Wilburforce Leaders in Conservation Science

A deeply connected community, bound by shared purpose

2023 Wilburforce Leaders in Conservation Science

Brian Chaffin

University of Montana, W.A. Franke College of Forestry & Conservation

Gillian Chow-Fraser

Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) Northern Alberta Chapter,

Amy Collins

Conservation Science Partners, Tortoise Lab

Libby Ehlers

Yellowstone to Yukon

Danie Frevola

Flathead Lake Biological Station

Kira Hoffman

University of British Columbia

Matt Hyde

Colorado State University

Connor Jandreau

California Central Coast Joint Venture

Heather Johnson

US Geological Survey Alaska Science Center

Lisa Markovchick

Northern Arizona University (NAU)

Rebecca McCaffery

US Geological Survey's Forest and Rangeland Ecosystem Science Center (FRESC

Alice McCulley

Tr'ondëk Hwëch'in

Heather Milligan

Government of Yukon

Harriet Morgan

Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife

La’ Portia Perkins

Renewable Energy Wildlife Institute

Frances Stewart

Northern Wildlife Biology and Wilfrid Laurier University

Danielle Stickman

The Wilderness Society

Taylor Stinchcomb

Wildlife Conservation Society, Arctic-Beringia Program

Erika Wolters

Oregon State University

Shauna Yeoman-Lindstrom

Taku River Tlingit First Nation

About the Program

Program Overview

Over the course of nine months, we will collectively grow a community of conservationists working from Alaska to Mexico who will explore their purpose, grow their leadership and communication skills, and support each other to lead change within themselves and their community. This program will provide opportunities to help participants grow in the following areas:

  • Leadership Development: Opportunities to identify and fully realize their purpose and develop capacities in emotional intelligence, self-regulation, and resilience to support them to lead effective change for the long haul
  • Communication Skills: Workshops with accomplished, knowledgeable experts and trainers where they will build essential skills in communication (such as distilling complexity, framing, listening, messaging, storytelling, communicating across difference)
  • Strategic Engagement Skills: Guidance and coaching to strategically navigate diverse audiences and networks and identify levers of change to achieve their strategic conservation goal
  • Enduring Relationships: A mutually supportive cohort of 20 motivated, inspirational leaders, eager to help each other advance conservation solutions in the West
  • Well-Connected Network: Meaningful connections to a broader network of conservation leaders, including the 2015, 2017, and 2021 Wilburforce Leaders, and to guest experts, including community organizers, advocates, journalists, and decision-makers

Program Schedule

  • Virtual kick off event on September 22, 2023
  • In-person retreat from October 23–27, 2023, held in Washington state. All travel expenses will be covered.
  • Half-day virtual workshops on December 8, 2023, February 16, 2024 and April 19, 2024
  • Virtual closing event on June 21, 2024
  • Monthly small, peer group gatherings, dates and times TBD based on participant availability

Applications for the 2023 cohort are now closed. We will post instructions here when soliciting applications for the next cohort.​ For more information, please contact us here.

Past Cohorts


Wilburforce Leaders in Conservation Science

Dr. Jocelyn Akins

Mirjam Barrueto

Dr. Davon Callander

Dr. Tara Chestnut

Dr. Tony Chang

Dr. Chrystal Mantyka-Pringle

Dr. Julia Michalak

Dr. L. Monika Moskal

Dr. Karine Pigeon

Paulo Quadri

Dr. Lana Ciarniello

Dr. Christian Hagen

Dr. Keala Hagmann

Marcy Mahr

Mirna Manteca

Dr. Christopher Sergeant

Gillian Staveley

Erin Steinkruger

Conrad Thiessen

Kaitlin Wilson


Wilburforce Fellows in Conservation Science

Dr. Megan Adams

Bray Beltrán

Dr. Todd Brinkman

Whisper Camel-Means

Dr. Lisa Ellsworth

Dr. Tim Fullman

Miranda Gray

Trevor Haynes

Monica Iglecia

Dr. Megan Lawson

Michael Lucid

Dr. Tara Martin

Dr. Andrea Morehouse

Dr. Christa Mulder

Sherry Ruther

Sasha Stortz

Dr. David Thoma

Dr. Seth White

Dr. Pamela Wright


Wilburforce Fellows in Conservation Science

Ben Alexander

Dr. Kyle Artelle

Dr. Clare Aslan

Sergio Avila

Dr. Jon Bakker

Dr. Jonaki Bhattacharyya

Dr. Brian Harvey

Dr. Aerin Jacob

Dr. Meade Krosby

Dr. Robert Long

Dr. Melissa Lucash

Dr. David Mildrexler

Dr. Jon Moore

Chris Parish

Dr. Jean Polfus

Dr. Mike Quinn

Dr. Regina Rochefort

Erin Sexton

Dr. Lauren Urgenson

Dr. Matt Williamson

Often the doors for career-enhancing opportunities are closed to people who don't fit a conventional model of a scientist, but real conservation depends on tremendously diverse skill sets. COMPASS and Wilburforce opened their leadership programs up to people with a variety of skills and backgrounds, and that's what really appealed to me. It was the highlight of my year.

~ Dr. Jonaki Bhattacharyya, 2015 Wilburforce Fellow

I feel so fortunate to have been selected into such a wonderful group of highly talented people. Every time COMPASS contacts me, I look forward to being able to participate. The network just keeps paying dividends.

~ Bray Beltrán, 2017 Wilburforce Fellow

I feel like my soul and my science have come together.

~ Dr. Jonathan Moore, 2015 Wilburforce Fellow

I have the photograph from the very first day of the training, where we were making mental maps and putting up post-its of what we wanted to do, and in that photograph I was describing the vision I had for a project for my new job. That photo captured exactly what I’ve accomplished now—the partners, the process, the vision.

~ Sergio Avila, 2015 Wilburforce Fellow

About Us

The Wilburforce Leaders in Conservation Science Program is designed and facilitated by COMPASS staff with the generous support of Wilburforce Foundation, a private philanthropic organization that supports land, water, and wildlife conservation efforts in Western North America.

Learn more about COMPASS and Wilburforce Foundation.

Note: Acceptance to the program does not represent a commitment for future funding from Wilburforce Foundation.