WCS Canada

Our Staff

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Donald Reid
Northern Boreal Mountains Landscape Leader
As a Conservation Zoologist with the WCS Canada, Don leads conservation research and planning projects in theYukon and northern British Columbia. His primary research interests are in the spatial and temporal dimensions of ecosystem dynamics, and how these affect conservation needs, opportunities and planning. Since 2006 Don has been a lead scientist on an International Polar Year study of the terrestrial tundra food web in northern Yukon, with central focus on the trophic interactions of lemmings and their predators. He has also led a team of biologists in gathering and interpreting ecosystem and wildlife habitat data for a strategic land use plan in the Peel Watershed of northern Yukon. This planning process has produced recommendations for substantial new protected areas, and is now undergoing political review. His focus is shifting to conservation issues in the Northern Boreal Mountains, spanning northern British Columbia and southern Yukon. Large areas of wilderness with robust wildlife populations are at risk from new natural resource extraction projects, conversion of land to agriculture, and climate change. Don is leading work in this emerging WCS landscape, including forest resource planning, analysis of protected area options, and capacity building with First Nation governments. Don joined WCS Canada in 2004, based in Whitehorse, Yukon, when the Canada Country Program was getting started. He has helped establish the Country Program, including its strategic planning, and has assisted in the development of the North America Program’s strategic planning. His work in northwest Canada is now strengthened with the inclusion of Hilary Cooke as a research biologist based in Whitehorse. Don has advanced degrees in animal ecology: MSc (Calgary), PhD (British Columbia). His research background includes river otters, beavers, lynx and snowshoe hares in boreal Canada, giant pandas and Asiatic black bears in the eastern Himalaya of China, and lemmings, foxes and raptors on nearctic tundra. His conservation activities include analysis of wildlife habitat and distribution data for land use planning processes, management planning for protected areas, and integration of wildlife habitat needs in forest management.
Hilary Cooke
Associate Conservation Scientist
Hilary Cooke joined WCS Canada in 2010 as Research Associate for the Northern Boreal Mountains landscape. Here she is partnering with First Nation, territorial, and federal governments to identify priority areas for conservation and to fill information gaps for species and ecosystems of conservation interest, such as songbirds in valley-bottom habitats, with the goal of bringing science-based conservation solutions to resource management and land-use planning. Hilary began her career with WCS as a member of the North America Program in 1998, where she worked with WCS Researcher Dr. Steve Zack on riparian conservation issues in semi-arid regions of the western United States. Through field studies in Oregon, California and Wyoming, they linked healthy riparian bird communities with alternative riparian management practices used by private and public land managers. Throughout her academic and professional career, Hilary has been committed to developing and communicating science-based solutions for wildlife conservation in landscapes managed for resource use. Her research and conservation focus has been linking wildlife habitat ecology, primarily for birds, with best management practices in threatened or at-risk ecosystems. Her field studies have taken her from the high deserts of the western United States to the boreal forests of Canada. Hilary has a breadth of experience partnering with governments, industry, academia, private land managers, and non-governmental organizations. After earning a M.Sc. in Wildlife Management at Humboldt State University in 2002, Hilary returned to her native Canada in 2003 to complete a Ph.D. in Ecology at the University of Alberta.

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