Speakers and
Workshop Presenters


Dr. Rich Beilfuss

President & CEO, International Crane Foundation

Dr. Richard Beilfuss has served as the International Crane Foundation’s President & CEO and ex officio member of the Board of Directors since 2010. Beilfuss helped launch many of the foundation’s signature projects and continues to provide oversight, vision, and prioritization to the International Crane Foundation’s conservation programs across Asia, Africa, and North America. 

Over his 30-year career, Beilfuss has engaged in water management and wetland restoration efforts in more than 20 countries across Africa and Asia, focusing on Nepal, Vietnam, Mozambique, and Zambia. In addition, he has contributed to the restoration and management of thousands of acres of prairie and savanna landscape in the Midwestern USA. He has authored more than 100 scientific papers, technical reports, proceedings, and lay-audience publications and presented his research findings and conservation vision to governments, communities, and peer scientists worldwide. 

Beilfuss is a Licensed Professional Hydrologist with a Ph.D. in Land Resources (Wetland Ecology), an MSc in Civil and Environmental Engineering-Hydrology, an MSc in Water Resources Management, and a BSc in International Economics.


Cynthia Gitter

Assistant Curator of Birds, International Crane Foundation

Cynthia Gitter, Assistant Curator of Birds at the International Crane Foundation, began working with birds during her internship with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. During this internship, she assisted with field work on Northern Goshawks and Red-shouldered Hawks in the summer of 2003 while completing her undergraduate degree in Biology from Marian University in Fond du Lac, WI. In 2006, she completed her MS in Avian Science from the University of California-Davis, specializing in Avian Developmental Genetics. 

Gitter was first acquainted with the International Crane Foundation during the fall of 2007 when she worked as an Aviculture Intern for the Crane Conservation Department. After completing her internship, she worked for various zoos, focusing on Whooping Crane and Prairie Chicken recovery programs and penguins and puffins. In October 2013, Cyndie rejoined the foundation’s flock as a Senior Aviculturist and, in 2016, became the Assistant Curator of Birds. Like her coworkers, she provides for the daily husbandry and management of the captive crane flock on site and assists with the International Crane Foundations’ Whooping Crane Reintroduction and Association of Zoos and Aquariums Species Survival Plan projects. Her greatest work passions are eggs, incubation and assisting with animal behavior and welfare programs. 


Anne Lacy

Senior Manager – North America Program, International Crane Foundation

Anne grew up in Madison, leaving to attend college in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. She received a BA in Psychology in 1991 and returned to get a BS in Biology (1994). After working various jobs while taking graduate-level Geographic Information Systems courses at the University of South Carolina, Lacy was accepted to the graduate program in Biology at the University of Minnesota-Duluth. After finishing coursework in Duluth in 2000, she accepted an internship at the International Crane Foundation while completing her thesis.

After completing her MS, Lacy accepted a full-time position at the foundation as a research associate in the Field Ecology Department (now the North America Program), working on an ongoing long-term study of Sandhill Cranes. She added the Whooping Crane work in 2009, joining the Whooping Crane Reintroduction Project to study the ecology of the newly reintroduced population in Wisconsin.

Bill Quackenbush

Tribal Historic Preservation Officer, Ho-Chunk Nation

William “Nąąwącekǧize” Quackenbush, Ho-Chunk Deer Clan Tribal Member, serves as the Tribal Historic Preservation Officer (THPO) and Cultural Resources Division Manager for the Ho-Chunk Nation. As the Ho-Chunk Nation Tribal Historian, Mr. Quackenbush presents extensively on Ho-Chunk history and culture. Additionally, in his role as the Ho-Chunk Nation THPO, Mr. Quackenbush regularly consults with the management team at Effigy Mounds National Monument.


Steve Swenson

Program Director, Aldo Leopold Foundation

Over the past 20 years, Steve’s career has advanced the ethical relationship between people and land through tangible conservation initiatives. As a program director at the Aldo Leopold Foundation, he oversees the Education and Stewardship Programs of the foundation. These programs include Aldo Leopold’s historic Shack, a National Historic Landmark, and the surrounding Leopold-Pine Island Important Bird Area (IBA), a partnership of federal, state and private lands totaling over 12,000 acres.

Steve established bird community monitoring and evaluation to complete the adaptive management cycle and demonstrate accountability for real conservation outcomes. Steve’s work through the IBA has influenced management decisions on partnering lands, unprecedented mitigation measures for nearby powerline construction and statewide strategic plans through the Wisconsin Bird Conservation Initiative.

Steve holds a BS degree in Environmental Science from the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay and a MS in Ecology from Ohio State University.

Dr. Stan Temple

Senior Fellow, Aldo Leopold Foundation

Stan Temple is a world-renowned ornithologist, emeritus professor of wildlife ecology at UW-Madison and Senior Fellow with the Aldo Leopold Foundation. From 1976 to 2008, Stan was the Beers-Bascom Professor in Conservation in the Department of Wildlife Ecology at UW-Madison, the same position first held by Aldo Leopold.

Teaching and following in Aldo’s footsteps have allowed Stan to promote his land ethic and conservation ideas in 21 countries where he has helped save some of the world’s rarest and most endangered bird species. For this and other contributions to the field of conservation, Stan has received national and international recognition. Among many other conservation activities, Stan has served as president of the Society for Conservation Biology and chairman of the Wisconsin Chapter of the Nature Conservancy. Stan has also authored more than 330 publications on conservation and ecology.

Van Den Brandt

John Van Den Brandt

Wildlife Photographer

John Van Den Brandt has had a love affair with photography nearly his whole life. He’s experienced in the art of wedding, portrait, product and model photography. However, it wasn’t until he merged his enthusiasm for photography with his life-long fascination with the natural world that he found his true passion – wildlife photography. So in 1995, he dropped all other forms of photography to concentrate solely on wildlife.

Since founding his wildlife photography company, Wild Wind Images LLC, in 2007, Van Den Brandt’s breath-taking wildlife images have appeared in numerous articles, websites, textbooks and ads. A gifted instructor, John’s workshops and seminars are known for reaching beyond typical, well-worn photography tips and delving into real-world strategies and field tactics for better capturing the beauty and drama of the natural world. John credits his knowledge of animal behavior and habitat, along with exceptional patience and a creative eye, for producing images that uniquely capture his subjects in their essence. When not exploring the remote reaches of the globe, Van Den Brandt makes his home in northeastern Wisconsin with his wife Jean, his “field assistant, muse and co-conspirator in planning an adventurous life.” All of the creatures found in John’s images are certified to be wild and free. He doesn’t use captive animal models.