Austin Motte Chair –
Austin was raised in the Thumb of the Lower Peninsula of Michigan. His childhood home was surrounded by 6,000 plus acres of state game land, which fed his passion for hunting, fishing and outdoor recreation. Austin now resides in the Lansing Mi area of the state.
In the spring Austin enjoys hunting turkeys throughout the state. During the late spring and summer Austin spends his free time at his family's cabin in the northern Lower Peninsula fishing and exploring public lands. Austin avidly hunts in the western Upper Peninsula, where his family gathers every year for Michigan’s firearm deer season. Austin enjoys hunting small game in the winter, mainly focusing on squirrels, on public land close to home.
Public lands offer many of us a place to escape the daily routine. There's no better way to hit the “reset” button. Whether it's witnessing the world come to life on a cold November morning, or wetting a line as a warm summer day fades away. We need to take care of the land and waters that take care of us.
Zach Snyder Vice Chair–
Zach lives with his family in Southeast Michigan. A lifelong outdoorsman, he has been fishing since he could walk, and hunting since he's been able to. Zach hunts, or fishes around the state every chance he gets, but also spends as much time as he can outdoors with his wife, and children. He understands what it means to be good steward of the outdoors, and how important it is to pass on that stewardship, and outdoor heritage to the next generation.
Coming from the suburbs of Detroit, access and opportunity are paramount to Zach. While many of his earlier outdoor experiences took place in and around Alcona county where his family is from, as he got older, he began to explore other areas of the state. As he did this, he began to realize how most of those experiences would not have taken place if it were not for the abundance of public lands, and waters that we have access to in our great state.
Zach has worked in the metal fabrication, and manufacturing industry near Detroit for 18 years, he also operates a small side business specializing in custom outdoor products. He is also an active volunteer in multiple other state level, and national conservation organizations.
Bryan Czajka –Treasurer –
Bryan lives in Brighton, MI with his wife and children. He grew up in Southeast Michigan and spent his childhood fishing, hunting deer, and camping all over the state with his family. As he got older, he began focusing his time outdoors pursuing waterfowl and whitetail deer.
More recently, he finds himself spending much more of his time getting his children outside to experience the outdoors. Bryan enjoys fishing, hiking, hunting animals both large and small, camping, foraging, and teaching his children to give back to the places that give us so much.
He also enjoys getting creative in the kitchen with wild game, fruits, and vegetables harvested.
Bryan is passionate about sharing what he knows with others and introducing people to all that the outdoors has to offer. He participates as a mentor during collaborative mentored hunt programs. He also looks forward to BHA’s Hike to Hunt program each summer to raise funds and awareness for our public lands while staying active and preparing for the upcoming hunting seasons.
Nature and being outdoors means something different to everyone. Caring for and preserving the places and waters that give so much to us is extremely important, and Bryan intends to continue to be a part of protecting what we have today to ensure it is available and in as good of condition or better for future generations to benefit from.
Ryan Tucker – Secretary –
Ryan loves the outdoors and when he is not spending time with family; he is hiking, hunting, fishing (though he isn't very good at it) and camping. He volunteers with a few other conservation and hunting based non-profits.
Ryan’s goal, through this amazing organization, is to see that those areas in Michigan that are "public wild places" stay both public and wild for his daughter and all the future generations of anglers and hunters, and increasing the quality of habitat through conservation projects in Michigan.
Josh Hillyard – Board of Directors –
Josh lives in Brighton, MI with his wife and young son. He grew up in West Michigan fishing and camping and started hunting in his early 20’s. Josh is now an avid whitetail hunter and is the Whitetail Community Manager for First Lite. Prior to First Lite, he was the Assistant Director of Grassroots for the National Deer Association (formerly QDMA).
He has hunted whitetails on small public parcels in the metro Detroit area, cedar swamps of northern Michigan’s public lands, in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, the Badlands of North Dakota, whitetails and elk in Idaho, and more. In the spring, he enjoys shed hunting with his dog, a chocolate lab, and turkey hunting. He hits the Manistee River any chance he gets to do a little fly fishing and loves to fish the inland lakes of northern Michigan where his family has a cabin. When he is not hunting or fishing, he enjoys hiking and camping with his family.
Since Josh began hunting later in life, it fuels his passion to get others involved in the outdoors. He loves to mentor new hunters and introduce them to all hunting has to offer. He makes it a point to get someone new out each year and he hopes you do as well. It’s the only way our hunting heritage will continue on for the next generation of hunters and conservationists. Wild places and public access are vital parts for introducing newcomers and he is committed to fighting for those places.
Brandon McGraw – Board of Directors –
In Brandon’s professional life, he works as a Corporate Compliance and Trade attorney. In his personal life he is an outdoor enthusiast, dog lover, avid mountain biker, and Spartan fan. Brandon and his wife reside in Lansing, Michigan with their English cocker spaniel and golden retriever.
Brandon believes the woods and waters of Michigan are places that are essential for people of all walks of life to have access to, without the burden of having to travel miles away to recreate. Our lands and waters should be easily accessible and protected for generations to come. His involvement on this Board is to ensure outdoor enthusiasts, like our Board of Directors and thousands of BHA members, continue to be the voice for expanding and protecting public land and water access.
Jordan Browne – Board of Directors –
Jordan grew up in the South-Central part of Michigan, spending most of his adolescence near of the town of Ionia. Growing up on a small trout stream with abundant wildlife, Jordan's obsession with the outdoors started at a young age and his passion for filming shortly thereafter. He’s been filming his outdoor adventures since the age 14.
After graduating High School, Jordan attended Michigan State University where he received a degree in Finance. While attending college, Jordan began working as a part-time as a cameraman for Michigan Out-of-Doors TV(MOOD TV). Shortly after graduation, he took on a full time role with the show as an Associate Producer and Social Media Manager. He’s been working for the show for over a decade and has helped produce more than 600 episodes. In addition to working for MOOD TV, Jordan has also assisted in producing shows for the World Fishing Network, Outdoor Channel, and the National Wildlife Federation.
Jordan now lives near Portland with his wife, Angela, and his two children. Jordan enjoys just about everything the outdoor lifestyle has to offer with bow hunting being his top priority.
Having spent nearly a decade highlighting all of the hunting and fishing opportunities in Michigan, he’s tried just about everything the Mitten has to offer. He’s also hunted around the country for deer, bear, and elk.
Jeffery Petersen - Board of Directors -
Jeffrey is a lifelong Michigander, born and raised in Shelby near the Silver Lake Sand Dunes and currently living in Grand Rapids with his wife and two teenaged boys. Growing up in an agricultural community, he spent his childhood exploring any woods or waters his bike could get him to. While Jeffrey has a long-time love for fly-fishing, fly tying and backpacking, he came to hunting at age 37 through a desire to eat locally and sustainably.
A pastor in his professional life, Jeffrey recognizes the physical, mental, and spiritual renewal that public lands, waters, and wildlife provide for people regardless of what pursuits get them outdoors. He loves that BHA is a diverse community allowing sportsmen and women to remain a leading voice for the access and conservation of Michigan’s public lands, from our biggest unbroken national forests to the smallest urban parks.
Shawn Helms - Board of Directors -
Shawn lives in Allendale, MI with his wife and two kids. He works in Spring Lake as an engineer for an Injection Molding manufacturer. Shawn grew up in mid-Michigan, being blessed to be able to hunt and fish private land and honing a passion for the outdoors. It wasn’t until after college that he was able to have his first public land hunt for mule deer in the Bighorn Mountain Range of Wyoming. Shawn came back from that trip with a love of the mountains, a passion for backcountry pursuits, and a newfound respect of public lands availability.
Other pursuits that Shawn has outside of hunting and fishing include mountain biking, a love for cooking, helping his daughter with a shared passion for softball, and introducing his wife and kids to new adventures outdoors. Shawn’s professional career also offers him the opportunity to be a performance coach and community outreach leader, helping to galvanize efforts to invest into the local lakeshore communities.
Shawn is looking forward to seeing how he can help with BHA’s impact in West Michigan and work closely with some like-minded board members to keep everything Michigan has to offer as an enjoyment opportunity for aspiring outdoors people.
Paul Spielbauer - Board of Directors -
Paul grew up in Mid-Michigan. He currently resides in Williamsburg Michigan with his wife and 3 children. Not being raised in a hunting family, he was lucky enough to be surrounded by a community of men and women who were willing to take him under their wing and show him what ethical hunting and fishing meant.
After growing up surrounded by the woods and waters of Michigan, Paul moved to Texas after college and quickly realized the value of the abundant public lands and water in Michigan. In Texas Paul joined BHA seeing a group who also valued these public places for people to hunt, fish, and trap. This was compounded by experiences abroad where the ability to hunt and fish is strictly regulated and in contrast with the model of North American Wildlife Conservation.
Paul believes that our public lands and waters and the right to hunt and fish upon them are the greatest gift that we can leave our children. It is beholden to us to not just protect this, but leave them in a better place them we found them. Ensuring that the rights to hunt, fish, and trap on public lands and waters are carried forward for future generations.
Mike Donovan - Board of Directors -
Mike lives in Williamston MI and recently retired after a 32-year career with the Michigan DNR, working in a variety of positions from wildlife biologist, resource specialist, and supervisor. Most of his career was spent working on landscape-scale wildlife habitat, biodiversity, and sustainable forest management, planning, and research. Michigan’s 8 - million acres of public lands and their management was the focus of many of these efforts.
Growing up in southeast Michigan hunting and fishing, the State Recreation Areas held his interest and imagination. One of his favorite memories as a high schooler was driving north after the Friday night football game to bow hunt the Huron Manistee National Forest. The October middle-of-the night smell of pine and skunk along Monument Road is forever etched in his memory with the expectation of a perfect morning hunt.
Retired now, Mike feels like he still needs to contribute more to the sound management of our public land base to make sure the things he enjoys most about public lands are available for future generations. Most importantly, Mike would like to express the significance of BHA as the only group focused on the issue of ensuring backcountry opportunities on Michigan public lands and the importance of BHA focusing on maintaining and preferably increasing these opportunities.
Derek Sheehan - Board of Directors -
Derek Sheehan’s outdoor experiences have relied on public lands and access to those lands in all the states he has lived in. He understands the importance of public lands and the pressures that threaten the existence of these lands. Derek’s goal with the BHA, is to fight for the "public wild places" for future generations of anglers and hunters. Additionally, he strongly believes in increasing the quality of habitat through conservation projects in Michigan.
Derek grew up in Boulder, Colorado. Growing up he could be found bicycling around Boulder with a fly rod in the summers and skiing in the winter. He earned his bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Fort Lewis College in Durango, CO. While in Durango he mountain biked, skied, backpacked and fly fished all around the Four Corners area. He moved on to graduate school at Montana State University in Bozeman, MT. While there he learned to fly fish the big water (Madison, Jefferson, Gallatin, and Yellowstone rivers) and was introduced to hunting. In 2000, Derek moved his young family to Ann Arbor to work for Pfizer as a medicinal chemist. In 2008 he moved to Kalamazoo and continued at Pfizer Animal Health (now Zoetis) until he retired in 2021. Derek still lives in the Kalamazoo area and makes custom bamboo flyrods, spends his days with his wife, Susan, and fishes & hunts as much as he can.Error in tag 'tag' - No such tag slug michigan_chapter_board