OUR VISION

A Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem

We envision a Wyoming that leads the nation in exceptional and innovative wildlife management; all stakeholders are valued equally, and management decisions are driven by the best available science. As stewards of some of the most pristine wild habitat in the world, we believe that ecosystems must be managed to maximize biodiversity.

Mission

Wyoming Wildlife Advocates informs, educates and empowers communities to preserve our wild legacy, protect our shared wildlife and modernize wildlife management across the state.

 

Wyoming Wildlife Advocates is a 501 (c) (3) organization.

Staff

KRISTIN COMBS

Executive Director

B.S. Environmental Science and Natural Resource Management, M.Ed. Curriculum and Instruction, M.S. Science Education

With many years of non-profit administration experience, working in public science education, and advocating for science-based wildlife management, Kristin has spent most of her professional career making science more accessible to everyone. She has mentored youth, young adults, and professionals alike. As a volunteer for the Teton Wildlife Rehabilitation Center and Executive Director for Wyoming Wildlife Advocates, compassion and a love for all animals are central to her personal credo. Born and raised in the Midwest, she and her husband have been happy to claim the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem as their home for nearly two decades. A deep appreciation for the West, wild places, and fellow creatures is why she has dedicated her life to helping protect them.

email: kristin@wyowild.org
phone: (307) 413-4116

DREW GATH

Program Director – Jackson Hole Bear Solutions

B.S. Natural Resources Conservation, M.S Sustainability Science

Drew grew up in New England and attended the University of Massachusetts Amherst, studying natural sciences including wildlife conservation, soil science, nutrition, and food systems. In addition to his environmental degrees, he also completed certificates in Sustainable Agriculture and Native American Studies. After graduating, he worked as a sustainable energy consultant for an environmental community cooperative and then spent several years traveling.

From volunteering at a wolf conservation project in northern Maine to running a biodynamic farm in Costa Rica to skiing in the Andes and Japan, he considers himself fortunate to have experienced many incredible locales, but decided Teton Valley was the right spot to call home for himself and his malamute. 

email: drew@jhbearsolutions.org

phone: 307-274-8391

Board of Directors

KENT NELSON

Founder & Board President

Kent is a retired businessman who worked for many years in the music industry as a music producer and engineer and was the founder and owner of two concert sound and light production companies. He now works as a wildlife photographer and travels extensively to practice his craft. He has lived his entire adult life in the Northern Rockies and is also a past board member and officer of the Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative, a pioneer in large-landscape conservation. He is a long-time resident of Jackson Hole.

JIM LAYBOURN

Director

A lifelong resident of Wyoming, Jim credits his adventurous parents with his outdoor lifestyle and appreciation of Wyoming’s wildlife. Jim’s most important education was received on his family’s weekend pilgrimages to Wyoming’s great outdoors. No matter the weather, the wilderness was explored; hiking, climbing, biking, canoeing, hunting, skiing and observing our fantastic wildlife.

Jim was mentored by legendary mountaineer Finis Mitchell, affectionately known as Lord of the Winds. Jim was incredibly fortunate to join Finis’on his adventures exploring the Wind River Range; backpacking, mountain climbing and taking in the expansive views of Wyoming’s wildest places. The Laybourn family and Finis climbed Mitchell Peak together, a mountain named in Finis’s honor; this made a lasting impression on Jim. Under Finis’ guidance, Jim learned the difference one man could make raising awareness of the sacredness of wild places and wildlife that inhabit them. Jim endeavors to make a difference himself, outspoken about protecting the Wild that makes Wyoming so unique and allows for forging one’s path to happiness.

Living the last twenty years in Jackson, Buffalo Valley, and on Togwotee Pass; Jim has worked as a home builder, wildlife guide, and filmmaker. Jim has an extraordinary passion for grizzly bears. First drawn to film-making after a surprise weekend encounter with Grizzly 399 years ago, this encounter left Jim inspired to take up videography spending thousands of hours in the field observing the secretive nature of grizzly bears.

Jim is intent on replacing the fear and misunderstanding of the grizzly as a ferocious predator with that of an extremely intelligent, charismatic being. Jim believes that a robust predator population may be Wyoming’s best chance to limit the spread of CWD, and as a lifelong hunter, respects predators rather than fears them.

Photo caption- An unforgettable encounter with a wild wolf after Jim ran into a WGFD wolf collaring team in his Buffalo Valley neighborhood.

LYNNE WAGNER

Treasurer

Lynne has called Jackson her home for more than 30 years. Her background is in accounting and finance and she has worked in numerous businesses in Teton County as an accountant, controller and human resource manager. She is also a licensed real estate professional in Wyoming.

Lynne loves to travel and moved to Jackson for the magic and scenery and stayed for the wildlife and outdoor culture. She loves and appreciates nature and wildlife and sees great value in keeping Wyoming wild. An active member of the community, Lynne is serving and has served on various non-profit boards in Teton County and is interested in working to keep this community the special place that brought all of us here.

When not helping people buy and sell homes, she enjoys biking, hiking, skiing, snow shoeing, camping, and any other outdoor activity that brings adventure and new experiences. Lynne is excited to be a part of WWA because of the work they do in the advancement of scientific management of our wildlife.

MATT WHITE

Director

Originally from Illinois, Matt was attracted to the wide open spaces and incredible beauty of the America West from a young age. Matt moved to the valley in 2008 to work in the local hospitality and tourism industry. Since that time he has worked for a number of Jackson’s top hotels and resorts, has instructed a hospitality sales & marketing course for Central Wyoming College and has been a committee member for the Jackson Hole Chamber of Commerce. Part of what drives Matt’s passion as a wildlife advocate is its importance to the tourism industry, Wyoming’s second largest industry.

“Millions of people come from around the world to catch a glimpse of these unique and beautiful animals that call our region home. Its time we start recognizing them as the unequivocal assets they are, not vermin or trophies as some would argue. At the same time, we have a duty and moral responsibility to ethically interact and live among these animals that are not only vital inhabitants of our ecosystem, but neighbors who called this area home long before us.”

Email: matt@wyowild.org

JONATHAN RATNER

Director

Jonathan first came to Wyoming in the mid 1970’s for a month of climbing in the Winds. While he has lived and worked all over the planet, the wildness of the Winds has never left him.

In the late 1990s to early 2000’s he was working on forest carnivore issues for the Forest Service, BLM and Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team, working on grizzly, lynx, wolverine, marten and wolves.

After having his naiveté crushed by the systemic corruption within the federal agencies, he reentered the 501c3 world fighting against the corruption imperiling our wildlands and wildlife.

AMY FAIN-GERBER

Director

Amy recently retired from a 32 year teaching career, the last 26 of which were split between Jackson Hole and Cody, Wyoming. As an avid naturalist and conservationist, she spends a lot of time outdoors, mostly in the Greater Yellowstone Area. Currently, she works as a wildlife and nature photographer and as a guide in the Yellowstone region. Amy enthusiastically spends her new freedom out “on the road” making images to document daily wildlife encounters and adventures in the amazing wild places that surround us. Her passion for photography grew out of a love for wildlife. Growing up in southwest Ohio, Amy attended Miami University in Oxford, Ohio and acquired her B.A. in Zoology and a M.A.T in Secondary Science Education. She always felt compelled to teach the next generation about the natural world and spent as much time as possible taking them “into the field”, studying everything from coral reefs, to leatherback sea turtles, to elk and birds, to grizzlies and wolves. Living in Wyoming since 1993, she was drawn to this area because it represented one of the last great wild places in the lower 48 states including habitat for grizzly bears. She is married to her amazingly supportive husband, Larry, and they have a 22 year old son, Ted. Amy is honored to serve with Wyoming Wildlife Advocates.

What We Do

Grizzly Bears

While the grizzly bears of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE) are currently protected by the Endangered Species Act, efforts to remove protections are coming from the states and Congress. As soon as the bears are returned to the management of individual states they will be hunted. WWA believes unequivocally that this is the wrong decision, made for the wrong reasons.

Elk

Chronic Wasting Disease – a deadly illness that erodes the brains of elk and deer – is steadily spreading across Wyoming. The elk of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem are one of only a few populations in the state that have not yet tested positive for the disease. But given migration patterns and the density of animals on wintertime feedgrounds, it’s only a matter of time.

Wolves

In early 2017, wolves were returned to state management in Wyoming, meaning that in the vast majority of the state, they can be shot on sight. They can be killed for trophies, for amusement, or for no reason at all. Not only is this policy ethically unsound, it’s biologically detrimental to the big-picture ecology of Wyoming.

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