Speaker Bios

Keynote, 8/14 Dinner at Hotel Andaluz:

Mike Phillips

Executive Director
Turner Endangered Species Fund

Mike Phillips has served as the Executive Director of the Turner Endangered Species Fund and advisor to the Turner Biodiversity Divisions since he co-founded both with Ted Turner in June 1997.  Prior to that Mike had worked for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Park Service since 1981.  During his employment with the federal government Mike served as the leader of historic efforts to restore red wolves to the southeastern US and gray wolves to the Yellowstone National Park. He also conducted important research on the impacts of oil and gas development on grizzly bears in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, predation costs for gray wolves in Alaska, black bear movements in northeastern North Carolina, and dingo ecology in Australia.  Throughout his career as a conservation biologist Mike has focused on the recovery of imperiled species, integration of private land in conservation efforts, and socio-political aspects of natural resource use and management.  In 2013 Dr. E. O. Wilson nominated Mike for the prestigious 2014 Indianapolis Prize.

Mike has authored hundreds of project reports and over 65 publications including peer-reviewed technical articles, book chapters, conference proceedings, government reports, popular articles, and a book.  Mike is an accomplished speaker and has delivered over 200 public presentations for conservation organizations and professional conferences, including several invited plenary, keynote, and banquet presentations. 

In 2006 Mike was elected to the Montana legislature as the representative for House District 66 in Bozeman.  He served in that post from November 2006 thru November 2012 when he was elected to the Montana Senate.  His service in the Senate will extend through 2020.  

Camilla Fox
Founder and Executive Director
Project Coyote

Camilla H. Fox is the founder and executive director of Project Coyote - a national non-profit organization that promotes coexistence between people and wildlife through education, science, and advocacy. With 25+ years of experience working on behalf of wildlife and wildlands and a Masters degree in wildlife ecology, policy, and conservation, Camilla's work has been featured in several films, books, and national media outlets. A frequent speaker on these issues, Camilla is co-author of two books- Coyotes in our Midst and Cull of the Wild, and is co-producer of the award-winning documentary film Killing Games - Wildlife in the Crosshairs, released in 2017.

In 2006, Camilla received the Humanitarian of the Year Award from the Marin Humane Society and the Christine Stevens Wildlife Award from the Animal Welfare Institute. She was named one of the 100 Guardian Angels of the Planet in 2013 and the 2014 Conservationist of the Year Award by the John Muir Association. In 2016 she was honored with the Grassroots Activist of the Year Award by the Fund for Wild Nature. 

Adrian Treves
Carnivore Coexistence Lab

Adrian Treves is an independent researcher and advocate for future generations, for science, and for real democracy. He studies and speaks about the public trust doctrine and intergenerational equity around the world. In brief, the public trust doctrine is legal guidance that holds governments accountable to the broad public interest in preserving nature and regulating its use as a trust for current and future generations, who hold equal rights. Adrian earned his PhD at Harvard University in 1997 and is now a Professor of Environmental Studies at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and founder of the Carnivore Coexistence Lab. For the past 29 years, his research focuses on ecology, law, and human dimensions of ecosystems in which crop and livestock ownership overlaps the habitat of large carnivores from coyotes up to grizzly bears. He has authored >150 scientific papers on predator-prey ecology or conservation.

Ruth Musgrave
Wildlife Policy Consulting Associates

Ruth Musgrave is president of Wildlife Policy Consulting Associates based in Olympia, Washington, advising state legislators, agencies and nonprofits on wildlife and environment policy issues.  She currently works closely with the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators (NCEL) as their Conservation Coordinator, educating and assisting state legislators nationwide on issues such as public lands, wildlife corridors and large landscapes, pollinators, conservation funding and wildlife trafficking.  In 1990 Ruth founded the Center for Wildlife Law at the Institute of Public Law, University of New Mexico School of Law. She directed the Center until it closed in 2011.  Ruth has been a visiting associate professor and adjunct professor at UNM School of Law where she taught wildlife law, biodiversity and the law, and advocacy.  She is the trust consultant for the Frances V.R. Seebe Charitable Trust, and sits on boards and advisory councils of several wildlife organizations.

Dr. Rick Van de Poll
Ecosystem Management Consulatants

Dr. Rick Van de Poll is the principal of Ecosystem Management Consultants (EMC) of Sandwich, New Hampshire. Since 1988, EMC has completed bio-inventories and land management plans for the public and private sector on over 300,000 acres of land. He was a core faculty member for 15 years at Antioch New England Graduate School and has been an adjunct faculty member in the UNH system since 2005. He has taught dozens of workshops and seminars on wildlife species in NH and has served on several committees with the NH Fish & Game Department in updating the Wildlife Action Plan. He currently serves on the legislative Fish & Game Study Commission, whose task is to study the “efficiency and effectiveness of the Fish & Game Department’s operations.” He also serves on the Steering Committee of the NH Wildlife Coalition, whose mission is to help strengthen the Fish and Game Department by broadening its constituency and financial base and providing an added voice for stewardship of the state’s wild creatures.

Harriet Allen
(Former) Endangered Species Manager
WA Department Fish and Wildlife

Harriet Allen worked in endangered species conservation for 35 years before retiring from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife in 2013. She is the Northwest Section Representative to Council for The Wildlife Society, and is on the Board of Directors of Wolf Haven International. She participates in grassroots efforts for state wildlife agency transformation and was a steering committee member for the Washington Wildlife Leaders Forum held in 2016. The forum's 50 invited attendees strategized opportunities to improve wildlife conservation in Washington. Harriet conducted the first northern spotted owl research in Washington in the 1980's and then managed the WDFW Endangered Species Program for 25 years. She co-led development of Washington's listing procedures and oversaw identification, listing, and recovery of imperiled species in the state. She aslo led the 5-year development of the Wolf Conservation and Management Plan for Washington and managed the initial years of wolf recovery, beginning with the first documented breeding pair in 2008.

Martin Nie
Professor of Natural Resources Policy
University of Montana

Martin Nie is Professor of Natural Resources Policy and Director of the Bolle Center for People and Forests, in the W.A. Franke College of Forestry and Conservation at the University of Montana. For twenty years, Nie’s teaching and research centers on federal lands and wildlife policy, law, planning, and conflict. Of most relevance to this conference, Nie recently co-authored “Fish and Wildlife Management on Federal Lands: Debunking State Supremacy” (Environmental Law, Vol. 47, pp. 797-932). More about the project, including shorter and more accessible briefing materials and frequently asked questions is available at the Bolle Center’s website (http://www.cfc.umt.edu/bolle/federal-lands-wildlife/default.php). Well before that, Nie examined the shortcomings of state wildlife commissions (“State Wildlife Policy and Management: The Scope and Bias of Political Conflict, Public Administration Review, Vol. 64, no. 2) and the politics of wolf recovery and management (Beyond Wolves, University of Minnesota Press, 2003). When not writing about federal lands and wildlife, he loves to ski as much as possible with his son Joe, float wild rivers; hike, hunt and fish the mountains of Montana, and mess around in his garage listening to vintage country and rock and roll. He also enjoys photography, playing hockey, Irish whiskey, and strong cheese.

Jill Fritz
Director for Wildlife Protection
Humane Society of the United States

Jill Fritz is a director for Wildlife Protection at the Humane Society of the United States. In 2006, Jill joined the HSUS as the Minnesota/Wisconsin state director, and in 2009 became the Michigan state director. In 2014, she led the successful Keep Michigan Wolves Protected ballot campaign, in which Michigan voters overturned two laws authorizing the trophy hunting and trapping of wolves in the state.

Chris Smith
Southern Rockies Wildlife Advocate
WildEarth Guardians

Chris grew up in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains from which he developed a rudimentary but deep appreciation for natural beauty and ecological function. He earned a B.A. from Lewis & Clark College in Portland, OR, where he then began working as an organizer and environmental activist. After earning an M.A. in Religious Studies from the University of Chicago, Chris returned to Oregon to advocate for coastal forests and the human and wildlife communities that rely on them. Thrilled to return to the high desert landscapes of his upbringing and to help protect the resilient wildlife of the area, he joined WildEarth Guardians in 2017 as the Southern Rockies Wildlife Advocate.

Michael Dax
National Outreach Representative
Defenders of Wildlife

Michael Dax is a national outreach representative for Defenders of Wildlife. He is also the author of Grizzly West, which explores the attempted reintroduction of grizzly bears to the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness in the context of the changing politics and culture of the intermountain West. He has worked in Yellowstone National Park as a tour guide and holds a masters degree in environmental history from the University of Montana.

Judy Calman
Staff Attorney
New Mexico Wild

Judy Calman moved to New Mexico towards the end of 2001, inspired by a life-long fascination with the West. After completing degrees in Biology and Philosophy and working on several political campaigns, she realized her true passion to be environmental policy. She completed her law degree at the University of New Mexico, as well as a Masters in Environmental Law and Policy at the Vermont Law School. She has worked as an environmental educator, at the City of Albuquerque as an Energy and Wildlife Consultant, and at an environmental law firm in Atlanta opposing new coal plants. Since 2010, she has been helping the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance ensure that federal agencies are complying with environmental laws, working to propose more federal lands for administrative protections, and appealing agency actions that are particularly damaging to public lands.

Robyn Paulekas
Mediator and Program Manager
Meridian Institute

Robyn Paulekas is a Mediator and Program Manager at Meridian Institute with more than ten years of experience in collaborative problem solving, process design, consensus building, mediation, and facilitation. She possesses expertise on wildlife and natural resource management, agriculture and food security, climate change policy, and watershed management. Ms. Paulekas has designed and facilitated multi-stakeholder dialogues, public engagement processes, and strategic planning processes at the local, national, and international scales. Currently, Robyn has been supporting Colorado Parks and wildlife in a study to identify potential future funding mechanisms for parks and wildlife, and test those with stakeholders.
Prior to joining Meridian Institute, Ms. Paulekas supported collaborative solutions on energy and environmental issues and taught courses at the Haub School and Ruckelshaus Institute of Environment and Natural Resources at the University of Wyoming. Ms. Paulekas also served as the first Program Coordinator for the University of Wyoming’s Center for Volunteer Service. Ms. Paulekas holds a Master’s degree in geography and water conflict management from Oregon State University and a Bachelor’s degrees in international studies and environment and natural resources from the University of Wyoming.

Claire Davis
Lane Powell PC

Claire Loebs Davis is a shareholder at the law firm of Lane Powell PC. She is a co-chair of Lane Powell’s Animal and Earth Advocacy practice group as well as its Nonprofit and Social Enterprise practice group, as well as the chair of the firm’s Seattle pro bono practice. Claire is an experienced litigator who has long been involved in advocating for the environment, wildlife, and domestic animals. She started the Animal and Earth Advocacy practice group in 2017 with her law partner, Ann Prezyna (former deputy regional counsel for the Environmental Protection Agency), as a means to leverage new resources in the battle to preserve the natural world. In its first year, the practice been involved in numerous legal projects on the state, federal, and international level, including bringing lawsuits against the state of Washington challenging its management of wolves and bears, its refusal to appropriately regulate industrial shellfish aquaculture, and its failure to appropriately respond to public record requests regarding wildlife management.

Kevin Bixby
Executive Director
Southwest Environmental Center

Kevin is the executive director and founder of the Southwest Environmental Center in Las Cruces, NM. In that capacity he has worked on a variety of wildlife, habitat and public land issues, including wildlife killing contests, Mexican wolf recovery, Otero Mesa protection, Rio Grande restoration and state wildlife governance. He grew up in the West--mostly northern California--and ventured east only long enough to get a master's degree in Natural Resource Policy from the University of Michigan--School of Natural Resources, and a bachelor's degree in Biology from Dartmouth College. He has spent the last 30 years in New Mexico. Following the election of 2016, he jumped at the chance to run for a seat on the Dona Ana Soil and Water Conservation District board of supervisors, in May 2017. He is currently serving a four year term on that board. He also recently started KTAL-LP, a community radio station and currently serves on the board as well as cohosts Earth Matters, a weekly show about conservation issues.

Lisa Jennings
Executive Director
Animal Protection of New Mexico

Elisabeth (Lisa) Jennings has served as Executive Director of Animal Protection of New Mexico and its legislative arm, Animal Protection Voters, both statewide animal advocacy organizations, since 1993. Through coordinated efforts, the groups have made lasting changes in how New Mexicans treat and view animals by strengthening laws and law enforcement, activating caring citizens, conducting powerful advocacy campaigns, and establishing supportive programs and services that help animals and the communities that care about them. Jennings has been actively involved in advocacy and public policy for animals since 1985. Jennings has bachelor of science degrees in Physics and Civil Engineering, and worked as a private sector engineer for ten years prior to working in the animal protection field.

Under Jennings’ leadership, APNM/APV have banned cockfighting and horse tripping; made extreme animal cruelty a felony crime; mandated the sale of bitter antifreeze; secured millions of dollars in state funding for animal shelters and spay-neuter clinics; established/secured state funding for state’s animal shelter oversight board; implemented comprehensive equine welfare program services; implemented safe haven services for animals of domestic violence victims; implemented groundbreaking humane education programs; operated a statewide animal cruelty hotline; waged a successful campaign to move former research chimpanzees to sanctuary; and changed public education policy to require dissection alternative in schools. Animal Protection Voters lobbies at the local, state and federal levels, and publishes an annual legislative scorecard. APV’s state and federal Political Action Committees issue candidate endorsements, and make contributions to animal-friendly candidates to help them win election to office.

Kirk Robinson
Executive Director
Western Wildlife Conservancy

Kirk Robinson is the founder and executive director of the Western Wildlife Conservancy, a non-profit organization in Salt Lake City dedicated to the protection of native mammal carnivores. Prior to founding Western Wildlife Conservancy, Kirk earned a Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University of Cincinnati and taught courses at universities in Montana and Utah for 15 years. Having finally had enough of that, he made a career change to conservation activism. Subsequently, Kirk received a Juris Doctor, with a certificate in Natural Resources Law, from the S.J. Quinney College of Law at the University of Utah. Kirk has expertise in the History of Philosophy, particularly the work of the great twentieth century philosopher, Ludwig Wittgenstein. He is especially interested in the relationships among factual beliefs and values in a person’s worldview. Upcoming publications include “Beauty as a Foundation for Conservation Ethics,” forthcoming in Reimagining a Place for the Wild, fall 2018 University of Utah Press; also, editor and contributor to a soon-to-be published volume in Springer Publishing’s series on Global Justice, titled Ecology and Justice: Citizenship in Biotic Communities, by David Keller. In progress is a work tentatively titled: Original Sin: Our Penchant for Metaphysical Dualism. His favorite diversion activities are adventuring in the magnificent wildlands of the American West and playing fiddle tunes on acoustic guitar.

Danielle Moser
Wildlife Program Coordinator
Oregon Wild

Danielle Moser is a lifelong conservationist, having dedicated her entire professional career to being an advocate for nature and the special places and creatures we cherish. While attending Michigan State University for a degree in political science, she helped organize and lobby the Board of Trustees to build one of the most comprehensive recycling facilities on any college campus. This first successful environmental campaign sparked the fire for organizing, advocacy, and action.

After several years of working for various conservation organizations, she decided to serve in the Peace Corps as an Environment Volunteer in Tanzania. In a rural village with no running water or electricity, Danielle helped usher in three new water tanks for the primary school and health clinic. She also worked with farmers on more sustainable practices, and collaborated with village leaders to implement a tree planting project in a drought prone area. Currently, Danielle works for Oregon Wild as their Wildlife Program Coordinator, ensuring that Oregon has an abundant and thriving native wildlife population for generations to come.

John Crenshaw
New Mexico Wildlife Federation

A native New Mexican, John Crenshaw is president of the New Mexico Wildlife Federation Board of Directors. He developed his affinity for the outdoors and wildlife while growing up on cattle ranches and as a hunter and angler. A journalism major at N.M. Highlands University, John worked as a reporter, then with New Mexico Magazine before joining the Game and Fish Department as magazine editor and information specialist. He dedicated his career to the state’s wildlife and sportsmen, retiring as chief of the agency’s public information arm. He re-engaged in wildlife issues in 2011 to fight legislation that would have eliminated the State Game Commission and opened the door to blatantly partisan political hiring and management in the wildlife agency. He joined the NMWF board of directors in 2012, becoming president in 2014. 

Andrew Currie
Impact Finance Center

Andrew is an experienced entrepreneur and business leader passionate about helping endangered wildlife and the underserved people, especially children, who live with and near endangered wildlife. His work includes impact investing including for land conservation for wildlife habitat, pro-Nature election work, democracy reform, engaged philanthropy, business consulting for wildlife NGOs and policy advocacy. Andrew led a small impact investment team that helped create a 5,000 acre prairie wildlife preserve in Colorado and as impact investor helped add land threatened with development to James Peak Wilderness. He also uses media and storytelling with a TEDxBoulder talk on endangered species and human population growth and as creative director of the motion graphics piece ShiftGivingToNature.org.

Andrew is senior adviser at the Impact Finance Center and helps lead the Environment track of the CO Impact Initiative. He is Founder and former Director of Environmental Entrepreneurs Rocky Mountains (www.E2.org) and former Chair of Colorado Conservation Voters. In 2000 he co-founded and led Social Venture Partners Boulder County. Andrew has invested in 11 start-up companies, most of which he should not have, and one of which, AtLast Software (SketchUp), was acquired by Google. In the last century Andrew was a successful founder and CEO of two software startups. He and his rock star co-founders and stellar team sold the second of these companies enabling Andrew to do all the things you read about above. Andrew has a B.S. in Computer Science from University of Southern Mississippi. (Yes, that’s right, Mississippi - Andrew grew up in and attended public schools and state universities there.)

Jeff Steinborn
New Mexico State Senator

Jeff Steinborn was elected to the New Mexico Senate in 2016 after serving in the House of Representatives District 35 from 2012-2016, and District 37 from 2006-2010. He serves as the Vice Chair of the Senate Rules Committee, a member of the Public Affairs Committee, and is the Chair of the Radioactive and Hazardous Materials Interim Committee.

During his time in office, Jeff has passed a diverse range of legislation including webcasting and archiving of legislative committee meetings, a constitutional amendment proposing the creation of an Independent Ethics Commission, campaign contribution limits, greater support of New Mexico’s veterans, protection of our water resources, allowing 17 year olds to vote in primary elections, and establishment of the statewide Rio Grande Trail. He has been a champion of the environment fighting to reform wildlife laws in New Mexico, outlaw coyote killing competitions, and expand the use of solar power on state buildings.

Jeff is also the Southern New Mexico Director for the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance, where he helped lead the successful campaign to establish the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument.

Jessica Blome
Senior Associate
Greenfire Law

Jessica Blome is a Senior Associate with Greenfire Law. She began practicing environmental law as an Assistant Attorney General for the Missouri Attorney General’s Agriculture and Environment Division after graduating from the University of Iowa College of Law in 2007. As an Assistant Attorney General, Jessica civilly prosecuted all environmental media, with emphasis in the areas of clean water, safe drinking water, landfill regulation, remedial cleanup of hazardous waste, and natural resource damage assessment and restoration in sensitive geologic areas. In March of 2012, Jessica sued the Bridgeton Sanitary Landfill to compel compliance with state environmental laws after it caught fire underground near a World War II-era atomic waste dump site.

In Missouri, Jessica founded the Attorney General’s Canine Cruelty Prevent, which focused on the civil prosecution of animal welfare and consumer protection laws against puppy mills across the state. On behalf of the Missouri Department of Agriculture, Jessica also represented the State in food safety litigation, including a case-of-first-impression involving a producer’s refusal to stop selling raw milk cheese contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes and Staphylococcus aureus.

Jessica left Missouri for Sonoma County in 2013 to accept a position as a Senior Staff Attorney with the non-profit Animal Legal Defense Fund. There, she represented citizen plaintiffs and non-profit groups in strategic impact litigation on behalf of commercially exploited animals and wildlife. She led a team of three litigators in the first successful citizen prosecution of Section 9 of the Endangered Species Act against a roadside zoo in Iowa, which resulted in the release and four tigers, three lemurs, and two African lions to more suitable homes. She also led a coalition of environmental, animal, and wildlife advocates to the first successful citizen suit against a California county to end lethal predator damage control until the government completed an environmental review, as required by the California Environmental Quality Act.

Jessica joined the San Francisco Ethics Commission as Deputy Director of Enforcement and Legal Affairs in 2016. As Deputy Director, Jessica led a team of five staff in the investigation and administrative prosecution of candidates and government employees for violations of local government ethics, lobbying, campaign finance, and open government laws. There, Jessica also rewrote the City’s enforcement regulations for laws within the Commission’s jurisdiction to safeguard the due process rights of potential respondents while ensuring the efficient and effective enforcement of city law.

Jessica joined Greenfire Law in 2018 and represents public interest clients in environmental, public lands, open government, and animal welfare litigation.

Garrett VeneKlasen
Conservation Voters of New Mexico

Over the last year, Garrett was a candidate for the NM Commissioner of Public Lands. He narrowly lost to Representative Stephanie Garcia Richard in the primary. He now works as a consultant for Conservation Voters of New Mexico.

Before running for office, Garrett was Executive Director of the New Mexico Wildlife Federation. He was also the Southwest Director of Trout Unlimited’s Sportsmen’s Conservation Project (NM. AZ and CO) as well as Trout Unlimited’s New Mexico Public Lands Coordinator. He also founded the New Mexico Chapter of Backcountry Hunters & Anglers.

Garrett has been a tireless champion for the conservation and protection of public lands and native wildlife, fighting for everything from federal and state funding for native wildlife, stricter regulation of off highway vehicles on public lands, higher state water quality standards, stricter regulation on mineral development, to enhanced conservation and protection of threatened and endangered species. He was directly involved in the on-the-ground campaigns to designate the Rio Grande del Norte and Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks national monuments as well as the Columbine Hondo and Hermosa Creek wilderness.

The MC of the annual Public Lands Rally at the state capital every year, Garret has and continues to be an outspoken voice against the transfer of national public lands to individual states. In January of 2016, he travelled to Malheur National Wildlife Refuge to confront Ammon Bundy and his rag tag armed band of public lands militants to tell them in person to, “get the hell off our public lands!”

A Seton and Leopold admirer, Garrett describes himself as “an environmental activist that hunts and fishes.”

He believes that all native wildlife, both game and non-game species, should be stewarded with an equal high standard that is driven by peer-reviewed science and that all native species play an intricate and invaluable role in ecosystem health and viability.

Sharon Negri
Founder and Director

Sharon is the founder and director of WildFutures – a project of Earth Island Institute she founded in 1994 to advance the protection of large carnivores, with special emphasis on mountain lions. Sharon has worked with government and nongovernment organizations on natural resource issues since 1980. She was the legislative director for the California Coastal Conservancy before she co-founded the Mountain Lion Foundation in 1986 where she along with others were instrumental in passing a ballot initiative in California that banned trophy hunting of mountain lions and allocated $30 million a year for 30 years to critical wildlife habitat.Sharon also co-founded the Wild Felid Research and Management Association in 2005 and served as co-director of the Grizzly Bear Outreach Project from 2009–2011. Among her published works are Cougar Management Guidelines (2005); Cougar Ecology and Conservation (2010), and numerous reports and papers for foundations, agencies, and conservation organizations. She produced the The Secret Life of Mountain Lions in both English and Spanish, co-produced the award-winning film On Nature’s Terms and television public service announcement on cougar and bear awareness. Sharon continues to provide consultation and coaching to a wide array of environmental and wildlife leaders and their organizations. ​​She has a B.S. in Environmental Policy and Planning from the University of California, Davis.