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With WCS Canada, Cheryl is applying what she has learned in academia, the field, and varied partnerships (e.g., First Nations, Government, NGOs) to help develop multi-scaled tools to support regional and community-based conservation planning in Ontario’s Northern Boreal landscape. Cheryl is helping develop a research and monitoring program to assess thresholds for key wildlife species and ecological processes in the boreal given resource extraction and climate change.
Cheryl initially joined the Wildlife Conservation Society in 1998 as a Policy Analyst at WCS headquarters in New York, and then assisted the Asia Program as a program officer. In 1999, Cheryl became the program officer for the Global Carnivore and Jaguar Conservation Programs where she assisted with the WCS Jaguar Workshop held in Mexico in March, 1999 and conducted a reconnaissance field project for jaguars in the Mamirauá and Amanã Sustainable Development Reserves in Amazonas websites, Brazil. She co-authored the proceedings from the workshop as well as the jaguar conservation planning approach published in Conservation Biology in 2002.
Building on her experience with WCS, Cheryl developed a PhD research project, partially funded by WCS, focused on identifying and designing local wildlife corridors for cougars and grizzly bears in two important areas within the Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative – Canmore in the Bow Valley near Banff National Park and the Crowsnest Pass in southwest Alberta. This project provided managers with multi-scale models of large carnivore resource selection and movement patterns to guide land-use planning within the increasingly fragmented habitats outside of protected areas. In addition to a major review of corridors published in the Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution and Systematics in 2006, she co-authored a number of popular publications about her work.
Throughout her field and academic experiences, Cheryl has focused primarily on carnivore conservation. She received a Masters of Science from the University of Alaska Fairbanks for documenting productivity in Inupiat-owned reindeer herds to support grizzly bear management on the Seward Peninsula, Alaska. She subsequently worked with researchers monitoring fur seals and kittiwakes on the Pribiloff Islands, with State agencies and local houndsmen tracking California cougars to support predator and prey management plans, and with volunteers to survey mammals in the Peruvian dry forest.
Subsequently, Cheryl worked as a biologist for the Gwich’in Renewable Resource Board based in Inuvik, Northwest Territories where she helped develop cooperative research and community-based management plans for large mammals, integrating science with traditional ecological knowledge, and working side-by-side with local community members during surveys and monitoring.
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