Board of Directors

Bill Leikam – Co-Founder and President of the Board

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 – Co-Founder and Advisory Board Member

 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 and Science Advisor

I am passionate about the Urban Wildlife Research Project because it provides a unique environment for community science, reputable research, as well as outreach and education.

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 and Corridor Specialist

There is no substitute for large, connected wilderness—self-willed lands, waters, creatures and plants. Human numbers and an obsession with control have created vast urban areas that reach across the landscape. The Urban Wildlife Research Project is so important because it works to understand how wildlife can thrive in these areas and seeks to ensure that they do. These are vital tasks in our duty to help heal the Earth.

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 – Board Director and Chief Financial Officer

I am passionate about being part of the UWRP because I believe that the future of wildlife in our ever-urbanizing world depends on urban conservation efforts.

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 – Board Director and Secretary 

I am passionate about the Urban Wildlife Research Project because our native wildlife species are essential to a balanced ecosystem, and therefore to our own well-being. Coexistence between humans and a healthy, thriving wildlife population is necessary, and made possible when we work together to make the Bay Area a better place for both the people and the animals that inhabit it.

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.

Davy Davidson – Board Director and Communications Manager

I am passionate about the Urban Wildlife Research Project because it addresses the space where humanity and wildlife intersect most often. Studies consistently show that humans need nature to be happy. Wildlife needs human care to thrive where urban development threatens its existence. Developing a healthy cohabitation with wildlife in our backyards is vital for all of us to thrive.

Davy Davidson, MA, Transpersonal Psychology, has been an educator, an actress, an international communication coach to McKinsey Management consultants and an entrepreneur running VegTime, her own organic vegan food company. Davy has served on several environmental and animal rights boards. Wildlife has always been her inspiration and her retreat. When a gray fox visited her backyard in Los Altos Hills in 2018 Bill helped her understand more about his habits and habitat. Davy is thrilled to help UWRP grow. 

Robin Kline – Board Director and Grants Manager

I am passionate about the Urban Wildlife Research Project because it creates a biophilic space in which our respect and even love for other forms of life is increased and expanded. 

Robin Kline, PhD, is an experienced and certified grants manager who has worked in the grants arena for more than 25 years. She has a strong social sciences academic background focused on the intersection of religion/politics and U.S. environmental policy, and earned her PhD and MA from Georgetown University in Washington, DC. She enjoys traveling the planet and being outdoors whenever and however possible. Robin is committed to wildlife preservation and conservation efforts that have significant and measurable impact, which are the factors that drew her as a volunteer to UWRP.  

Suchitra Chinnakonda – Advisory Board Member and Web Master

I am passionate about the Urban Wildlife Research Project because it contributes to research and educates the people by creating awareness in the protection of Urban Wildlife.

Suchitra has served as WebMaster for the Urban Wildlife Research Project since 2018. She holds a Masters in Computer Application. She is a Software Test Automation Engineer from California. She started her career as a Software Developer and gradually moved to Test Automation. She is also interested in Web designing and development.

Kelcey Brown-Meacham – Advisory Board Member and Field Assistant

I am passionate about being a part of the Urban Wildlife Research Project because our work helps to educate, promote conservation, and foster understanding of our local urban wildlife.

Kelcey is an undergraduate student at San Jose State University working towards a degree in Environmental Studies and a minor in biology. She has always had a fascination with understanding how wildlife and humans interact, which has led her to pursue a career in wildlife conservation and restoration. Through San Jose State she has volunteered at Cañada de Los Osos Ecological Reserve as well as conducted undergraduate research with American pikas in eastern California and central Nevada. She enjoys traveling all over the globe, scuba diving, backpacking, and nature photography.