Who We Are

Grand Canyon Wolf Recovery Final 02132019 brochure cover

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Our Mission: The Grand Canyon Wolf Recovery Project is dedicated to bringing back wolves to help restore ecological health in the Grand Canyon region.

The Grand Canyon Wolf Recovery Project (GCWRP) works collaboratively with partner organizations to educate and motivate the regional public to support wolf restoration. By creating meaningful opportunities for the public to learn about wolves, experience their habitat first-hand, interact with land managers and engage in public decision-making, we are making positive grassroots change to achieve improved and sustainable habitat conditions for wildlife, specifically wolves. Our goals are to compel leadership within the Grand Canyon National Park, surrounding land management agencies, and the regional community to help lead the way for the return of Mexican gray wolves, the most endangered subspecies of wolf in the world, to a suitable portion of their historic range in Arizona.

Because of the critical ecological role played by wolves, in 2004, concerned citizens and conservation leaders joined forces to form a new grassroots organization, to restore the wolf to its former range. In 2005, we were officially named the Grand Canyon Wolf Recovery Project. Wolves are native to northern Arizona but were eradicated from the region in the early 1900s as part of a wolf extermination program. The Mexican gray wolf is now considered one of the most endangered mammals in North America, with a population of only about 131 individuals in the wild of eastern Arizona and western New Mexico.

We have held 103 events in the Flagstaff and Grand Canyon communities to build support for wolves and distributed information through tabling at over 127 public forums. We have worked with film festivals, artists and performers to influence hearts and minds. We have shared our message with over 40,000
people from the U.S. and abroad by tabling at the North and South rims of Grand Canyon National Park and at regional events. Over the last nine years, GCWRP has hosted over 550 people on hikes and camping trips to experience wolf habitat and wolf occupied areas of Arizona firsthand. These Paseo del Lobo excursions have been a very successful way to introduce a new group of people to the plight of the Mexican wolf, engage them in supporting the efforts of the GCWRP, and empower them to be dedicated advocates for wolf recovery.

In 2007, 2014, 2017, 2020, and 2021, our wolf advocates submitted thousands of comments on the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) proposed rule change to the Mexican gray wolf experimental, non-essential population rule (also known as the 10j rule) and draft recovery plan. We coordinated phone banking efforts and organized carpools from around the state to help wolf supporters attend, testify, and ask questions at public meetings hosted by the USFWS on the proposed rule change and draft recovery plan for Mexican wolves. We were also able to submit a letter to USFWS on behalf of over 60 business leaders from the region that support wolf recovery in the Grand Canyon region for the economic and ecological benefits wolves could provide.

Visit our Conservation Partners Page to see what other organizations support our mission to restore wolves in the Grand Canyon region.

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Staff and Board

Emily Renn at PD colonyEmily Renn – Executive Director
Emily began working for the Grand Canyon Wolf Recovery Project in 2009. She completed her M.S. degree at Northern Arizona University in Biology with a focus on wildlife conservation biology, and B.S. in Biology with emphasis in Fish and Wildlife Management. Her graduate research focused on the survival success of translocated Gunnison's prairie dogs in the Flagstaff area, and she continues to coordinate prairie dog translocations for colonies threatened by development or destruction. Her research has been published in the Journal of Wildlife Management. She was awarded the Roger Hungerford Student Award in 2009 by the Arizona Chapter of the Wildlife Society for significant contributions to the management and conservation of Arizona's wildlife through her work as a student. Emily currently serves on the board of Habitat Harmony, an organization that assists humans living in harmony with wildlife. She is also certified level II in Wildlife Track & Sign wildlife tracking by CyberTracker Conservation. Over the past 12 years, Emily has worked as a field biological technician, researcher, and environmental educator with many species of mammals and birds in northern Arizona. Emily is committed to working on behalf of declining and endangered wildlife and feels fortunate to be a part of the Grand Canyon Wolf Recovery Project. Contact Emily at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Amy Knudsen - Outreach CoordinatorAmy GCWRP BIO
Amy has always felt a strong connection to wolves and is an avid wildlife advocate. She started volunteering with the Grand Canyon Wolf Recovery Project after attending her first Wild and Scenic Film Festival in 2010. The GCWRP provides Amy with a meaningful and effective way to advocate on behalf of wolves. As outreach coordinator, she values being able to raise awareness and educate the public about the importance of restoring ecosystem health to the Greater Grand Canyon region through the reintroduction of the Mexican gray wolf. An alumna of Northern Arizona University, Amy holds a BS in earth science with a secondary science teaching license, and an MA in science teaching with an emphasis in ecology and climate science. Amy has enjoyed and benefited from teaching, collaborating, and working with diverse groups of students, citizens, agencies, institutions, and organizations. Amy spent 20 amazing years in Flagstaff and now lives with her family and pups in central Oregon. She is still waiting for a chance encounter with a Mexican gray wolf in the wild. You can contact Amy at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Debby DeWolfe – BoardPhoto of Debby DeWolfe and Olive Member
Debby came to Arizona from Massachusetts as a volunteer with the Big Mountain Legal Office, bringing a lawsuit against the government for the religious rights of the Navajo people that were affected by the Navajo/Hopi Relocation Act. Debby fell in love with Flagstaff so, with a BBA in Business Administration, she decided to stay. Debby had worked in Massachusetts State Government for 9 years and continued with the Arizona State Government for 21 years where she coordinated the State Employee Charitable Campaign for Northern Arizona district each year. In the 30 years as a resident of Flagstaff, she has continued to volunteer for many of our local organizations which range from educating the public as a Master Recycler to Graffiti busting all over town. You may see her at the Climb to Conquer Cancer or assisting people at one of our local Fix it clinics or Drop off Days. Ten years ago Debby became involved with the Grand Canyon Wolf Recovery Project. While she volunteers for many environmental causes, GCWRP has her heart and soul. Her dedication to the Grand Canyon Wolf Recovery Project comes from a deep within belief of the need for a balance of nature and our responsibility to maintain that balance. Debby is committed to the wellbeing of our environment, our society, and being a voice for all endangered species, first and foremost the Mexican Gray Wolf. Debby lives with her dog Olive and cat Sayla.

Sally Evans photoSally Evans – Treasurer of the Board
Sally has over thirty years of experience working with non-profits, state agencies, and small businesses. She is a Certified Research Administrator, and has expertise in federal grant management and general fiscal administration. Most recently, Sally has worked as the Operations and Contract Manager for the Ecosystem Science and Society Center at Northern Arizona University. She is a new retiree from the university.

Chelsey JohnsonChelsey Johnson - Secretary of the Board
Originally from northern Minnesota, Chelsey recently moved to Flagstaff to teach fiction writing at Northern Arizona University. She previously served for several years on the Board of Directors of the Rock'n'Roll Camp for Girls in Portland, Oregon, and is now a regular volunteer at the Flagstaff Family Food Center's reading room for kids. Her novel Stray City came out in 2018, and her stories, essays, and criticism have also appeared in Ploughshares, The New York Times, Gulf Coast, One Story, and NPR's Selected Shorts, among others. She lives in the woods with her partner and three dogs.

Janice Przybyl — Board MemberJaniceGCWRP
Janice ardently believes that introducing people to wildlife tracking is a positive way to educate and energize individuals about nature and wildlife conservation. She has been organizing wildlife tracking workshops and classes since 2001. Janice earned an M.A. in Environmental Studies from Prescott College with a master's thesis that explored the theoretical and practical framework for instituting a volunteer-based wildlife tracking project. Her thesis became the management model for the Wildlife Monitoring Program at Sky Island Alliance, a conservation organization based in Tucson, Arizona. Janice developed the instructional curriculum for training volunteers and designed the protocol for data collection. In addition, she worked with public policy makers and land managers to promote and ensure landscape permeability for wildlife. Janice continues to organize introductory wildlife tracking workshops, primarily throughout the Mexican wolf recovery area of New Mexico and Arizona. She now lives near Quemado, New Mexico with her husband and their dog. Janice enjoys sketching and painting the breathtaking view of grasslands and mesas that surround their home. In addition, she assists her husband in training their dog for certification in K9 Search and Rescue.

Schmitt photoJim Schmitt - Board Member
Having lived for a decade with an Australian dingo, Jim has a passion for canids that was further enhanced through a chance encounter with the far-traveled northern Rocky Mountain gray wolf Echo on the Kaibab Plateau of northern Arizona in 2014. He has great interest in the science-based preservation of ecological systems and regions and their wildlife, especially including wolves as apex predators. With a B.S. from the University of Michigan and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Wyoming, Jim spent 32 years as faculty in earth sciences at Montana State University. As a field geologist, he has extensive experience traversing the wild landscapes of the Rocky Mountains, Colorado Plateau, and Great Basin. Jim has served on the board of several grass-roots environmental organizations and divides his time between the northern reaches of the Grand Canyon ecoregion in southern Utah and Greater Yellowstone ecosystem in southwest Montana.

Jeanne Trupiano photo

Jeanne Trupiano - President of the Board
Jeanne has been working to protect Arizona’s land and water since the early 1990s. Jeanne began as a Natural Resource Planner at Arizona State Parks, where she was on the acquisition and planning teams for the Verde River Greenway and the Sonoita Creek State Natural Area in southern Arizona. Since then, Jeanne’s career has focused on public and private conservation efforts for permanent land protection. Jeanne's projects have included protecting the headwaters of the Animas River (La Plata County, CO), the W Diamond Ranch/Skull Valley Wash and Coldwater Farm/Upper Agua Fria River (Yavapai County, AZ), and the Rogers Lake County Natural Area (Coconino County, AZ).

Jeanne first encountered wolves in the 1980s while on a cross-country trip of Canada, where she met an injured, adult female wolf in British Columbia. Jeanne immediately sensed the innate intelligence and inquisitiveness of this individual and treasures the experience.

Jeanne lives in Flagstaff with her family where she enjoys getting outside, watching all things wild, and working to keep our shared experiences of the natural world as diverse as possible.

Sara Wilbur - Board MemberPhoto of Sara Wilbur for website
Sara Wilbur was born and raised in Fairbanks, Alaska, and considers herself lucky to have started life in one of the most beautiful and wild places on Earth. Sara grew up canoeing, fishing, and skiing with her brother and parents. When she wasn't out adventuring, she was practicing violin, a passion she continues to this day through teaching music and performing with the Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra. Sara has traveled to Central America (to study tropical ecology and conservation) and to Europe (for orchestral tours and for laboratory training for her masters' project on hibernation physiology) and has lived in every west coast state. She now works for TGen North, a Flagstaff-based non-profit research institute that studies pathogens from the Southwest and around the world. Sara and her partner Paul live west of Flagstaff in a small house with a medium dog and a large cat.


Seeking New Board Members to Join Our Team!
Please read a letter from our board president about serving on the board of directors

If you are interested in serving on the board of directors for the Grand Canyon Wolf Recovery Project, please fill out this application.