ABWF Staff

Patrick Cross, Executive Director

One of Patrick’s earliest memories is from the Beartooths, when his mom scooped him up and ran from what may have been a bear (but was more likely just a big brown stump). Those family hikes, and later Boy Scout camp outs and adventures with Billings high school buddies, helped instill his interest in nature and conservation, along with the goal of finding a “dream job” in the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness. After more than a decade at an ecology research nonprofit, during which time he studied foxes on the Beartooth Plateau for his master’s thesis, he joined the ABWF in 2020. Now in this latest “dream job”, he is excited to not just be working in the A-B Wilderness, but to be working for the A-B as well.

Ben Daley, Program Director

While leading a month-long backpacking trip in the Beartooth’s in 2016, Ben was inspired to return again to Red Lodge. Since then, they have been working as an overseas educator, primarily instructing semester abroad programs in Bolivia and Peru. Ben works to understand the natural and cultural histories of mountain landscapes while connecting with the people that also call them home. Since landing in Red Lodge, they have enjoyed putting down roots in the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness.

Melissa Gundersen, Administration & Communications Coordinator

Since she was young, Melissa has been curious about the natural world. This curiosity of understanding grand landscapes, Earth’s processes, and Earth history led Melissa to pursue Geology in her undergraduate and graduate studies. Her thesis field studies in remote parts of the Pacific Northwest instilled a deep love and respect for wild lands, undisturbed by significant human activity. She is passionate about protecting wild lands, especially the A-B wilderness in her backyard. Melissa joined the ABWF in 2021 and is responsible for administrative duties, as well as managing ABWF communications, including finding and sharing noteworthy stories and content through blog posts and social media channels and providing communications support for our programs. An avid outdoorswoman, you can find Melissa spending all her free time outside skiing, rock climbing, learning about wildlife, or trail running with her dog.

Linus Metzler, Chief Technology Consultant

Linus is from Switzerland and has been working as a volunteer for the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness Foundation (ABWF) since 2013. His work with the ABWF includes working on trails as well as developing and operating the ABWF’s donor and volunteer database. He has a Bachelor’s degree in computer science and, among other jobs, works as a developer in his company, limenet.ch creating websites and developing custom solutions for clients. In his spare time, you can find him running or hiking on trails (preferably in the A-B), traveling, and horse riding.