Michael Pelton is Emeritus Professor of Wildlife Science, Department of Forestry, Wildlife, and Fisheries, The University of Tennessee. For 32 years he conducted research on black bears and various other mammals (raccoon, deer, cottontail rabbits, European wild hogs, red wolves, river otter) in the southern Appalachians.
He and his graduate students have delved into numerous aspects of the ecology and life history of black bears and assisted private and public organizations and agencies on management issues regarding this species. Michael is currently technical advisor to a variety of bear projects and wildlife organizations and agencies regarding bear issues. The black bear research project he initiated in 1968 is Great Smoky Mountains National Park just completed its 40th consecutive field season and is the longest continuous research project of any bear species in the world.
He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Valley Conservation Council and is an Associate Director of Headwaters Soil and Water Conservation District. Michael has 4 grown sons and 3 grandchildren. His wife Tamra is on the faculty of Mary Baldwin College in Staunton, VA. They reside on their mountain farm in Augusta County, VA.
Lynda Mills is a Certified Wildlife Biologist with the Mark Twain National Forest. She has worked for the Forest Service for 20 years and has expertise in fire ecosystems, timber management for wildlife, red-headed woodpecker recovery, and Indiana bat recovery.
Ryan Boggs is the executive director of Legacy Land Trust. He came to Legacy Land Trust with nine years experience with Colorado Chapter of The Nature Conservancy. Ryan received his B.S. in Wildlife Biology from Colorado State University and is a native of Fort Collins with many family members in the area. He started his conservation career at the Phantom Canyon Preserve in the Laramie Foothills area of Larimer County and later served as a Project Director for the Aiken Canyonlands and Chico Basin areas. As an experienced wildland firefighter he also worked on forest and fire restoration as well as land protection issues. Ryan brings a wealth of land conservation experience to Legacy Land Trust along with a desire to bring a balanced and healthy land protection program to our Front Range communities. Growing up in Fort Collins gives him a perspective on the rapid changes that have taken place and he sees many opportunities for retaining some of the rural patterns that make our three county area such a unique and inspiring place in which to reside.
Jeff Beringer has degrees in Wildlife and Fisheries Science from the University of Wisconsin – Steven Point and the University of Tennessee. He has worked on a variety of carnivore species including grey wolves, black bears, bobcats, fishers, river otters, and coyotes. He started with the Missouri Department of Conservation in 1986 as a Wildlife Damage Biologist, then, worked as a deer research biologist, a turkey biologist and grouse biologist. Jeff’s current responsibilities include research and management of furbearers and large carnivores and chairing the mountain lion response team in Missouri.