WCS North America

Staff

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Jeff Burrell
Northern Rockies Program Coordinator
Jeff Burrell is the Northern Rockies Program Coordinator for the Wildlife Conservation Society. Jeff joined WCS in 2003 and has a Master's of Science degree in Range and Wildlife Management and a Master's of Science degree in Geology and Geophysics from Texas Tech University. He has more than 30 years of experience with federal and state agencies and Texas Tech University in stream and riparian habitat restoration science in the western U.S. In addition to developing and overseeing implementation of WCS conservation strategy in the Northern Rockies, Jeff leads WCS efforts to bring stakeholders together to conserve and restore wildlife connectivity within the Northern Rockies.
Bryan Aber
Carnivore Conservation Specialist
Involved with WCS wolverine program since 2000, Bryan is currently filling a collaborative carnivore biologist position between WCS, Idaho Fish & Game and the Caribou-Targhee National Forest. Bryan was previously employed by the Caribou-Targhee National Forest as the District Biologist for the Ashton/Island Park Ranger District. He has a 27-plus year tenure with the US Forest Service. Bryan grew up in the Catskill Mountains of New York, but has lived in the Yellowstone Ecosystem since 1981.
Darren Long
Progam Director, Climate Adaptation Fund
As Director of the Climate Adaptation Fund at the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), Darren is responsible for all management, administration, communications and grantmaking activities for a program which has invested more than $10 million to support nonprofit conservation organizations working to implement applied on-the-ground climate adaptation projects. The Fund is designed to promote the resilience of ecosystems and wildlife to climate change impacts, incentivize the development of a new field of conservation for wildlife adaptation, and to catalyze broad integration of adaptation principles amongst public management agencies and nonprofit conservation organizations. Before joining WCS in 2006, Darren spent four years at The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation in Atlanta, Georgia, where his work focused on green space preservation and the expansion and improvement of urban parks through the Foundation’s Environmental Initiative. Also in Georgia, Darren served as the Program Associate for Habitat at the Turner Foundation. There, his principal focus was the funding of public policy advocacy, litigation and local grassroots efforts to preserve terrestrial and marine biodiversity through landscape-scale habitat protection. Prior to his work at the Turner Foundation, Darren studied social behavior and cognition with apes and monkeys while managing research, conservation and education programs for the Living Links Center - Emory University's institute for the study of human and ape evolution.
Heidi Kretser
Conservation Social Scientist
As a Conservation Social Scientist for the Wildlife Conservation Society, Dr. Kretser improves conservation of wildlife and wildlands by using tools and perspectives from the social sciences to incorporate the human dimensions of natural resource policy and management into conservation practice. She is a member of the WCS Social Safeguards Management Team and serves on the WCS Institutional Review Board. Dr. Kretser has worked in conservation over 25 years and has been with WCS for over 20 years in numerous capacities, notably establishing two community-based conservation programs in the Adirondacks and Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Her current projects include building constituents for conservation through creating effective communication that generates action on topics as varied as wildlife trafficking and white-nose syndrome, devising strategies for reducing the impacts of private lands development and recreation on wildlife, and building collaborative approaches for increasing community and natural resource governance capacity and achieving conservation outcomes for wildlife while safeguarding human well-being across diverse constituents. Dr. Kretser’s work receives research support from many state and federal agencies including the National Science Foundation and the Department of Defense. She is widely published and her work has been featured in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, National Public Radio, and a variety of regional media outlets. She completed her Ph.D. in the Human Dimensions Research Unit at Cornell University and holds a master’s degree from the Yale School of Forestry. In addition to her work at WCS, Dr. Kretser serves as Adjunct Associate Professor at Cornell University’s Department of Natural Resources where she’s affiliated with the Center for Conservation Social Sciences.
John Weaver
Senior Conservation Scientist
John Weaver is a carnivore conservation biologist for WCS based in Missoula, Montana with field programs in the western United States and Canada that are focused on large landscape conservation, wildlife connectivity and adaptation to climate change. Over the past 25 years, John has played many key roles in large carnivore conservation in the United States and Canada. His dissertation research was on the ecology of wolf predation in the high-diversity ungulate environment of Jasper National Park, Alberta. John has held leadership positions with the U.S. Forest Service and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service on endangered species and has served on several recovery teams, including for both wolves and grizzly bears. Over the years, he has perfected hair snaring techniques for lynx and bear surveys and invented a lynx lure that is now widely used. He has authored more than 20 scientific publications and served as a reviewer for five scientific journals. John has an academic appointment at the University of Montana. He is particularly interested in conservation strategies that address the resiliency mechanisms of vulnerable species.
Jon Beckmann
Connectivity Initiative Coordinator
As a Conservation Scientist at WCS, Jon is the Connectivity Initiative Coordinator for the North America Program. As Principle Investigator or Co-PI on several projects in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, the Sierra-Nevada, Great Basin, and other regions of North America, Jon’s current research and conservation portfolio includes: 1) examining impacts of natural gas development on pronghorn; 2) protecting ungulate (pronghorn, moose and elk) migrations by understanding and reducing impacts of wildlife-vehicle collisions and rural residential sprawl in migration corridors; 3) investigating and reducing human-bear conflicts along the wildland-urban interface; 4) using resource selection modeling, Brownian Bridge models, and circuit theory modeling to examine connectivity for large carnivores and ungulates; 5) examining impacts of the border fence along the US-Mexico border on wildlife connectivity (jaguars and other species); and 6) understanding how human-altered environments impact cougar ecology, behavior and population dynamics. Along with >40 publications, Jon is lead editor on a book titled Safe Passages: Highways, Wildlife and Habitat Connectivity. Jon has given over 60 scientific meeting presentations and over 40 invited university and professional training presentations. His research has been the subject of more than 100 radio, television, and newspaper features including NBC Nightly News, Discovery Channel, NY Times, LA Times, Newsweek, National Geographic, and The Wall Street Journal. Jon applies science to affect conservation through the public policy arena; for example, his collaborative field research motivated the $9.7M construction of under- and overpasses on a Wyoming highway to provide the Path of the Pronghorn migration safe passage across the road, and his published research and outreach on human-bear conflicts prompted new bear-resistant dumpster laws and ordinances in several counties in California and Nevada.
Kris Inman
Conservation Scientist
Kris Inman leads WCS Strategic Partnerships and Engagement Program. She helps build communities around a shared value for protecting the West’s matrix of private, Indigenous, and public lands to create the durability necessary to support the Rockies’ complete assemblage of native wildlife and increase the integrity of one of our last remaining intact wild places. Her earlier experiences shape her current work. Among others, she was part of the USFS spotted owl monitoring team and the USFWS Northern Rockies Gray Wolf Recovery Team, and co-directed WCS Greater Yellowstone Wolverine Program. When states across the nation were challenging the privilege to hunt bears through ballot initiatives, Kris master's thesis investigated the effectiveness of hounds. Through these experiences, she saw firsthand how the recovery plans for the wolf and spotted owl inadvertently impacted livelihoods and put people at odds with instead of on the side of wildlife. Through her work with houndsmen, she saw how forging relationships can transform a disengaged group into one that plays an integral and positive role in conservation. The science their team collected on wolverines demonstrated that what was most needed to conserve wolverines was maintaining private lands to ensure connectivity and partnerships to recover wolverines to the southern Rockies and the creation of a multi-state population monitoring plan across the West. Anchored by these experiences, Kris works to create a new paradigm. One that requires creating diverse partnerships united around a shared value of protecting and restoring private and Indigenous lands as critical wildlife habitat and connectors to the Rockies legacy of protected public lands to support wildlife and people. For her contributions, Kris was selected as a Wilburforce Conservation Science Fellow, a Disney Conservation Hero, and an AAAS If/Then Ambassador. She also serves her community on the school science fair committee and as the chair of the Board of Trustees for the K-12 school district.
Molly Cross
Climate Change Adaptation Coordinator
Molly Cross, Ph.D., is the Climate Change Adaptation Coordinator for the North America Program of the Wildlife Conservation Society. Her work focuses on bringing together science experts and conservation practitioners to translate broad-brush climate change adaptation strategies into on-the-ground conservation actions. Molly is helping to lead climate change planning efforts involving diverse stakeholders at several landscapes across North America, focused on a range of targets from individual species to more complex ecosystems. She recently co-edited the book Climate and Conservation: Landscape and Seascape Science, Planning and Action, and co-wrote a guidebook and associated training course on Scenario Planning as a tool for climate change adaptation. Molly has contributed to several national climate change efforts including the U.S. National Climate Assessment, the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies guidance on incorporating climate change into state wildlife action plans, and the Climate-Smart Conservation guide to climate adaptation. She is the Science Advisor to the WCS Climate Adaptation Fund, which supports applied projects demonstrating effective interventions for wildlife adaptation to climate change. Molly got her Ph.D. in Environmental Science, Policy and Management from the University of California, Berkeley, where she studied ecosystem responses to climate warming and plant diversity loss in the Colorado Rocky Mountains.
Renee Seidler
Pronghorn Field Leader
Renee is originally from the Pacific Northwest. She received her B.S. in Molecular and Microbiology from Arizona State University and her Masters degree in Wildlife Biology from Utah State University. She began working with WCS in 2003 and helped to launch the Wildlife and Energy Development project in the Upper Green River Basin in 2005. She has conducted behavioral and ecological research on coyotes, wolves, moose, pronghorn, small mammals, and birds in Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, and Panama. She is composing manuscripts from her thesis work on coyote predation management and was awarded the Richard Denny Best Speaker Award by the Colorado Chapter of The Wildlife Society for presentation of this work. Renee's area of expertise is in field design and research.
Sarah Reed
Associate Conservationist with Livelihoods Program
Sarah Reed is Associate Conservation Scientist with the Livelihoods Program. She is currently a Smith Conservation Research Fellow at Colorado State University. Her research examines how human development patterns and land use practices affect wildlife and biodiversity. Sarah has worked extensively with government agencies and conservation organizations, addressing issues from local to national scales of resource management, in public as well as private lands contexts. She is especially motivated by research projects that have the potential to inform land use decisions and conservation policies as well as to expand our understanding of how species respond to human disturbances. Sarah’s current research investigates alternative strategies for residential site design to protect biodiversity on private lands. Sarah recently joined the Board of Directors for the Society of Conservation Biology – North America Section. She also lead several projects—Dr. Reed: 1) Co-leads an interdisciplinary working group on the social, economic, and ecological dimensions of conservation development (School of Global Environmental Sustainability); 2) Integrates social and biological information to map human-wildlife conflicts (National Wildlife Research Center), and 3) Maps how habitat connectivity and threats to connectivity in southern Colorado (Southern Rockies Landscape Conservation Collaborative). Sarah earned her Ph.D. in Environmental Science, Policy & Management from University of California, Berkeley. She is based in Fort Collins, Colorado.
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