WCS North America


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Biz Agnew
WCS Canada Associate Director
Biz is the Associate Director of WCS Canada leading fund-raising, communications, and Strategic Plan implementation for WCS Canada. Prior to joining WCS Canada in 2007, Biz worked at Nature Conservancy Canada (NCC) as Director of US Programmes and at WWF Canada focusing on several conservation portfolios incuding: Eastern Arctic marine mammals, Canadian Prairie wildlife, WWF Canadian endangered species and the Latin American Programme. Biz has a BA from Queen’s University, Kingston (‘84) and a Masters of Environmental Studies (Biological Conservation) from York University (’86), Toronto. Outside of work, Biz volunteers her time with several bird watching initiatives, junior sailing programmes and best of all, spends time with her husband and two daughters.
Brie Edwards
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Brie holds the position of Postdoctoral Research Fellow with the WCS Canada Boreal Freshwater Fish Program within the Ontario Northern Boreal Landscape. Brie's work is focused on the potential impacts of environmental change on freshwater biota. She completed her PhD at the University of Toronto, where she investigated the conservation status, ecology of and potential threats to freshwater crayfish, a sensitive biotic indicator group, in central Ontario. With Jenni McDermid and the Ontario Northern Boreal group she is starting a postdoctoral position investigating the cumulative impacts of climate change, species movements, and increased human access and development on the freshwater systems of Ontario's Northern Boreal region. Outside of work she spends most of her time with her husband and their two-year-old son, enjoying Toronto or taking advantage of family cottages in the Kawarthas and up north on the French River.
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.
Carrianne Pershyn
Adirondack Administrative Assistant
Carrianne is the current Office Manager for the WCS Adirondack Program and provides administrative support to staff. She assists with coordinating fundraising efforts, grant seeking, and programmatic events. Carrianne has provided support for climate change outreach events and the Annual Loon Census. In order to educate the US Military about illegal wildlife trade, Carrianne has helped develop education and outreach materials warning against purchasing illegal wildlife products while military personnel are stationed overseas in Afghanistan and Iraq. Carrianne holds a Bachelors Degree in Ecology from SUNY Plattsburgh. Since joining WCS in 2008, Carrianne has also worked as a field researcher on the Black Bear Education, Awareness, and Research Program and has assisted field studies of the effects of exurban development on wildlife and vegetation.
Cheryl Chetkiewicz
Ontario Northern Boreal Landscape Leader
Cheryl is the leader for Ontario's Northern Boreal Landscape at WCS Canada, applying her experience in academia, field based research and varied partnerships with First Nations, Government and NGOs to help develop tools to support regional and community-based conservation planning in Ontario’s Northern Boreal landscape. Cheryl’s research is focused on developing a monitoring program to assess thresholds for key wildlife species and ecological processes under strain from resource extraction and climate change in the boreal. Cheryl joined WCS in 1998 as a Policy Analyst at WCS headquarters in New York and later became a Program Officer. Building on her experience at WCS, Cheryl completed her PhD working on identifying and designing local wildlife corridors for cougars and grizzly bears within two key areas of the Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative, Canmore and the Crowsnest Pass. This research has guided the application of land-use planning within increasingly fragmented habitats outside of protected areas.
Connie O'Connor
Associate Conservation Scientist
As Freshwater Conservation Scientist with WCS Connie leads the Northern Ontario Boreal Freshwater Program. With a lifelong passion for fish and freshwater ecosystems Connie completed her PhD at Carleton University, where she used advanced telemetry and field physiology techniques to study how environmental stressors impact fish in eastern Ontario. Next Connie completed a postdoctoral fellowship at McMaster University, where she researched the ecology and evolution of cichlid fishes in eastern Africa. Connie’s research has greatly contributed to the developing field of ‘conservation physiology’, and she was awarded the prestigious Alice Wilson Medal from the Royal Society of Canada in 2013. In addition to a successful research career, Connie is a leader in science communication, outreach, and student mentorship.
Cori Lausen
Associate Conservation Scientist
Cori Lausen joined WCS Canada in 2011 as part of her NSERC Industrial Research and Development Fellowship, investigating winter bat activity and hibernation in western Canada. Cori completed her PhD in Ecology at the University of Calgary in 2007. Both her Masters and PhD research were on bats, with the former focussing on behaviour and physiology, and the latter on landscape genetics. Since 2007, she has taught bat acoustics courses, completed several independent research projects, and remained active in the field both summer and winter, surveying bat diversity in unsampled areas of NW North America.
Darren Long
Progam Director, Climate Adaptation Fund
As program officer with the Wildlife Conservation Society, Darren is responsible for all management, administration and grantmaking activities of the WCS Climate Adaptation Fund, which will make $4 million in grants available to organizations working to implement applied climate adaptation projects for wildlife over the next two years. Darren spent four years at WCS directing giving and strategy for the Wildlife Action Opportunities Fund, that awarded more than $7.5 million in support for nonprofit conservation organizations working to implement priorities of strategic habitat conservation plans in all 50 states and six U.S. territories. Both programs have been made possible by the generous support of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. Before moving to Montana in 2006 to join the Wildlife Conservation Society team, 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. And from 1996-2002, Darren spent many happy hours observing the behavior of apes and monkeys while coordinating research, conservation and education programs for the Living Links Center - Emory University's institute for the study of human and ape evolution. Darren has volunteered as a consulting editor for the children’s science magazine Odyssey. He has also made various public appearances as "Captain Planet," the world’s only environmental superhero, in support of the Captain Planet Foundation, which provides grants for youth-run environmental projects. He received a master's degree in Political Science at Montana State University, is a graduate of The George Washington University and studied history and environmental policy at LaTrobe University in Melbourne, Australia.
Donald Reid
Northern Boreal Mountains Landscape Leader
As a Conservation Zoologist with the WCS Canada, Don leads conservation research and planning projects in theYukon and northern British Columbia. His primary research interests are in the spatial and temporal dimensions of ecosystem dynamics, and how these affect conservation needs, opportunities and planning. Since 2006 Don has been a lead scientist on an International Polar Year study of the terrestrial tundra food web in northern Yukon, with central focus on the trophic interactions of lemmings and their predators. He has also led a team of biologists in gathering and interpreting ecosystem and wildlife habitat data for a strategic land use plan in the Peel Watershed of northern Yukon. This planning process has produced recommendations for substantial new protected areas, and is now undergoing political review. His focus is shifting to conservation issues in the Northern Boreal Mountains, spanning northern British Columbia and southern Yukon. Large areas of wilderness with robust wildlife populations are at risk from new natural resource extraction projects, conversion of land to agriculture, and climate change. Don is leading work in this emerging WCS landscape, including forest resource planning, analysis of protected area options, and capacity building with First Nation governments. Don joined WCS Canada in 2004, based in Whitehorse, Yukon, when the Canada Country Program was getting started. He has helped establish the Country Program, including its strategic planning, and has assisted in the development of the North America Program’s strategic planning. His work in northwest Canada is now strengthened with the inclusion of Hilary Cooke as a research biologist based in Whitehorse. Don has advanced degrees in animal ecology: MSc (Calgary), PhD (British Columbia). His research background includes river otters, beavers, lynx and snowshoe hares in boreal Canada, giant pandas and Asiatic black bears in the eastern Himalaya of China, and lemmings, foxes and raptors on nearctic tundra. His conservation activities include analysis of wildlife habitat and distribution data for land use planning processes, management planning for protected areas, and integration of wildlife habitat needs in forest management.
Eric W. Sanderson
Senior Conservation Ecologist
Eric W. Sanderson is a Senior Conservation Scientist for the WCS Global Conservation Program. Sanderson received his Ph.D. in ecology (emphasis in ecosystem and landscape ecology) from the University of California, Davis, in 1998. His research interests include the application of landscape ecology to conservation problems, including geospatial techniques, and the historical and geographical context of conservation from site-based efforts to global conservation planning. As the Associate Director of the Living Landscapes Program at the Wildlife Conservation Society, Eric was one of the principal architects of the landscape species approach to conservation, range-wide priority-setting (a planning method for saving species across their historical ranges), and the human footprint. He has contributed to species planning efforts for lions, tigers, bears, jaguars, snow leopards, tapirs, peccaries, American crocodiles, North American bison and Mongolian gazelle; and landscape planning conservation efforts in Argentina, Tanzania, Mongolia, and the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem and the Adirondack Park in the USA, among others. He is also the leader of the Mannahatta Project, an effort to understand the historical ecology of New York City.
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