WCS North America

Staff

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Zoe Smith
Adirondacks Landscape Coordinator
Zoe Smith joined WCS in 2000 and is currently the Landscape Coordinator for the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Adirondack Program. Her conservation interests lie in working with communities on local issues particularly wildlife conflict on the human/wild interface and building local leadership for conservation. Zoe is an active member of the Adirondack Common Ground Alliance core group and participates in various regional Smart Growth projects. Zoe was an appointed member of the Northern Forest Center’s Sustainable Economy Initiative that developed a 4-state economic strategy for rural Northern Forest communities. Zoe leads WCS’ Black Bear Education, Awareness, and Research Program and is a member of the New York State Black Bear Management Team. She currently sits on the Boards of the Adirondack Economic Development Corporation and Sustainable Communities Inc. Zoe has lived and worked in the Adirondack Park for almost 20 years and is an active member of her local community. Her professional background is in wilderness recreation leadership, management, and community building. She holds a BA in Natural Resource Economics from SUNY Fredonia.
Heidi Kretser
Livelihoods and Conservation Coordinator
As the Livelihoods and Conservation Coordinator for WCS’s North America Program, Dr. Heidi Kretser uses tools and perspectives from the social sciences to achieve greater conservation impact by understanding the human dimensions of natural resource policy and management issues. She is using this approach to understand and resolve complex conservation questions pertaining to human-wildlife conflicts, the impacts of low-density rural development on wildlife, best practices for engaging local people in conservation projects across North America, effective communication strategies to reduce demand for and purchase of wildlife trade items by the U.S. military serving abroad, aligning state wildlife and public health messaging on bats and collaborative approaches to build capacity and achieve conservation outcomes across diverse constituents. Dr. Kretser serves as Adjunct Assistant Professor at Cornell University’s Department of Natural Resources. Dr. Kretser 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.
Michale Glennon
Adirondack Landscape Science Coordinator
As Science Coordinator for the Adirondack Program of the Wildlife Conservation Society, Michale serves a leading role in the ecological research conducted in the Adirondacks. Her research interests lie primarily at the intersection between land use management and ecological integrity, with a number of projects ranging from the impacts of low density, exurban development on wildlife to the potential changes to Adirondack lowland boreal communities resulting from climate change. Together with colleague Heidi Kretser, Michale has conducted a number of studies focused on exurban development in the Adirondacks in an effort to understand the specific impacts on avian communities, the area around residential homes in which wildlife communities are most strongly altered, the habitat characteristics and human activities associated with exurban development that most impact wildlife, and the characteristics of wildlife communities before and after residential development. She has also worked to predict changes in avian communities resulting from future development, and together with Heidi, has explored how wildlife communities react to residential development across widely differing ecosystems by examining these questions in both the Adirondack and Greater Yellowstone Ecosystems. She continues to expand upon this work to answer critical research questions for our region and to provide information from local research that can be used to inform land management and planning decisions. Michale joined WCS in 2003 after completing a Ph.D. at the State University of New York, College of Environmental Science and Forestry where she explored the effects of land use management on bird and small mammal communities in the Adirondack Park. She was instrumental in the application of the Landscape Species Approach in the Adirondacks, applying the tools of the WCS Living Landscapes Program to provide site-based conservation priorities for the park based on a suite of landscape focal species. She has also worked on the potential impacts of ski area development on Bicknell’s thrush, a Neotropical migrant of high conservation priority in the east, and on a project to understand the rapidly expanding moose population in the Adirondacks and its relatedness to nearby populations in neighboring states and provinces. In addition to her exurban development work, Michale is currently working to understand the status and distribution of a suite of lowland boreal birds in the Adirondack Park and the potential impacts of climate change on these vulnerable species. Michale serves on the advisory board of the Shingle Shanty Preserve and Research Station, the Technical Advisory Committee for the Adirondack Park Agency, the Biodiversity Conservation Advisory Committee for the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, the Forest and Land Management Task Force of the Adirondack Climate Action Plan, the Avian Taxonomic Working Group of the Adirondack All-Taxa Biodiversity Inventory, and the Paul Smiths College Fisheries and Wildlife Science Advisory Board.
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