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ABOUT THE GOVERNING BOARD


Director

Robert (Bob) W. Hay, Reptile and Amphibian Conservation Specialist and Retired Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) Herpetologist. Bob has had a keen interest in reptiles and amphibians since he was a young child, subjecting his mother to many scary experiences as he came home with the “next surprise”. His love for these “underdog animals”, as he often refers to them, led him to attend UW-Steven Point where he majored in Natural Resources Management. For 17 year after college, Bob spent much of his free time studying herptiles in the wild and conducting voluntary educational programs in schools and other venues around Wisconsin. His voluntary work with the WDNR’s, Bureau of Endangered Resources eventually led to his hiring as the DNR’s first herpetologist, and he spent the next 18+ years working on the conservation and recovery of the state’s 10 endangered and threatened herptiles. Bob has co-authored several small books on Wisconsin’s native amphibians and reptiles. His passion for turtles has led to the development of recovery strategies for ornate box turtles and wood turtles. While working at the WDNR he managed these recovery efforts and has been actively and intimately involved with their implementation since retiring in 2009. Bob has a small army of volunteers (>40) that assist with these recovery efforts each year.

Board Members

Dr. Joshua M. Kapfer, Assistant Professor, Department of Biological Sciences, UW-Whitewater.  Dr. Kapfer is a Certified Wildlife Biologist who grew up with a love for wildlife, especially herptiles. He attended UW-La Crosse where he received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in biology.  His master’s research involved the survival of northern leopard frog larvae in and around agricultural ponds.  Josh then went on to receive his Ph. D. from UW-Milwaukee where he intensively studied the life history of bullsnakes, a species of greatest conservation need and Wisconsin’s largest constricting snake.  Dr. Kapfer has been working since 2009 as an assistant professor, for two years at Elon University in North Carolina (where he studied the ecology of Eastern Box Turtles) and is currently at UW-Whitewater, where he is developing several undergraduate research projects on herptiles and mammals.  In his young career, Josh is already widely published on a variety of subjects and is currently conducting several research projects, while preparing to start a long-term study on Blanding’s turtles.  The goal of much of his research is to provide conservation specialists with key information to guide the conservation, management and recovery of rare species.


Thomas Lafleur, Turtle Conservationist. Tom grew up in Racine, Wisconsin and has always had a love of nature. Tom went on to earn a law degree from UW-Madison and is also a Certified Public Accountant. He has always allowed himself to be “distracted” from these professions by his passion for turtle conservation. Tom has spent decades working to protect even the most common of turtles and is a wonderful advocate for turtle protection. He has personally spent countless hours and driven many thousands of miles, all as a volunteer, to help reduce turtle mortality on roads and to protect wild-laid turtle nests from predators. While Tom does not have a degree in the natural sciences, his knowledge of turtles, especially nesting behaviors, is exceptional.


Samantha Foster, Biologist, Herpetologist and Educator. Samantha is one of those people who started pursuing a new career after realizing just how passionate she is about protecting natural resources. As a wife and young mother, she returned to college at UW-Whitewater to study biology and education. Samantha developed a love for turtles after being privileged to work on several studies with the threatened Blanding’s turtle. She is currently working on several projects with this species in southern Wisconsin. She has been actively working to gain expertise in the field of restoration ecology. Samantha is a substitute teacher and a volunteer conservation biologist, cooperating with the WDNR’s Bureau of Endangered Resources on three rare turtle recovery programs.

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