Board of Directors and Staff

Photograph by Dave Weaver


Carey Smith, President
Vancouver, Washington and Polson, Montana
Education: M.S., University of Montana (Wildlife Biology)

Carey worked for 36 years with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Positions held include Pacific Flyway Biologist, Regional Refuge Biologist, Chief of the Division of Biological support, and Pacific Coast Joint Venture Coordinator. These positions included work as a pilot/biologist responsible for waterfowl surveys and banding from the Yukon to the Yucatan, oversight of more than one hundred National Wildlife Refuges in seven western states, and working as part of an international collaboration of agencies, nonprofits, tribes, and corporations formed to acquire and restore bird habitat along the Pacific coast and the Hawaiian Islands.

Dave Hoffman, Vice President
Clear Lake, Iowa
Education: B.S., Iowa State University (Fisheries and Wildlife Biology)

Dave is a wildlife research technician with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources and has been involved with the Iowa DNR's Trumpeter Swan restoration program since 1995. Dave works in partnership with multiple state and federal agencies on Trumpeter Swan issues. He has been active with TTSS for several years and has attended and presented at numerous TTSS conferences.

David Myers, Treasurer
Idaho Falls, Idaho
Education: B.S., University of Oregon (Accounting and Quantitative Methods)

Business owner and CEO with a professional background in finance and accounting. He spent six years as a CPA of a national CPA firm and 18 years of financial management of various business enterprises. He has been at his current business for 17 years, which is owned with his sons and is in food service with locations in Idaho, Iowa and Tennessee. In addition to operating the franchise stores, he has served on the franchise system's national leadership counsel of the Franchise Advisory Board as well as marketing and technology. He has served on the board of directors of The Trumpeter Swan Society since 2012 and as a Swan Steward in Swan Valley, Idaho.

Gary Ivey, Past President
Bend, Oregon
Education: B.S., Humboldt State University (Wildlife Management); M.S., and Ph.D., Oregon State University (Wildlife Science)

Gary began working with Trumpeter Swans in 1980 when he initiated a neck-collar/migration study at Oregon's Malheur National Wildlife Refuge and has continued his work to restore the Oregon Trumpeter flock in partnership with local agencies. He worked as a wildlife biologist for 18 years with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at several western refuges, serving 15 years at Malheur NWR. Gary is currently employed as a Research Associate with the International Crane Foundation with a focus on conservation of Sandhill Crane populations and their habitats in the western U.S.

Becky Abel
Madison, Wisconsin
Education: B.S., M.S., University of Wisconsin (Wildlife Ecology)

Becky developed an innovative and successful technique for restoring Trumpeter Swans to Wisconsin for her graduate degree and has been working on bird and wetland conservation projects ever since. In addition to numerous grassland and wetland bird survey positions, she worked for seven years at The Nature Conservancy as a Conservation Planner for their Migratory Bird Program and served as Executive Director for the Wisconsin Wetlands Association for eight years. She served on the board of TTSS before stepping down to become TTSS Associate Director in 2011. In 2014, she began her position as Grants Director at the International Crane Foundation.

Larry Gillette
Mound, Minnesota
Education: M.S., University of Wisconsin (Wildlife Ecology)

Larry Gillette retired from Three Rivers Park District, Minnesota in 2012, after working 39 years as a wildlife manager. Larry helped restore Trumpeter Swans to Minnesota in conjunction with the Park District and the State of Minnesota. He specialized in urban wildlife, especially white-tailed deer and Canada Geese, and the restoration of plant communities from wetlands to prairies. He has been a member of TTSS since 1973.

Deborah Groves
Juneau, Alaska
Education: B.S. St. Lawrence University (Biology and Environmental Studies)

Deb Groves works as a wildlife biologist for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Division of Migratory Bird Management. In 1989 she was hired by USFWS in Juneau, first as a technician and later as a wildlife biologist. For the past 25 years, the focus of her work has been on monitoring the abundance and distribution of waterfowl populations in Alaska, especially through aerial surveys. She has spent countless hours in the air counting birds, including many, many trumpeter swans. Since 2007 she has assumed the lead role of coordinating and implementing statewide Alaska trumpeter swan surveys. More recently, her coordination role expanded to include the 2010 and 2015 quinquennial North American Trumpeter Swan Surveys.

James Hawkings
Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, Canada
Education: B. S., University of Western Ontario, M.S., University of Alaska (Wildlife Management)

Jim first encountered Trumpeter Swans in Alaska while working on the Copper River Delta during the late 1970s. He took his interest in the species with him to Whitehorse after graduation, where he has worked for 29 years as a biologist for the Canadian Wildlife Service. He has spearheaded that region's participation in the North American Trumpeter Swan Survey since 1995, and has also taken a special interest in swan migration areas in the southern Yukon. Jim's part of the continent is characterized by pristine wilderness and he is a strong advocate of Trumpeter Swans as a flagship for healthy wetlands. He has been a member of TTSS since the early 80s.

Jeff Nelson
Bozeman, Montana
Education: B.S., University of Minnesota, M.S., Utah State University (Wildlife Ecology)

Jeff worked for 30 years with Ducks Unlimited in both the U.S. and Canada, finishing his career with the organization as Chief Executive Officer at DU Canada. He now works for the World Wildlife Fund as Deputy Director for their Northern Great Plains program. Jeff has served on the boards of the Prairie Pothole Joint Venture, Northern Great Plains Joint Venture, Wildlife Habitat Canada, and Ducks Unlimited Canada. He remains focused on conservation of the continent's grasslands and the birds that depend on them. Jeff spends his free time hunting, fishing, hiking, and enjoying the great outdoors with his family.

Sara Street
Victoria Harbour, Ontario, Canada
Education: B.S. University of Guelph (Zoology)

Sara has served as Executive Director of the Wye Marsh Nature Center since 2011, after starting as a volunteer. Through her work at Wye Marsh, Sara obtained a license to band Trumpeter Swans as part of the ongoing Ontario Trumpeter Swan restoration program. Under Sara's leadership, the Friends of Wye Marsh continue to inspire and educate over 40,000 people each year, fostering environmental stewardship to each and every visitor.

Carl Woodward
Roseland, New Jersey
Education: B.A. Rutgers University, J.D., Rutgers University Law School

Carl Woodward has been practicing law for over 40 years. He has a broad integrated practice with specializations in environmental, municipal, zoning and planning, real estate, insurance and criminal law, and litigation in state and federal courts. Mr. Woodward was appointed an Assistant United States Attorney for the District of New Jersey in 1971, has served as Chief of the Environmental Protection Division, has been trustee of the New Jersey Institute of Local Government Attorneys, has lectured on various topics in municipal law, and has taught zoning and planning at Seton Hall Law School as an adjunct professor. Carl is an avid birder and was elected to the TTSS board in 2014.


Margaret Smith, Executive Director
River Falls, Wisconsin
Education: B.S. (Biology) Calvin College, MBA, University of Michigan.

Margaret worked for the Kinnickinnic River Land Trust, working in land conservation and leading the KRLT's national accreditation application to become the first Wisconsin land trust to be nationally accredited. She served as Executive Director at the Great River Road Visitor and Learning Center in Prescott, Wisconsin, one of more than 60 Interpretive Centers on the Great River Road, a Watchable Wildlife Site and a Great River Road Audubon Birding Trail site. She has served on the board of tourism and chamber of commerce organizations and the St Croix National Heritage Area Task Force. She has been a certified Wisconsin Master Gardener since 1997.

Mary Gillette, Administrative Assistant
Mound, Minnesota
Education: B.S., Skidmore College (Studio Art)

Mary worked for 18 years doing accounting for a remodeling company. After retiring in 2013, and due to husband Larry Gillette's involvement with TTSS, Mary took over her current position in fall of 2013.


John Cornely, Senior Conservation Advisor
Littleton, Colorado
Education: B.A., Hastings College; M.S., Texas Tech University; Ph.D., Northern Arizona University

After military service and graduate school, John worked for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) as a Refuge Biologist at Malheur NWR and Western Oregon Refuges. He was the FWS Regional Migratory Bird Program Chief for 20 years. He became the 2nd Executive Director of TTSS in 2007 and assumed his current role in 2014. John has over 45 years' experience in Trumpeter Swan ecology and management. He has served on the Boards of Directors for TTSS and the National Wildlife Refuge Association.

Conservation Flyway Advisors

Bob Blohm
Bowie, Maryland
Education: B.S., Michigan State, M.S., Ph.D., University of Wisconsin (Wildlife Biology)

Following military service, Bob's graduate work included studying the breeding ecology of the Gadwall in southern Manitoba. In 1979, he was hired by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Office of Migratory Bird Management. He remained in the Office (now Division) of Migratory Bird Management for his entire career, becoming Chief of the Division in 2007. Retired since 2011, Bob continues to enjoy a wide variety of outdoor pursuits.

Jerry Serie
Easton, Maryland
Education: B.S., St. Cloud State University (Biology); M.S., North Dakota State University (Zoology)

Jerry retired from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 2007 as a Wildlife Biologist with 35 years of experience working on migratory birds. He started in research studying the breeding biology and migration ecology of canvasbacks in 1971 with the Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center, Jamestown, ND. In 1984, he moved to the east coast as the Atlantic Flyway Representative for the Division of Migratory Bird Management where he advised migratory bird management and research to the 17 States and 6 Canadian Provinces making up the Atlantic Flyway Council.

Please contact Board of Directors and Staff through our main office on the Contact Us page.