Board of Directors

Bill Leikam – President & CEO

Beginning in October 2009 to the present Bill Leikam, President & CEO has conducted unprecedented, groundbreaking field research on the behavior of the gray fox (Urocyon cinereoargenteus). He is on the Board of Directors for Guadalupe-Coyote Resource Conservation District. Bill has many accomplishments to his name including being a published live jazz reviewer for All About Jazz, contributed to the field guide Canids of the World by Dr. Jose Castello, published by the Princeton University Press, been written about in Beth Pratt’s book When Mountain Lions are Neighbors, and has been written about in varied magazines and news articles. In 1981 he was a Delegate to the People’s Republic of China based on his research into the nature of consciousness. Chief Dan George of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation, British Columbia wrote, “If you talk to the animals they will talk with you and you will know each other.  If you do not talk to them you will not know them, and what you do not know you will fear. What one fears one destroys.”

Greg Kerekes – Associate Director and co-founder

 Associate Director and co-founder, Greg Kerekes is a wildlife conservation photographer, preparing to work on a documentary series about the natural diversity of Santa Clara County and beyond. He is credited with capturing the first videos of a Beaver living on the Guadalupe River in San Jose, California. Greg and his wife Alexandria who is also an associate director are presently engaged in developing a series of urban organic farms. They sell their wares at Farmer’s Markets. In addition he and Alex also teach children of all ages about local vernal pond and conservation ecology. 

Patrick Ryan – Board Director

Patrick Ryan, Board Director: Patrick Ryan graduated from Texas Christian University (TCU) in 2016 with a degree in Wildlife/Conservation Biology. As an undergraduate he participated in wildlife research on bats in North Texas, and on rhinos and other big game species in South Africa. Since graduating from TCU, Patrick has participated on several research projects consisting of prairie dog behavioral ecology in New Mexico, raccoon and opossum resource competition in South Carolina, deer survival and mountain lion predator-prey ecology in California, white-tailed deer movement ecology in Illinois, and predator community impact on waterfowl in South Dakota. Patrick hopes to aid the Urban Wildlife Research Project (UWRP) by helping to develop the radio-collaring project into as thorough and rigorous a project as possible.

David Johns – Board Director

David Johns, Board Director: David has advocated for large-scale conservation for many decades. A co-founder of the Wildlands Network, Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative, and Conservation Biology Institute, he currently serves as chair of the Marine Conservation Institute which is home to the Blue Parks/Global Ocean Refuge System Initiative. He has worked on conservation projects throughout the Americas, in the Russian Far East, Australia, Europe, and southern Africa. He is author of A New Conservation Politics (2009), a manual on effective conservation advocacy, and Conservation Politics: The Last Anti-Colonial Battle (2019), about overcoming the root causes of ecological decline instead of treating symptoms. He teaches politics and law at Portland State University.

Taylor Groves – Chief Financial Officer

Taylor Groves is a graduate of Santa Clara University, with degrees in Ecology and Anthropology. She studies the behavioral flexibility of wildlife in the urban environment, and her current research is on urban tree squirrels. Her research interests include citizen science initiatives, human/ wildlife interactions, and urban wildlife ecology. Taylor says, “I work for California State Parks Natural Resources Division. I work in the Sonoma-Mendocino Coast District as a Forestry Aide. The work I do is varied, and includes monitoring of Threatened and Endangered Species and invasive weed management. That means that I do everything from applying herbicide to invasive species to surveying forest lands for Marbled Murrelets before work begins in those areas. Our main project focus is restoring as much habitat for wildlife as possible in the Mendocino Sonoma area.

Jessica Hatfield – Secretary 

Jessica’s Hatfield’s Short Bio

Jessica Hatfield holds a Bachelor of Pre-Veterinary Science from the University of Nevada, Reno. Her interest in wildlife was cultivated during her childhood, having grown up in close proximity to the sea and several national parks, and further developed when she interned with a conservation research team in South Africa in 2018. There, she utilized various game capture techniques and information on local diseases, nutrition, and behavior to formulate treatment and management strategies for wildlife in diverse ecosystems. These experiences lead her to volunteering with the Urban Wildlife Research Project. With an academic exposure to animal physiology, disease ecology, and background in soft pastel painting, she strives to contribute to wildlife rehabilitation and conservation through both the sciences and the arts.

Study of urban wildlife

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