Meet The Team
We do this work because our dogs are the most effective, efficient, accurate, and least invasive way to make conservation happen.
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Pete received a bachelor’s degree with honors in Biology and Environmental Conservation from the University of Colorado and a Ph.D. in Ecology from the University of California, Davis. Pete worked with the Wildlife Conservation Society for 10 years, first at their New York Headquarters and then as part of the Africa and North America Programs. Pete has studied Ferruginous Hawks in North America, avian community ecology in Kenya, and large herbivore ecology and herding systems in Tanzania. He has helped plan and carry out conservation strategies in Bolivia, Ecuador, Argentina, Congo, Cambodia, Tanzania, and the United States. His publications appear in Conservation Biology, Biological Conservation, PLOS (Public Library of Science), Human Ecology, Landscape and Urban Planning, Landscape Ecology, and Science, and he is co-author of the book Conservation: Linking Ecology, Economics and Culture (2005 Princeton Univ. Press).
Deborah received her B.S. in Biology from Saint Mary’s College of California, a M.S. in Integrative Biology from the University of California, Los Angeles, and a Ph.D. in Wildlife Science from the University of Washington, Seattle. Her dissertation research focused on kit fox conservation and the evaluation of non-invasive monitoring methods (such as detection dogs) to obtain information on endangered populations. Deborah has published extensively in the conservation literature. In 2007, she and her co-authors were awarded the George Miksch Sutton Award in Conservation Research for publishing a paper that made an outstanding contribution to conservation biology in the southwest. Since 1991, Deborah has studied wild species ranging from ground squirrels to grizzly bears, while maintaining her focus on canids such as wolves, foxes, and coyotes. Deborah has a deep background in dog obedience, behavior, and detection training: she began working with conservation dogs in 1999 and has operated several highly successful canine development programs in the northwestern U.S.
Aimee received a B.A. from the University of Montana in biology. She feels very grateful to have been part of helping the field of conservation dogs get a foothold in the US in the late 1990s, and continue its growth around the world over the last few decades. She’s had the opportunity to work with a number of very talented dogs in service to over 40 imperiled species in over a dozen countries. She enjoys tackling new and challenging projects and mentoring new conservation dog programs, trainers, and handlers.
Alice received a B.A. in Biology from Warren Wilson College in North Carolina and an A.A.Sc. in Veterinary Medical Technology from Central Carolina Community College. She has worked as a field biologist for universities, NGO’s and state and federal agencies since 1988, and has conducted wildlife research throughout the U.S., Mexico, Canada, and Russia. She has been involved in dog training for over 42 years and has focused on detection dog disciplines since 1998. Her professional interests include wildlife disease, carnivore behavior, endangered species restoration, and refining the training and use of detection dogs in wildlife research.
Ngaio is a forensic ecologist and conservationist. She obtained a B.Sc. in Environmental Science from Acadia University in Nova Scotia, an M.Sc. in Natural Resource Sciences with emphasis on applied wildlife biology and ecotoxicology from McGill University in Montréal, and a Ph.D. in Forensic Science from Anglia Ruskin University in the United Kingdom. She is currently a member of the Investigative Chemistry Research Group at Anglia Ruskin University and a Director of the Foundation of Analytical Science & Technology in Africa (FASTA). She has authored numerous papers and chapters on wildlife monitoring and conservation, and edited the textbook “Carbofuran and Wildlife Poisoning: Global Perspectives and Forensic Approaches." Ngaio is on the Faculty of Veterinary Forensic Sciences at the University of Florida (Gainesville), where she teaches several courses on critical thinking and risk assessment of veterinary agents in relation to wildlife and environmental health.
Bre graduated from The University of Montana with a B.S. in Natural Resource Conservation. She spent the first couple years after college working and volunteering on conservation projects in Montana and Washington. She moved back to Missoula and has spent the last 12 years working for local and national animal welfare groups.
Bre has filled many roles with animal welfare organizations including development, volunteer management, cruelty and disaster response, behavior and training. Bre looks forward to combining all of her passions to help WD4C expand their mission in Missoula and beyond.
Skye received dual bachelor’s degrees with honors in History and Anthropology/Archaeology from the University of Montana, where her studies focused on the historical archaeology of Montana and the history of international relations. She also received her Masters in Public Administration from the University of Montana with an emphasis on nonprofit management.
She grew up in Yellowstone National Park and has been involved with scientific and educational programs that further wildlife and environmental conservation since childhood. Based in Livingston, Montana, she has worked closely with several nonprofit organizations and has developed and implemented administrative procedures that have helped them achieve programmatic success.
Melissa graduated from Kansas State University with B.A.s in Biology, Psychology, and Natural Resources and Environmental Science. After graduation, she headed to Zambia, where she worked for the Peace Corps on a project linking income, food, and the environment.
Melissa grew up with dogs and has always loved them. She worked as a vet tech and ran a canine day care, but her first experience with working dogs was at the Denali National Park sled dog kennel. She knew then that she wanted a career that would combine wildlife conservation and dogs. Melissa's role as a Canine Field Specialist means that she spends a lot of time on the road and in the air, handling WD4C dogs in the field, training new candidates, and making sure they're all healthy, happy, and productive.
Lauren received a B.S. in Wildlife Management from Humboldt State University, focusing on waterfowl ecology. While in college Lauren took up training retrievers for bird hunting, which evolved into numerous other dog sports and disciplines including agility and search and rescue. Lauren spent 11 years as a natural resource law enforcement officer and detective, with a focus on commercialization of wildlife, illegal trafficking, and the use of K9s. She has also worked as a field biologist for NGO’s, and federal and state agencies. As Law Enforcement Training Lead, Lauren manages and develops law enforcement programs but her passion is working directly with handlers and dogs.
Michele raced sprint dogs in Quebec before graduating from The University of Minnesota with a B.S. in Wildlife and Conservation Biology. After graduation, she split her time between sled dog touring in the winters and working summer field biology positions.
In the last several years, Michele has worked with a number of different species and lead projects in multiple states. Her primary focus has been on disease ecology and carnivores, particularly canines. As a canine field specialist for WD4C Michele is hoping further the use of detection dogs in various research capacities.
Paige started her career working in conservation biology, participating in field work and studying wildlife disease in various species. She later moved on to conducting research with detection dogs at the Penn Vet Working Dog Center. Her time spent working on various research projects with detection dogs led her to discover conservation detection, which combined both of her interests of wildlife conservation and dogs. She also spent multiple years working with dogs in both detection and cognition. Paige also enjoys training with her personal dog for various dog sports.
Amanda received her B.S in Animal Science from Texas A&M University. She has been in dog sports, training, and medicine since she was 16 including work with exotics where she became passionate about science based animal training. She has twelve years of experience in canine search and rescue running dogs in many disciplines. Amanda obtained the title of Certified Professional Dog Trainer and opened her own dog training and dock diving business. As the Canine Team Training Coordinator Amanda utilizes her experience in detection dogs and training handlers. Amanda’s professional interests are in the science behind dog training, canine cognition, and how to give clear communication between dog and handler.
Renae graduated from The University of Montana-Western with a B.A in Literature and Writing with a focus on Creative Writing. Her career with working dogs began when she moved to Alaska to work as a dog handler on the Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau. Renae spent three summers on the Mendenhall, with winters in between caretaking a remote backcountry ski lodge in Colorado and later helping to train a team of young sled dogs for Squid Acers Kennel in Fairbanks, AK.
Mark served eight years in the Navy as a Cryptologic Technician and Law
Enforcement Specialist. After honorably transitioning out of the military he was commissioned as a Conservation Police Officer with Virginia Department of Natural Resources (VDNR). Mark's enthusiasm and persistence to work with dogs resulted in a the development of VDNR’s wildlife canine program. He started his own business focusing on consulting, placing rescue dogs in working homes, and pet training while continuing train and handle conservation detection dogs for various projects. Over the past 10 years, Mark has worked as a contractor with WD4C, sourcing rescue dogs for projects, deploying on field projects and developing biosecurity canine programs. He has been involved in a variety of working, sport, and pet dog training for over 20 years.
Mark looks forward to continuing canine detection program development and placing rescue dogs in jobs where they can thrive.
Eric grew up with the Colorado Rockies in his backyard, and Legos all over his floor. He went to flight school before transitioning to aviation maintenance while living on the Western Slope. He moved to Alaska and became a maintenance technician for Sitka National Historical Park, where he was exposed to unique, hands-on work in natural and cultural conservation. In Montana, he has worked as a mechanic, then as an installation and repair specialist in on/off-grid heating, water, and solar power. Eric likes new challenges and is grateful for the opportunity to expand his skills and knowledge with WD4C.
Ellie began her career working with dogs at a vet hospital on the East Coast. After moving to Montana in 2015, she managed a dog boarding facility where she oversaw play groups of 30 to 50 dogs. From there she mentored under several trainers, and went on to train dogs for 3 years focusing on improving the relationship between dogs and their humans. Ellie started working for WD4C in 2021 as the Canine Care Manager and has been focused on providing a calm, balanced home life for the working dogs.
Tori spent three years working in pet dog training before growing a passion for working dogs and joining the WD4C Team. Tori is passionate about canine enrichment and ensuring that our working dogs have a work-life balance.
BIO COMING SOON
Martha Kauffman is the Managing Director for World Wildlife Fund’s Northern Great Plains Program. Based in Bozeman, Montana she works with local ranchers, Native American tribes and government agencies to increase protection for the landscape, create economic incentives for conservation, and restore native species including: bison, prairie dogs, sage grouse and the most endangered mammal in North America, the black-footed ferret. She has a B.S. from Stanford in Environmental Earth Science and a M.S. in Earth Sciences from Montana State University.
Martha was on the board of Montana Conservation Corps for 9 years and is a co-founder of the Montana Outdoor Science School, a Montana-based non-profit that utilizes field-based inquiry to teach K-12 youth about natural sciences.
Henry Happel was a founding partner of Mundt MacGregor LLP, a Seattle law firm, where he practiced corporate and commercial law from 1976 until 2001.
Henry has served on the board of directors of a number of commercial and non-profit entities. He is currently the Chairman of the City of Bozeman’s Community Development Board.
A Houston native, Henry received a BA in Economics from Yale University in 1967 and a law degree from Stanford University in 1970.
Melissa has two decades of experience in non-profit and higher education major donor fundraising and institutional development. Her experience includes fundraising for the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Global Conservation Program, Montana State University, and Duke University School of Law. Melissa earned an M.P.A. with a focus in nonprofit management from North Carolina State University. She currently works in philanthropy for the Greater Yellowstone Coalition.
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