As Alaska Regional Director, Nicole has worked with tribes, members of the public, conservation partners and land managing agencies to advance conservation measures in the state of Alaska. She has worked on national wildlife refuge, forest and park issues, as well as Bureau of Land Management and wilderness lands conservation. She currently leads a team of staff focusing on Arctic issues, including the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, the western Arctic’s National Petroleum Reserve and the Arctic Ocean.
After growing up in Philadelphia and graduating with a BA from the University of Pennsylvania, Nicole headed to Alaska to explore its wild country through hiking, mountaineering and sea kayaking. Her Swiss heritage drew her to Alaska and mountaineering, though she never dreamed then that she would hold her current position as Alaska Regional Director for The Wilderness Society.
Nicole’s interest in environmental policy and science work grew while she was an Instructor for the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) in Wyoming and Alaska from 1987 – 1995. During that time she was part of the first all-women’s traverse of Denali (Mt. McKinley, 20,320’), helped lead a group of students to Denali’s summit via the Muldrow Glacier route, and traversed hundreds of miles of designated and defacto wilderness in the Chugach, Talkeetna, Alaska and Brooks ranges as well as the Rocky Mountains.
In 1996, Nicole received an MS in Environmental Studies from the University of Montana in Missoula, and has worked in environmental policy and advocacy in Alaska for nearly two decades. She started as the executive director of the Alaska Wildlife Alliance working on predator control issues, and this combined with many volunteer hours on the Anchorage Fish and Game Advisory Committee and Fortymile Caribou Herd Management Planning Team led to her appointment to the Board of Game by Gov. Tony Knowles in 1997. She also served as the Alaska Forest Program Director at the Alaska Center for the Environment before joining The Wilderness Society staff close to sixteen years ago.
Nicole lives with her two daughters and husband in the foothills of the Chugach Mountains outside of Palmer, Alaska. She has added ski-joring to her list of outdoor passions and is now teaching her daughters to experience and enjoy wilderness.
“Alaska’s Big Five, Significant Threats to Wilderness Resources”, International Journal of Wilderness, Volume 10, Number 2, August 2004.
“The Struggle to Preserve Alaska’s Tongass National Forest”, California Environmental Law Reporter, Volume 2004, Issue No. 8, August 2004