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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 – track surveys in winter and howling in the summer.

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.

 

Chris Giese, Board Member

Chris graduated from UWSP in 1983 with major in Forestry Administration and a minor in Resource Management. In 2003 he earned his Master Degree in Education from UW-Oshkosh. Chris has been a TWIN Member since 1995. From 1996-2008 he served consecutive terms on the TWIN board of directors. He joined the DNR’s Volunteer Carnivore winter tracking program during the winter of 1996 and followed up by conducting summer wolf surveys during the same year across central and northern Wisconsin. He has participated in these activities during every year since.  For the last 8 years he has acted as Regional Coordinator in the tracking program, supervising and assisting other volunteer trackers across 9 survey blocks in the Northern Highland State Forest and the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest of northeastern Wisconsin. Since 1998 he has co-facilitated wolf ecology workshops at Treehaven Field Station in Lincoln County, Wisconsin as scout/tracker and leading the outdoor field experience for workshop attendees. He has provided educational experiences for school age children over these years. Chris believes in the TWIN mission “to increase public awareness and acceptance of the wolf in its natural habitat and its ecological role in the environment”.

 

 

157008_10152236841646352_1110976958_n (1)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.

 

ArnieArnie Erickson, Board Member

I grew up on a farm in north central Wisconsin. Growing up, there was not a woods within five miles that we did not venture into in our search for deer, rabits, or grouse. Now that I have semi retired, I have come full circle and again I roam the roads of the central forest, this time doing tracking surveys.

I became involved with TWIN about ten years ago and I have been a volunteer tracker for the WDNR for about eight years. For a number of years I have also tracked for the education seminars conducted by TWIN during the months of January and February. I enjoy the people I have become involved with through TWIN and the opportunity to be continuously educated on the timber wolf in Wisconsin. Through my involvement on the TWIN Board, I hope to help form policy for the education programs TWIN provides.