Meet the Staff

Libby Albers

Executive Director

Headquarters, Newton, KS Office

Libby Albers returned to her long-held career field in natural resources as Assistant Director of the Kansas Alliance for Wetlands and Stream, after serving as Director of the Hesston Public Library for five years.  She was promoted to Executive Director in September 2023. Prior to library work, Libby managed the WATER Center in Wichita, KS – a groundwater remediation and environmental education initiative – for twelve years. Her work experience with KDWP Fisheries, the Great Plains Nature Center, and AmeriCorps reflects her passion for Kansas’ natural environment.

Libby received KAWS’ “Annie’s Coffee Bean” award in 2021. Previously, she was named Hesston, Kansas’ “Citizen of the Year” in 2015.  She received the “Water Conservationist” award from the Kansas Wildlife Federation in 2011, the “Excellence in Conservation and Environmental Education Award” from KACEE in 2007, and KDHE’s “Pollution Prevention” award in 2011.

Libby has undergraduate degrees in English (Kansas Newman College) and Biology (Wichita State University) as well as a Masters of Science Natural Resource Interpretation (Stephen F. Austin State University) and a Masters in Library & Information Science (Emporia State University). She holds certifications from the Kansas Leadership Center, the Kansas Environmental Leadership Program, and the National Association for Interpretation.

Libby’s interests include treasured time with her kids, camping, gardening, and working on her 120-year-old house.  She loves Kansas and regularly geeks out on local history, native plants, and back road adventures.

Bob Culbertson

Wetland Coordinator

Eastern Kansas Watersheds

Bob serves as the Eastern Kansas Wetland Coordinator. He knows that private landowners in Kansas hold the keys to conservation of natural resources in the state and believes that working directly with them is both rewarding and integral to conserving and improving our soil, water, grasslands, streams, forests, wetlands and wildlife. Bob has been involved with KAWS since 2015 as the coordinator for Toronto, Fall River and Upper Neosho WRAPS and previously worked for the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks as a Private Land Wildlife Biologist. He served as the Area Biologist in partnership with the Natural Resource Conservation Service in Emporia working with District Conservationists and landowners in southeast Kansas.

Bob holds a Bachelors of Science in Wildlife Biology from Kansas State University. He is a Certified Wildlife Biologist with the Wildlife Society, is certified in wetland identification and delineation and has completed numerous other training modules. Bob was recognized by the Kansas Wildlife Federation in 2001 as Land and Soil Conservationist of the year.

Bryan Sorensen

Watershed Coordinator

Milford Lake Watershed

Bryan is the WRAPS coordinator for the Milford Lake Watershed. A life long Kansas resident, he grew up in Valley Center, spending his childhood building his passion for the outdoors.

In 2008, after receiving his bachelors degree in Wildlife Biology from Kansas State University, he began his career with KDWP managing public lands and waters within the state. In 2015, he joined Star Seed to work with their growing conservation seed production and sales team. He spent 9 years managing native grass seed production acres across Kansas.

Bryan and his wife, Arin, reside in Concordia, where they are raising their two sons, Bryson and Blayne. In his spare time he enjoys taking his boys hunting, fishing, camping and attending sport activities

Erin Bailey

Watershed Coordinator

Middle Kansas River Watershed

Erin grew up in the foothills of South Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains and traveled to central Kansas biannually, to visit extended family in her father’s hometown of Great Bend. Watching the changing landscape during those road trips helped to peak her interest in human-environment interactions but definitely solidified her love for the Sunflower State and especially the Flint Hills. She moved to Manhattan in 2014 and attended graduate school at Kansas State University. Her education has focused on Environmental Sociology and Food Systems and she brings professional experience in Outreach and Education and Small Scale Specialty Crops.  Erin is an avid gardener and enjoys being of service to her community. She manages the Ogden Elementary Community Garden, serves on the garden team for The Flint Hills Breadbasket, and is involved with the Kansas Permaculture Institute and the Food and Farm Council of Riley County.

Andrew Rutter

Watershed Coordinator

Upper Wakarusa Watershed

Based out of Lawrence, Andrew serves as the Upper Wakarusa Watershed Coordinator. He has been involved with WRAPS since 2021, having worked for the Kansas Department of Health & Environment prior to KAWS. Having served as Fish Kill Response Coordinator and Project Officer for several WRAPS watersheds during his time with KDHE, Andrew has a unique perspective on the role industry and agriculture play in shaping water quality in Kansas. Andrew recently returned to Kansas after working as a wildlife ecologist in Illinois; there he managed human/wildlife conflict and studied the impacts of suburban sprawl on fragmented wildlife populations. Prior to that, he studied river otter ecology in southern Illinois. 

Andrew holds a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Emporia State University and a Master of Science in Forestry from Southern Illinois University. He is a Certified Wildlife Biologist® with The Wildlife Society. When he’s not managing wildlife habitat on his family’s land in southeast Kansas, you can find him hunting, fishing, or trapping. He also enjoys the food and music scene of Lawrence.

Vacant

Project Coordinator, Arkansas River

Arkansas River corridor

 

 

Jim Hoffman

Conservation Specialist

NRCS State Office

Jim has spent most of his career in education, serving students in grades 6-12 as a school counselor.  He has always had interest in the environment and conservation and stepped away from education after 33 years to pursue a different direction.  Having lifelong experience with agriculture and completing a Graduate Certificate in Environmental Assessment, he worked a seasonal position with the McPherson Valley Wetlands just west of McPherson and feels extremely fortunate to have the opportunity to now work with KAWS as a Conservation Specialist.

In his spare time or vacations, Jim finds spending time outdoors most appealing.  National Parks, State and local Parks, hiking, learning about new places, and tends to gravitate toward water structures or bodies of water.   Other interests include golfing, fishing, working with mechanics, inventive ideas, riding his bicycle, and spending time with both immediate and extended family.

Tamara Hillman

Conservation Easement Specialist

Statewide

Tamara grew up in rural south-central Michigan surrounded by a mix of forest and agriculture. A self-described child of the dirt, she spent countless hours catching critters, biking, climbing trees (and falling out of them), wandering public land looking for mushrooms and sheds, running through corn fields, and walking down to the creek to have stick races with her siblings.

This love of the outdoors grew into a passion to study wildlife biology after high school. Upon earning her B.A. and M.S. from Grand Valley State University in west-Michigan, Tamara traveled the country to wherever the jobs were, eventually landing in Kansas as a fauna Field Ecologist with the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON). In 2021, Tamara met Aaron Deters through outreach with NEON, and upon learning more about KAWS and its partners, became interested in the intricate relationship between agriculture and water in Kansas. Seeking an opportunity for growth and expansion of knowledge, Tamara joined KAWS and the NRCS as a Conservation Specialist working with the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP).

During her free time Tamara enjoys hiking, kayaking, strength training, painting, drawing, and baking sweets. She has one giant rescue dog named Winston, two little fish, and an increasingly large number of house plants taking over her Manhattan apartment.

Derek Haines

Watershed Coordinator

John Redmond and Toronto-Fall River Watersheds

Derek is the Watershed Coordinator for the in the John Redmond Watershed and Toronto Fall River Watershed and works closely with the John Redmond Watershed Technician and the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks.

Derek brings a unique blend of skills and experiences to his work at KAWS.  He has over a decade of agricultural Co-op management experience, time with law enforcement and in fleet maintenance, and most notably served as a Staff Sergeant in the United States Air Force. He has transformed the Conservation Technician role into a full-service conservation program offering everything from brush clearing to interseeding cover crops. In 2023, Derek was promoted to Watershed Coordinator for the John Redmond and Toronto-Fall River WRAPS.

When not at work, you can find Derek with his family, working on the farm, or indulging in his love of classic cars.

Chad Metcalfe

John Redmond Watershed Technician

John Redmond Watershed

Chad was born and raised in Emporia, Kansas, and graduated from high school in 1993, before quickly starting his construction career.  Chad’s construction experience ranges from groundwork, to constructing buildings and water treatment facilities, refineries, iron work, and welding. There is not a piece of equipment he doesn’t have experience with!  As the John Redmond Watershed Technician, Chad brings a unique set  of knowledge to the team.

Chad’s passion is his kids.  He has an adult daughter that lives in Dallas, a son who lives in Enid, and also a 7 y/o daughter in Emporia. He is also a very proud grandpa to a beautiful, spunky, granddaughter.  

When not working in the watershed, Chad loves to camp, motocross, and do all types of water sports. On the side, he also owns and operates a commercial and residential concrete business.

Keila Sherman

WRAPS Outreach & Education Specialist

John Redmond and Toronto-Fall River Watersheds

Keila Sherman is the Outreach and Education Specialist for the John Redmond and Toronto-Fall River WRAPS programs.

Keila began working with the Conservation District for Greenwood County after 16 years as a librarian for the school and city libraries and a year for the county road and bridge and noxious weed departments. She has been with the district for more than 8 years. Keila has stayed busy volunteering most of her free time and received the Community Member of the Month in July of 2022 for her efforts to community events. She received the Kansas Association of Conservation & Environmental Education (KACEE) Award of Excellence in Conservation and Environmental Education Government in April of 2020.

Keila has lived in Greenwood County for 33 years, married her high school sweetheart 28 years ago, and has three wonderful kids and two grandchildren. She loves the prairies of the Flint Hills and the trees of Chautauqua Hills. She enjoys spending time rock hunting in creek banks, bow fishing and growing house plants. Her most favorite free time activities are camping at her property near Toronto Lake and being a portrait photographer.