MITCHELL LYON, Executive Director

Mitchell was hired as executive director in 2020, and brings a vast array of entrepreneurial, marketing and management experience to Prairie Plains. After 15 years spent creating and building a successful online membership business, Mitchell is excited to apply his business acumen to the non-profit world. He's a graduate of the Art Institute of Colorado, and a talented filmmaker (see "We Are Aurora" above). But he's no stranger to the landscape - Mitchell and his wife, Sarah, were married at Gjerloff Prairie!

Mike Bullerman, Restoration Ecologist & GIS Specialist

Mike joined the Prairie Plains staff in 2000, armed with a B.S. in wildlife ecology from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, to manage our prairie restoration program. He also has solid GIS (Geographic Information System) skills, which he uses for the benefit of the institute and our agency and landowner partners.

Amy Jones, Administrative Director

Amy has a B.S. in business administration from Peru State College and came to Prairie Plains in 2004. What the Whitneys didn't know when they hired her is that she rarely works alone — Amy's parents, husband and two sons are regulars at special events and volunteer activities.

Sarah Bailey, Greenhouse Manager/NATURALIST Educator

Sarah came to Prairie Plains in 2010 as an intern responsible for managing the new greenhouse and learning everything possible about the restoration program. As fate would have it, she had the perfect mix of energy and knowledge, and we begged her to stay as a full-time employee. Sarah holds a B.S. in biological sciences from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, is a natural outdoor educator and knows just what kind of rock and roll prairie seedlings need to thrive.

Jeff Gustafson, Land Steward

Jeff was hired in 2011 to serve as Land Steward and to help out with the restoration program. He holds a B.A. in history from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and has special interest in local history and the community development aspects of our mission. His job includes prescribed burning, grazing management and involving people with our land preserves, but we suspect Bill may have hired him for his mad drumming skilz.


Jared joined the crew in 2019 to pick seeds, fix fence and help us catch up on all the work of the Institute. No stranger to Prairie Plains, Jared grew up in Aurora and participated in SOAR as a camper and as a PEER Leader. He earned an Associate Degree in Agriculture Production Systems from the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture in Curtis, and is a quick learner in the field. Jared's knowledge of stocking rates and range management are a welcome addition to the staff, as are his anecdotes about his boer goat herd.