informal Science Educators Association of Texas, ActivEnviro, and Friends of San Antonio Natural Areas. In her free time, Tiara loves to read, garden, and plan “bucket list” backpacking trips with friends.

Abbey Jacks headshot

Abbey Jacks

Development Manager

San Antonio, TX

Abbey is a proud fifth-generation Texan who graduated from Texas A&M University with a Bachelor of Science in Wildlife and Fisheries in 2016. She joined Texan by Nature in 2024 as Development Manager and works to secure a legacy of conservation in Texas by connecting and catalyzing businesses and conservation groups by utilizing her passion and knowledge in preserving wildlife and native habitats. Before joining TxN, Abbey gained over six years of experience working with nonprofit organizations founded to protect wildlife and wild spaces. Her diverse background includes working as a zookeeper with a variety of Texas native species as well as a nature education manager for the Witte Museum, an institution dedicated to the wildlife, history, and people of Texas. Outside of work, Abbey enjoys reading, hiking, and traveling with her friends and family. She continues to learn more about the incredible and varied wildlife in Texas through hobbies like insect pinning and taxidermy.

Kat McEachern

Content Creator

Bonham, TX

Kat joined Texan by Nature in October 2023. With a BA in Communication, she pursued a career in photography before narrowing her focus on the social media landscape. By combining her interests in community building and social media, she thrives on communicating an organization’s mission with the public, in order to equip individuals to make positive change within their communities. While previously working at a rape crisis center (SARC) as a creative specialist, specifically in socials, she developed a digital advocate program that enabled advocate work to continue in the online space while reassuring survivors they were not alone during the pandemic. Her interest in conservation stems from a childhood spent outdoors, participating in 4-H, and her current work in the sustainable/ethical brand world. Kat is excited to learn from the Texan by Nature team and become immersed in conservation efforts across Texas!

When not working, Kat is out nature watching, doing some form of physical activity, learning more about slow fashion, or exploring with her dog.

Taylor Kennedy Frenchi

Program Manager

Fort Collins, CO

Taylor is deeply committed to advancing the understanding of the effects of nature on health and well-being. She joined Texan by Nature as the Program Manager for the Nature and Health Alliance in January 2024. In her role, she is dedicated to facilitating research collaboration, fostering interdisciplinary work, and executing strategies that will expand access to the numerous benefits that nature offers for our health. With a Bachelor of Science in Health Services from TESU and ongoing studies toward a Masters in Conservation Biology at Miami University, Taylor has diligently pursued opportunities at the confluence of health and the natural world. Her diverse experiences include conducting field research with bats in rural America, exploring the human dimensions of conservation efforts in Central and South America, and managing research programs that bridge human health and environmental concerns. Outside of work you can find her indulging her love of the outdoors by fishing, hiking, and exploring with her dog, Mango.

Learn more about Taylor, and what makes her Texan by Nature, in this blog post.

Photo of Natalia Rodriguez

Natalia Rodriguez

Program Manager

Houston, TX

Natalia Rodriguez joined Texan by Nature as Program Manager for the Center for Health and Nature in March 2024. She received her Bachelor of Science in Mathematical Biology from the University of Houston and her Master of Public Health from the UTHealth School of Public Health. Driven by her passion for community well-being, Natalia has forged numerous collaborative partnerships across the Greater Houston Area, understanding the vital role of collective action in fostering healthier communities. She has experience in community-based initiatives focused on preventive health from her time at Texas Medical Center, and most recently, Natalia served as a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Community Ambassador for Houston. She enjoys working with communities and promoting the intersection of health and nature. Outside of work, Natalia loves spending time outdoors walking her dog, running with friends, and biking with her sisters.

Learn more about Natalia, and what makes her Texan by Nature, in this blog post

Faith Humphreys

Intern

Abilene, TX

Faith joined the Texan by Nature team in June 2023. She received her BBA in Finance and Management Information Systems from Baylor University in 2016. During her time at Baylor, she interned for the Cheetah Conservation Fund in Namibia, Africa, where she led a study on the organization’s economic impact. After graduation, Faith worked as a business and financial analyst in the legal and healthcare industries. She later decided to pursue her passion for conservation and received her Master of Wildlife and Fisheries Resources degree from Clemson University in May 2023. Most recently, she worked for WEST, Inc. as a biological field technician, where she conducted bat and bird mortality surveys on a wind energy facility in west Texas. Faith hopes to combine her business and conservation knowledge to help solve the challenges that face Texas’ natural resources. Outside of work, she enjoys playing piano, volunteering as a Texas Master Naturalist, attending live concerts, and hiking with her husband Carson and dogs, Blitz and Blue.

Learn more about Faith, and what makes her Texan by Nature, in this blog post.

Eros Baua

Programs Intern

Richmond, TX

Eros started with Texan by Nature in January 2024. He is currently a Junior at Texas State University studying Wildlife Biology with a double minor in Nature and Heritage Tourism and Sustainability Studies. Currently, Eros works at The Meadows Center for Water and the Environment where he gives tours on glass bottom boats as well as ensures proper husbandry with the native and endangered species in their Discovery Hall. Recently, he has joined a research lab at Texas State where he will assist and research grassland and wetland plants and their effect on the ecology and environment. Eros also advocates for the Education Abroad Program within the Wildlife and Conservation courses. Through various programs, he has traveled to Costa Rica and is set to study in South Africa and Ireland.

Eros’ desired career pathway is International Tropical Ecology and Conservation Education. After he graduates, he plans to continue his research opportunities and his education to his Ph.D. abroad. Eros hopes to continue to gain knowledge and wisdom to create an organization that will inspire and motivate like-minded students to network and gain opportunities internationally. Outside of work, Eros loves to crochet, listen to audiobooks, find and explore more jewel, Texan destinations, and hang out with his cat, Raegan.

Learn more about Eros Baua, and what makes him Texan by Nature, in this blog post.

Hanna Guidry

Programs Intern

Dallas, TX

Hanna joined Texan by Nature in January of 2024. She recently graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with Bachelor’s degrees in Government and Sustainability Studies and a minor in Communication Studies. While at UT, she spent two semesters as a member of the Longhorn Impact Fellowship at Texas as a sustainability consultant with DLA Piper, LLC. She also interned on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. as a Bill Archer Fellow and worked as an intern with the Dave & Buster’s legal department at their corporate headquarters. Hanna will be starting law school in August and plans on practicing environmental law. 

Hanna’s interest in protecting nature and the environment spans back to her childhood, but she hopes to use her chosen fields of study to turn this interest into a lifelong career. She is excited to learn more about conservation from the Texan by Nature team and feels that this experience will help prepare her for law school and a future career in the environmental field. 

In her free time, Hanna enjoys listening to music, attending concerts, and expanding her classic rock album collection.

Kat Hicks

Programs Intern

Bryan, TX

Kat Hicks joined Texan By Nature in January 2024 as a Programs Intern. She is in her fourth and final year of University at Texas A&M with an expected graduation in May of 2024. She will be graduating with a B.S. in Environmental Studies and a Minor in Women and Gender Studies. Kat is a dedicated, lifelong learner and finds fulfillment investing in community led projects. During her time in college she has been a project manager for a pollinator project located on the student-run Howdy Farm, assistant managed a food sovereignty project that provided security to local immigrant families of Bryan, Texas, and served the Department of Sustainability on Texas A&M campus as an Outreach Intern. Kat is also an avid volunteer, working with local food banks and farms in Bryan and Austin, Texas as well as a local women’s advocacy organization, Jane’s Due Process. From these experiences, she has honed in on her passion for community-focused sustainability and conservation efforts, leading her to TxN. 

Outside of school and career investments, Kat has a profound love for food and culinary engagement. She is often cooking for friends or family and studying the NYT cooking webpage for new recipes to try.

Learn more about Kat Hicks, and what makes her Texan by Nature, in this blog post

 



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