Staff

Senior Management

Dr. Steven C. Amstrup
Chief Scientist & Vice President, Conservation Science 
Steven is chief scientist for Polar Bears International. He also is an adjunct professor at the University of Wyoming in Laramie. He earned a B.S. in Forestry from the University of Washington (1972), a M.S. in Wildlife Management from the University of Idaho (1975), and a Ph.D. in Wildlife Management from the University of Alaska Fairbanks (1995). Prior to joining PBI, he led polar bear ecology research in Alaska for 30 years. He is a past chairman of the IUCN Polar Bear Specialist Group and has been an active member of the group since 1980. He has authored or coauthored over 100 peer-reviewed articles on movements, distribution and population dynamics of large mammals, and is the senior editor of a recent text on population estimation methods. In 2007, he led a USGS research team in production of nine reports that became the basis for the 2008 decision by the U.S. Secretary of the Interior to list polar bears as a threatened species. More recently, Dr. Amstrup led an effort showing polar bears are not unavoidably doomed. In the December 2010 paper issue of Nature, he and his co-authors showed that preserving polar bears is all about controlling human-caused temperature rise. In 2012, Amstrup was selected as the recipient of the Indianapolis Prize and a Bambi Award for his efforts in conservation.

Krista Wright 
Executive Director

Krista has worked with nonprofit organizations that focus on building environmental literacy and a conservation ethic for more than 20 years. Her expertise includes strategic planning, environmental education, and nonprofit management and development, She is a visionary thinker who is skilled at establishing partnerships with entities including government agencies, other nonprofits, educational groups, universities, and the business sector. She has also volunteered as a consultant for a variety of non-profit organizations, offering expertise in development and strategic planning. Wright previously held positions with Montana Outdoor Science School, Big Sky Ski and Summer Resort, and Colorado Outdoor Education Center. She received a B.S. in outdoor education from Kansas University and later studied elementary education at Montana State University. Wright began volunteering with PBI in 2008 and joined the staff as COO and executive vice president in 2009. She is a passionate conservationist who is deeply concerned about the effects of global warming on polar bears, the Arctic, and the planet. 

Geoff York
Senior Director of Conservation
Geoff has 20 years of arctic field experience, most recently as the Arctic Species and Polar Bear Lead for WWF’s Global Arctic Program. While at WWF, Geoff immersed himself in international policy issues and was fortunate to work on field projects in Canada, Norway, Russia, and Alaska. Prior to that, he worked as a biologist and program manager for the U.S. Geological Survey's Polar Bear Project, the leading polar bear research team in the U.S., headquartered in Anchorage, Alaska. Since joining PBI, Geoff has continued his interest in field-based work across the Arctic. He is a member of the Polar Bear Specialist Group of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, the U.S. Polar Bear Recovery Team, and sits on the advisory board for the International Polar Bear Conservation Center in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He has a M.S. in biology from the University of Alaska Fairbanks and a B.A. in English from the University of Notre Dame, the perfect combination for communicating science. Following 14 consecutive seasons of capture based work on the sea ice north of Alaska, Geoff has dedicated his career to the conservation of polar bears and their arctic home. He is based at PBI Headquarters in Bozeman, Montana.

Staff

Kelsey Borge
Store Manager
Kelsey first began working with PBI as a volunteer and in 2013 took a position in customer support and the Gift Center. She graduated from Montana State University with a Bachelor of Science in business and a focus in marketing. Kelsey has worked with non-profits for five years, and in the winter serves as the program director of a local youth ski league. In addition, she has worked with Montana State Athletics and taught at a Montessori preschool. Her passion for the great outdoors fuels her commitment to conservation. 

Melynda Harrison
Social Media Manager
Melynda is a freelance writer for publications such as High Country News, Big Sky Journal, Backpacker, and Women's Adventure, as well as local and regional publications. She is the author of the Ski Trails of Southwest Montana. Melynda has an MS in Environmental Studies and BS in Natural Resources Interpretation. She has worked as a naturalist at several outdoor schools, as a wilderness ranger, and as a guide for caving trips, cross-country and winter ecology trips, and kayaking trips. In addition, Melynda has developed curriculum and teaching materials for Montana Outdoor Science School, Project W.E.T., the Center for Invasive Plant Management, and the Wilderness Outdoor Leadership Foundation.

BJ Kirschhoffer 
Director of Field Operations
BJ began working with PBI's remote broadcasting needs in Churchill in the fall of 2007 and quickly proved himself an invaluable member of the team, able to trouble-shoot technical problems in extreme conditions with no corner hardware store. He now ensures the smooth working of our field operations, from our Maternal Den Study on Alaska's North Slope, to the Polar Bear Cam with explore.org, and our Tundra Connections webcasts. 

Marissa Krouse
Programs Manager

Marissa has a B.A in psychology with a focus in animal behavior.  She worked in a zoo setting for nine years, specifically in the fields of animal husbandry and conservation education.  As a keeper, her passions are animal nutrition, training and enrichment, and community outreach. She is the co-author of a Polar Bear Diet Trial publication in the Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine (2014) and has published in the American Association of Zookeepers National Conference Proceedings (2010,2011). Marissa is a motivated conservationist who values teamwork and is dedicated to helping others lead their communities.  She believes in the legacy she will leave behind and works to leave a healthy planet for future generations.  

Alysa McCall
Field Programs Manager
Alysa has a B.Sc. (Hon.) in Animal Biology from Thompson Rivers University and an M.Sc. in Ecology from the University of Alberta where her thesis focused on the polar bears of western Hudson Bay. She gained hands-on experience with polar bears from multiple fall and spring field seasons in Tuktoyaktuk and Churchill, and has been heavily involved in the collaring and tracking of Hudson Bay polar bears. Alysa has been volunteering with PBI since 2010 in multiple capacities, including being a panelist on the Tundra Connections program and assisting with the Polar Bear Tracker. She is passionate about science education and polar bear conservation, and is dedicated to ensuring that future generations inherit a healthy planet.

Kt Miller
Assistant Media Manager
Kt assists in many different facets of PBI including: managing, gathering, and producing media; managing the polar bear cam in partnership with explore.org; organizing logistics for PBI’s Churchill field season; and assisting with communications. Her career with non-profits began at the age of 16, teaching classes for Montana Outdoor Science School. Her upbringing in Montana fostered a deep appreciation for wild places and she now focuses her energy inspiring others to protect it. She also works professionally as a photographer and skier. 

Barbara Nielsen
Director of Communications
Barbara is a professional writer whose articles on nature, wildlife, travel, and gardening have appeared in a number of national magazines. She is the author of Hummingbird GardensNight Creatures, and Great Barrier Reef and a field editor for Better Homes & Gardens and its garden magazines. Barbara saw her first polar bear while on assignment in Churchill in 1983. Her article for Modern Maturity on the polar bear migration there, with photos by PBI founder, Dan Guravich, helped jump-start the town's tourism industry. She has remained passionate about the bears ever since. She holds an M.A. and bachelor's degree in English. She has been involved with PBI since the organization was founded in 1992. 

Amy Shellenberger 
Assistant Director of Marketing & Development

Amy has worked in the nonprofit sector for over a decade, specializing in conservation issues, youth athletics, arts and culture, and nonprofit education and consulting. Her MFA in creative writing, bachelor’s degrees in English and French, and interest in making the world a better place primed her for a career in philanthropy, and she continues to thrive on the diversity of roles she plays in ensuring a future for polar bears. Her passion for animals, clean living, and a healthy planet make her a great fit for PBI! 

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