ARC Directors & Staff
Sarah Cross Owen
North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission (ret)
Sarah is a graduate of the University of the South and The University of Georgia, where she earned BS and MS degrees studying wildlife and herpetology. She served as the first herpetologist for the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, where she inaugurated the very successful NCPARC organization. In this capacity, she co-authored The Frogs and Toads of North Carolina, helped pass laws to protect freshwater turtles from over-harvest and to protect venomous species from exploitation, and conducted several research projects to better understand the reptile and amphibian populations of the state. She currently listens wistfully to the calls of frogs at night, and teaches her young daughters not to chase the boys with the snakes and toads they catch.
Senior Vice President, Forest Sustainability
Resource Management Service, LLC (RMS)
Bogue Chitto, Mississippi
As Senior Vice President, Forest Sustainability for Resource Management Service, LLC (RMS), Jimmy oversees sustainable forestry and environmental policy and programs and advocacy on forestry issues for RMS-managed timberlands in the United States. He also has responsibility for forest certification and audit programs and leads environmental, social and governance (ESG) initiatives for RMS-managed timberlands globally.
Jimmy earned his B.S. degree in Forestry from Mississippi State University in 1980 and his M.S. degree in Wildlife Ecology from Mississippi State in 1982. A Certified Wildlife Biologist, Mississippi Registered Forester and Society of American Foresters Certified Forester, Jimmy is on the Board of Directors for the National Conservation Leadership Institute, the Catch-A-Dream Foundation, the Mississippi Wildlife Federation, the Forest Landowner’s Association, the North American Forest Partnership, and the Amphibian and Reptile Conservancy. Jimmy is a Professional Member of the Boone and Crockett Club.
In 1994, Jimmy was presented the prestigious American Forest and Paper Association’s Forest Stewardship Award for his leadership role in conservation of the Louisiana Black Bear. In 2017 Jimmy was honored as recipient of the Quality Deer Management Association’s Joe Hamilton Lifetime Achievement Award and the Wildlife Management Institute’s George Bird Grinnell Award for Distinguished Service to Natural Resources Conservation, both of which are the highest individual honors bestowed by the respective organizations.
Jimmy and his wife Jan have two sons, Brian and David, and two grandsons, John David and Will. Jimmy and Jan make their home in Bogue Chitto, Mississippi.
Savannah River Ecology Laboratory
University of Georgia
Whit is a Professor Emeritus at the University of Georgia’s Savannah River Ecology Laboratory. Whit was a founding member of our sister organization, Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation in 1999. Over the course of his career he has run the gamut of research topics on reptiles and amphibians Whit has also been a prolific writer for public outlets, producing a series of award-winning books on southeastern reptiles and amphibians and writing a weekly column, Ecoviews, that is syndicated in several newspapers. Whit has been a champion of outreach and public education throughout his career and has long been an avid proponent for the need to connect research to society so that stakeholders can become engaged in conservation of their natural heritage and natural resources.
Wildlife Conservation Society
New York City, NY
Sue has worked in international biodiversity conservation, at the intersection between science and policy, for more than 25 years, and has extensive experience working on international wildlife trade, including through CITES. In 2013, she was appointed as a member of the U.S. Presidential Advisory Council on Wildlife Trafficking. She is currently Vice President, International Policy for the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS). Prior to joining WCS, she ran the International Policy Program at the Pew Environment Group, and before that was the Director of the Species Programme of WWF-International. She worked for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (including as Chief of the Scientific Authority) for 11 years. She did postdoctoral research on desert tortoises in Mexico, and received her Ph.D. from the University of Southern California in tropical ecology; her research was on leaf litter amphibians and reptiles in Costa Rica.
U.S Fish & Wildlife Service (ret)
Marvin began his conservation career in 1972 when he joined the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. He served as the biologist for the Service on the Delaware and Chesapeake Bays as well as in the States of Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, and Virginia. The remaining 32 years of his career were spent gaining valuable experience in positions dealing with national conservation policy, budgets, and resource management. He served in numerous Service Regions including the Southeast, Midwest, and Northeast, Retiring in 2011 as Director of the Northeast Region. Over the span of his career he fostered collaboration and information sharing among stakeholders to achieve conservation. He currently continues this practice as the Co-Chair of the Friends of Silvio O. Conte National Wildlife Refuge Science and Stewardship Committee and as a member of the Board of Audubon International.
University of California, Davis
Brian is an Associate Professor at the University of California, Davis. He holds a doctorate in ecology and a master’s in conservation ecology and sustainable development. Brian has focused his career on the study of anthropogenic impacts to amphibian and reptile populations and he continues to conduct research on the threats that most affect these species in North America. His involvement with the Amphibian and Reptile Conservancy began in 2003, even before the organization itself came into being, when he first joined Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation and became engaged in regional and national efforts to support conservation of these species.
Priya is a wildlife biologist and herpetologist, with nearly 20 years of experience in applied conservation and policy. A problem-solver by nature, she truly enjoys the challenge of thinking through complex problems and coming up with creative solutions. One of her strongest skills is the ability to ‘connect the dots’ across different projects, and to understand where they link. In her prior role as a Program Manager for the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (AFWA), where she also served as a national coordinator for Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation (PARC), she worked closely with state and federal agency decision-makers and biologists alike, along with academic, NGO, and private partners.
Dr. JJ Apodaca received his B.S. in Biology at the University of South Florida in 2004 and his Ph.D. in Biology from the University of Alabama in 2010. His dissertation work focused on prioritizing areas important to the conservation of amphibians in the southeast at both the macro and micro scales. He has worked on numerous conservation projects focused on southeastern amphibians and reptiles, including the Red Hills salamander, bog turtles, green salamanders, hellbenders, and several other species of conservation concern. His research combines several fields and methods (i.e. conservation genetics, habitat-modeling, life history studies, etc.) in order to develop and inform optimal conservation and management decisions. JJ Served as Southeast PARC co-chair for 2 years and the national co-chair for PARC for 4 years. During this time, he worked with the federal and state agencies, private landowners, and several NGOs to help improve amphibian and reptile conservation at a national level. He also helped develop the first strategic plan for PARC and is currently spearheading their Priority Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Areas (PARCAs) effort. He currently resides in Asheville, NC, where he spends his time chasing salamanders, good beer, and trying to keep up with his wife and son.
Jeff Holmes, Founding Director
Holmes began his conservation career with The Nature Conservancy of Tennessee (1998-2003) where he quickly advanced from Land Steward to Zoologist before being tapped as Conservation Planning Manager and then Director of Conservation Planning. During his five-year tenure with TNC, Jeff led or participated in numerous field studies and played a key role in the development and utilization of innovative conservation planning tools and protocols both within Tennessee and throughout the southeastern United States. Since leaving The Nature Conservancy in 2003 to work as a private contractor, Holmes has led cutting-edge projects to design and implement universal conservation planning tools and protocols that are compatible across multiple agencies and organizations at multiple scales, regardless of land-use priorities.
Financial Officer and Treasurer
Now retired, Eitan was in private practice for 12 years as a hands-on advisor to small businesses and nonprofits in need of planning and professional management. Prior to offering consulting services, he worked 28 years in senior management as an executive in both for-profit corporations and nonprofit organizations. Eitan holds a Masters Degree in Organizational Dynamics from the University of Pennsylvania. Although management was his profession, herpetology has been his life-long passion. Eitan’s volunteer work for ARC extends into the field, surveying for rare species in South Carolina, where he helps find snakes and hands out tangerines.