WCS North America

Staff

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Jeff Burrell
Northern Rockies Program Coordinator
Jeff Burrell is the Northern Rockies Program Coordinator for the Wildlife Conservation Society. Jeff joined WCS in 2003 and has a Master's of Science degree in Range and Wildlife Management and a Master's of Science degree in Geology and Geophysics from Texas Tech University. He has more than 30 years of experience with federal and state agencies and Texas Tech University in stream and riparian habitat restoration science in the western U.S. In addition to developing and overseeing implementation of WCS conservation strategy in the Northern Rockies, Jeff leads WCS efforts to bring stakeholders together to conserve and restore wildlife connectivity within the Northern Rockies.
Jon Beckmann
Connectivity Initiative Coordinator
As a Conservation Scientist at WCS, Jon is the Connectivity Initiative Coordinator for the North America Program. As Principle Investigator or Co-PI on several projects in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, the Sierra-Nevada, Great Basin, and other regions of North America, Jon’s current research and conservation portfolio includes: 1) examining impacts of natural gas development on pronghorn; 2) protecting ungulate (pronghorn, moose and elk) migrations by understanding and reducing impacts of wildlife-vehicle collisions and rural residential sprawl in migration corridors; 3) investigating and reducing human-bear conflicts along the wildland-urban interface; 4) using resource selection modeling, Brownian Bridge models, and circuit theory modeling to examine connectivity for large carnivores and ungulates; 5) examining impacts of the border fence along the US-Mexico border on wildlife connectivity (jaguars and other species); and 6) understanding how human-altered environments impact cougar ecology, behavior and population dynamics. Along with >40 publications, Jon is lead editor on a book titled Safe Passages: Highways, Wildlife and Habitat Connectivity. Jon has given over 60 scientific meeting presentations and over 40 invited university and professional training presentations. His research has been the subject of more than 100 radio, television, and newspaper features including NBC Nightly News, Discovery Channel, NY Times, LA Times, Newsweek, National Geographic, and The Wall Street Journal. Jon applies science to affect conservation through the public policy arena; for example, his collaborative field research motivated the $9.7M construction of under- and overpasses on a Wyoming highway to provide the Path of the Pronghorn migration safe passage across the road, and his published research and outreach on human-bear conflicts prompted new bear-resistant dumpster laws and ordinances in several counties in California and Nevada.
Heidi Kretser
Conservation Social Scientist
As a Conservation Social Scientist for the Wildlife Conservation Society, Dr. Kretser improves conservation of wildlife and wildlands by using tools and perspectives from the social sciences to incorporate the human dimensions of natural resource policy and management into conservation practice. She is a member of the WCS Social Safeguards Management Team and serves on the WCS Institutional Review Board. Dr. Kretser has worked in conservation over 25 years and has been with WCS for over 20 years in numerous capacities, notably establishing two community-based conservation programs in the Adirondacks and Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Her current projects include building constituents for conservation through creating effective communication that generates action on topics as varied as wildlife trafficking and white-nose syndrome, devising strategies for reducing the impacts of private lands development and recreation on wildlife, and building collaborative approaches for increasing community and natural resource governance capacity and achieving conservation outcomes for wildlife while safeguarding human well-being across diverse constituents. Dr. Kretser’s work receives research support from many state and federal agencies including the National Science Foundation and the Department of Defense. She is widely published and her work has been featured in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, National Public Radio, and a variety of regional media outlets. She completed her Ph.D. in the Human Dimensions Research Unit at Cornell University and holds a master’s degree from the Yale School of Forestry. In addition to her work at WCS, Dr. Kretser serves as Adjunct Associate Professor at Cornell University’s Department of Natural Resources where she’s affiliated with the Center for Conservation Social Sciences.
Molly Cross
Climate Change Adaptation Coordinator
Molly Cross, Ph.D., is the Climate Change Adaptation Coordinator for the North America Program of the Wildlife Conservation Society. Her work focuses on bringing together science experts and conservation practitioners to translate broad-brush climate change adaptation strategies into on-the-ground conservation actions. Molly is helping to lead climate change planning efforts involving diverse stakeholders at several landscapes across North America, focused on a range of targets from individual species to more complex ecosystems. She recently co-edited the book Climate and Conservation: Landscape and Seascape Science, Planning and Action, and co-wrote a guidebook and associated training course on Scenario Planning as a tool for climate change adaptation. Molly has contributed to several national climate change efforts including the U.S. National Climate Assessment, the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies guidance on incorporating climate change into state wildlife action plans, and the Climate-Smart Conservation guide to climate adaptation. She is the Science Advisor to the WCS Climate Adaptation Fund, which supports applied projects demonstrating effective interventions for wildlife adaptation to climate change. Molly got her Ph.D. in Environmental Science, Policy and Management from the University of California, Berkeley, where she studied ecosystem responses to climate warming and plant diversity loss in the Colorado Rocky Mountains.
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