The Rocky Mountain Wolf Project Team

Matt Barnes

Board Secretary, Coexistence Advisor

Matt Barnes, a research associate with the Northern Rockies Conservation Cooperative, is a range scientist, wildlife conservationist, and former ranch manager, who works on Reintegrating Wildness in working landscapes. He works with land managers to improve rangeland stewardship and has worked with ranchers to prevent conflicts with large carnivores such as grizzly bears and wolves in the Northern Rocky Mountains of Montana and Wyoming.

Matt has explored landscape corridors from the Northern to the Southern Rockies, across the heart of the West. Based in southwestern Colorado, Matt is now a member of Colorado’s wolf restoration Stakeholder Advisory Group, and a science and coexistence advisor to the Rocky Mountain Wolf Project.

As owner of Shining Horizons Land Management, Matt works with ranchers and agencies on strategic grazing management and rangeland health. Previously, he worked with the organization ‘People and Carnivores’, and several agencies. He holds a B.S. in wildlife ecology and an M.S. in range science.

Rob Edward

Co-Founder, President

Rob Edward is a co-founder of the Rocky Mountain Wolf Project, along with his friend and long-time colleague Mike Phillips of the Turner Endangered Species Fund. For the past three decades, Rob has followed his passion to make the world a better place, particularly for the native wildlife of the West.

From 1994 to 2009, Rob worked professionally to restore native carnivores to the American West—a passion he still pursues in a volunteer capacity. From 2019 through 2020, Rob helped to lead the Rocky Mountain Wolf Action Fund’s successful ballot measure to reintroduce wolves to Colorado. Now, Rob volunteers as a Strategic Advisor to the Rocky Mountain Wolf Project, and he is the organization’s webmaster and graphic design guru.

You can find Rob’s articles and essays about gray wolf conservation in several books and newspapers. When not knee deep in wolf politics, Rob and his wife Anne are out photographing bears and wolves in the wilds of Montana and Wyoming (and soon, Colorado!)—or hanging out with their friends at one of the Front Range’s ubiquitous house concerts.

Joanna Lambert, PhD.

Board Member, Science Advisor

Joanna Lambert, PhD, is a tenured professor of wildlife ecology at the University of Colorado—Boulder, where serves as Director of the Wild Animals and Humans Laboratory and Principal Investigator of the American Canid Project. She is a field scientist and conservation practitioner and has served as science advisor to the Rocky Mountain Wolf Project since 2017.

While Joanna’s research has taken her to all seven continents, a major focus has been on the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem where she studies carnivores, and equatorial Africa, where she studies primates. She has published several books and hundreds of peer-reviewed articles on her research, and as a result has been elected as a Fellow in the American Association for the Advancement of Science, a Fellow in the Linnaean Society of London, a member of the IUCN Species Survival Commission, and advisor to the United Nations Environment Program.

In her spare time, Joanna spends as much time as she can off-grid in wild places, preferably on a horse and with her dogs, striving for optimism and solutions in a challenging world.

Mike Phillips

Co-Founder, Board Member

Mike Phillips, in the right-hand side of the photo with E.O Wilson and Doug Smith, is co-founder of the Rocky Mountain Wolf Project, along with his friend and long-time colleague Rob Edward.  Mike began focusing on Colorado’s wolf restoration effort in 1995.  He was instrumental in all aspects of the endeavor through historic passage of Proposition 114.

Mike has been actively involved in wolf recovery and research since 1980, having first led restoration efforts for red wolves in the southeastern United States and then gray wolves in Yellowstone National Park.  He has served on every Mexican wolf recovery team convened since 1995 and has overseen a Mexican wolf captive breeding and pre-release facility since 1998. Mike was a member of the Technical Working Group that advised Colorado Parks and Wildlife on the state’s wolf restoration and management plan.

In 1997 Mike co-founded with R.E. (Ted) Turner the Turner Endangered Species Fund and Turner Biodiversity Divisions in 1997.  Since inception they have stood as the most significant private effort in the world to respond to the extinction crisis by reintroducing imperiled species to restore viable populations.  Mike served for 14 years in the Montana legislature, including six in the state House and eight in the state Senate.

Gary Skiba

Board Treasurer, Policy Advisor

Gary joined the Rocky Mountain Wolf Project as an advisor at the end of 2020—a logical transition from his role as an advisor to the successful ballot campaign for Proposition 114 to restore gray wolves to Colorado. He was a member of the Stakeholder Advisory Group that consulted with Colorado Parks and Wildlife on the state’s ground-breaking wolf restoration and management plan.

He is a wildlife biologist holds a B.S. in Wildlife Management from the University of New Hampshire (1978) and an M.S. in Wildlife Biology from Colorado State University (1981). His master’s work focused on the bighorn sheep herd in Dinosaur National Monument in the northwest corner of Colorado.

Gary specialized in endangered species management for the Colorado Division of Wildlife (now Colorado Parks & Wildlife), where he worked for 23 years. He retired from the agency in 2010 and has since held positions with Great Old Broads for Wilderness, the La Plata County Humane Society, and New Mexico State Parks. He is currently the Wildlife Program Manager for the San Juan Citizens Alliance, a Durango based environmental advocacy organization.

Courtney Vail

Board Chair, Community Outreach Advisor

Courtney Vail has worked within the conservation and animal welfare field for over 30 years. It was Courtney’s vision that led to the creation of the ‘Born To Be Wild’ license plate.

As a wildlife biologist and social scientist with a deep background in environmental policy and psychology, she has provided leadership for the design and implementation of diverse domestic and international programs, campaigns, and initiatives for marine and terrestrial wildlife in the private, non-profit, and government sectors where she seeks to align science and ethics.

In support of Proposition 114, Courtney worked to integrate the voices of indigenous peoples as important stakeholders in wolf protection. As an advisor to the Rocky Mountain Wolf Project, she designs and supports collaborative initiatives, community dialogues, and other stakeholder engagement to reduce conflict and facilitate coexistence between humans and wildlife.

She holds a B.S. in Wildlife and Fisheries Science/Natural Resource Management and an M.S. in Psychology. As Director of Lightkeepers Foundation, Courtney believes every individual has the power and obligation to make a difference.

Combined Years of Experience
Our experience with carnivore conservation and consensus building continues to have an outsized impact.
People Engaged
Our outreach to citizens throughout the Rocky Mountains helps build trust and understanding. The fewer myths that persist about wolves, the more secure their future becomes.
The Rocky Mountain Wolf Project is in it for the long-haul. As gray wolves reclaim their hunting grounds in the Rockies, we'll be there to help wolves and humans get along.
Days Spent in Wild Places
We believe it is vital for us to spend time in the wild places that we advocate for. Such sojourns replenish us, and give us perspective.