Conservation Experts & Contacts

James Juhl

National Headquarters

One Waterfowl Way
Memphis, TN 38120

Dr. Karen Waldrop
Chief Conservation Officer, Ducks Unlimited, Inc.

Dr. Karen Waldrop is DU's Chief Conservation Officer. In addition to being a member of DU's executive leadership team, Karen is also Staff Liaison for the Conservation Programs Committee and a member of the Strategic Planning Committee. She received her Ph.D. in Wildlife Biology/ Forest Sciences from Clemson University and both her M.S. in Wildlife Biology/Forest Resources and B.S. in Forest Resources from University of Georgia. Most recently, Karen served as the Deputy Commissioner for the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. She also has years of professional experience with waterfowl and migratory bird conservation and served as Kentucky's representative to the Mississippi Flyway Council and on the Executive Council of the North American Bird Conservation Initiative. In November 2021, Karen was appointed to the North American Wetlands Conservation Council and the Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act Advisory Committee.  

Craig R. LeSchack
National Director of Conservation

M.S., Auburn University
B.S., Michigan State University

Craig LeSchack currently serves as the Director of Conservation Operations at National Headquarters where he coordinates international and national partnership programs for Ducks Unlimited.  Craig joined DU in 2000 as a regional biologist where he helped implement conservation programs on private and public lands throughout Texas and New Mexico.  Between 2002-2018, he served as the Director of Conservation Programs for DU’s conservation efforts in the southeast area of the Southern Region.  Prior to joining DU, Mr. LeSchack was a wetland biologist and district wildlife biologist with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission where he managed wetlands and provided technical assistance on waterfowl and wetland management issues in a 12-county region.  Craig has conducted research on waterfowl in the southeast and also on arctic-nesting geese, and has extensive experience in wetland management issues.  He is a Certified Wildlife Biologist, a fellow of the National Conservation Leadership Institute and serves as the DU staff representative for the North American Wetlands Conservation Council.

Dr. Fritz Reid
Director of Conservation Programs: Boreal and Arctic Conservation

Ph.D., University of Missouri
M.S., University of Missouri
A.B., Hamilton College

Dr. Reid has more than 20 years of experience working in wetland ecology, and has a direct knowledge of most western wetland complexes. His biological expertise in the tundra and boreal habitats of Alaska has helped facilitate satellite inventory of more than 100 million acres of this land cover by DU. With this information, land managers can better understand impacts to these regions. Landscape planning in the Central Valley of California identifies key complexes and nutritional needs of waterfowl. Dr. Reid's background in waterfowl ecology in wintering and migration habitats helps others understand those needs.

Great Lakes/Atlantic Region

(734) 623-2000
7322 Newman Blvd. Bldg 1
Dexter, MI 48130

James A. Rader
Director of Operations

M.S., South Dakota State University
B.S., University of Tennessee
B.S., Bethel College

Mr. Rader joined DU in 2010 as a regional biologist where he helped implement conservation programs on private and public lands throughout the region from Virginia to Florida.  In 2018, he was promoted to his current position where he oversees all of DU’s conservation efforts in the southeast area of the Southern Region.  Prior to joining DU, Mr. Rader was the State Waterfowl Coordinator and Upper Coastal Project Leader with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources where he managed wetlands and provided technical assistance on waterfowl and wetland management issues.  Mr. Rader has conducted research on avian species in the Chicago region, endemic water birds in Hawai’i and waterfowl in the Prairie Pothole Region of North Dakota.  He studied under Dr. Leigh Fredrickson and has extensive experience in wetland management issues.  He works out of our field station in Charleston, SC where he resides with his wife, Jennifer, and kids, Bea and Thatcher.

John Coluccy
Director of Conservation Planning

Ph.D., University of Missouri
M.S., University of Missouri
B.S., University of Wisconsin

Dr. Coluccy has been with DU since 2001 where he started as a conservation program biologist, then to regional biologist and manager of conservation planning. In 2010 assumed his current position as director or conservation planning in the Great Lakes/Atlantic Region, where he oversees research and planning efforts and assists with designing, funding and implementing landscape-level research across a broad geographic range. His expertise spans a variety of issues related to wetlands and breeding, migrating and wintering waterfowl. Some of his research topics include Waterfowl Energetics, Waterfowl Diseases, the American Black Duck, and Canada Goose.

Gildo M. Tori
Director of Public Policy, Great Lakes/Atlantic Region

M.S., Ohio State University
B.S., Michigan State University

Mr. Tori, who joined DU in June of 1997, is responsible for directing and coordinating public policy issues within the Great Lakes/Atlantic Region, including the Farm Bill, NAWCA, SWANCC, Great Lakes Restoration, state specific wetland protection legislation, and other policy issues. Gildo also coordinates GLARO's State Grant Program, which works with state wildlife agencies to generate funds in support of the NAWMP in Canada, and provides oversight to GLARO's land protection program. Prior to joining DU, he was the wetland wildlife projects leader for the Ohio Division of Wildlife responsible for waterfowl research and hunting regulations, wetland wildlife research and management, and wetland protection and restoration. His experience with the division of wildlife included bald eagle, river otter, trumpeter swan, and osprey reintroduction projects. 

Southern Region

Jerry Holden Jr.
Director of Operation, Southern Region

M.A., Kansas State University
B.S., Kansas State University

Jerry oversees Ducks Unlimited conservation programs in the 13-state Southern Region. In addition to maintaining more than 2 million acres of wetland habitat, the programs enhance, restore and/or protect 50,000 acres of wetland habitat annually. Mr. Holden joined DU in 1999 as a remote sensing and GIS analyst working on conservation planning in the Southern Region. He served as GIS and Remote Sensing Manager from 2001-2005, and worked to evaluate and the status of waterfowl habitats in Southern Region. In 2005, Mr. Holden was promoted to Director of Conservation Programs for Louisiana. His responsibilities included administration of conservation programs in Louisiana, including the Gulf Coast and the floodplain of the Mississippi River. In 2008 he was promoted to Director of Conservation Programs, South Mississippi Flyway (AR, LA, MS, TN, KY, & AL), and in 2012 his responsibilities shifted to cover LA, TX, NM and OK. Prior to joining DU, he worked for the USAF as a GIS Manager and the State of Kansas on NASA-funded research on greenhouse gas emissions. From 1986-2003 he was employed in various management positions by Wal-Mart stores Inc. He is a member of the Wildlife Society.

Mike Carloss
Director of Conservation Programs, Southwest  [LA, OK, MN, TX]

.S., University of Louisiana at Lafayette
B.S., University of Louisiana at Lafayette

Mike Carloss had a nearly three-decade long career with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, with some state park, and NRCS experience in there as well, before joining the DU team in 2013. He is a consummate natural resource professional who makes those around him better, and therefore makes this great organization stronger. His current role includes overseeing all conservation programs in NM, OK, TX and coastal Louisiana. Carloss holds a Master of Science in biology with an emphasis in ecology and a Bachelor of Science in wildlife management. He works out of our field station in Lafayette, Louisiana, and resides with his wife Julie, in Broussard, Louisiana.

Dr. Scott M. Manley
Director of Conservation Innovation/ Dir. of Conservation Programs MS, TN, AR, North LA, AL

Ph.D., Mississippi State University
M.S., Mississippi State University
B.S., Southwest Texas State University, San Marcos

Dr. Manley has research experience in the winter ecology of waterfowl, agriculture-waterfowl relationships, wetland functions and values, water quality, statistics, scientific writing, extension education and public relations. He also has research experience in the Northern Prairies, California’s Central Valley, Gulf Coast and Mississippi Alluvial Valley. Dr. Manley has conducted additional research in southern oceanic ecosystems and southeastern U.S. Piney Woods. His work for DU is focused on development of new, innovative approaches to conservation that generate both great habitat and new revenue to further our mission. Toward that end, Dr. Manley oversees mitigation, agri-business, carbon and all land transactions for the Southern Region.

Dr. J. Dale James
Director of Conservation Planning

Ph.D., Texas A&M University and Texas A&M University-Kingsville
M.S., Texas A&M University-Kingsville
B.S., Texas A&M University

Dr. James assumed his current position with DU in January 2008. After obtaining his Ph.D. in Wildlife Science, he worked for 3 years as a Regional Biologist with DU in the South Atlantic Field Office working on wetland projects in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida. While there he also served as Land Protection Coordinator overseeing the conservation easement program administered under the Lowcountry Program. His previous research experience has been related to the breeding ecology of black-bellied whistling ducks and nutritional ecology of redhead ducks primarily along the Gulf Coast of Texas. Within the Southern Region, Dr. James is responsible for the development and synthesis of information to refine regional conservation plans, programs, and policy work.

Ed Penny
Director of Public Policy, Southern Region

B.S., Mississippi State University
M.S., Mississippi State University

Ed Penny began as the Southern Region’s Director of Public Policy in March 2017. He works as a liaison between legislators and agencies and DU volunteers and staff across the Southern Region on policy issues and legislation affecting wetlands and waterfowl. Ed comes to DU from the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks, one of DU’s strongest and most productive partners. At MDWFP Ed was most recently responsible for administering the Wildlife Bureau and developing partnerships with state and federal agencies, policymakers, individuals and organizations focused on wildlife conservation issues. He served on the Mississippi Flyway Council for many years and provided guidance on conservation policy and funding issues, including the Farm Bill, the North American Wetlands Conservation Act, State Wildlife Grants, federal duck stamp funding and others. Penny was educated at Mississippi State University, where he obtained both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in wildlife and fisheries science. He has worked for Ducks Unlimited in California and for both the California and Mississippi state wildlife agencies.

Bobby Massey
Director of Conservation Services

B.S., University of Mississippi

Mr. Massey joined DU in 1993 as a Regional Engineer and was soon promoted to Regional Engineering Supervisor over the Southern Region. Prior to 1993 he worked for state and federal organizations, as well as a private construction company. Mr. Massey has more than 35 years of engineering experience in civil construction and design and is licensed in 10 states. In 2003 Mr. Massey was promoted to Director of Conservation Services and retained oversight of the drafting department and technical oversight of the engineering staff. He is also responsible for agreements, contract compliance, and regional budget oversight.

Great Plains Region

Dr. Stephen E. Adair
Director of Operations, Great Plains Region

Ph.D. Utah State University
M.S. Texas A&M University
B.S. University of Texas

Dr. Adair began his tenure with Ducks Unlimited, Inc. at its national headquarters in June 1997. He has served on several national committees and delegations including the Citizens Ambassador Delegation for Wetland Conservation to Australia and New Zealand, the U.S. Forest Service's national riparian roads team, and the agricultural task force of the International Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. Dr. Adair has extensive experience in conservation program development, strategic implementation, supervision and evaluation. Current responsibilities include supervision of Ducks Unlimited's conservation program delivery in Colorado, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska and Wyoming. Dr. Adair has been involved in wetland research and waterfowl management throughout the United States and has co-authored numerous scientific journal articles and management handbooks.

Dr. Johann Walker
Director of Conservation Programs, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Montana

Ph.D.  University of Alaska Fairbanks
M.S.  University of Alaska Fairbanks
B.S.  University of Montana
Google Scholar

Johann began his career with Ducks Unlimited in 2004 as a research biologist at the Great Plains Regional Office in Bismarck, North Dakota. During 2010 – 2013, he directed research and conservation planning for Ducks Unlimited’s Great Plains Region. Johann currently directs on-the-ground wetland and grassland conservation programs for Ducks Unlimited in the Dakotas and Montana. Johann’s expertise includes conservation program development and implementation, waterfowl ecology, and conservation planning.

Mike George
Director of Conservation Programs, Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska and Wyoming

M.P.A.  Arizona State University
B.S.  Colorado State University 

Mike began his career with Ducks Unlimited in 2014 as Director of Conservation Programs for the migration states in the Great Plains Regional Office. Mike came to Ducks Unlimited after a 35-year career with the federal government as a biologist and program manager at the US Army Corps of Engineers and US Fish and Wildlife Service working on riverine ecosystem restoration. Mike is a certified Professional Project Manager with extensive experience as the Program Manager for the Missouri River Recovery Program and reconstruction efforts in Iraq, including wetland restoration efforts on the Euphrates delta. Mike currently directs wetland conservation and restoration programs for Ducks Unlimited in Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, and Wyoming. Mike’s expertise includes project management experience, especially related to conservation programs, as well as expertise in federal regulatory and NEPA requirements for ecosystem restoration.

Kaylan Kemink
Manager of Conservaiton Planning

M.S. University of Missouri Columbia
B.S. Cornell University

Kaylan Kemink has worked as the Manager of Conservation Planning for the Great Plains Region since 2014. She obtained her master’s degree from the University of Missouri-Columbia where her research focused on an assessment of the translocation program for Missouri’s endangered greater prairie chicken. Kaylan’s work at DU focuses on designing and implementing research to develop conservation targeting tools, communicating research results to DU staff and partners, and working with other research partners in the Great Plains Region. Her current collaborative research ventures include a cross-border prioritization tool, a targeted return on investment analysis within the Prairie Pothole Region, and an assessment of the socioeconomic drivers of landowner conservation decision-making.

Western Region

Jeff McCreary
Director of Operations: Western Regional Office

McCreary received his bachelor’s degree in wildlife biology from the University of California at Davis, and his master’s degree in wetland ecology from Duke University.

Jeff began his DU career in 1999 as a biologist covering Idaho, eastern Nevada and Utah. In 2004 he became an outreach biologist in California, working closely with the DU regional directors and state volunteer leadership teams spreading the word about DU’s conservation successes.

As Director of Operations for the Western Region, McCreary oversees all conservation activities in the 9 western states including habitat conservation, land protection, research, engineering and public policy. 

Dr. Mark Petrie
Director of Conservation Planning

Ph.D., University of Missouri
M.S., University of Missouri

Dr. Petrie assumed his current position with DU in 1997. Previously, he was a research assistant at the University of Missouri, where his graduate work focused on the role of the mallard in the decline of the black duck. He currently serves as research coordinator for the black duck joint venture as well as a member of the monitoring, evaluation and research team of the Gulf Coast joint venture. His current responsibilities include the development of a strong research program befitting DU's conservation programs in areas important to non-breeding waterfowl.