President and CEO, Association of Zoos and Aquariums
Dan is the President and Chief Executive Officer of an organization of 232 aquariums, zoos and science centers, accredited by AZA and meeting the highest standards of animal care, education and conservation, and more than 6,000 individual members. With his team of staff members and more than 400 committee member volunteers, Dan is charged with advancing AZA’s vision, mission, and strategic priorities.
A lifelong animal conservationist, Dan joined AZA in January 2017 after serving as the Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for nearly six years, successfully leading the agency, and its thousands of employees, during a period of great challenges. Following a 13-year career as a professional staff member of the former Committee on Merchant Marine and Fisheries in the U.S. House of Representatives, Dan held positions of increasing responsibility at the Service. They include Assistant Director for External Affairs, Chief of the National Wildlife Refuge System, Science Advisor to the Director and Deputy Director.
Dan earned a bachelor degree in Biological Science from Florida State University, and graduate degree in Marine Affairs from the University of Washington, where he studied under a fellowship from the Jessie Smith Noyes Foundation. His master’s thesis, on estuarine wetland mitigation, was published in the Coastal Zone Management Journal, in 1982.
Cox-Chair of Wildlife Conservation,
Colorado State University
Wildlife Conservation Society
Joel Berger’s fascination for biodiversity began in California, a place he was soon to depart. He’s written five books including Horn of Darkness (Oxford University Press) and The Better to Eat You With (University of Chicago Press), received life-time achievement awards (Aldo Leopold in addition to one from the Society of Conservation Biology), is an elected fellow of the American Association for Advancement of Sciences, and has been supported by the Guggenheim Foundation, National Science Foundation, National Geographic, and others of course. He works with species larger than a bread box. Although fond of disappearing into Central Asia or Africa, this past winter (2016) it was to a remote island in the Asian Arctic, which you can read about in his article published in U.S. News & World Report, “The Unlikely Diplomats – … marks at least one success for U.S.-Russia relations“. Joel is the Cox-Chair of Wildlife Conservation at Colorado State University, and a Senior Scientist for the New York-based Wildlife Conservation Society.
Founder and Executive Director,
Cheetah Conservation Fund
Laurie has worked with cheetahs since 1974 and set up the Cheetah Conservation Fund in 1990 to develop a permanent Conservation Research Center for the wild cheetah.
Dr. Marker helped develop the U.S. and international captive program, establishing the most successful captive cheetah breeding program in North America during her 16 years (1974-1988) at Oregon’s Wildlife Safari. In the early 1980’s, with collaborators at the National Zoo and National Cancer Institute, Dr. Marker helped identify the cheetah’s lack of genetic variation. In 1988, she became the Executive Director of the Center for New Opportunities in Animal Health Sciences, based at Smithsonian Institution’s National Zoo, and continues to serve as a NOAHS Research Fellow. In 1996, she was made a vice-chair of the World Conservation Union’s (IUCN) Species Survival Commission’s (SSC) Cat Specialist Group and now serves as a member of the core management group. Among numerous awards, Dr. Marker has been recognized as one of Time Magazine’s Heroes for the Planet in 2000 and was awarded the 2010 Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement.
In Namibia, her home base, she received the Windhoek Rotary Club’s Paul Harris Fellowship in 2001, and in 2002 received a special award from the Sanveld Conservancy, signifying Namibia’s farming community’s public acknowledgment of Dr. Marker and CCF’s contributions. In 2002, Laurie received her doctorate from Oxford University, England.