Senior Management

Dr. Steven C. Amstrup
Chief Scientist
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, including 14 consecutive years of polar bear capture and handling efforts in the Chukchi and Southern Beaufort Seas. Prior to joining PBI, Geoff was 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, is current Chair of the Range States Conflict Working Group, 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. Geoff has dedicated his career to the conservation of polar bears and their Arctic home. He is based at PBI Headquarters in Bozeman, Montana.


Jane Kudrna Arnold
Member Services
Jane joined the PBI family in December 2010 to help manage the online store and provide development and communications support from the home office. Jane has worked in the outdoor industry for over 20 years, including 10 years at Patagonia, where she ran the grassroots marketing and events programs. She also owns and operates a small fair-trade import company out of Nepal and has a small gardening business in the summer. Her passions include a love of winter recreation, river time, mountain biking, community, good healthy food and family. She lives in Bozeman, Montana with her two fabulous boys who dream of solar powered hot rods and, well, powder days!

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, 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
Director of Conservation Outreach and Staff Scientist
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. Prior to joining PBI's staff, Alysa volunteered for several years 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. She lives in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories.

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 former 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 a bachelor's degree in English. She has been involved with PBI since the organization was founded in 1992. She lives in Washington, D.C.

Emily Ringer
Marketing and Communications Assistant
Emily holds a B.A. in Women’s Studies and Comparative Religion from Tufts University and has pursued a post-grad path of self directed learning through enrollment in ecology and website development courses. Emily has a diverse sphere of environmental and communications experience ranging from being a field technician to a wildlife research assistant to a development and communications manager. She is passionate about conservation communication and creating powerful media to accurately illustrate the importance of addressing climate change and working towards a sustainable future for all. 

Madison Stevens 
Education Media Specialist and Logistics Coordinator
Madison has interned and worked for PBI on projects related to outreach and education since 2012, including PBI’s iTunes U channel and our transition to a multilingual website. She holds a BA in Comparative Literary and Cultural Studies with minors in Political Science and Environmental Science from Franklin University Switzerland and has published research on indigenous land rights through the School for International training. She has worked and volunteered for climate change initiatives all over the world, including an international conference on conservation in Antarctica with 2041 and research on sustainable development in sub-Saharan Africa. Madison is an avid outdoors-woman who is passionate about conservation and the impacts of climate change on humans and wild ecosystems alike. 

Janet Stringer
Development Associate
Janet is a native Montanan with over a decade of experience working to protect grizzly bear populations in the lower 48 states. Janet earned a BA from Montana State University in film and has worked on multiple projects highlighting the importance of wildlife and wildland protection. She is a passionate advocate for animals everywhere, and dedicates her free time toward local spay/neuter projects in Southwest Montana.

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