Staff Profile: Alanna Koshollek
As the Evaluation Coordinator, I work with and support all program areas of the foundation in addition to working as a consultant for other conservation non-profits and collaborations. I provide opportunities for staff to enhance their evaluation knowledge and skills, while serving as a resource to help guide their program evaluations. When consulting on an evaluation project I might be invited to help with one aspect of the evaluation, and at other times I might work with staff or clients from start to finish on identifying their learning questions, designing an evaluation framework, selecting methods to measure impact, developing data collection instrument (i.e., surveys, interview guides), collecting the data, analyzing the data, reporting the findings, and helping stakeholders interpret these findings. While some might find wading through data boring, I love it! Not only am I learning about tools and programming that individuals are using to help address conservation issues, but I get to meet participants from these programs, learn from their experiences, and use the data to tell a story that will help the program organizers address their questions. No two projects are ever alike creating the perfect environment for continuous learning.
I completed my undergraduate degree in Forestry (Ecosystem Management and Restoration) at UW-Stevens Point in 2004, and went on to earn a graduate degree in Human Dimensions of Natural Resources from UW-Stevens Point in 2010. Since completing my graduate degree, a majority of my time at the Aldo Leopold Foundation has focused specifically on evaluating partnership initiatives of the foundation like My Wisconsin Woods and the Driftless Forest Network, and interventions designed to connect private landowners with resources to help them make management decisions for their land. As a trained forester and private landowner, this is a topic of personal and professional interest to me. My early years at the foundation, first as an intern (2005-06) and then as the Stewardship Coordinator (2006-15) helped me to established an understanding of ecology and working knowledge of the practices and tools needed to effectively manage land. With this came a deep curiosity about how individuals develop their land ethic and how it translates into caring for land… this continues to fuel my interest in commitment in evaluating programs designed to do just that.