I spent much of my youth in the woods. I was often with my Dad and Grandfather gardening, gathering firewood, hunting, fishing, trapping, and exploring the hills and swamps of southeast Missouri – the ancestral lands of the Chickasaw people. I graduated from the local university with a degree in wildlife management specializing in restoring drained wetlands for waterbirds. My work in conservation spans over 30 years with the last 22 in northern Alaska. I do this work with an understanding that climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution threaten both Nature and people. My aspirations are to conserve our home and support people that have a connection to the land. Unfortunately, there’s a gap between my aspirations and the current reality. Closing that gap is an opportunity to exhibit leadership. To do so at this moment in time is an honor and obligation yet deeply intimidating.
Areas of expertise: I don’t see myself as an expert in anything. But I’m curious about many things! My curiosity has led to a growing familiarity with the Anthropocene or Age of the Human – how we impact ourselves and life on the planet, and the many ways we can address it.
Why the work we do in partnership matters? We’re in the midst of the Sixth Mass Extinction of life on this planet so the work of conservation professionals has never been more important. Yet, it’s increasingly painful for some to preside over such an event. Might there be ways to manage the grief before it becomes debilitating? Might there be ways to help others navigate this emerging reality? Michelle, Tom Kalous and I believe so and that’s why we’re engaging conservation professionals in workshops centered around managing ecological grief.
Favorite outdoor activity: I spend most of my time outdoors on a bike, but my most memorable moments have usually involved water and a canoe.