Dr. Winifred Kessler

Dr. Winifred (Wini) Kessler is a Certified Wildlife Biologist, Fellow, Past-President, and Honourary Member of The Wildlife Society (TWS).  In 2017 TWS awarded her their highest honour, the Aldo Leopold Memorial Award.  Wini’s 40-year career in research, education, and management includes faculty positions at the University of Idaho, Utah State University, and University of Northern British Columbia. Her education includes both a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree from the University of California-Berkeley and a PhD from Texas A&M University, which in 2002 honoured her with an Outstanding Alumnus Award.

Wini has had an extensive career in ecology, conservation, and natural resource education in both the United States and Canada. At the University of Northern British Columbia, she championed an innovative and integrated approach to natural resources education that earned her the British Columbia Academic of the Year Award in 1997. She served 21 years with the U.S. Forest Service in positions including the Alaska Regional Ecologist, National Wildlife Ecologist, and Principal Rangeland Ecologist. In 2010, Wini retired from the Forest Service as the Alaska Regional Director for Wildlife, Fisheries, Ecology, Watershed, and Subsistence Management.

Wini joined The Nature Trust of BC’s Board of Directors in 2024. She also serves on the Board of the Canadian Wildlife Federation, chairing their Wildlife Conservation Policy Committee.  Past board service in Canada includes the BC Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation (22 years total including 3 terms as Chair) and Ducks Unlimited Canada.  U.S. service includes a decade on the board of the Ecosystem Management Research Institute and six years on the Wildlife Hunting Heritage and Conservation Council, which advised the Secretary of the Interior and Secretary of Agriculture in matters concerning America’s wildlife resources and shooting sports.  Her collaboration with Bruce Leopold and James Cummins produced the comprehensive textbook North American Wildlife Policy and Law, published in 2018.