Meet our staff

Adrian Leighton, PhD, Director

Adrian Leighton has been an adviser and instructor of Forestry at Salish Kootenai College since 2003, and the designer of the Bachelor of Science program in Forestry at SKC.

Since 1994, his major interest has been understanding the point of intersection between responsible resource management and the ecology of natural systems.

Off campus, he is a former co-chair of the Intertribal Timber Council Research Sub-Committee and a member of the 3rd & 4th Indian Forest Management Assessment Team (IFMAT).


Craig Cook, Fire Program Manager/Advisor

Craig Cook has worked as an agency trainer for the Department of Interior and has served as a Fire Training Specialist for the Bureau of Indian Affairs since 2005.

He oversaw Smoke Signals, a BIA publication highlighting fire and forestry projects of interest for tribal organizations.

Craig also managed mid-career training programs designed to provide college courses to fire technicians to enhance their career options by providing an educational bridge to professional level jobs.


Nicole Stiffarm, Program Manager

Nicole Stiffarm is the lead program manager in charge of student program oversight, workforce development, academic advising, and program compliance. She is an enrolled tribal member of the Chippewa Cree Tribe in Rocky Boy, MT, and a mother of three.

She is a graduate of Salish Kootenai College and holds a Bachelor of Science in Forestry with an emphasis in Forest Management. She formerly served as the Chair for the Intertribal Timber Council Education Committee and served as a Delegate in the inaugural Women’s Forest Congress. She is currently working toward her Masters in Natural Resource Management at Salish Kootenai College.


Joshua Rosenau, Program Coordinator

As a program coordinator Joshua Rosenau helps facilitate and update business processes for the center. He holds a MA in Interdisciplinary studies from the University of Montana and a BA in Journalism from Rutgers University. As a specialist in web technologies and communications, he has maintained websites for the New York Times Company. Prior to joining SKC TREES, he served as an AmeriCorps VISTA in the Wildlife and Fisheries Program at Salish Kootenai College, where he worked to build capacity to combat and adapt to climate change on the Flathead Nation.

Tamara Birdsbill, Student Programs Coordinator

Tamara Birdsbill is the TREES student program coordinator. She is a member of the Blackfeet tribe, mother to three sons and a dog mom to Frankie beans. She is a graduate from Salish Kootenai College and has a Bachelor’s of Science in Forestry Management. She has worked in fire as an FFT1, IC5, has experience with working in a type 2 Initial Attack crew.