New Sagebrush Conservation and Communications Staff Join the IWJV Team

The IWJV added two exceptional individuals to our team this fall to accelerate and enhance our work in two fields: strategic communications and sagebrush conservation. Please join us in welcoming Duane Coombs as our new Sagebrush Collaborative Conservation Specialist and Laurel Anders as our new Communications Program Coordinator.


In his cover letter, Duane Coombs said, “The task of this generation is to marry the rugged individualist of Western lore with the synergy and collective knowledge of modern society.” The eloquence and wisdom of this statement epitomize Coombs and the insight he brings to the IWJV. With the ability to integrate conservation practices, science, and agricultural production, he will help the IWJV continue to enact and accelerate positive conservation change at local and regional levels.

Conveying a unique skill set from a career as a ranch manager and foreman, Coombs has a successful and wide-ranging history of collaboration and partnership with academic, political, and agency professionals as well as those in the agricultural community. He is talented at managing large rangeland livestock operations and implementing progressive conservation practices with productive results. His intimate understanding of how conservation practices work on the ground, in addition to knowing first-hand what ranching and farming communities need, makes him an invaluable asset for our team.

Coombs has a Bachelor of Science in Range Science and has received multiple conservation awards. This includes the Bureau of Land Management’s Rangeland Steward Award in 2010, and recognition in 2016 from the Environmental Stewardship Award Program, which is sponsored by Dow AgroSciences, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, and the National Cattlemen’s Foundation.

“I’ve always wanted to work on the cutting edge of cooperative conservation,” Coombs said. “We are in a time where partnerships are crucial to our future, and I’m glad to be part of the IWJV team that has made this their mission.”


Laurel Anders brings extensive experience in developing and directing outreach and education programs, facilitating strategic communications planning, and serving in various liaison roles. As an avid runner and hunter, she also brings a personal passion for outdoor recreation and conservation. She comes to the IWJV from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, where she held communications positions for over 20 years. Anders started as a seasonal employee and worked into an executive leadership position with the Fish and Boat Commission before moving west to join our team.

Experienced in facilitating planning, creating collaborative work settings, and establishing partnerships, Anders said she values trust and team building to foster consistent communications, collaboration, clear decision-making and consensus-building. She has a Bachelor of Science in Education with a certification in Environmental Education, and has attended the National Conservation Leadership Institute and other leadership development programs.

The IWJV is thrilled to have these two conservation leaders onboard starting this month. Each brings impressive professional experiences and skills to our team, but also ingrained and infectious passions for conservation and partnerships. Please welcome them to our community and feel free to send them an email: laurel.anders@iwjv.org and duane.coombs@iwjv.org

Read additional articles in our 2016 Fall eNewsletter here:

Along the Rio Grande, Farms are the Future for Wetland Birds

Six Big Achievements Through the SONEC Working Wet Meadows Initiative 

Joint Venture Recognizes Business Leader’s Conservation Contributions with Prestigious Award

Inaugural Washington Waterfowl Surveys to Guide Working Lands Conservation 

New Sagebrush Conservation and Communications Staff Join the IWJV Team