The International Wolf Center is proud to have an active Board of Directors guiding its present and future activities.
Judy Hunter, Board Chair
Retired CEO – Girl Scout Council, Illinois
Judy is a retired CEO of a Girl Scout Council. She became involved with the International Wolf Center after moving to Minnesota and started volunteering with its Alpha Legacy donor program, which led to other volunteer activities. After she joined the Board of Directors, those opportunities expanded to include membership on the Development Committee and chairing the 2013 Symposium Task Force. Judy says, “Because of my background, I believe in our work providing education about wolves and believe we must help the next generation understand the environment and the role we play in its balance. The Center has a staff, both professional and volunteer, who are dedicated to our mission. It is exciting to be an active part of the team.”
Rick Duncan, Board Vice Chair
Minneapolis attorney Rick Duncan practices in the fields of environmental law, federal Indian law, and commercial litigation. He has extensive experience in the Endangered Species Act and the Wilderness Act, statutes critical to wolf conservation, and received the Sierra Club’s William O. Douglas Award in 2007. Rick attended Yale Law School, and has been an adjunct professor at the University of Minnesota Law School. He and his wife Beth Goodpaster, also an environmental lawyer, have two daughters and multiple pets.
Connie (Constance) LaFond, Board Treasurer
Certified Public Accountant
Connie LaFond is a CPA and licensed wildlife rehabilitator. Connie has her own accounting practice working out of her home in Independence, Minnesota. She specializes in individual and business tax preparation and consulting, and works with small nonprofits.
Connie has been a licensed wildlife rehabilitator for over 30 years, specializing in red and grey fox. She has also rehabilitated coyotes, raccoons, rabbits, squirrels, and any other animal that might need assistance.
Connie has been a member of the International Wolf Center since it opened in 1993. She first became interested in canids by following Dr. Dave Mech on a wolf study weekend while she was in high school in Grand Rapids, Minnesota.
Connie is excited about using her financial skills and wildlife rehabilitator experience as a board member.
Debbie Hinchcliffe, Board Secretary
Debbie Hinchcliffe joined the board in 2011 after retiring from a 33 year teaching career as an Outdoor/Physical Education teacher. She has always had a passion for the outdoors and wildlife, being exposed to it at a very early age through her parents and grandparents.
She became interested in wolves after participating in a Center trip to the arctic in 1998 and has since been on numerous other IWC trips to the arctic and Yellowstone National Park. She strongly believes that the education of our youth is the key to maintaining wildlands and wildlife for the future generations to enjoy. She and her husband give wolf education programs at schools, libraries, nature centers and state parks around the state of Wisconsin. She currently chairs the board’s Education Committee and is co-chair for the International Wolf Symposium.
Paul B. Anderson
Paul Anderson joined the board in 1990 after volunteering at the Center’s first symposium. He is an architect at Alliiance in Minneapolis and specializes in sustainable design and planning for organizations that deliver interpretation and environmental education. He serves as the Center’s treasurer, chairs the Building and Grounds Committee and, over the years, has advised staff on many construction projects at its Ely facility.
Wildlife Guide and Naturalist
Taylor Bland is a wildlife guide and naturalist in Yellowstone National Park specializing on wolves. She graduated with a Zoology degree from The Ohio State University in 2018 and has continued on with her passion for wildlife out west. When she’s not educating people on the natural world, she spends the majority of her time volunteering with the Yellowstone Wolf Project or watching wolves with the rest of the Yellowstone wolf watchers.
In her spare time, Taylor enjoys traveling to foreign countries to experience all of the different wildlife the world has to offer and immersing herself into different cultures. Taylor is excited to be a part of the International Wolf Center and looks forward to educating people on wolves and their relationship with the ecosystem.
Agronomist, Sustainable Farmer
Cree Bradley came on the Board as a student-member in 2002. When her term was completed, she was elected to regular membership.
Cree is director of Silver Creek Institute in Two Harbors, Minnesota, promoting sustainable agriculture, clean energy and community planning. She works for the Lake Superior Sustainable Farming Association as the facilitator of Farm Beginnings, a year-long farmer-taught training and support program for beginning and aspiring farmers that focuses on holistic management, business planning, goal setting, financial management, marketing and production. Cree manages Superior Grown, a Lake Superior area initiative that promotes local food and agricultural products while connecting regional producers with consumers. During the summer and fall, she works fulltime for the Minnesota Department of Agriculture as a seasonal agronomist, monitoring invasive gypsy moths in the Superior National Forest and managing her own three-acre Chelsea Morning Farm.
Assistant Vice President, U.S. Bank
Cindy Carvelli-Yu has been in the financial services industry for over 30 years. She currently is with U.S. Bank and focuses on the unbanked and underbanked market with debit card products. She has experience in program management, web development, market research and card processing.
Cindy is also very active in the non-profit community. She has served on several Boards including Chairing the St.Paul Festival and Heritage Foundation, Ramsey County K9Foundation and most recently co-chaired the St.Paul Police Foundation Gala which focused on raising funds against domestic violence.
Cindy and her husband Song purchased a small cabin in Ely in 2012 that they are busy making improvements on. While Cindy has had little exposure to wolves, she is excited to be part of an organization that focuses on education and is eager to embrace a non-profit in the Ely area that her and her husband have grown to love so much.
Denise joined the Board of the International Wolf Center in 2020 and chairs the Strategic Planning Committee. She is excited to use her diverse skill set and passion in supporting the Center’s mission.
Denise enjoys being outdoors, reading, hiking with her dogs, camping and vacationing with her husband, and wildlife watching – especially wolves!
Deborah Wold Lewis
Supervisor, Three Rivers Park District, Retired
A member of the International Wolf Center since 1993, Deb was elected to the Board in 2013. She was on the Pup Care Team in 2008 for Aidan and Denali, in 2012 for Luna and Boltz and again 2016 with Axel and Grayson. Deb is an active International Wolf Center volunteer in the Twin Cities area educating the public about wolves at the Minnesota State Fair, the Minnesota Zoo, and several school Environmental Fairs. Deb also volunteers for the National Park Service with the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area, and is a Master Naturalist volunteer.
Chief Financial Officer
Stephanie Matz grew up in South Dakota surrounded by animals. This early exposure and connection kickstarted a lifelong love affair for all animals and their wellbeing. She and her family have been frequent visitors to the Ely area over the years and first visited the International Wolf Center when the Matz boys were small. Fascinated by wolves’ complex social structure and committed to using her talents to raise awareness about this keystone species, Steph is excited to bring her experience and enthusiasm to serve the International Wolf Center.
Steph is Chief Financial Officer for a Minnesota based real estate management and investment group. Previous to her current role, she worked for a global fund alternative asset manager. In addition to leading event committees for her sons’ schools, she has served Lakewinds Food Co-op Board of Directors in multiple capacities including as president. She has a Master of Landscape Architecture degree from the University of Minnesota and a Bachelor of Science degree in business from the University of South Dakota. In her spare time, she is a writer. She lives with her husband and two sons near one of Minnesota’s many lakes and enjoys every second of travel with them.
Law Enforcement Executive, Retired
Lisa McGinn serves as a city council member for the City of Lake Elmo, Minnesota. She served as a police officer for the City of St. Paul for more than 26 years before retiring in 2003 as a senior commander.
A lifelong interest in wildlife with a special interest in wolves led her to participate as a citizen representative to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources roundtable in the 1990s. She served as a committee member until a consensus was reached and the management plan was turned over to the Minnesota Legislature. The education she received throughout that year left her with a profound respect for the intelligence, courage and tenacity not only of the wolf itself but also those people who have dedicated their lives to educating and advocating others about wolves and wildlife in general.
Lisa has served in a variety of positions in the non-profit community. She has been active in wildlife rehabilitation, human organizations, several youth organizations and she spent eight years as a board trustee with the Minnesota Zoo. One of the highlights of her time with the Minnesota Zoo was chairing the Zoo Foundation Gala that highlighted Minnesota wildlife.
Lisa lives in Lake Elmo with her husband, Mike. They have four children and eight grandchildren.
Dr. L. David Mech
U.S. Department of the Interior
Dave Mech is the founder of the International Wolf Center. He launched a committee to create the facility in 1985. The project was a natural outgrowth of his wolf research and realization that people would only respect the wolf after they had come to understand it.
Dave is a senior research scientist for Department of the Interior and an adjunct professor at the University of Minnesota in St. Paul. He has studied wolves on Isle Royale, in Minnesota, Canada, Italy, Alaska, Yellowstone, Ellesmere Island, and elsewhere since 1958. Dave authored several books including The Wolf: The Ecology and Behavior of an Endangered Species in 1970, The Way of the Wolf in 1991, The Arctic Wolf: Living with the Pack in 1988 and Wolves of the High Arctic in 1992. A detailed wolf reference book Wolves: Behavior, Ecology, and Conservation, which he co-edited with Luigi Boitani, was published by University of Chicago Press in 2003, and The Behavior of Wolves Hunting Wild Prey, coauthored by Doug Smith and Dan MacNulty, with video by Bob Landis, was published in 2015. His latest book, in 2020, Wolf Island: discovering the secrets of a mythic animal, was written with Greg Breining.
Dave chaired the IUCN Wolf Specialists Group of the World Conservation Union from 1978 to 2013 when it was incorporated into the Canid Specialist Group, to which he remain a special advisor for wolf conservation. Dave makes regular financial donations to the Center and his expertise, technical editing and contacts with other wolf researchers and professionals are invaluable to the Center’s projects and operations.
The grand opening in 1993 of the International Wolf Center was a landmark moment for Dave. Now, seeing people use the facility, the outreach made possible by the internet, and the work of dedicated Board members sustain his commitment to wolf education around the world.
Photo by Cree Bradley
Madan is the COO and a board member at Innovative International Acquisition Corp, (NASDAQ: IOAC), with a 17-year career in technology startups spanning multiple countries. Madan specializes in building companies from the ground up, having successfully built over six companies across India, Singapore and the United States. His love for animals from an early age had him build an interest in wildlife and conservation efforts. Outside of his work, Madan loves spending time with his family and enjoys trail running along with biking and swimming.
Aaron Morris joined the board in 2015. He became familiar with the Center and its programming in 2013 while working in Ely for the USGS Wolf-Deer Project. He has also participated in wildlife research projects in Yellowstone National Park and on the North Slope of Alaska. Additionally, he has worked professionally in the adventure recreation industry in Colorado and British Columbia, providing opportunities for youth to connect with wilderness. Aaron’s home base is St. Paul, where he lives with his wife, K.C., who is a teacher, and their two Alaskan Huskies.
Jerry Sanders joined the board in 2003 after meeting board members on several Center adventure trips to the Northwest Territories and Yellowstone National Park. He enjoys giving educational programs on wolves to high school students and views supporting classroom teachers as an important step in teaching the next generation to understand the real wolf.
He currently chairs the Board’s Membership Subcommittee.
Alice L. Silkey
Emerita Professor of Law, Attorney
Alice Silkey retired from teaching at Hamline University School of Law (a predecessor school to Mitchell Hamline School of Law) in 2015 after twenty-five years. After serving as a Legal Writing Instructor for several years, Alice served as the Director of Legal Writing for fourteen years and as the Director of Academic Support for nine years. Her great passion for education and for helping all students to succeed and her unwavering commitment to student learning were reflected throughout all facets of her teaching and directorships. Alice is writing a book on Pathways to Humaneness in Legal Education that has been accepted for publication.
Since retiring from the academy, Alice has focused her efforts primarily on diversity, equity, and inclusion in higher education, legal education, the legal community, and the judiciary. She has also done significant work in community mediation at the policy level. Alice serves on a number of boards, committees, and councils, including the Committee for Equality and Justice of the Minnesota Judicial Branch, the Diversity and Inclusion Leadership Council of the Minnesota State Bar Association (MSBA), and the Diversity Committee of the Minnesota Chapter of the Federal Bar Association. Alice serves as the Diversity Liaison for the MSBA Alternative Dispute Resolution Section Council, and she serves on the Diversity Initiatives Steering Committee at Hamline University. As an Emeritus Member of the Association of Legal Writing Directors (ALWD), Alice serves on the ALWD Diversity Committee, and she received an Outstanding Service Award for this work in 2018. In addition, Alice serves on the Board of Community Mediation Minnesota, the Minnesota Community Dispute Resolution Programs Statewide Advisory Council, and the Restorative and Mediation Practices Advisory Council.
Alice has a great passion for the study of wolves, and she has been a member of the IWC since 1995. In addition to studying wolves at the IWC, Alice has studied wolves at Yellowstone National Park since 2001. She especially loves wolf watching at Yellowstone in the Winter! Alice joined the IWC Board in October 2018, and she is very excited to have the opportunity to bring together her belief in the power of education, her belief in the mission of the IWC, her love of teaching, and her passion for wolves as a member of the Board. She brings to the Board experience in leadership and collaborative decision-making; an understanding of how to cultivate awareness of the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion in organizations; and expertise in writing. Alice serves on the Strategic Planning Committee, the Education Committee, and the Communications Committee.
Retired Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources wildlife biologist
Dick has served for a time as Chairperson of Timber Wolf Information Network, a Wisconsin – based wolf education organization he helped found in 1989, and serves on the Board of Directors of the International Wolf Center, based in Minnesota. He remains active in wolf matters, conducting educational workshops for both organizations which are dedicated to presenting accurate, science-based information on wolf ecology, and as a consultant.
Instructional Design Consultant
Keira Thrasher is an independent instructional design consultant specializing in mobile and e-learning design and development for a wide variety of clients, industries, and audiences. In her spare time she enjoys working with her local school and school district, serving on curriculum advisory committees and managing social media for parents.
Keira has always loved the outdoors and wildlife, and became especially keen on wolves when her daughter’s special interest in them opened up a world of wonder, exploration, and joy that transformed their family’s life. Keira is excited to have this unique opportunity to help extend that joy and appreciation to new audiences.
Nancy jo Tubbs
Owner – Camp Van Vac
Nancy jo Tubbs is an Ely resort owner and writer. She joined the Board in 1992 after writing about the Center’s wolf pack and about field research by Dave Mech and Mike Nelson.
Nancy dedicates herself to the Center in many other ways, including writing, editing, and chairing the Communications Committee. “It’s a privilege to work with board and staff members who bring so much talent to the results for which we strive: To deliver premiere, effective, efficient wolf education so that humans accept coexistence with wolves, and populations of wolves thrive in targeted areas.”
The International Wolf Center advances the survival of wolf populations by teaching about wolves, their relationship to wildlands and the human role in their future.