Dr. Chris Jenkins is Chief Executive Officer of The Orianne Society. Chris has also worked with the Wildlife Conservation Society, US Forest Service, US Fish and Wildlife Service, University of Massachusetts, University of British Columbia, and National Geographic. He has worked on the conservation of reptiles and amphibians throughout North America and is currently expanding his work internationally. Chris' primary interests are in the ecology and conservation of snakes and managing nonprofit conservation organizations, but he has strong interests in the conservation biology of all reptiles and amphibians. He received a B.S. and M.S. from the University of Massachusetts in Wildlife Biology and Conservation and a Ph.D. in Biological Sciences from Idaho State University. His dissertation focused on the effect of livestock grazing, invasive plants, and altered fire regimes on the reproductive ecology of Great Basin rattlesnakes. Chris' current projects include protection and management of Indigo Snakes and their habitats, understanding the factors responsible for the decline of Indigo Snakes, restoration of Gopher Tortoise and Indigo Snake populations, and the conservation of vipers including rattlesnakes of the Rocky Mountains, Appalachian populations of Timber Rattlesnakes, Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnakes, and Bushmasters. Chris founded and chairs the IUCN Viper Specialist Group and serves as co-chair on the Steering Committee for the Southeast Region of Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation. Chris has contributed to multiple scientific papers and has written multiple book chapters including Modeling Snake Distribution and Habitat in the recently published book titled Snakes: Ecology and Conservation. Chris is currently writing a book titled, The Indigo Snake: A Complete Guide to their Biology, Behavior, and Conservation.
The staff of The Orianne Society at the 2012 Annual Meeting. Pictured from left to right is Wayne Taylor, Karen McLain, Fred Antonio, Jerry Medlock, Dirk Stevenson, Heidi Hall, Javan Bauder, Andrew Harkey, Sue Bottoms, Chris Jenkins, Steven Spear, and Mike Jackson.
Growing up in Arcadia, California, Fred spent his early years scouring the San Gabriel Mountains in search of reptiles and amphibians. By his early teens, he maintained an impressive collection of local herps along with exotic pythons, monitor lizards and eventually venomous snakes, the latter becoming his focal area of interest and research to this day. Fred pursued his formal education at Montana State University, graduating with a degree in Fish and Wildlife Management (Bachelor of Science, 1975). His career in the zoo field began as an Elephant Keeper at the Central Florida Zoo, Reptile Keeper at the Dallas Zoo, and Research Assistant at the Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission, Wildlife Research Lab, where he worked with the critically endangered Dusky Seaside Sparrow. In 1979 Fred joined the staff of the Santa Fe Community College Teaching Zoo, and as Zoo Curator taught students in the Biological Parks Program who were pursuing careers as keepers in the zoo field. Fred returned to the Central Florida Zoo in 1989, where he was Director of Operation/General Curator prior to joining The Orianne Society in May, 2009. Fred has served the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) as Population Manager for the Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake, Vice Chair for Studbooks and Population Management Plans for the Wildlife Conservation Management Committee (WCMC), and is currently a Steering Committee member of the AZA Snake Advisory Group. Fred's interest in the Eastern Indigo Snake began early in his career when he successfully reproduced indigos at Central Florida Zoo and Santa Fe Teaching Zoo in the 1970s and 1980s. In 2008, he published the first AZA Eastern Indigo Snake Regional Studbook and Population Management Plan to scientifically manage the captive population and continues this work today managing the AZA Species Survival Plan for the Eastern Indigo Snake. New construction groundbreaking at the OCIC commenced in July 2011 and in January 2012 the Health Care Center and the Herpetarium were completed. By June, the first set of outdoor enclosures were also finished signaling the close of Phase One construction at the OCIC. Fred's planning, design, and execution in creating this unique breeding and research facility establishes new and significant programmatic elements building on The Orianne Society’s mission of success.
Javan Bauder received his B.S. in wildlife resources from the University of Idaho in 2007, and his M.S. in biology from Idaho State University in 2009. For his master's research, Javan studied prairie rattlesnake movements and habitat selection in the Frank Church Wilderness of central Idaho and how mountainous topography and prey availability influenced those movements. Javan works on multiple projects within The Orianne Society's Indigo Snake Initiative, including a project on the effects on non-natural landscapes on indigo snake population viability in Florida and the thermal ecology of eastern indigo snakes in southern Georgia to understand how alterations to their thermal environment may have contributed towards their declines. Javan also works on The Orianne Society's Indigo Snake monitoring program in the Altamaha River drainage. Javan's primary research interests are the spatial ecology and conservation biology of reptiles and amphibians. He has previously studied amphibian use of man-made wetlands, and used genetic techniques to determine the source of a potentially introduced population of salamander in northern Idaho. Javan has also worked on a variety of wildlife research projects including amphibian landscape genetics in northern Idaho, southwestern willow flycatcher nest monitoring in Arizona, prairie falcon surveys in southern Idaho, and raptor monitoring on the Washington coast. Javan currently lives in northeast Georgia.
Dr. Stephen Spear received his B.S in Biology at the University of Richmond in 2001, his M.S. in Biology at Idaho State University in 2004, and his Ph.D. in Zoology at Washington State University in 2009. Both his master's and doctoral research focused on understanding how landscape configuration influenced the population genetic structure of amphibians. For his master's research, he studied tiger salamanders across the northern range of Yellowstone National Park to understand how cover type, topography and moisture gradients correlated with population connectivity and trends in population size. His dissertation research focused on the tailed frog, an endemic forest amphibian of the Pacific Northwest, and he investigated the relative effects timber harvest, large forest fires, and the Mount St. Helens eruption had on tailed frog gene flow and genetic diversity. In addition he has also worked on projects investigating giant salamander response to timber harvest treatments, and describing Tasmanian devil gene flow to predict how a deadly communicable disease might spread. Currently, he is working with researchers at Idaho State University, Clayton State University, and University of Idaho to use demographic, genetic, and modeling approaches to predict how energy development might affect the persistence of midget faded rattlesnake populations in southwest Wyoming. He is also working on projects investigating the response of hellbender populations to recent fragmentation due to hydrologic alteration and loss of forest cover. Steve lives in eastern Washington with his wife and an assortment of adopted reptiles and amphibians.
Dirk attended Southern Illinois University where he studied zoology (B.S.,1988). He has over 20 years of professional experience working as a field zoologist—primarily conducting field studies and surveys of reptiles and amphibians in the Coastal Plain of the southeastern United States. Beginning in 1996, Dirk has conducted intensive mark-recapture studies and distributional surveys of eastern indigo snakes throughout southern Georgia. Prior to his position with The Orianne Society, Dirk worked for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and The Nature Conservancy, and for the Department of Defense at Fort Stewart, Georgia. In addition to these positions, he has conducted status surveys for declining amphibian species through contracts with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. He has extensive experience surveying and translocating gopher tortoises, and is a long-time member of the Gopher Tortoise Council and the SSAR (Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles). Dirk has published a number of technical and popular articles relating to eastern indigo snakes, flatwoods salamanders, rare dragonflies, bark scorpions and other animals. Many of his photographs appeared in Amphibians and Reptiles of Georgia (2008, University of Georgia Press). His popular articles have appeared in Wildlife Conservation, Alabama Wildlife, South Carolina Wildlife, Illinois Audubon, Herp Nation and Georgia Backroads.
Kevin Stohlgren grew up in central Missouri and received his B.S. in Fisheries and Wildlife from the University of Missouri in 2007. He has worked with the Missouri Department of Conservation on a reptile and amphibian monitoring project in the Ozarks and has also worked at the Joseph W. Jones Ecological Research Center in Southwest Georgia. Kevin is currently working on his master's at the University of Georgia. His master's research focuses on the effects of habitat loss and fragmentation on the distribution and abundance of eastern diamondback rattlesnakes on the coast of Georgia.
Heidi Hall studied Fisheries and Wildlife Management at Hocking College in Ohio where she earned a degree in Fisheries and Wildlife Management. After a little globe-trekking, she continued her education at the University of Idaho, studying Wildlife Biology, earning a B.S. in Biology in 2003. Upon graduating, Heidi began her career as a consultant, working primarily with the Endangered Species Act and National Environmental Policy Act; studying various species ranging from sage grouse to salmon. Heidi has conducted and written numerous Biological Assessments, Environmental Impact Statements, and Habitat Assessments. Her current interests are determining and implementing effective ways to communicate the need for reptile and amphibian conservation, educating the public about the importance of these species, building strong partnerships with private, non-profit, and state and federal organizations, developing and implementing strategic fundraising campaigns, and organizing citizens to participate in necessary and useful research on reptile and amphibians that enhance The Orianne Society's conservation efforts. Heidi currently resides in the Southern Appalachian Mountains with her husband and dog; where they enjoy an active life full of motorcycle riding, fly fishing, and hiking.
A longtime Rabun County, Georgia resident, Kevin Croom's life experiences include over twenty years active radio station ownership and operation. Kevin got his start in the communication field as a part-time radio announcer while attending Rabun County High School in Clayton, Georgia. Most recently, Kevin helped manage and develop Rabun County Habitat for Humanity's "ReStore," which greatly supports Habitat's home-building efforts. Kevin lives in Lakemont, Georgia, and loves walking and hiking with "Bongo," a rescue dog who helps in spotting and picking up roadside litter. It's rumored a very healthy rat snake lives rent-free in Kevin's attic. Kevin's travels have taken him to Israel, Denmark and Iceland, but "home," with its unparalleled family, friends and beauty, will always be Rabun County, Georgia.