A native of Phoenix, Arizona, Richard grew up in the then desert open spaces on the slopes of Camelback Mountain. There were lizards to chase, snakes to play with and snakes to avoid, coyotes, javelinas, and the last mountain lions on Camelback Mountain. It was these early experiences that set Richard on a path to work as a conservation biologist dedicated to enhancing and protecting wildlife and wildlife habitat. In particular, from 1993 to 2002, Richard raised funds and helped to manage many wildlife habitat restoration and conservation projects while working for Chesapeake Wildlife Heritage. During the mid-1990’s he substantially initiated the Maryland Department of Environment’s Water Quality Linked-Deposit Loan Program through a demonstration project funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. He was also appointed by the Governor to the Maryland Wetlands Restoration Steering Committee; the committee was charged with guiding the State’s efforts to restore 60,000 acres of wetlands. In 2002 and 2003, he was a Project Manager for the Trust for Public Land. Since 2004 he has been the full time President of the Biophilia Foundation.
Richard earned a PhD from Prescott College, a M.S. degree in Environmental Sciences and Policy from Johns Hopkins University, and a B.S. in Engineering Science from Vanderbilt University. In addition to the Biophilia Foundation he is the Managing Partner of Borderland Restoration L3c, responsible for monetizing enhanced ecosystem services provided through watershed restoration activities.
Richard is currently a Wildlands Network board member. He has also served on the Defenders of Wildlife Board of Directors; was the past Treasurer of the Hummingbird Monitoring Network Board; served on the Board of the University of Maryland’s Harry R. Hughes Center for Agro-Ecology; a former Board member of the Ploughshares Fund, and a past Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Institute for Shipboard Education, which operates the Semester at Sea program in academic partnership with the University of Virginia.
When not on Biophilia Foundation project work, he can be found in Boulder, Colorado, and has been known to wander the slot canyons of Southern Utah.
Chris Pupke is the Executive Director of the Biophilia Foundation. During his career in conservation, Chris has helped lead on-the-ground restoration projects that resulted in the restoration of 475 acres of wetlands, 28 acres of forests and 150 acres of native meadows. He has additional experience including developing partnerships with landowners, drafting conservation easements and analyzing land conservation transactions. He previously worked at Chesapeake Wildlife Heritage and Pickering Creek Audubon Center. Chris coordinates Biophilia’s grants program and assists with the habitat conservation program. Mr. Pupke graduated from Drew University in Madison, NJ where he studied international diplomacy at the United Nations, British Politics in London and Greek History in Greece. He is the past President of the Queen Anne’s County (MD) Historical Society where has conducted important research on local U.S. Colored Troops that served in the Civil War. He has previously served as President of the Board of Directors for Queen Anne’s (MD) Conservation Association, a local smart growth advocacy group. He has also served as a member of the Board of Trustees of Camp Wright and is active in his local church. Chris presently serves on the Board of Directors of Wildlands Network.
Manuel has worked at Pritzlaff Ranch for over twenty five years. In this capacity he has gained extensive first hand knowledge of its forest, pasture, riparian, and stream ecosystems. Manuel is responsible for the day-to-day planning, logistics, mechanical and human labor needed to accomplish ecosystem restoration and ongoing management of Pritzlaff Ranch lands. He is assisted in this work by Tony Lucero, Ranch Hand, and local seasonal contract labor.