ladder ranch


Beau Turner -
Beau is involved in numerous charitable organizations related to environmental conservation and preservation around the world. He currently serves as Chairman of the Board of Trustees for the
Turner Endangered Species Fund and is the Director of Natural Resources and Biodiversity for Turner Enterprises, Inc., the land-holding group for the Turner Family. In this capacity, Beau coordinates and oversees wildlife-related projects for the approximately 2 million acre operation.

Among Beau’s challenges is the directive to balance a strong concern and ethic for environmental protection with several for-profit ventures, including the largest bison operation in the world. He serves as a Trustee for the Turner Foundation, Inc., a private family foundation that focuses on environmental and population-related causes, and serves on the boards of the Jane Smith Turner Foundation, the Captain Planet Foundation, the Wetlands America Trust and the Peregrine Fund.  He is also a council member for the Jim Range Conservation Fund.

Beau works closely with groups such as the National Wild Turkey Federation, Boone and Crockett Club, Ducks Unlimited, Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy (an organization that promotes sound stewardship among land owners in the Red Hills region of Georgia and Florida). Beau’s greatest passion is getting young people outdoors and excited about nature and the environment. To help achieve this goal, he founded the Beau Turner Youth Conservation Center (BTYCC) near his home in Florida in 2008. The BTYCC is a place where children are encouraged to be active outdoors. They learn about conservation, interact with nature, acquire fishing, archery, hunting and camping skills and study alternative energy sources (the BTYCC is the first youth center in Florida powered entirely by solar power). Currently, Beau is working on growing the youth center concept and developing the BTYCC into a model for similar centers nationwide.

Mike Phillips -
Mike has served as the Executive Director of the Turner Endangered Species Fund since the nonprofit was launched by Ted Turner in 1997, where he oversees all activities of the Fund.

Mike has played a key role in wolf conservation and recovery.  From 1986–1994, he was the Field Coordinator for the Red Wolf Recovery Program.  He was also instrumental in the return of gray wolves to the Yellowstone Ecosystem, serving as Project Leader for the Yellowstone gray wolf restoration effort from 1994–1997. 

Mike received his B.Sc. in Ecology, Ethology, and Evolution from the University of Illinois in 1980, and his M.Sc. in Wildlife Ecology from the University of Alaska in 1986.  He has conducted wildlife research, with an emphasis on large carnivores, throughout the United States and Australia.  Mike’s career focuses on imperiled species recovery, integrating private land and conservation, ecological economics, and socio-political aspects of natural resource use. 

In 2009, Mike was appointed to the Turner Energy and Ecosystem Committee.  This focused on ensuring that the many private and public efforts of Ted Turner and his family are successful, while reducing greenhouse gas emissions by maximizing energy efficiency and minimizing waste.

In 2006 Mike entered the political arena through election to the Montana legislature as the representative for House District 66, Bozeman.  Shortly thereafter, Mike founded the Montana Legislative Climate Change Caucus.  In 2009, Mike was elected as the Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus.  During this legislative session, Mike played a critical role in crafting and passing the nation’s most comprehensive law for sequestering CO2 in geological formations.  Mike was re-elected in 2010 and will serve through 2012 as a member of the legislature’s energy, tax, and fish and wildlife committees.  In addition to representing Montana’s 66th House District, Mike served as a co-chair of Montana Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee during 2007 and 2008.  In the fall of 2009 Mike was recruited by the White House to join a coalition of state legislative leaders to work with the Obama administration and Congress to pass clean energy jobs and climate change legislation.

Mike is an experienced writer and public speaker.  He has authored or co-authored hundreds of reports and over 65 publications, including peer-reviewed articles, book chapters, conference proceedings, government reports, and popular articles.  Mike has delivered over 200 public presentations to conservation organizations and professional conferences, including several invited plenary, keynote, and banquet presentations.

Mike lives in Bozeman with his wife (Linda, research scientist and Ph.D. student, Ecology Department, Montana State University), their four children (Grace – 20, Drake – 15, Samuel – 14, Annabelle 2 years), and their Jack Russell terrier (Scout).

Dave Hunter - 
Dave has served as the veterinarian for Turner Enterprises, Inc and Turner Endangered Species Fund since October 1998.  Dave initiated his undergraduate work at New Mexico State University and received his B.Sc. in 1974 and Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from Washington State University in 1976.  He then undertook an internship at the Animal Medical Center in New York.  After leaving private practice in Seattle, WA, Dave was the Wildlife Veterinarian with the California Department of Fish and Game from 1986 to 1989.  From 1989 to 1998, he continued his wildlife career as the Wildlife Veterinarian for Idaho working with the Idaho Departments of Fish and Game and Agriculture.  He has conducted research on wildlife health issues on many avian and mammalian species.  He is currently an Adjunct Professor at Texas A & M University, associate Professor of Research at Boise State University, University of Idaho, and Montana State University.  He is a founding member of International Wildlife Veterinary Services, on the Board of Directors of International Wildlife Health Institute (IWHI), and a former president of the American Association of Wildlife Veterinarians.  Dave has written several book chapters and authored many peer-reviewed publications.  He lectures throughout the world on disease, immobilization, welfare and health concerns of wildlife.  Currently he is involved in many health issues at the interface between ecosystems, wildlife, livestock and humans.

Carter Kruse -

Carter has been the Aquatic Resource Coordinator with Turner Enterprises, Inc. and the Turner Endangered Species Fund since June of 2000.  He earned a B.Sc. in Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences from South Dakota State University in 1993 (go Jacks!), and M.Sc. and Ph.D. in Zoology from the University of Wyoming in 1995 and 1998, respectively.  Prior to joining the Turner organization, Carter worked for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in Washington DC.


As the senior aquatic scientist for the Turner organization, Carter is involved in a variety of projects ranging from water rights and permitting to riparian habitat and native species conservation.  He is the project manager for conservation and restoration of several native aquatic species on Turner properties, including Rio Grande and westslope cutthroat trout.  Other projects include amphibian conservation, aquatic diseases, climate change, restoration research, efforts to manage agricultural water resources for ecosystem benefits, and aquatic population monitoring.  Professional interests include conservation biology/restoration ecology, biological invasions, and community ecology.  Carter has co-authored several book chapters and technical articles, and serves as an adjunct/affiliate professor at Montana State University, Idaho State University, and New Mexico State University.  Carter is an active member of several professional organizations including the American Fisheries Society, recently serving as the president of the Montana Chapter. 


Carter lives near Bozeman with his wife and five kids, and spends his spare time tripping over Legos, keeping home improvement stores in business, and pursuing outdoor activities.

Magnus McCaffery -
Magnus is a Senior Biologist with TESF.  Here, he oversees a variety of projects aimed at conserving imperiled species and maintaining functional ecosystems.  He is also involved in outreach and building partnerships with other organizations to achieve conservation goals, and to promote the role of private lands in ecological recovery efforts.  Magnus is a native of Scotland, and graduated with a B.Sc. in Marine Biology from the University of Stirling, and a M.Sc. in Wildlife Biology from Napier Univesity in Edinburgh.  A passion for ecology and wild places brought him to Montana, where he received
a Ph.D. in Fish and Wildlife Biology from the University of Montana.  Magnus's goals are to use the best available science to conserve imperiled species, mitigate the impacts of climate change on ecological communities, and restore and maintain intact ecosystems.

Dustin Long - 
Dustin began working for TESF as a field biologist in 1998 and was promoted to senior biologist in 2010.  Dustin earned his M.Sc. in Life Science with an emphasis is Natural Resource Management in 1997 and his B.Sc. in Environmental Science in 1993 from New Mexico Highlands University.

Dustin serves as the project manager for the restoration of black-footed ferrets, black-tailed prairie dogs, Gunnison’s prairie dogs, and other grassland species and their habitats.  He has recently become involved in Rio Grande cutthroat trout restoration project at Vermejo Park Ranch, NM.  Dustin is an active member within the community and is affiliated with several local, state, and national social and professional organizations and currently serves on the Maxwell Schools Board of Education.  Dustin’s professional interests include population ecology, grassland ecology, predator/prey interactions, conservation education and sustainable living.  Dustin has authored and co-authored several book chapters and technical articles.  Dustin lives on Vermejo Park Ranch but spends time at the Bad River Ranches, SD and the Z-Bar Ranch, KS.

Valpa Asher -
Val has served as wolf biologist for the Turner Endangered Species Fund since May of 2000. Working closely with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, she was a wolf specialist for southwest Montana from 2000-2009.  It was a notable achievement for TESF, as a private organization, to assist state and federal agencies with on-the-ground wolf recovery efforts.  In 2010, her focus shifted to the Flying D Ranch, which houses one of the largest wolf packs outside of Yellowstone Park.  Here she investigates how wolves affect ranched bison and native elk populations.  In addition, Val was the field team leader for Arizona Game and Fish Department on the Mexican wolf recovery project from 1998 to 2000.  From 1994 to 1997 she served as wolf field biologist for U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Idaho and was part of the team sent to Canada to retrieve wolves for the reintroduction to Yellowstone and Central Idaho.  Val received her B.A. in Environmental Studies from Warren Wilson College in 1992.  She has been involved in wolf, ungulate, sage grouse and peregrine falcon research throughout the U.S.  Her professional interests include canid behavior, restoration ecology, and working with private landowners to promote wildlife conservation.

Chris Wiese

Chris received Bachelor’s degrees in Biochemistry and Organismal Biology from the University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kansas, in 1989, and a PhD in Cell Biology from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in 1996. Following a post-doctoral fellowship in the Department of Embryology at the Carnegie Institution of Washington in Baltimore, Chris took a position as an Assistant Professor in the Biochemistry Department at the University of Wisconsin – Madison where she studied the biochemistry of cellular organization during cell division. Chris was introduced to the desert and the need for conserving the tortoises that live there in 2007, and became particularly enthralled with the endangered Bolson tortoise. In April 2012, she joined the Turner Endangered Species Fund to oversee the Bolson tortoise and Mexican wolf projects. Chris has won several prestigious awards for her cell biology work and has authored a number of journal articles and book chapters. She currently holds an appointment as an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Biology at New Mexico State University.

Hanne Small -
Hanne has been working with the Turner Endangered Species Fund since April 2011.  She is currently working on the Chiricahua leopard frog project at the Ladder Ranch in New Mexico.  She earned her B.S. in Wildlife Science with a minor in Forestry from Virginia Tech in 2010.  While in college, she worked in Colorado studying the spread of plague by trapping prairie dogs and small mammals.  In addition, she studied parental in swift foxes.  In 2010, she worked for the USFWS, helping to restore numerous species including pika, bats, frogs, and invertebrates, as well as working on feral horse issues.  Hanne is interested in conservation of wildlife, and more specifically bats and amphibians.  She would like to pursue a graduate degree in the future.