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 chairs the Building and Grounds Committee and, over the years, has advised staff on many construction projects at its Ely facility.
Agronomist, Sustainable Farmer
Cree Bradley came on the board as a designated student-member in 2002. When her term was completed, she was elected to regular board membership and has served since. Cree works in multiple arenas of complimentary work that keeps her busy year-round and feeds her desire for diversity in work. She is employed by the MN Department of Agriculture in the Plant Protection Division’s Lymantria dispar unit (an invasive species), collecting trapline data on population and reproduction in the Superior National Forest and adjacent lands. As part of this work, she supervises 8-10 trappers annually, and assists in overall program planning and data analysis, while providing leadership in mapping and data collection technology. When she is not tromping in the woods, she can be found at kitchen tables and in classrooms, working with farmers and ranchers 1-on-1 and in groups, to improve their sustainability-bottomline around quality of life, viable economics, and stewardship of their land.
Springing from over a decade of working for agricultural-based nonprofits, she started her own Worksong Services in 20016 in order to reach, teach and support more farmers and ranchers across the country with Holistic Management education. When time opens up in the winter and spring (and slows down a bit for farmers), she teaches online and in-person workshops across the US, while also working with farm stewardship organizations to help develop their training programs. Teaching authentically and in a grounded way, has always been the backbone of Cree’s efforts with supporting farmers and ranchers.
To help accomplish that, in partnership with her husband, she owns and operates her own Chelsea Morning Farm and Never Summer Sugarbush. The farm is a year-round operation with enterprises in organic vegetable production, commercial fishing on Lake Superior, a 2,500 tree maple syrup operation, garden starts, holiday wreaths, laying hens, and climate-adapted trees that are grown for the Nature Conservancy for planting in the warming northern MN forest. Finally, not because there is time, but because there is a passion for this bird, come spring, Cree can be found in snowy forested bogs and other wetland/forested habitat suitable for spruce grouse, collecting spruce grouse data for the MN Department of Natural Resources.
Dr. Brett A. Clementz
Distinguished Research Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience
Brett Clementz is a Distinguished Research Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience at the University of Georgia, and the Director of UGA’s BioImaging Research Center. He grew up in Elkhart, Indiana surrounded by acres of cornfields. After obtaining a B.A. in Psychology from Butler University and Ph.D. from Kent State University, Dr. Clementz moved to the Twin Cities for a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Minnesota. Brett’s advisor took graduate students and post-docs for a two-week canoe trip in the Quetico-Superior. Survivors got to stay in the lab. Brett not only survived but was smitten with Canoe Country. Canadian Shield and towering pines are not part of Indiana’s landscape. Driving to his advisor’s cabin was also the beginning of Brett seeing wolves, trotting down the Fernberg or ducking into brushy cover along that road.
Brett and his spouse, Dr. Jennifer McDowell, built their own cabin in 2008, also out the Fernberg, at the edge of the Boundary Waters. Since then, they have been visiting the International Wolf Center with their kids, Lauren, and Taylor. The family has fond memories of placing pins in the tracking maps when the telemetry data were available. They enjoy the Center’s webinars and adventure programs, and, of course, watching the ambassador wolves do their thing. They also relish wildlife viewing and hiking in Yellowstone.
Dr. Clementz’s career studying persons with serious psychiatric conditions taught him that life stories are multi-layered. Nothing is as simple as it seems on the surface. The need to learn more has been a theme of his life and is the type of energy and commitment he will bring to being on this Board. Brett is humbled knowing that he is a member of the same group started by Dr. L. David Mech and once counted Harriett Lykken as one of their own. There is harmony in knowing that Brett’s post-doctoral advisor, the Distinguished McKnight University Professor William G. Iacono, took his Ph.D. under the great David T. Lykken, Harriet’s spouse. All Brett can say is he will do his best to try and live up to some lofty and legendary standards.
Peter David is a wildlife biologist who joined the board in 2022 shortly after retiring from a career working for the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission, where his focus was primarily on the stewardship of wild rice, waterfowl and wolves. In that position he tried to pass on the teachings about ma’iinganag (wolves) that Ojibwe elders shared with him to wolf professionals and the public in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan and elsewhere. He serves on the board of the Timber Wolf Alliance as well the IWC. He and his wife Lisa live in northern Wisconsin, and enjoy just about any activity that gets them outdoors. They and have a daughter and two sons.
Denise is a banking executive residing in Colorado. In her career, she has focused on functional areas including compliance, risk management, policy and procedures, training, strategic planning, project management, process improvement, governance, monitoring, and reporting. She graduated summa cum laude with an MBA from Marist College and attended Oregon State University studying Fish & Wildlife Conservation. She’s a firm believer in ongoing education especially in helping people understand “the why” they should care about wildlife and each species’ role in the ecosystem.Denise has always been interested in wild canids, especially wolves. She has been a member of the International Wolf Center since the late-’90s and has cherished her visits to the center. In 2000, she visited Yellowstone and saw wild wolves for the first time. Her desire to make a difference for wolves only grew from there and since that visit, she has participated in several wolf programs/conferences/webinars, visited many wolf centers, and spent time reading about wolves.
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!
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.
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.