The Utah Wildlife Federation is dedicated to protecting our wildlife heritage, recognizing the essential role that wildlife plays in our environment. Through collaborative efforts with governments, organizations, and individuals, the UWF works to create policies and initiatives that prioritize conservation and reduce human impact on fragile ecosystems. By safeguarding the health and beauty of nature, we can ensure a sustainable future for generations to come.
Mission & Purpose.
At the Utah Wildlife Federation, we embody these pillars in everything we do. We believe that a healthy ecosystem is the foundation of a thriving community, and that the best way to protect our natural resources is by working together. By engaging in a collaborative, nonpartisan dialogue with stakeholders across the state, we can identify common goals, develop effective solutions, and make progress towards our shared vision for the future.
Our approach to conservation is guided by science-based principles, which allows us to make informed decisions about how to best steward our natural resources. Whether we're advocating for the protection of endangered species, supporting efforts to mitigate the effects of climate change, or working to improve wildlife habitats, we are always guided by the latest research and best practices in conservation.
At the heart of our work is a commitment to fostering a culture of respect and understanding among all stakeholders. We recognize that hunters, anglers, and outdoor enthusiasts all have a role to play in the conservation of our natural resources, and that by working together, we can build a better future for everyone. We believe that by respecting the diverse perspectives and experiences of all members of our community, we can create a more inclusive and effective conservation movement that truly represents the voice of Utah.
The Utah Wildlife Federation represents the return of a very special organization to Utah. Our goal is to bring the many diverse voices of this unique state together to fashion a collaborative spirit in securing the future of wildlife and outdoor recreation, while providing the best practices to steward our natural resources for future generations. We provide a moderate, independent, nonpartisan, genuinely Utah voice for the hunter, angler, and outdoor enthusiast.
To better understand the work of the Utah Wildlife Federation, it's helpful to consider the 7 pillars of the North American Conservation model. At its core, this model recognizes that conservation efforts are most effective when they are collaborative, science-based, and grounded in a shared understanding of the values and principles that guide our approach.
In all that we do, we are guided by a deep sense of responsibility to future generations. We believe that it is our duty to protect our natural resources, not just for our own benefit, but for the benefit of all who will come after us. By working together to build a sustainable, equitable, and just world, we can ensure that future generations will have the same opportunities to enjoy the natural beauty and resources that we enjoy today.
In short, the Utah Wildlife Federation is committed to building a brighter future for Utah's wildlife and natural resources. By embodying the principles of the North American Conservation model, we are working to ensure that our state remains a vibrant and thriving place for generations to come.
A Utah native, Brett has spent his life enjoying the amazing landscapes and ample wildlife of the state. He has spent his career working to educate the public about wildlife issues, spending 25 years as the outdoors/environment editor at the Salt Lake Tribune, and as a communications director for Trout Unlimited. Brett is the author of Fishing Utah, among other titles, and collected two Emmy Awards for his work with the Utah Bucket List television program. He has been a member of the Outdoor Writers Association of America since 1992 and is a past president of the organization. Brett currently serves as chair of the executive board for Reel Recovery, a national nonprofit providing free fly-fishing retreats for men with cancer. He also serves on the Utah Office of Outdoor Recreation advisory committee. Brett lives in Salt Lake with his wife and three children.
Bill spent, or misspent, his youth on the historic Stewart-Hewlett Ranch in Wasatch County. Starting the first Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation (RMEF) chapter in Utah in 1987, he went on to a 30-year career with RMEF, first as Field Director and retiring as the Utah Regional Director. Some milestones were receiving the Governor’s Award for Critical Land Conservation; Founding member of the Utah Habitat Council and founding member of the Utah Hunting and Fishing Legislative Caucus. He serves on the Board of the Utah Freedom Hunt, a non-profit Veteran’s organization. He currently serves on the Utah Wildlife-Agriculture Committee and volunteers for RMEF and Trout Unlimited. A strong proponent of the North American Wildlife Management Model, he fishes and hunts with his kids and grandkids as much as possible.
Brian Perkes is a Utah native and founder and Executive Director for Voices of Wildlife. He has alsoserved on the Utah Cougar Advisory Board, representing the non-consumptive viewpoint. From this experience, Brian developed a unique understanding of common state wildlife management policies and the various key elements involved in making those decisions. Often, he noticed that predators were being ‘managed’ mainly for the benefit of certain special interest groups; often using archaic and distorted views towards predators, rather than relying on scientific evidence to make reasonable and appropriately qualified decisions. In discussing these matters with Brian’s wife Sheri and their friend Scott Bye; they decided to form Voices of Wildlife, with the goal of protecting the lives of wild animals from persecution.
Vice Board Chair
Chad J. Utley is a Utah native who lives in St. George. Chad has been a practicing attorney in St. George since 1996. Chad is an avid fly-fisherman and amateur astronomer. He is a board member and vice-president of the Southern Utah Anglers Association. In addition, Chad currently serves on the Southern Utah Regional Advisory Committee (RAC) for the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources. Chad is currently a Small Claims Judge Pro Tempore and has been appointed by the Utah Supreme Court to serve on the Utah Ethics and Disciplinary Committee for the Utah State Bar, where he served for two terms. Chad is a past president and board member of the Southern Utah Bar Association. He loves spending time with his family, especially if that time is spent fly-fishing with his children and grandchildren.
Mary McKinley retired in 2022 after serving as the Executive Director of the Ogden Nature Center for 19 years. She had previously worked for the organization as the Director of Development and Assistant Director. She came to the environmental education and conservation field from the bicycle industry and has had a lifelong love of the natural world. In addition to her work leading the Ogden Nature Center, Mary has had extensive involvement in the community. She served as President of the Rotary Club of Ogden, was a member of the Junior League of Ogden, and was on a variety of city committees. As executive director, she enjoyed her involvement
with Weber State University and was on several university committees and advisory boards until her retirement. Her nonprofit board experience includes service on the Utah Society of Environmental Education board and was the board treasurer of the Association of Nature Center Administrators (ANCA) and after her term expired, she has continued as a member of its finance committee. In addition to the Utah Wildlife Federation board, Mary is also currently on the board of the Northern Utah Academy of Math, Engineering and Science (NUAMES), a public charter high school. She is an avid fly fisherwoman, cyclist, and cross-country skier, among other things. She enjoys birdwatching and learning about wildlife. She loves living in Utah!
Nikki received a B.S. in Fisheries and Wildlife from Utah State University. Her nonprofit experience comes from her tenure at the Museum of Arts and Sciences in Macon, Ga, where she served as Curator of Science and Education. She also previously worked as the Education and Outreach Director at HawkWatch International. She loves to share her passion for birds of prey and the natural world in general. She lives in Utah with her family and loves exploring the outdoors.
Shauna Hart is a wildlife photographer and naturalist residing in Logan, Utah. She has worked diligently over the last five years to capture the essence and beauty of the wildlife and ecosystems that exist in Cache Valley. Studying behaviors, tracking, and working with DWR biologists in the area has increased her understanding of the importance of maintaining and improving the health, numbers, and balance of varied species she photographs.
She has a BA in Communications, and a Masters in Business Administration.
She was recently highlighted (July 4, 2023) in an article by the Herald Journal for her photography and passion in protection of wildlife. She feels strongly that the increased development in Cache Valley without discussion and attention to wildlife/auto collisions will be detrimental to all-wildlife and human beings.
She worked with HawkWatch International this summer to study and record data concerning kestrels along the Wasatch Front.
She is a contributing photographer to Save People/Save Wildlife and BeLocal (Cache Valley) Magazine. Shauna is also working to become eligible for a mentorship with the International League of Conservation Photographers.
“The first question we should ask, and work to answer, before we alter or become involved with anything that involves engaging with wildlife is this; is it good for the resource?” Guy Perkins’ parents immersed him in outdoor activities. Neither parent bowhunted but Guy had a curiosity towards it. An elective course at USU one summer offered the National Bowhunter Education Program for a credit. That course redirected his path. He has been an advocate of outdoor education since. Guy was instrumental in bringing the NBEP program to Utah and Idaho.
He has served on the RAC (“back in the day”) as a sportsman’s representative. 40 years of sales, marketing, and manufacturing in the outdoor industry gives him an insight into a “delicate balance”. His wife, Lora, and Labs Hope and Ruby allow him to live with them in Cache County. Guy gardens in the round pen that once helped train his Mustangs.
Denise Peterson is the founder and Director of Utah Mountain Lion Conservation (UMLC). She studied Natural Resources Management, Wildlife Biology, and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and her research includes modeling mountain lion dispersal, wildlife corridors, and conducting habitat suitability analyses using GIS. She has worked on a wild felid study in the Peruvian Amazon tracking radio-collared ocelots and other wild cats in the area. Her work experience includes the Mountain Lion Foundation, Yellowstone to Uintas Connection, and Voices of Wildlife. Much of her work includes utilizing trail cameras to help further education efforts in Utah by sharing the stories of the State’s wildlife. UMLC are partners in an ongoing cougar study being conducted by Brigham Young University and the Division of Wildlife Resources.
Wildlife Connectivity Coordinator
Isobel works as the Utah Wildlife Federation’s Wildlife Connectivity Coordinator. In this role, Isobel convenes and facilitates a wildlife connectivity working group comprised of representatives from organizations and state agencies, and partners with the Board to help build a foundation for the Utah Wildlife Federation to achieve long-term organizational success. Isobel graduated from the University of Utah with a Bachelor’s in Urban Ecology in 2016 while working for Utah Diné Bikéyah, a Native American land conservation group. She graduated with her Masters in City & Regional Planning from the University of Pennsylvania and has continued to work for wild and cultural landscapes. Isobel focuses on how to promote the economic, social, and ecological health of places held dear; believing one cannot thrive without the other.
At the Utah Wildlife Federation, we believe that conservation is a collaborative effort. That's why we are proud to work alongside a diverse network of partners who share our passion for protecting the natural beauty and wildlife of Utah. From government agencies to private organizations, we value the unique contributions of each of our partners in helping us achieve our mission. Together, we are committed to preserving and enhancing Utah's wildlife habitats for generations to come. We welcome you to explore the amazing work of our partners and join us in this vital effort.