Minnesota Chapter Board

Eli Mansfield, Chair

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Eli grew up with an affinity for the outdoors in a small Indiana town. The majority of his young life was spent fishing with his father & brothers in the ponds & rivers near home. Summer & winter trips to his grandparent’s in Florida were spent surf casting from the state park public beach. It wasn’t until college, when Eli began devoting time to hone his hunting skills, that he realized public access to outdoor spaces is not always easy to come by.

After graduating from Purdue University, Eli moved to Minnesota where he earned his Master’s in Public Health Policy & Administration from the University of Minnesota. The abundant hunting access to public lands in his new state brought a sense of gratitude and responsibility.

“There was not a lot of public land where I grew up. I was lucky enough to hunt with great friends who owned farm ground back in Indiana. Once I moved to Minnesota and began hunting every free minute on public land, I realized I owed a debt to those who worked to make this a possibility.”

Eli began to find opportunities to volunteer with local groups and eventually found alignment with the ethos of Backcountry Hunters & Anglers. Within BHA he met members who encouraged him to continue to pursue public land adventures all over the country. Although Elk hunting in the mountains has become an annual event, Eli would chose bird hunting with his Wirehaired Griffon, Leo, any day.

Eli continues outdoor pursuits throughout many states each year and encourages everyone to share in that journey.

“I’m very fortunate to have great hunting partners and an incredible wife who help me get the most out of life. We do it through adventures and memories we are making across this country on land that belongs to you & me.”

 


Chance Adams, Vice Chair (Events & Operations) 

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Chance grew up on the edge of the Chippewa National Forest in Northern Minnesota.  He spent much of his childhood running around the woods without realizing the treasure he was exploring.  Once he moved away for college, Chance quickly realized he needed to be around the forests of Northern Minnesota and returned home to finish his education degree at Bemidji State University.  He has spent the last 16 years teaching social studies courses at TrekNorth Jr. & Sr. High School while leading outdoor adventure trips for students.  

Currently Chance enjoys hunting deer, turkeys, and of course waterfowl.  Being from Northern Minnesota, fishing and hunting are part of everyday life.  However, when not hunting and fishing, Chance can usually be found canoeing in the BWCA or enjoying the long Northern Minnesotan Winters.


Greg Kvale, Vice Chair (Policy)

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Greg grew up in an outdoor family in southern Minnesota. His father introduced him to the outdoors when he was very young with trips to the BWCAW and other public lands and waters. When not, outdoors his favorite place is in the kitchen.

A combat wounded Vietnam era veteran Greg dedicated his professional career to natural resource protection and management as a forester and real estate specialist with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. After retirement Greg started an appraisal business and worked with the DNR, The Nature Conservancy, DU, PF, Trust for Public Land and other conservation organization in acquiring and protecting over 10,000 acres of public land and 15 miles of shoreline.

Greg is a co-founder of Anglers for Habitat, and a co-founder and instructor for the Minnesota Waterfowl Associations Woody Camp for youth for over 25 years. A board member and local leader of many conservation organizations Greg has been involved in conservation issues both on a local, state and national level for decades.


Alex Gorman, Treasurer

Alex spent his childhood in a small town in Northern California, where he loved spending his free time camping, hiking, and fishing for rainbow trout in the Sierras. This early exposure to the outdoors inspired Alex to pursue a degree in forestry in Northern California, where he developed a passion for foraging. 

After working as a forester and educator, Alex joined BHA and soon moved to Minnesota to pursue a graduate degree in natural resources science and management. In Minnesota, he became the president of the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities chapter of BHA and discovered his love for Darkhouse spearing and turkey hunting.

Alex currently works in local government, where he plays a crucial role in conserving and protecting Minnesota’s waters and wetlands. He is enthusiastic about sharing his love of the outdoors, especially fishing, hunting, and foraging, and introducing others to the wonders of public lands and waters.

 


Tyler Notch, Secretary
Tyler grew up in the small town of Eagle Bend, MN and currently reside in Alexandria, MN with my Wife (Laura), two daughters (Ellie and Adelyn) and son (Brooks). Professionally Tyler serves as the Executive Director of a large senior living facility in Central Minnesota. You’ll often find Tyler and his family hiking and camping in various state parks across Minnesota or traveling to the mountain states (Montana, Colorado, etc.) to take in the wildlife and scenery.  
Tyler is also an avid archery hunter and has a father who first introduced him to the outdoors and specifically archery hunting, at a very young age. Tyler grew up and continues to chase whitetails in Minnesota and North Dakota. However, his love for archery hunting has accelerated the last 6 years as “I’ve been drawn to the western mountains while pursuing bugling elk. Nothing beats a September in the mountains!” This is where his passion now lies. Being able to chase elk in mostly public land, has drawn him to find ways to ensure public lands stay in public hands. Being a member of BHA and volunteering on committees and various events, has allowed him to put action behind my words of passion for conservation and public lands.  
One of my main goals is to do the best I can to ensure my family enjoys the experiences our public lands have to offer and that it stays that way for years to come. Being able to serve on the BHA Minnesota Chapter Board, gives me an opportunity to work alongside a great group of individuals to ensure that goal becomes reality.

Ellen Candler, Board of Directors

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Ellen was born and raised in South East Idaho and grew up fishing, rafting, and backpacking with her family in the rivers and wilderness of her home state. She followed her dad into the mountains on elk and moose hunts and took up deer and duck hunting when she was twelve. Like many young people, Ellen stopped hunting when she left home, but was re-introduced to it through the Minnesota DNR’s adult learn to hunt program. Fly-fishing has always been a passion and continues to push her to new rivers.

Today, Ellen enjoys exploring Minnesota’s fly-fishing opportunities and discovering Minnesota public lands with her husband Mike and dog Raleigh. She is rediscovering fly-tying as a way to learn the rivers and streams that she fishes. She looks forward to taking trips in the Boundary Waters and learning more about Minnesota’s outdoor opportunities through hunting and fishing.

Ellen spent several years in the beautiful Upper Peninsula of Michigan while she completed a BS degree from Michigan Technological University in Wildlife Ecology and Management. She is currently a Conservation Science PhD student at the University of Minnesota researching the extent that hunter derived food sources, such as hunter bait piles or hunter gut piles, influence the scavenger community. 


Joe McCartin, Board of Directors

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Joe is a native Midwesterner with a passion for habitat, public land, and the North American Conservation Model. He works hard to pass on the hunting and angling traditions he inherited to his kids. His first love is ruffed grouse and woodcock hunting over his English Setter. He, also, loves holding conversations with Spring gobblers and ducks, foraging for mushrooms, traditional archery, pond hockey, and fishing for everything from muskies to native brookies. Joe previously served on the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership's policy council, the Union Sportsmen's Alliance, and was a habitat volunteer for many years with Trout Unlimited.

Currently a lawyer representing injured and disabled workers, he has also worked as a union pipefitter, organizer and lobbyist. He worked on massive energy retrofits, ground welds on pipelines, helped hundreds of workers form their first union, and walked many miles up and down the marble halls of the U.S. Capitol. He moved to Minnesota for law school and put down roots, eventually starting his own law firm. Equal to his passion for the outdoors, is his fight for working people. Joe hopes to bring a balanced and pragmatic perspective to conservation issues that respects all stakeholders, responsible development, and the jobs that come with it, while advancing BHA's core mission and values.

 


Mike Verhoeven, Board of Directors

AMike_Verhoeven_2.jpgMike is an avid outdoorsperson, and jumps at any opportunity to get outside. He works as a lake biologist, and is currently conducting research on aquatic plants at the University of Minnesota. Over time, his interests have begun to focus on introducing others to the outdoors and advocating for public policy that favors good stewardship and conservation of natural resources; these interests drew him to get involved with BHA.

He grew up in New Prague, about an hour SW of the Twin Cities. As a kid he spent his time after school hunting, fishing, and trapping. Under the mentorship of two grandfathers with a passion for hunting, he had opportunities to hunt elk in Colorado, black bears in northern Minnesota, and ducks in southern Minnesota from a young age. His adventurous mother showed him the wonders of the Superior National forest via canoe. Mike and his wife, Kristin, live in St. Paul now and enjoy getting out at every opportunity to explore and harvest the bountiful outdoor resources that Minnesotans enjoy.


Timo Rova, Board of Directors

Timo never really grew up, but his parent’s managed to keep him alive and get him through school in Minnesota.  College in Duluth (UMD) helped Timo find a thriving community that shared his love of the outdoors, adventure, comradery and hard work.  During this time he also worked as a school bus driver, logger, wilderness camp canoe guide, trail crew foreman, and wildland fire fighter (MnDNR).  

Once his own family started, they moved to California for his wifes work and there he fully committed to Wildland Fire as his career choice (34 yr) and has held duty stations in California, Montana, Alaska, Minnesota and New Mexico along with working on assignments in 38 states and other countries to support land management work. .  He worked extensively suppression crews, prescribed fire and fuels management, as a helitack, air attack, chainsaw and crosscut (axe) sawyer, tree climber and blaster, but his favorite job and what he feels came the closest to fulfilling his boyhood dreams was his nearly two decades as a smokejumper.  The incredible backcountries visited all over the nation plus the woodsman skills learned, helped him stay young and passionate about life and the outdoors.

He ended his career on the Superior National Forest in Ely as the Fire Management Officer (ZFMO) where the Canadian border and boundary waters canoe area wilderness played daily into his job.  Ely is also where his dad’s side of the family came to and lived when they left the arctic regions of Finland and where he learned to cherish the backcountry and sauna.  

Timo believes the public lands and access to them is one of the most beautiful things about America and wants to continue fighting for this jewel, now as a civilian and part of that is through his membership and work with BHA. He believes in helping others see and realize this treasure and work for it.  

In his other free time he loves to be apart of his community through church, folks school, choir while hunting and gathering (and some fishing) near his home and across the globe with his family and friends.  Wildrice, maple syrup, netting whitefish, trapping, deer, elk antelope, blueberriess and grouse are just a few of the word that bring sparkles to his eyes, make his heart beat faster and still feel like a young boy.


 Neal Jacobson, Board of Directors

Neal, a lifelong Minnesotan, was introduced to the outdoors at an early age. Some of his foundational outdoor experiences include camping and fishing with his grandparents in the state parks of northern Minnesota, deer hunting with his uncles, a boundary waters trip with his dad, and exploring the west with his parents and sisters.  Neal grew up in Minnetonka with parents who modeled the importance of political awareness and engagement. He graduated from Bethel University with a Bachelors Degree in Political Science. After graduation, Neal pursued an active, outdoor job, eventually leading to a driving career at UPS, where he has worked for the last 19 years.

Neal and his family, (wife Kim, kids Bo and Greta) live in Andover, Minnesota and are active members in their community. They love to spend their free time traveling and exploring the public lands and waters of Minnesota and beyond. An outdoor generalist, Neal strives to enjoy everything Minnesota has to offer. On an October day, you might find him in the north woods pursuing grouse, out on the prairie hunting pheasants, or in the marsh calling in waterfowl. More than likely however, you will find him up in a tree with his bow looking for whitetails, or on a Canadian Shield lake jigging for walleyes.
Neal’s main goal with BHA is to help build connections. Building connections between members and the land, and to each other. We owe it to the next generation to pass on this unique outdoor heritage in better shape than we found it. 

Keng Yang, Board of Directors

Keng is an avid adult-onset hunter who discovered his love for the sport in 2017 when he got his first bird dog, Kaiya. He finds great joy in chasing pheasants and waterfowl in the beautiful wilderness of western Minnesota during the fall, and turkeys in the spring. But Keng's commitment to hunting goes beyond just a pastime; he is a compassionate advocate for the outdoor hunting and fishing communities in Minnesota.
As a board member of BHA, and serving on the MN DNR R3 Committee, MN DNR NHAC, and Minnesota Conservation Federation, Keng has devoted his time to ensuring that public land is protected and accessible to everyone. In fact, Keng hunts on public land 99% of the time, which has fueled his passion to be a strong voice for protecting and creating more public land. He believes that the great outdoors should be enjoyed by all, and that preserving public land is essential for future generations to continue to appreciate its beauty.
Keng's gentle and kind nature is reflected in his work as a mentor and advocate for conservation. He inspires others to take an interest in preserving public land, and his message is clear: by working together, we can protect our natural resources and ensure that they remain available for everyone to enjoy. For Keng, hunting is not just a hobby, it's a way of life that brings him great happiness and fulfillment, and he hopes to share that same joy with others.

Kyle Hildebrandt, Board of Directors

Kyle grew up in a small town in southeast Minnesota. When he wasn’t either playing sports or working construction with his dad, he would be camping and fishing with friends and family. His grandfather instilled a love for natural resources going on fishing trips, while teaching Kyle the hard work it takes to steward our natural resources by proudly pointing out projects on road trips he worked on as a Soil Conservationist and farmer. 

After serving an enlistment in the Marine Corps, Kyle went to the University of Minnesota where he first crossed paths with BHA. Following an impactful public lands rally and pint night, he was inspired to kickstart the UMN Collegiate Club. In 2020, Kyle was awarded BHA’s 1st Rachel Carson Emerging Leader Award. 

Since graduating, Kyle’s been gaining experience in several roles working for conservation agencies, and continues working to protect natural resources and sharing his passion by helping others strengthen their connection to nature.

 


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