Close Search

Professional Resource Advisory Board


Anna Fontana

Anna Fontana

Chairman | British Columbia

TERM EXPIRES - 2021

Anna Fontana is the current chair of the Wild Sheep Foundation’s Professional Resource Advisory Board and joins this group with a wealth of knowledge in wild sheep population and habitat management.  Anna had a 17 year career with the province of British Columbia’s Ministry of Environment in the East Kootenay region of BC, followed by a short career as a consultant specializing in wildlife inventory and then through a twist of fate for the past 15 years operating and taking part in all facets of her family guide outfitting business Elk Valley Bighorn Outfitters.   Anna has a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Victoria focusing on terrestrial animal biology.  Her primary responsibilities as a wildlife manager in the Kootenay’s included large ungulates (elk, moose, Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep and goat), small game, furbearers, problem wildlife and non game, especially in respect to consumptive use.  

Anna is a life member of the WSF and the Guide Outfitter Association of BC and has been involved with the Professional Resource Advisory Board for the past 12 years.  Since selling her guiding business she has been focusing on running her cattle ranch, riding reining horses, mountain biking, taking excursions into the mountains with her mules and border collies, and traveling as much as possible.  On her bucket list is to one-day harvest a Desert bighorn sheep.

Tim Schommer

Tim Schommer

Vice Chairman | Idaho

TERM EXPIRES - 2019

As a Federal wildlife biologist I worked for 33 years to restore bighorn sheep herds in Colorado, Idaho, Washington, and Oregon.  Out of that work, I developed a deep passion for bighorn sheep conservation.  For over 20 years, I served as National Bighorn Sheep biologist with the goal of helping State agencies, WSF and other National Forests in conservation and management of wild sheep.  This National Bighorn Sheep program work was very complicated and politically charged with international visibility. One of my best experiences was developing and working on the Hells Canyon Bighorn Sheep Restoration Initiative for 15 years.
I joined national WSF in 1990, and have helped this organization ever since to raise funds, promote conservation, review and rate GIA projects, and give seminars.  As a volunteer, I have gained a deep appreciation for the time and money all of us have given to recover wild sheep throughout the west.  I have served on the Board of Directors for the Oregon Chapter for 5 years and 6 years on the Board for the Idaho Chapter.  For the last 10 years, I have volunteered on the Professional Resource Advisory Board for WSF with the goal of promoting science-based wild sheep biology and management.  I received the Federal Statesman Award in 1996 from WSF for my love, dedication, and commitment to wild sheep.  Also, I received the Biologist Wall of Fame Award from WSF in 2010 for recognition of my dedication to wild sheep conservation and management.   
My love and passion for wild sheep conservation continues.  I want to continue helping WSF fulfill its mission.


Tricia Hosch-Hebdon

Tricia Hosch-Hebdon

Secretary | Idaho

TERM EXPIRES - 2020

Tricia Hosch-Hebdon is the current Secretary of the Wild Sheep Foundation’s Professional Resource Advisory Board and joins this group with a wealth of knowledge in wildlife disease, genetics, and wildlife management.  Tricia has been involved with wild sheep  and wild sheep issues, particularly wild sheep health for the past 20 years. In 1999, she started with Idaho Fish & Game (IDFG) working on the Nramp Bighorn Sheep Natural Disease Resistance project at the Wildlife Health Lab. In 2011, Tricia became the manager of the IDFG’s Wildlife Health and Forensic Laboratory which has statewide responsibilities for monitoring and assessing wildlife health and disease.
Tricia has a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of California, Riverside and a Master of Science degree from the University of Wyoming. Her degrees focus on wildlife ecology, population management, conservation biology, physiology and wildlife health. Over the past 20 years, Tricia has gotten to work on a myriad of projects, including representing IDFG on the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies Health Committee, certifying as forensic scientist through the Society for Wildlife Forensic Sciences, training with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in rapid diagnostic testing for agents of bioterrorism, and providing training for muli-state and jurisdictional Wildlife Human Attack Response Teams.
Tricia is a Summit Life Member of the WSF, has been a board member of the Idaho FNAWS/ WSF Chapter, and has been involved with the Professional Resource Advisory Board for the past 12 years. In her other life, Tricia along with her husband are busy parenting two active teenagers and three hunting dogs. When not shuttling to and from school activities, Tricia can be found coaching the local Nampa FFA Chapter’s Environmental Natural Resource Team, working on her black belt in Martial Arts, or out and about on some hunting, fishing, or outdoor adventure with her family!

Dr. Vern Bleich

Dr. Vern Bleich

North Dakota

TERM EXPIRES - 2021

Vern Bleich received BS (1970) and MA (1973) degrees from California State University Long Beach and earned a Ph.D. from the University of Alaska Fairbanks in 1993.  Now retired, he was an employee of the California Department of Fish and Game (CDFG) for 34 years where he acquired vast knowledge and expertise regarding the distribution, ecology, life histories, and habitat requirements of bighorn sheep, mule deer, and mountain lions occupying arid ecosystems.  Vern is also recognized as an authority on the Stephens kangaroo rat, Amargosa vole, Sierra Nevada bighorn sheep, and bighorn sheep inhabiting the peninsular ranges of California, all of which has been designated as endangered by the federal government.  During his career with CDFG he played a prominent role in the restoration of numerous populations of bighorn sheep, served as a member of the Peninsular Bighorn Sheep Recovery Team, and served as Project Leader of the Sierra Nevada Bighorn Sheep Recovery Program from 2001 to 2008 while overseeing preparation of the Sierra Nevada Bighorn Sheep Recovery Plan.  In addition, Vern played a prominent role in the passage of legislation in 1987 that legalized the hunting of bighorn sheep in California after being prohibited for more than 100 years.
In 1986 Vern and his co-authors were the first to apply the concept of metapopulation dynamics to the management and conservation of bighorn sheep, which has since become the paradigm for management in North America.  He has published widely in the professional literature, and currently serves as Science Advisor to the Society for the Conservation of Bighorn Sheep, is a member of the Texas Bighorn Society's Advisory Board, Chairs the Grants-in-Aid Committee for the California Wild Sheep Foundation, is a current member and the former Chair of the Wild Sheep Foundation's Professional Resource Advisory Board, and is a Professional Member of the Boone and Crockett Club.
Vern holds an appointment as Research Professor in the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Science at the University of Nevada Reno, and he has been the recipient of numerous awards from academia, conservation organizations, and professional societies in recognition of his contributions to wildlife science and conservation.  Vern and his family now reside in Bismarck, North Dakota, where he remains active in the conservation of large mammals occupying the arid environments of western North America, enjoys hunting and fishing in a new environment, and loves being Grandpa of the five grand-daughters with which he and his wife, Teresa, have been blessed.


Mike Cox

Mike Cox

WAFWA Wild Sheep Working Group Chair | Nevada

TERM EXPIRES - 2019

Born and raised in South Dakota, I spent a great deal of my childhood on the prairie, river breaks, and cornfields hunting with my father and friends. I gained a strong desire to one day be a wildlife biologist to conserve and manage wildlife for future generations.  I was exposed and fell in love with the intermountain west summer 1984 as a field technician out of Idaho Falls.  Earned my B.S. and M.S.at South Dakota State and Iowa State Universities.  Little did I know when I volunteered as an undergraduate to conduct a drop-net capture on bighorn sheep in Custer State Park that wild sheep would become my career and passion!  I moved to Nevada in 1989 to conduct research in the Mojave Desert on tortoises, lizards, bats and small mammals.  Then in 1993, I became a regional supervisor for Nevada Department of Wildlife and was quickly initiated into the world of bighorn sheep by my biologists, the Fraternity of the Desert Bighorn, and NBU-Reno.  The passion, dedication, and energy of my colleagues and fellow sportsmen in Nevada was beyond anything I had ever experienced. In 1999, I became the statewide big game program coordinator/biologist and moved to Reno.  I was one of the founding members of WAFWA’s Wild Sheep Working Group (WSWG) in 2007 led by Kevin Hurley.  I have been fortunate to have reaped the rewards of Nevada’s successful bighorn restoration program by harvesting 3 bighorn sheep rams since 1996.  Sharing our bighorn sheep and collaborating with other states has been one a huge joy in my career.  In 2016, I felt I needed to give back to the greater good and became the WSWG chair after Clay Brewer retired.  That also gave me the opportunity to be on WSF’s PRAB.  My NDOW position is now focused solely on bighorn and mountain goat management.  A big focus of mine is collaborating and building relationships with Nevada woolgrowers to improve separation and to continue to seek safe and sustainable bighorn restoration opportunities.

Bill Jex

Bill Jex

British Columbia

TERM EXPIRES - 2020

Over the past 30+ years, I have sought to develop my expertise and a broad understanding of our environments and our cherished natural resources. I have worked almost a decade in each of fisheries, wildlife & habitat fields, in both management and enforcement roles, across multiple jurisdictions; provided strategic advice and participated in writing scientific papers, jurisdictional regulations, policy and procedural directives; headed a not-for-profit society; and have participated in the British Columbia Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation’s Wildlife Technical Review Committee all while promoting opportunities in British Columbia and Skeena Region internationally. I am proud to also currently be a member of both the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies –Wild Sheep Working Group and co-represent British Columbia, and the Wild Sheep Foundation’s Professional Resource Advisory Board, both of which are international working and science advisory groups. 
As well, I am fortunate to have a great network of relationships with a broad spectrum of resources users, advocates, conservationists, professionals, academia and First Nations. Recently through those relationships, I have been able to implement a partnered assessment of the genetic origins and current distributions of thinhorn sheep in North America; the findings of which have confirmed that BC is home to the complete global population of purebred Stone’s sheep. I am also currently working on additional reproductive, health and nutritional studies involving Stone’s sheep and assisting in establishing regulation a provincial frameworks to protect wild sheep and goats from domestic pathogens.


Karen Gordon

Karen Gordon

Alaska

TERM EXPIRES - 2021

Karen Gordon has lived in Alaska for more than 45 years.  She grew up in a military family with a tradition of hunting and fishing.  She was first captivated by wild sheep when her grandfather, who was a sheep hunter, brought home a trophy Dall ram from Alaska.  While not a formally-trained biologist, Karen has worked with Alaskan Dall sheep biologists since her early days with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.

Karen began shooting competitively when she was 14.  And upon entering university, a well-meaning career counselor told her to avoid what she wanted - biology – because, “Everybody wants to be Jacques Cousteau – you’ll never get a job.”  While pursuing her bachelor’s degree in business, she shot on the University of Alaska Rifle Team for three years.

Karen holds a Master’s in Business Administration from the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Professionally, Karen has worked to manage and administer natural resource conservation programs in Alaska for more than three decades.  Many of these involved wild sheep and wild lands.  She has also worked in banking and with private sector Alaska Native Corporations.  She understands money and business as well as natural resource management, and loves trying to be better informed on wild sheep issues due to her service in the Wild Sheep Foundation at the Chapter and National levels for the last two decades.  Though she’d already been on the Alaska Chapter Board for five years, Karen’s formal involvement at the national level began in 2005 when she began service on the FNAWS Grant Review Committee.  Subsequently she was appointed to the WSF Professional Resources Advisory Board (PRAB) when it was created.  She has written and/or edited biological policy positions for the Foundation on predation, ewe harvesting, federal to state land transfers, and disease.

A WSF Summit Life member and Chadwick Ram Society member, Karen was active in the Alaska FNAWS/WSF Chapter for about a decade as a board member and as vice president, secretary and treasurer. She represented the Alaska Chapter at Chapter & Affiliate Summits for many years. In 2004 she was the logistical coordinator of the 2004 Northern Wild Sheep and Goat Council Biennial Symposium in Canada and Alaska’s Inside Passage and also held that same position for the National Association of State Foresters’ annual meeting in Alaska in 2006. She has also written a variety of wildlife conservation/hunting-oriented stories for magazines including Wild Sheep.

Karen is an avid scuba diver, was a Red Cross disaster instructor for two decades, worked a month in American Samoa for Red Cross after Cyclone Val, worked in New York City at Ground Zero after 9/11 as part of her job, and has led a multitude of adventure-focused group scuba diving trips to exotic tropical locales in the Western and South Pacific, Atlantic, the Indian Ocean, and the Caribbean.  She brings an unusual breadth of perspective to the PRAB from business to biology along with extensive knowledge of Dall sheep and federal land management issues in Alaska that so significantly affect them.

Larry Jacobs

Larry Jacobs

WSF Board Liaison | Oregon

TERM EXPIRES - 2020

Born and raised on a farm/ranch in North Dakota provided Larry Jacobs the opportunity to build a strong work ethics at a young age. He has always been passionate about new adventures and opportunities in life. He traveled to Oregon for summer work, to earn his way through college, and started a Custom Construction Co. the at age 20.  He still owns and operates this business forty-seven year later, building custom homes and light commercial projects. Larry also operates a farm and ranch business.

Larry has always spent time volunteering to local, county, state and regional non-profit groups so after drawing an Oregon bighorn tag in 2002 he joined OR-FNAWS for an opportunity to give back. He became a board member in 2003, served as VP in 2004 and as President in 2005,2006, 2016 and is the current Oregon President. He has initiated numerous hands on projects in Oregon- including guzzlers, spring projects, weed projects and juniper cutting to name a few.  Larry has actively participated in the Hells Canyon Initiative as the OR-FNAWS representative since 2004. He has also participated in public land management planning in OR, WA and ID since 2004. Larry takes a leading role in the chapter fundraisers each year. The Oregon Chapter presented their Jo Josephson Lifetime Achievement award to Larry in 2007. The WSF Gordon Eastman award was presented to Larry in 2010 and the WSF Outstanding Achievement award was presented to him in 2016. He is dedicated to bighorn sheep and passionate about the future of our public lands and wildlife management strategies for these lands.


Helen Schwantje

Helen Schwantje

British Columbia

TERM EXPIRES - 2020

Helen is the Wildlife Veterinarian for British Columbia. She was hired by the BC government in 1992.  She graduated from the Western College of Veterinary Medicine in 1981, followed by practice in BC in mixed animals, zoo animal practice and completed a Masters of Science in Veterinary Pathology (specialty in wildlife diseases) in 1987, with her thesis on the evaluation of health status of bighorn sheep herds in the East Kootenai region of BC.  Her work with wild sheep continues but many other priorities compete with that focus.  In her other life, she purchased a now 100+ year old farm in 1986 where she has a live off the land hobby, raising domestic sheep and other edibles.  Fortunately, her husband is a great cook.

Melanie Wollever

Colorado

TERM EXPIRES - 2019


WSF World Headquarters | 412 Pronghorn Trail | Bozeman, MT 59718 USA | Phone: 406.404.8750 (800-OK-FNAWS) | Email: info@wildsheepfoundation.org
Copyright © 2017Photography Credits | Refund Policy | Chapter/Affiliate Login | Terms & Privacy