Caesar Kleberg Keynote: The Future of Funding for Wildlife Conservation

ROOM: CC, Ballroom AB

Conserving wildlife populations and their habitat involves a diverse constituency and takes on many forms. Universities perform research, agencies conduct projects and implement regulations, non-government organizations advocate for causes, and professional societies unify practitioners. Wildlife conservation therefore is a broad umbrella, and it historically involved traditional funding models for a given constituent group. However, these traditional funding sources are decreasing, while the relevance of conservation to society is increasing. Organizations therefore must adapt to this new funding landscape and become creative to achieve their wildlife-conservation missions if they are to remain successful and relevant. This session explores this topic and highlights how four entities (a research unit, a foundation, a business, and a professional society) are addressing this changing landscape to remain vibrant.

David Hewitt

Executive Director, Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute

The Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute at Texas A&M University-Kingsville is a privately funded wildlife research unit housed at a public university educating future wildlife professionals and conducting applied wildlife research in support of wildlife conservation. Before his current position, Hewitt was a professor and research scientist specializing in wildlife nutrition and the ecology and management of white-tailed deer. He is a Certified Wildlife Biologist®, TWS Fellow, advisory board member of several conservation organizations in Texas, and a professional member of the Boone and Crockett Club.

Ed Thompson

Chief Executive Officer, The Wildlife Society

Ed Thompson joined The Wildlife Society in 2014 as COO with more than 17 years of executive-level business leadership experience, and became CEO/Executive Director in July 2017. His leadership has helped TWS achieve significant membership and revenue growth while increasing the organization’s engagement with wildlife professionals, students and the general public through improvements to the Society’s website, e-newsletter, social media, and Annual Conference. He continues to provide innovative and collaborative leadership to staff, programs, and overall operational and fiscal integrity of the Society while striving to achieve strategic plan initiatives set forth by TWS Council.

Mike Phillips

Executive Director, Turner Endangered Species Fund/State Senator, District 31, Bozeman, Montana

Phillips has served as Executive Director of the Turner Endangered Species Fund and advisor to the Turner Biodiversity Divisions since he co-founded both with Ted Turner in 1997. The organizations aim to use the best science to effectively conserve biodiversity and disseminate reliable scientific and policy information, and represent the world’s most significant private effort to redress the extinction crisis. This talk will summarize the 22-year history of organizations and provide insights about the future. Previously, Phillips led wolf restoration efforts for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Park Service. He was elected to the Montana legislature in 2006.

Darren Miller

Incoming Vice President, Forestry Programs, National Council for Air and Stream Improvement, Inc.

Miller provides leadership for NCASI’s programs addressing environmental issues associated with sustainable forestry, wood procurement operations, and wildlife/biodiversity management. Prior to joining NCASI, Miller worked for Weyerhaeuser Company for 21 years in a variety of environmental research roles. He has a B.S. in Wildlife Management from Eastern Kentucky University and an M.S. and Ph.D. in Wildlife Ecology from Mississippi State University. Miller has worked on a wide diversity of topics related to forest sustainability. Miller is President Elect and a Fellow of the Wildlife Society and a Certified Wildlife Biologist®.


Location: Cleveland CC Date: October 10, 2018 Time: 10:20 am - 11:50 pm