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.

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 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.

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 program. 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 taking her Border Collie, Banksy, on adventures around Austin.

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.

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.

Karina Araujo

Marketing Manager

Edinburg, Texas

Karina joined the Texan by Nature team in 2022. As a Marketing Manager, 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 advance conservation. By leveraging the power of social media, she works to build online 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.

Brandice Nelson

Development Manager

Cedar Park, TX

Brandice joined Texan by Nature in February 2023. She supports the Texan by Nature mission through fundraising and development. Brandice earned her B.A. in History and M.A. in Museum Studies from Baylor University. She has curated exhibits on Texas history at cultural heritage institutions across the state, and has been a guest speaker for the Texas A&M Libraries, the Neill-Cochran House, and the Texas Historical Commission. Brandice is an emerging nonprofit leader in Central Texas, serving as an active member of the Junior League of Austin and a board member with Little Bit Of Good, Inc. When not at work, Brandice can be found in a hammock under a tree with a good book.

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

Lauren Hart

Program Specialist

Ann Arbor, MI

Lauren joined the Texan by Nature team in January of 2021. She works to amplify and accelerate conservation in Texas through TxN’s Conservation Wrangler programs and other research-based quantification projects. Lauren enjoys using her analytical and quantitative style of thinking to curate partnerships between corporate and conservation entities with a metric-based approach to amplify the TxN mission of positively impacting people, prosperity, and natural resources. Lauren received her B.S. in Biology with a minor in Spanish from the University of Texas at Austin. She is now working towards her doctorate in Chemical Biology and Ecology at University of Michigan-Ann Arbor. Prior to joining TxN, Lauren taught biostatistics and mentored students in chemical ecology and cloning research techniques at UT Austin. Lauren enjoys playing soccer, hiking, running, swimming, walking her dogs, Duke and Dutch, and cooking and baking for her family and friends. 

Learn more about Lauren, 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.

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.

Matt Wagner

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.

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

Danielle Blanco

Center for Health and Nature Program Manager

Austin, TX

Danielle joined Texan by Nature as the Center for Health and Nature Program Manager in April 2023. She received her B.S. in Aerospace Engineering from Georgia Tech and her M.A. from the University of Maryland in International Education Policy. Following her studies, Danielle served two years in the Peace Corps in Guinea, where she taught math, physics and English at a local school. Outside of teaching, she worked with village elders on malaria and Ebola prevention, and sponsored a local girl’s club, committed to continued education and empowerment.

Danielle is excited to use her engineering mind and her relationship management skills to help drive research to study the impact of nature on health with evidence-based programs that complement the full continuum of health care: prevention, treatment, and recovery. Prior to joining the Texan by Nature team, Danielle spent several years at the Dallas Zoo, helping to promote wildlife conservation both locally and around the world. Outside of work, Danielle enjoys jigsaw puzzles and adventuring around Austin with her husband and two daughters.

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

Blair Stewart


San Antonio, TX

Blair Stewart joined the TxN team in January of 2023 as part of the United States Army’s Career Skills Program. She graduated from the United States Military Academy in 2015 with a degree in Human Geography focused on sustainable urban development. She has since served as a Military Intelligence Officer, using her academic background as a basis for better understanding the national security challenges posed by mounting competition for natural resources and a changing natural world. Blair’s military assignments and backpacking adventures have brought her on travels around the country and the world, but Texas is where she calls home. Blair’s love for and appreciation of nature began as a child spending summers in the unique ecosystem of the Indiana Dunes, and it has not only persisted but grown with time. On any given day, you can find Blair hiking, kayaking, or biking with her husband and two dogs, Ivey and Monet, at a Texas State Park or volunteering as a Texas Master Naturalist.

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

Anna-Kay Reeves

Programs Intern

Austin, TX

Anna-Kay Reeves joined the TxN team in August 2021. She will graduate from the University of Texas at Austin with degrees in International Relations, Spanish, and English in December 2021. Anna-Kay’s interest in conservation is rooted in its power to mobilize communities and people around the world to work for a better future. Along with her work at TxN, Anna-Kay produces podcasts and audio-journalism focused on resource conservation, and she previously wrote for Texas Highways Magazine. Anna-Kay is also a landscape and portrait artist, and enjoys painting outside.

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

Neema Mugofwa


Cedar Park, TX

Neema Mugofwa joined the TxN team in June 2022. She is a junior at George Washington University majoring in Environmental & Sustainability Science and minoring in Data Science. Though her interest in conservation is currently focused on the overlap between her major and minor, with topics like GIS, it began with an introduction to Aldo Leopold and plentiful outdoor experiences, from paddleboarding on Lady Bird Lake to backpacking through Yosemite. Neema also loves playing soccer, working with kids, and going on walks with her sister’s dog, Sky.

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

Abby McGee


Georgetown, TX

Abby McGee joined the Texan by Nature team in January 2023. She will graduate with a B.A. in Environmental Studies from Southwestern University in May 2023. She previously interned for Austin Youth River Watch, where she performed on-the-ground site assessments and researched Austin parks to help inform future environmental restoration projects. She has been drawn to the outdoors and been curious about the world around her ever since she was a kid, whether it be gazing in awe at the Dallas skyline when activities brought her and her family to the city, or spending blissful afternoons in her backyard pool and riding her bike around the neighborhood with friends. Her studies and work experience thus far have instilled a deep appreciation and passion for preserving the natural landscape and the livelihood of all who depend upon it. She is an avid music lover and Texas country music fan. In her free time, she loves to journal, do yoga, take walks, and spend time exploring new places whether traveling near or far. She is thrilled to work for an organization where her passion for her home state of Texas and the natural environment can be put into conjoined action. 

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

Savanna Rodriguez


San Antonio, TX

Savanna Rodriguez joined the Texan by Nature team in February of 2023. She received her B.S. in Agribusiness with a minor in Range and Wildlife Management from Texas A&M University – Kingsville. Before joining TxN Savanna worked with TxN Conservation Partner, Headwater at the Comal as a restoration support intern identifying and documenting invasive plant species. In addition, while living on the (beautiful) Texas coast she worked as a garden educator teaching youth about regenerative agriculture. She strives to use the same enthusiasm from the outdoor classroom in all her work at TxN to reinforce our mission of activating and amplifying conservation projects that benefit people, prosperity, and natural resources. Savanna enjoys crocheting amongst a plethora of other crafty hobbies, gardening, supporting small businesses & farms, fishing, and any way she can enjoy the sunshine with her rescue pup Henry.

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