Caesar Kleberg Keynote: The Future of Funding for Wildlife Conservation

ROOM: HCCC, 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.


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®.

Ed Thompson
Chief Executive Officer, The Wildlife Society

Ed Thompson has more than 20 years of executive-level membership organization leadership experience and became The Wildlife Society’s CEO/Executive Director in 2017 after three years as Chief Operating Officer. His innovative and collaborative leadership has helped TWS achieve significant membership growth by improving the organization’s value proposition while developing new business relationships, fundraising approaches, and other income opportunities that benefit wildlife professionals and their conservation efforts. Prior to joining The Wildlife Society, Ed held a variety of executive leadership positions with the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, one of the largest membership organizations in the world with nearly 400,000 members.



Location: Huntington Convention Center of Cleveland Date: October 10, 2018 Time: 10:20 am - 11:50 pm