Class 1: When They Joined EWCL

Natalie Bailey serves as Program Coordinator for the Bushmeat Crisis Task Force, where she focuses on education, training, and public awareness efforts in the U.S. and Africa. She holds an MS in Sustainable Development and Conservation Biology from the University of Maryland and a BS in Biology with a minor in French from Rhodes College. As a volunteer for the Jane Goodall Institute’s Roots & Shoots Program, Natalie developed a bushmeat curriculum while working in Tanzania and coordinated the 1999 College Summit in the U.S. Since joining BCTF, Natalie has worked with regional wildlife colleges in Cameroon, South Africa and Tanzania to develop bushmeat curricula for wildlife professionals, with zoo educators to create the Bushmeat Education Resource Guide, and with a variety of professionals to raise awareness about the bushmeat issue in Africa and in the U.S. In her “spare” time, Natalie is an Elder at her church, an aspiring knitter, and a marathoner.

Sara Bushey is the National Wildlife Federation Population & Environment Program’s Policy Coordinator in the Washington D.C. International Affairs Department. Sara joined NWF in 2002, as the Trade and Environment Program intern, focusing on environmental components in multi-lateral and bi-lateral trade agreements, like the Free Trade Agreement of the Americas. She became the Policy Assistant to NWF’s International Affairs Senior Director, supporting NWF’s current programs on climate change, population, cross-border education and trade, as well as conducting entrepreneurial development for new initiatives on migratory birds, invasive species and corporate social responsibility. Prior to joining NWF, Sara lived in Japan for two years with the Japanese Exchange and Teaching Program (JET) and spent a year traveling extensively throughout Asia and Central America. In 1999, Sara received her B.A. from Occidental College in Los Angeles, CA, with degrees in Economics and Environmental Studies.

Puja Batra is the Technical Director of the Tropical Ecology, Assessment and Monitoring (TEAM) Initiative at the Center for Applied Biodiversity Conservation at Conservation International. Her current work with the TEAM Initiative involves coordinating a network of scientists based at field stations in the tropics to implement a standardized protocol for biodiversity monitoring. This long-term monitoring program aims to develop an early-warning system on the status of biodiversity, and provide information on baseline conditions on selected groups of biodiversity indicators inside protected areas. Puja received her PhD from Michigan State University, and Bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas. Past work experiences include research in the South Asian tropics on pollinators, research on traditional ecological knowledge, organic farming, environmental education, and habitat restoration. Other conservation issues of interest involve sustainable use of natural resources, and community-based conservation projects.

Julia Byrd graduated from Wake Forest University with a BS in biology and environmental studies and earned a MS in environmental studies from the University of Charleston, SC in December 2004. Her thesis research examined the effect of beach nourishment on nesting loggerhead turtles in South Carolina. During her time in Charleston she participated in an in-water study used to determine abundance, conduct health assessments, and determine feeding locations and migratory paths for sea turtles found in South Carolina, Georgia, and northern Florida waters. She also participated in a bottlenose dolphin health assessment study and with Atlantic sturgeon research. While in school she also conducted a morphometric study on loggerhead turtles found in South Carolina that was recently published in the Marine Turtle Newsletter. Prior to graduate school she worked as Education Coordinator for Conservation International, helping to develop the Investigate Biodiversity website and ran a sea turtle project off the coast of North Carolina.

Monique Danziger was born and grew up in Bucks County, PA. After graduating from the George School she matriculated to Drew University in Madison NJ. She graduated in 2001 with a BA in English and Political Science. After graduation Monique moved to Washington, DC and gained employment in the press department of the National Environmental Trust (NET), a non-profit environmental advocacy organization. Her experience there included work on such issues as the Roadless Area Conservation Rule, New Source Review, CAFE, CITES and Endangered Species. She currently works in the Government Affairs department of the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) where she tracks legislation and conducts media outreach related to WCS’ International Conservation efforts and their management of the Bronx, Prospect Park, Queens, Central Park Zoos and Coney Island Aquarium. She has always been an animal lover with an especial affinity for marine biology in general and sharks in particular. Growing up her favorite book was “The Shark: Splendid Savage of the Sea” by Jacques-Yves Cousteau and Philippe Cousteau. Her hobbies include yoga, knitting, arguing about politics and shooting pool.

Meredith Gore is a Ph.D. candidate with the Human Dimensions Research Unit in the Department of Natural Resources at Cornell University. Meredith earned a M.A. in environmental policy from George Washington University and a B.A. in anthropology and environmental studies from Brandeis University. Her current research focuses on human-black bear interactions, human dimensions of wildlife conservation and management, evaluating efforts to reduce human-wildlife conflict and wildlife-related risk communication.

Erin Harper was born in southern California and is the first of two children in the Harper family. She is currently a junior at the University of California San Diego where she is majoring in Animal Physiology and Neuroscience. Erin has been a research assistant in behavioral and reproductive studies with the Indian rhino and Giant Pandas at the Center for the Reproduction of Endangered Species at the San Diego Zoo. She is also involved with local wildlife studies with a public-private collaboration involved in population management of the light-footed clapper rail. In 2005 Erin will begin a research project to determine blood values for the light-footed clapper rail to improve population assessment prior to release. Conservation projects which Erin is involved in at Sea World San Diego include: assessment of captive giraffe mortality, and heavy metal tissue concentrations in beached pinninpeds.

Nikole Kadel M.S., is the education program coordinator for Project Butterfly WINGS (Winning Investigative Network for Great Science) at the Florida Museum of Natural History in Gainesville, Florida. Her interest in the environment began in the sixth grade when she won the President’s Environmental Youth Award for her project about the ozone layer. In college she won the Morris K. Udall scholarship for environmental policy excellence. Her experience includes a semester working in conservation education at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Nikole has a bachelor’s degree in environmental policy and a master’s degree in interdisciplinary ecology (with an environmental education specialty) from the University of Florida. In addition to her academic background, Nikole spent many weeks alone in direct experience with nature. Many of her deepest insights occurred while sitting against a tree, and feeling this force of nature at work.

Kristen Lewis is the Director of Public Programs at the Philadelphia Zoo. She has been at the Zoo for the past 9 years. In her current position she oversees the zoo-wide conservation education programming and public events. She started off her career at the Zoo as a nutrition intern managing a study on artificial diets for the highly endangered Micronesian kingfisher (Halcyon cinnamomina cinnamomin). Her interests in writing and public speaking lead her into the public relations field where she spent 2 years as a zoo spokesperson and pitching stories to promote wildlife conservation. Her passion for working with animals and her love for children launched her into her career in conservation education. For the past 5, years Kristen has been focusing her efforts educating over 1 million guests that visit the Philadelphia Zoo. She is currently the education liaison for the Lion Species Survival Plan and a member of the Pennsylvania Biodiversity Partnership.

Michael Mascia is a World Wildlife Fund Senior Conservation Fellow and a Social Scientist with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. His research focuses on natural resource governance and environmental policy, particularly marine protected areas (MPAs) in coral reef systems. A former AAAS Fellow and NSF grant recipient, Mike has research and policy experience in the United States, Caribbean, Central America, South Pacific, West Africa, and Southeast Asia. He has also provided technical support to numerous government agencies, conservation organizations, and donors. Mike currently serves on the Editorial Board for the journal Conservation Biology and as chair of the Society for Conservation Biology’s Social Science Working Group (SSWG). He holds a Ph.D. in Environmental Politics and Policy from Duke University and a bachelor’s degree in Biology and Government from Bowdoin College.

Dave Mizejewski has been fascinated by wild creatures for as long as he can remember. He spent his youth romping in the suburban woods, fields and marshes, observing and learning about the surprising diversity of wildlife that inhabits these areas. As a high school student studying ecology, David began to see first hand the clear connection between native plant communities and wildlife populations, and his passion for wildlife-friendly gardening was born. David holds a degree in Human and Natural Ecology from Emory University. He has worked as a naturalist at the Chattahoochee Nature Center in Georgia and Long Branch Nature Center in Virginia and directed an urban forestry grant program for the National Tree Trust in Washington, DC. Currently, he manages the National Wildlife Federation’s Backyard Wildlife Habitat™ program, which teaches people how to experience nature where they live by restoring habitat for wildlife in their yards, gardens and neighborhoods. David is the author of Attracting Birds, Butterflies and Other Backyard Wildlife, published in 2004 by Creative Homeowner, and has made numerous radio and television appearances, including NBC’s “Weekend Today Show” and HGTV’s “Gardening by the Yard.” Originally from New Jersey, David now lives in Arlington, Virginia.

Roxanne Miller was born and raised in Thomaston, mid-coast Maine and she is a graduate of the University of Maine, with a degree in biology. Roxanne is a Registered Maine Guide, taught through an apprenticeship program for one year. This teaching continues through the learning of wildlife/ecosystems and traditional customs of the people indigenous to Maine. Wildlife field work experience includes loon productivity, forest type identification, and endangered flora in eastern Maine. Roxanne has also designed an alpine revegetation project and worked on recreational management in Southern Maine. Her favorite activities include hiking, canoeing, nature viewing, photography, travel, art and music.

Caroline Mitten has been working for World Wildlife Fund since 2000, and has been a Program Officer with the Species Conservation program since 2003. Before joining the Species team in 2001, she was a Research Assistant with the Environmental Education Department of WWF. Her current responsibilities include managing WWF’s African rhino and elephant conservation programs, as well as the Species Action Fund, a small grants fund for species conservation projects. Caroline received her master’s degree in environmental management from Yale University’s School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and her Bachelor’s in Anthropology from Franklin and Marshall College. Prior to her initial position with WWF, she worked for a landscape restoration consulting firm and focused on wetland mitigation.

Sharon Price works as a Coordinator for Rare’s Pride Program, a grassroots conservation education program which uses social marketing techniques to raise awareness and galvanize community support for conservation. After three years of shifting roles and responsibilities within Rare’s Operations team as Administrative Assistant and Human Resources Coordinator, Sharon has just recently begun her work with Pride by completing a month-long introduction to the Spanish language in Guatemala. Based in Northern Virginia, Sharon studied Comparative Religion and Sociocultural Anthropology at The George Washington University in Washington, D.C. and Naropa University in Kathmandu, Nepal. Her time away from Rare is spent weaving, making and promoting biodiesel as an alternative fuel source, and looking for other sustainability activities in the local Washington, D.C. metro area.

Jeffrey Roberson currently works for Representative Jay Inslee writing a comprehensive energy bill that pushes America toward a renewable future. He recently graduated with a JD from New York University School of Law. While at NYU he worked with NRDC to change the Administration’s energy policy and at the EPA, attempting to stop “Clear Skies” and the New Source Review rule changes from within. These legal actions built on Jeff’s experiences at the University of Washington, where he earned a BS in Biology and a BA in Political Science and helped establish the Loomis Forest Protection Zone to help save the Canadian Lynx.

Susannah Smith received her B.A. in Anthropology and History from Tulane University, and completed a year of graduate work in Applied Anthropology at American University. She worked in the Zoo Education department at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay for eight years as a conservation educator and supervisor. She also served as the zoo’s media spokesperson and presentation trainer. Although Susannah has worked with many species of animals (and talk show hosts), her most challenging experience was training elephant handlers to speak over a microphone. She is currently working on an M.A. in Environmental Communication at the University of South Florida.

Alison Styring is currently the Wildlife Biologist with the Wildlife Tracking Center at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, where she is establishing and leading projects to monitoring native Florida wildlife in an 8,500 acre conservation area at Walt Disney World. Prior to working for Walt Disney World, Alison conducted her dissertation research in the lowland rainforests of Malaysia where she studied the effects of selective logging on rainforest birds. She received her Ph.D. in Biological Sciences at Louisiana State University in 2002. Although her primary expertise is in research, she has also been actively involved in education. Alison is interested in learning more about the legal, policy, and advocacy aspects of conservation, and she is looking forward to gaining a better understanding of these aspects through EWCL. She is looking forward to meeting other members of the pilot EWCL class, and she hopes to gain a more holistic understanding of wildlife conservation through this program.

Danielle Tedesco has focused on the importance of cultivating partnerships to create and implement mutually beneficial and sustainable wildlife conservation strategies. Her commitment to wildlife conservation as been demonstrated through work with the U.S. Peace Corps in Uganda as a Natural Resources Program Manager for the Uganda Wildlife Authority, as an International Environmental Analyst with the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative-Environment and Natural Resources, and more recently as a Senior Program Officer with the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF). Danielle’s current portfolio consists of eclectic support for AWF’s species programs, including the International Gorilla Conservation Program. Degrees in Natural Resources Management and Environmental Policy Analysis complement her professional conservation expertise. As a EWCL Fellow, Ms. Tedesco hopes to help foster a deeper understanding of, and appreciation for, collaboration at various levels for both national and international wildlife conservation progress.

Cynthia Wilkerson is a native Californian and has a B.S. in Conservation Biology from the University of Washington (1998). As an undergraduate, she formed a non-profit research organization in the Great Bear Rainforest of British Columbia. Cynthia’s Northwest research includes the acoustic behavior of song sparrows, plant ecology, marbled murrelets, and northern goshawks. Cynthia received an M.S. in Wildlife Ecology and Conservation from the University of Florida (2001). Her master’s research focused on the importance of isolation to temporary wetlands and included field work as well as spatially-implicit modeling. After working on ecological benefits of ranching, Cynthia joined Defenders of Wildlife in 2002 as the California Species Associate. Her current work focuses on reducing conflicts between humans and bears, desert conservation, regional conservation planning, road impacts, and includes conservation of the Channel Island fox, San Joaquin kit fox, desert tortoise, Mohave ground squirrel, and Pacific fisher. Cynthia enjoys hiking, biking, reading, writing, yoga, traveling, cooking, and circus arts.

Jacob Winiecki will graduate from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs in May 2005 with an MPA in Environmental Science and Policy. Prior to enrollment at Columbia, he spent two years managing the financial operations of WildAid, a San Francisco based NGO fighting the illegal wildlife trade. In his concurrent role as WildAid’s Outreach Coordinator, Jacob created a grassroots program from scratch, resulting in a 75% membership increase within 6 months and over $30,000 in donated equipment and gear for Cambodian wildlife rangers. In addition to graduate school, Jacob is currently a research consultant with Natural Resources Defense Council’s New York Urban Program and acts as an advisor for Reef Protection International and Animal Balance. His research interests include the potential threats to biodiversity posed by GMO’s, sustainable vehicle use in an urban setting, the international wildlife trade, and the political context of environmental policy.