Joel Pedersen – President & CEO

Joel spent 22 years with the National Wild Turkey Federation before joining the Mule Deer Foundation, and has broad experience on conservation policy, land access, habitat stewardship, and program management. Growing up in Nebraska, his western roots were cemented during his undergraduate degree in biology at the University of Nebraska-Kearney, including time spent at the University of Idaho. Graduate school took him east and he secured his master’s degree at the University of Tennessee conducting research on black bears. He began his career working as a biological administrator for a state fish and wildlife agency before starting as a senior wildlife biologist at NWTF.

During his two decades at NWTF, Joel served in leadership positions that focused on land access, western conservation planning, and policy. His work on western issues included directing NWTF’s conservation delivery in western states focused on landscape-scale projects through stewardship agreements. He served as the chair of NWTF’s inter-departmental working group charged with developing the organization’s strategic vision on habitat conservation as well as hunter recruitment and access that led to their successful “Save the Habitat. Save the Hunt.” initiative. Joel completed the National Conservation Leadership Institute and served as a peer coach for later cohorts. He is a former Chair of the American Wildlife Conservation Partners and continues to serve on the AWCP steering committee and on numerous other committees in the conservation community.



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