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.
Kris Inman
Community Partnerships Representative
Kris began working for WCS in 2000 as part of the Greater Yellowstone Wolverine Program and in 2012 as WCS community partnerships representative. In this role, she helps engage communities in SW Montana to build conservation solutions that considers both the social and ecological implications. Prior to working for WCS, Kris worked for a diverse group of organizations and projects. She assisted in monitoring black bear population trends through capturing and radio-collaring bears in Maine, Virginia, Oregon, New Mexico, and Wyoming. Kris also worked on some of the more controversial issues including monitoring endangered species in communities whose livelihood were directly impacted by the management implications of their respective recovery plans. She worked on the USFWS Wolf Recovery Team and the USFS Southern Spotted Owl Monitoring Team. When states across the nation were challenging the privilege to hunt bears through ballot initiative, Kris conducted the first study on the effectiveness of houndsmen as the focus of her master’s thesis. 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. As WCS community partnership representative Kris brings these experiences to help build community led wildlife coexistence and habitat restoration projects. Kris moved to the Madison Valley in 2001 and is active in her community serving on the Madison Farm to School, Ennis Schools Science Fair, and Madison By-Ways programs.
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.
Amanda Hardy
North America Program Assistant Director
Amanda has over 20 years of experience in natural sciences and conservation with the latter half of her career dedicated to understanding and reducing negative impacts of transportation systems on wildlife and habitat connectivity at local and landscape levels. Amanda’s graduate research quantified ungulate behavioral responses to winter recreation in Yellowstone National Park and to multi-use pathway construction and use in Grand Teton National Park. As the first research ecologist at the Western Transportation Institute at Montana State University (WTI-MSU), Amanda was instrumental in establishing their Road Ecology Program. While employed at WTI-MSU, Amanda led applied scientific research in the field and lab to evaluate the effectiveness of measures intended to reduce wildlife-transportation conflicts. In addition to her research, Amanda facilitated a multi-agency working group to develop an adaptable, strategic, ecosystem-based approach to offset anticipated impacts of future transportation projects. Amanda has served on several planning committees for the International Conference on Ecology and Transportation, and was a co-chair, member, and liaison for multiple committees working on road ecology issues in the National Academy of Sciences Transportation Research Board. She has served as a peer reviewer for the Journal of Wildlife Management, Wildlife Society Bulletin, Ecosystems, and Conservation Biology. Amanda Hardy earned her BS and MS in Fish and Wildlife Management from Montana State University (MSU), and her PhD in Ecology from Colorado State University. When not focused on finding creative means to accomplish science-based conservation initiatives, Amanda enjoys biking, hiking, camping, and skiing in the mountains, playing ice hockey, and gardening.
Heidi Kretser
Livelihoods and Conservation Coordinator
As the Livelihoods and Conservation Coordinator for WCS’s North America Program, Dr. Heidi Kretser uses tools and perspectives from the social sciences to achieve greater conservation impact by understanding the human dimensions of natural resource policy and management issues. She is using this approach to understand and resolve complex conservation questions pertaining to human-wildlife conflicts, the impacts of low-density rural development on wildlife, best practices for engaging local people in conservation projects across North America, effective communication strategies to reduce demand for and purchase of wildlife trade items by the U.S. military serving abroad, aligning state wildlife and public health messaging on bats and collaborative approaches to build capacity and achieve conservation outcomes across diverse constituents. Dr. Kretser serves as Adjunct Assistant Professor at Cornell University’s Department of Natural Resources. Dr. Kretser 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.
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.
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