Department of Fisheries and Wildlife32 Natural Resources
Major Advisor: Shawn Riley
Biography: Chris is a Ph.D. candidate working with Dr. Shawn Riley. Chris grew up in a small town in Iowa and was always driven to follow his passion for the outdoors. After high school, he moved to Missoula, Montana and enrolled in the School of Forestry & Conservation at the University of Montana. Despite spending more time fishing and backpacking than studying, Chris earned his B.S. in resource conservation with a minor in ecology. Afterward, Chris worked as an ecological restoration specialist at MPG Ranch in the picturesque Bitterroot Valley of Montana. Chris’s decision to pursue further education would take him first to Michigan Tech where he received his M.S. in environmental and energy policy in the Department of Social Sciences. His research there focused on social and demographic trends affecting Michigan’s hunting population and the policy and management implications of declining hunter numbers in the state. This project led to collaborations with mentors at the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Michigan State University, so when the opportunity arose to continue his studies at Michigan State in the Department of Fisheries & Wildlife, he didn’t hesitate. Chris’s Ph.D. research continues to explore the social aspects of wildlife-associated recreation and the diverse ways in which recreationists value and support wildlife conservation efforts. Changing participation trends in hunting and angling, as well as broader social dynamics (such as urbanization) have altered the way people engage with nature and wildlife, with important implications for conservation. Chris’s research aims to address these complex issues. In his spare time, Chris and his wife Amanda enjoy hiking, camping, kayaking, photography, live music, and brewing beer. They have two dogs, Coltrane and Marlee, who accompany them on many adventures.