Our dedicated and experienced staff has helped create and nurture our program.

Cynthia Ingelfinger
ph: 406.862.4327

Cynthia is the Science & Education Coordinator for the Whitefish Lake Institute, where she coordinates the Northwest Montana Lakes Network (NMLN)—the long-standing citizen science program managed by WLI and funded by Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks. She also conducts educational programs and baseline field work. Cynthia joined WLI from the Flathead Conservation District where she was the Assistant Conservationist. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Environmental Studies from Brown University, a Master of Science in the Field Naturalist Program from the University of Vermont, and completed a one year Professional Residency in Environmental Education at the Teton Science School.

Prior to her work at the Conservation District, Cynthia was an Outreach Coordinator for the Ipswich River Watershed Association and prior to that, a Research Associate for the Wilderness Society—both in Massachusetts. Cynthia is knowledgeable about scientific research processes and has experience integrating science, fieldwork, critical thinking and public outreach. Her background, education, and passion for water resource protection contribute to WLI’s mission and goals.

Mike Koopal
ph: 406.862.4327

Mike founded the Whitefish Lake Institute in 2005 and serves as the Executive Director. He’s originally a flatlander from Iowa with a biology degree from Luther College. Mike's professional career began with the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks as a fisheries technician working in the Clark Fork and Blackfoot River drainages. Mike then traveled to Nevada to study Lahontan Cutthroat trout for the Summit Lake Paiute Tribe, and in Alaska he worked with sockeye salmon for the Prince William Sound Aquaculture Corporation. Upon his return to Montana, Mike was a partner at Watershed Consulting for eight years where he specialized in fisheries related issues.

Mike serves on the Upper Columbia Conservation Commission (UC3), the Flathead Basin Commission, and is a board member of the Montana Watershed Coordination Council. Mike was a contributor to the Voices of Our Lake and a co-coordinator of the 3rd Edition of the Montana Lake Book. In 2008, Mike was presented an Individual Achievement Award by the Montana Chapter of the American Fisheries Society for his outstanding contribution to the protection and enhancement of fisheries resources in Montana.

Mike's recreational time is spent with his wife Mae and son Case, enjoying the seasonal changes of the Flathead Valley. They also enjoy increasing the sustainability of their small acreage by gardening and raising chickens and bees.



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