North America Program
Regional Programmatic Website
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Staff

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Keith Aune
Senior Conservationist and Bison Coordinator
Keith received his bachelors in wildlife biology from the University of Montana, Missoula and a Masters Degree in Fish and Wildlife Management from Montana State University, Bozeman. Keith is Senior Conservation Scientist for WCS and working on several issues including a granting program for the Wildlife Action Opportunities Fund, the WCS Corridor Initiative, and the American Bison. Keith comes to WCS from the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks (MFWP) where he served for 31 years in various capacities. He has conducted field or laboratory research on black and grizzly bears, wildlife diseases, wolverine, lions and bison. In his most recent position at MFWP he served as the Chief of Wildlife Research for FWP and directed multiple research projects across Montana as well as supervising the annual harvest survey and the Wildlife Research Laboratory staff.
Gillian Woolmer
WCS Canada Assistant Director
As Assistant Director of the WCS Canada Country Program Gillian leads the WCS Northern Appalachian Program and oversees operational management of WCS Canada. Gillian's conservation focus is on ecoregional conservation planning and the application of spatial analysis tools – GIS and remote sensing – to support conservation. Building on her experience working on the global Human Footprint project, Gillian led the mapping of the Human Footprint for the transboundary Northern Appalachian ecoregion as part of a collaborative effort with Two Countries, One Forest (2C1Forest). Gillian is currently chair of the 2C1Forest Science Team and manages the 2C1Forest online mapping atlas and GIS data warehouse (http://www.2c1forest.databasin.org/). Gillian also works to build capacity for using the spatial analysis tools of GIS amongst conservation user communities, including NGOs and First Nation communities. She is an active member of the Society for Conservation GIS with positions on the board and conference planning committee. Gillian first joined WCS in 2000 at WCS headquarters, Bronx Zoo, New York, as GIS Analyst and Lab manager providing GIS support and training to WCS field scientists around the world. With over 15 years of experience using GIS, Gillian has collaborated on a diverse array of conservation projects, including rates of deforestation in Sumatra, Sudden Oak Death Syndrome in California, mandrill habitat use in Gabon and the identification of caribou wintering grounds in Ontario. Gillian has a Master's degree in Geology and Mineral Exploration with extensive field experience ranging from the Highlands of Scotland and the mines of central Queensland, Australia to the Atacama Desert of northern Chile. Gillian also holds a Certificate in Conservation Biology from Columbia University and an Advanced Diploma in GIS.
Jeff Burrell
Northern Rockies Program Coordinator
As Northern Rockies Program Coordinator, Jeff provides management support for WCS projects from southern Arizona to northern Montana. For the Northern Rockies program, Jeff leads WCS efforts to improve wildlife conservation on private lands. Jeff serves on steering committees of the Heart of the Rockies, a coalition of land trusts in southeastern Idaho and southwestern Montana, and on the High Divide group, a coalition of NGO’s focused on advancing wildlife habitat and habitat linkage conservation in the broad region between the Greater Yellowstone, Salmon-Selway, and Crown of the Continent ecosystems. Jeff joined WCS in 2003. Jeff 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
Jodi Hilty
Executive Director, North America Program
Since 2007, Dr. Jodi Ann Hilty has been providing leadership on the scientific applications utilized to address four major natural resource management and conservation issues across North America. These areas include promoting healthy communities to sustain a healthy environment, identifying and protecting wildlife corridors allowing species room to roam, reducing the threats of natural resource extraction and addressing the myriad of challenges climate change poses to wildlife and wild places. Overseeing a staff of 60 working in some of the most remote locations, Dr. Hilty promotes the active engagement of WCS in the larger scientific and conservation communities, strengthens partnerships with agencies and organizations, and cultivates the next generation of conservation science leaders. Trained as a conservation biologist at the University of California, Berkley, her passion is focused on finding creative, science-based solutions to resolve critical conflicts between humans and the natural world.
Joel Berger
Muskox Program Coordinator
Dr. Berger directs a number of projects for WCS; among these are the pronghorn migration corridor conservation project and the impact of energy development on wildlife projects in Greater Yellowstone, the impacts of climate change on musk ox in the Alaskan Arctic and the saiga antelope conservation project in Mongolia. Joel received his doctoral degree in biology from the University of Colorado, Boulder, and subsequently worked for the Smithsonian Institution for 7 years before becoming a tenured full professor at the University of Nevada, Reno (16 years). His current research focuses on the conservation of species and intact ecosystems. He has written 4 books on wild horses, rhinos, bison, and fear in prey species. Joel is also the John J. Craighead Chair in Wildlife Biology at the U of Montana.
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
Pronghorn Project Coordinator
As an Associate Conservation Scientist in the WCS North America Program, Jon is the Principle Investigator or Co-PI on several projects in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem and in other regions of North America. Jon’s current research and conservation projects include: 1) examining the impacts of natural gas development in the Upper Green River Basin, Wyoming on the migrating pronghorn of Grand Teton National Park and western Wyoming; 2) protecting moose and elk migration between Yellowstone National Park and winter range in southeast Idaho by understanding and reducing wildlife-vehicle collisions and limiting rural residential sprawl in migration corridors; 3) an on-going 15-year study investigating and reducing human-bear conflicts along the wildland-urban interface in the Lake Tahoe Basin of the Sierra Nevada Mountains; 4) using detection dogs to examine connectivity issues for large carnivores in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem; 5) examining the impacts of the border fence along the US-Mexico border on wildlife connectivity; and 6) understanding how human-altered environments impact mountain lion ecology, behavior and population dynamics in the Great Basin Desert. Jon has studied a diverse array of species, ranging from black bears and mountain lions to pronghorn, small mammals, and shorebirds, addressing numerous conservation-oriented questions. His main interests are mammalian behavioral ecology, population ecology, and conservation biology. He is interested in the effects that anthropogenic factors have on the abundance, distribution, and behavior of mammals, particularly carnivores. Along with >20 publications, Jon is lead editor on a 2010 book titled Safe Passages: highways, wildlife and habitat connectivity. Jon has given over 25 scientific meeting presentations and over 30 invited university and professional training presentations. His research has been the subject of more than 60 radio, television, and newspaper articles, including NBC Nightly News, Discovery Channel, NY Times, LA Times, Newsweek, National Geographic, The Wall Street Journal and articles run over the AP wire nationally and internationally. Jon has used his applied research to affect conservation through the public policy arena. For example, his published research on bears and public presentations at various county commissioner meetings in the Lake Tahoe basin in both CA and NV prompted new bear-proof dumpster laws and ordinances in several counties. Dr. Beckmann attended the University of Nevada-Reno (UNR) for his graduate education where he received his Ph.D. in Ecology, Evolution, and Conservation Biology. Jon was also nominated in 2004 by his peers for the Alan T. Waterman Award, the most prestigious award from NSF for scientists under the age of 35.
Michale Glennon
Adirondack Landscape Science Coordinator
As Science Coordinator for the Adirondack Program of the Wildlife Conservation Society, Michale serves a leading role in the ecological research conducted in the Adirondacks. Her research interests lie primarily at the intersection between land use management and ecological integrity, with a number of projects ranging from the impacts of low density, exurban development on wildlife to the potential changes to Adirondack lowland boreal communities resulting from climate change. Together with colleague Heidi Kretser, Michale has conducted a number of studies focused on exurban development in the Adirondacks in an effort to understand the specific impacts on avian communities, the area around residential homes in which wildlife communities are most strongly altered, the habitat characteristics and human activities associated with exurban development that most impact wildlife, and the characteristics of wildlife communities before and after residential development. She has also worked to predict changes in avian communities resulting from future development, and together with Heidi, has explored how wildlife communities react to residential development across widely differing ecosystems by examining these questions in both the Adirondack and Greater Yellowstone Ecosystems. She continues to expand upon this work to answer critical research questions for our region and to provide information from local research that can be used to inform land management and planning decisions. Michale joined WCS in 2003 after completing a Ph.D. at the State University of New York, College of Environmental Science and Forestry where she explored the effects of land use management on bird and small mammal communities in the Adirondack Park. She was instrumental in the application of the Landscape Species Approach in the Adirondacks, applying the tools of the WCS Living Landscapes Program to provide site-based conservation priorities for the park based on a suite of landscape focal species. She has also worked on the potential impacts of ski area development on Bicknell’s thrush, a Neotropical migrant of high conservation priority in the east, and on a project to understand the rapidly expanding moose population in the Adirondacks and its relatedness to nearby populations in neighboring states and provinces. In addition to her exurban development work, Michale is currently working to understand the status and distribution of a suite of lowland boreal birds in the Adirondack Park and the potential impacts of climate change on these vulnerable species. Michale serves on the advisory board of the Shingle Shanty Preserve and Research Station, the Technical Advisory Committee for the Adirondack Park Agency, the Biodiversity Conservation Advisory Committee for the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, the Forest and Land Management Task Force of the Adirondack Climate Action Plan, the Avian Taxonomic Working Group of the Adirondack All-Taxa Biodiversity Inventory, and the Paul Smiths College Fisheries and Wildlife Science Advisory Board.
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.
Zoe Smith
Adirondacks Landscape Coordinator
Zoe Smith joined WCS in 2000 and is currently the Landscape Coordinator for the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Adirondack Program. Her conservation interests lie in working with communities on local issues particularly wildlife conflict on the human/wild interface and building local leadership for conservation. Zoe is an active member of the Adirondack Common Ground Alliance core group and participates in various regional Smart Growth projects. Zoe was an appointed member of the Northern Forest Center’s Sustainable Economy Initiative that developed a 4-state economic strategy for rural Northern Forest communities. Zoe leads WCS’ Black Bear Education, Awareness, and Research Program and is a member of the New York State Black Bear Management Team. She currently sits on the Boards of the Adirondack Economic Development Corporation and Sustainable Communities Inc. Zoe has lived and worked in the Adirondack Park for almost 20 years and is an active member of her local community. Her professional background is in wilderness recreation leadership, management, and community building. She holds a BA in Natural Resource Economics from SUNY Fredonia.

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