Plenary Speakers

Plenary Speakers

The Pathways 2023 Team is thrilled to announce the following plenary speakers. Stay tuned for more speakers to come!

Duan Biggs headshot


Duan is the founder of the Resilient Conservation lab. He was born in Namibia and grew up there and in South Africa’s Kruger National Park. From his days as a University undergraduate in South Africa, he has worked at the interface of science and conservation policy and practice. He focusses on developing partnerships between researchers and NGOs, governments, and the private sector to conduct science that informs the development of conservation actions and policies for the complex challenges of the Anthropocene. He completed his Ph.D. at the Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University in 2011 on the resilience of coral reef tourism to global change and crises. During his Ph.D. he worked closely with researchers from the Resilience Alliance (, links that he maintains closely to this day. After his Ph.D. Duan worked for Scientific Services of South African National Parks to develop a tourism research program to support decision-making and management of the trade-offs and synergies between conservation and tourism for all the country’s National Parks. Subsequent to this he was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow with Hugh Possingham at the Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions at the University of Queensland. Duan also completed a Masters by research at the University of Cape Town on developing community-based birdwatching tourism for conservation and development. This work was done in partnership with BirdLife South Africa.

Duan has been working actively with policy-makers and international NGOs on the response to Africa’s Illegal Wildlife Trade crisis and contributes to international policy discussions on the illegal wildlife trade and the management of conflict between humans and wildlife through his work with WWF, the Luc Hoffmann Institute, the International Institute for Environment and Development and the IUCN’s Sustainable Use and Livelihood’s Specialist Group and the World Commission for Protected Areas. Duan was awarded an Australian Research Council Early Career Fellowship (DECRA) in 2016 and started working as a Senior Research Fellow at the Environmental Futures Research Institute at Griffith University in August 2016. Since 2018 Duan has been leading an initiative in close collaboration with the Luc Hoffmann Institute, IUCN and WWF in the creation of a first global standard for human wildlife coexistence. The COVID-19 pandemic has placed unprecedented pressure on human communities living near or inside protected areas in Africa, Asia and the America’s. An estimated USD$ 910 billion – USD$ 1 trillion in tourism revenue was lost in 2020 and this loss of revenue has exacerbated the effects of human-wildlife conflict . This new human-wildlife coexistence standard will be an international first, laying the groundwork for a more sustainable and inclusive conflict mitigation framework in these areas.

Duan has adjunct appointments at the Centre for Biodiversity and Conservation Science, School of Biological Sciences at the University of Queensland, and at both the School of Public Leadership and the Department of Conservation Ecology and Entomology at Stellenbosch University in South Africa. Duan is an enthusiastic naturalist and fervent birdwatcher. He is an associate of Birding Ecotours and has developed and led birding tours and expeditions in countries around the world.

Duan Biggs


Resilient Conservation

Ashley dryer headshot


Dr. Dayer is a conservation social scientist. Her research program focuses on understanding people’s and organization’s conservation behavior, especially related to bird conservation, private lands habitat conservation, human-wildlife conflict, endangered species management, and citizen science. As part of this research, she explores the role that policy tools and educational interventions can play in influencing behavior. Much of her current research is part of interdisciplinary (social and natural sciences) teams and focused on bridging the implementation gap between science and conservation.

Ashley Dayer

Assistant Professor

Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation, Virginia Tech

Mark Sturm outdoors headshot


Mark Sturm, a career natural resource manager, is the superintendent at Katmai National Park and Preserve.

Prior to this position, since 2012, Sturm was the biological resource program manager for the National Park Service’s Intermountain Region, a position that includes oversight of a wide range of professional staff supporting natural resource work in more than 80 areas in the National Park System. His team’s work has included high profile wildlife projects involving bears, wolves, bison, elk and bighorn sheep; fisheries work on the Colorado River, habitat restoration; and even consideration of the implications of climate change on NPS trust resources.

His prior work – from 2008-2012 – included oversight of resource management at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument in Arizona, a park with complex border security, cultural and natural resource, visitation and facility issues.

Mark Sturm


Katmai National Park

Sarah Parker Pauley headshot outdoors with dogs


Sara Parker Pauley serves as the ninth director of the Missouri Department of Conservation since its formation in 1937. The Missouri Conservation Commission announced Pauley’s selection effective November 1, 2016.

A native of Columbia, Pauley received both her law degree and bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri – Columbia, and did post-graduate studies in Australia as a Rotary Fellow. She previously served as director of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources since 2010. She has worked as project manager for D.J. Case & Associates, a natural resources communications firm, and as a deputy director for the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. She has been an instructor at the University of Missouri’s School of Natural Resources, teaching a course in natural resource policy and administration.

Pauley began her professional career as a Policy Analyst with the Missouri Department of Conservation from 1993–1996. Over the years, though her career path varied, it has never strayed far from her personal desire to be engaged in the stewardship of Missouri’s natural resources.

Sarah Parker Pauley


Missouri Department of Conservation

Brought to you by:

Colorado State University Department of Human Dimensions of Natural Resources
Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies
Virginia Tech Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation