WCS North America

Staff

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Alyson Andreasen
Data Analyst
As a Field Ecologist in the WCS North America Program, Alyson is currently involved with efforts to understand the impacts of roads on migration of moose and elk in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Alyson obtained her Master’s degree from the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs and is completing her PhD in Ecology, Evolution, and Conservation Biology at the University of Nevada, Reno. Alyson initiated her PhD research in the Great Basin as a collaborative effort with WCS to examine how human-altered environments affect mountain lion ecology, behavior, and population dynamics. Her research in the Great Basin has led to a greater understanding of how source-sink dynamics of large carnivores may operate at a landscape scale and how predation behavior and population dynamics of mountain lions may be affected by the presence of a novel food resource. Alyson’s research with species such as mountain lions and bears that are challenging not only from a biological perspective, but also politically and socially has made her passionate about working with a diverse array of stakeholders with varied opinions and backgrounds to achieve conservation for these species.
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.
Andra Bontrager
GIS Project Leader
Andra is the Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Specialist/Analyst for the North America Program of the Wildlife Conservation Society. Andra has been with WCS since shortly after she received a B.S. degree in Earth Sciences, Physical Geography with an emphasis in Biogeography, from Montana State University in 2004. Prior to joining WCS, Andra worked as a paleoecological research assistant and had also gained field experience in water quality monitoring and assessments of ecological integrity on western rangelands. Andra provides GIS services and assists with the varied geospatial research of our program staff. She has also completed several independent GIS-based research investigations focused on western wildlife habitat availability and connectivity.
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.
Brad Shepard
Senior Aquatic Scientist
Brad leads research efforts collecting broad-scale and long-term information on effects of habitat fragmentation, climate change, and oil and gas development on native aquatic species in the Yellowstone area. He serves on the Kootenai Tribe of Idaho's Peer Review Advisory Team and is helping WCS develop a freshwater aquatic conservation program. He received his Bachelor of Science and Doctor of Philosophy degrees in Fish and Wildlife from Montana State University and a Master's of Science degree in Fish Resources from the University of Idaho. Brad worked for Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks for 30 years conducting applied research, surveying and monitoring aquatic species, and developing and implementing conservation programs throughout Montana. These programs focused on conservation of native cutthroat trout, bull trout, and arctic grayling. Brad worked with the Montana Cooperative Fishery Research Unit and Ecology Department at Montana State University in Bozeman since 1993 and remains affiliated with them. He also worked as a private fisheries consultant for 10 years. Brad has authored or co-authored over 20 peer-reviewed scientific and popular articles related to fish conservation and management.
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.
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.

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