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Meet the Board Members of TWIN


Ray W847M_1Ray Leonard, Chairperson

Somewhere on my path to becoming a Wildlife Biologist I got derailed and ended up as an Engineer. No complaints, I’m enjoying a great career – but I’ve never lost my desire to understand the intricacies of the natural world.

I was delighted when gray wolves began colonizing my hunting area in the Central Forest Region in the mid-‘90s – my curiosity about their behavior and dynamics led me to join the WDNR Volunteer Tracker corps. As kind of a natural evolution, I’ve come to be a Regional Coordinator in the program, and wolf monitoring now occupies much of my free time – DNR track surveys in the winter months and radio-collaring and howl surveys in the summertime.

Another avenue of that evolution has been my interest and participation in TWIN – where I’ve met some great like-minded people with a rational perspective towards wolves and a mission to increase acceptance through awareness. I enjoy learning from them, and in turn teaching others.


Robert WelchRobert Welch, Treasurer

Bob was a member of the UWSP crew that verified the presence of breeding wolves in Wisconsin, back in the late 1970’s.  They learned to trap, radio-collar, and track wolves in the wilderness areas of far northwest Wisconsin, pioneering modern-day wolf research in Wisconsin.  Bob brings a great deal of historical perspective and biological experience to our TWIN workshops. 


Michelle Somers, Secretary  

My love of the outdoors and wildlife started 11 years ago under the direction of Dick Thiel and his high school independent study program through Sandhill Wildlife Area. The Sandhill high school independent study is where my volunteer work with wildlife and my progression into TWIN and wolf tracking began. I have been wolf tracking and a part of TWIN for 9 years. Being a part of TWIN has allowed me to meet amazing people who share a passion and love for the outdoors and wildlife like I do. It also allows me to relax and leave all the stress of my nursing job and college behind.




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Julia Robson, Board Member
I graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 2012 with a B.S. in Conservation and Environmental Sciences and a B.S. in Biology. I began working for the Milwaukee County Parks Department in 2011 assisting in the management of the Park System’s 10,000-acre Natural Areas Program. Additionally, I worked for three years as a Wildlife Technician for the Urban Ecology Center conducting population density and radio telemetry studies on the Butler’s garter snake (a state species of special concern).

During my time as an undergraduate, I began volunteering as a Carnivore Tracker for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources in 2010. My parents (Peter & Christine) and I have been dedicated trackers in Block 121 for the last 4 years, and the tracking season has been a highlight of our winter! Over the years I have become more and more intrigued by wolf biology, pack social structure, and wolf conservation. I am constantly looking for new ways to educate myself and others on these complex, fascinating creatures!

Having spent the last 6 years working in urban natural resource management, I have gained valuable experience in educating the public and engaging them in nature. I also volunteer my time sitting on the Advisory Board for the “Wisconsin Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation” and as a member of the Executive Committee for the “Southeastern Wisconsin Invasive Species Consortium” Board of Directors. I am honored and thrilled to apply my skills towards TWIN’s science-based educational outreach mission by serving on the Board.


023Bev Paulan, Board Member
I grew up in the Chicago suburbs but became passionate about all things in nature during camping trips to WI. I was a voracious reader as a child especially if the books were about birds or wolves. I attended Elmhurst College in IL earning a BS in biology with the hopes of working in wildlife but then took a very circuitous route to get there.

I became a commercial pilot and flight instructor in 1993. While instructing and running my own air charter company, I flew contract flights for the IL DNR which showed me I could combine my two passions. I then took another crazy turn and became the official “crane mama” and field supervisor for Operation Migration which afforded me the opportunity to live on National Wildlife Refuges all year long, travel throughout the eastern US and give educational talks to all age groups on Whooping crane and wetlands conservation.

In 2010 I was given the opportunity to achieve my ultimate career goal of blending wildlife and flying as a full time pilot for the WI DNR. Among my many duties are doing weekly aerial tracking flights of wolves. I have been fortunate to become involved with TWIN through the Traxathon and wolf ecology workshops. I have also spent time in the field with the trackers, seeing the pack territories on the ground that I survey from the air. I look forward to being able to serve TWIN in any capacity, especially in an educational and outreach capacity.


Dan Anderson picDan Anderson, Board Member

Originally from South Dakota, my interest in nature and the outdoors started when my dad took me pheasant and duck hunting as a kid.  While attending college at the University of South Dakota, I spent my summers living and working in Yellowstone Park.  I closely followed the debate about the re-introduction of wolves in the Park, which finally happened a few years after my last season there.  

My degree and career have been in business.  I spent the 1990’s travelling to Asia & Alaska, where I managed franchise operations for Dairy Queen.  I was able to explore wild country in Inner and Outer Mongolia , Alaska and Korea.  But I also saw the impact large human populations in East Asia can have on wildlife. In 2001 we purchased, and continue to run the Dairy Queen store in Eagle River.  Since coming to the Northwoods, my wife Diane and I have been closely watching as the wolf population slowly increased.  In 2010 we became volunteer carnivore trackers for the DNR, and have continued to do this every year since.   We first attended a TWIN workshop in 2014, and have since assisted with the Trees for Tomorrow workshop. 

In addition to my involvement with TWIN, I have spent several seasons doing ruffed grouse drumming surveys and we are active with the Ruffed Grouse Society and the Vilas Area Silent Sports Association. 

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  Linda Nelson, Board Member

 My interest for the gray wolf was sparked by nature photography books in my early years. The   reading of these books led me to many trips to Ely, MN. There, I discovered my first wolf     tracks with my kids and was inspired by the endless beauty and learning experiences this landscape had to offer. At the same time, I developed a passion for photography. 

Attending workshops from different nature centers in Wisconsin in the mid 90’s introduced me to many of the people still involved with TWIN. Their passion, stories, teachings, and dedication are what intrigued me to learn more and to educate people. 

I have been a small business owner since April of 1992 in the Eau Claire area. In 1997, I became a part of the WDNR Volunteer Tracking program.  I have learned so many things while conducting tracking and howl surveys. These animals have taught me life experiences. I became a Regional Coordinator for parts of NW WI and the Central Forest to try and mentor, inspire and educate people.

This journey has introduced me to endless friendships.  All of us learn something different and unique from each other to pass on.  My goal as a board member is to offer these experiences to people so they may continue to share and teach each other.