Darren Long, Climate Adaptation Fund Program Director

As Director of the Climate Adaptation Fund at the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), Darren is responsible for all management, administration, communications and grantmaking activities for a program which has invested more than $14 million to support nonprofit conservation organizations working to implement applied on-the-ground climate adaptation projects.  The Fund is designed to promote the resilience of ecosystems and wildlife to climate change impacts, incentivize the development of a new field of conservation for wildlife adaptation, and to catalyze broad integration of adaptation principles amongst public management agencies and nonprofit conservation organizations.

Recently, Darren served as the lead author for the North American section of the CBD Technical Series Report No. 74 – Investment Needs, Costs and Benefits for Implementing the Aichi Targets (Section 6, pp. 153-185), 2014.

Before joining WCS in 2006, Darren spent four years at The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation in Atlanta, Georgia, where his work focused on green space preservation and the expansion and improvement of urban parks through the Foundation’s Environmental Initiative.   Also in Georgia, Darren served as the Program Associate for Habitat at the Turner Foundation.  There, his principal focus was the funding of public policy advocacy, litigation and local grassroots efforts to preserve terrestrial and marine biodiversity through landscape-scale habitat protection.  Prior to his work at the Turner Foundation, Darren studied social behavior and cognition with apes and monkeys while managing research, conservation and education programs for the Living Links Center - Emory University's institute for the study of human and ape evolution.


Elizabeth Tully, Climate Adaptation Fund Program Manager

Liz is the Climate Adaptation Fund Program Manager of the Wildlife Conservation Society. Her role includes monitoring progress of funded projects, serving as the main point of contact for the program, proposal review and scoring, and grants administration. Liz brings ten years of experience in the conservation field. Liz previously served as a Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) Officer at the United Nations Foundation (UNF) where she managed her team’s M&E framework, tying actions to program strategy and tracking progress towards impact goals. Prior to joining UNF, Liz worked at Rare tracking and monitoring the progress and quality of all of Rare’s world-wide conservation projects through centralized reporting tools, globally standardizing quality measures and indicators of impact and conducting periodic site evaluations. Liz also worked at the World Resources Institute (WRI) evaluating conservation project proposals seeking funding from USDA-NRCS using a scoring system assessing the quality of measurable targets. Liz has conducted field research with the Center for Tropical Agriculture Research (CATIE) studying the impact of payment for ecosystem services (PES) programs on local dairy farms and ecosystems in Costa Rica, and with Cornell University where she lived with the indigenous Kayapo community of Gorotire researching their sustainable management of non-timber forest products on protected land.

Liz earned a Master’s degree in International Affairs from American University and a Master’s degree in Natural Resources Management and Sustainable Development from the United Nations University for Peace & Conflict Studies. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Conservation Biology from the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry.  Liz resides in Takoma Park, Maryland with her baby daughter Miriam and husband Adam.


Molly Cross, Director of Climate Change Adaptation for the Americas Program

Molly Cross, Ph.D., is the Director of Climate Change Adaptation for the Americas Program of the Wildlife Conservation Society. Her work focuses on bringing together science experts and conservation practitioners to translate broad-brush climate change adaptation strategies into on-the-ground conservation actions. Molly is helping to lead climate change planning efforts involving diverse stakeholders at several landscapes across North and South America, focused on a range of targets from individual species to more complex ecosystems. She co-edited the book Climate and Conservation: Landscape and Seascape Science, Planning and Action, and co-wrote a guidebook and associated training course on Scenario Planning as a tool for climate change adaptation. Molly has contributed to several national climate change efforts including the U.S. National Climate Assessment, the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies guidance on incorporating climate change into state wildlife action plans, and the Climate-Smart Conservation guide to climate adaptation. She is the Science Advisor to the WCS Climate Adaptation Fund, which supports applied projects demonstrating effective interventions for wildlife adaptation to climate change. Molly got her Ph.D. in Environmental Science, Policy and Management from the University of California, Berkeley, where she studied ecosystem responses to climate warming and plant diversity loss in the Colorado Rocky Mountains.

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Lauren Oakes, Conservation Scientist and Adaptation Specialist

Lauren is a Conservation Scientist with the Americas Climate Change Adaptation Program of the Wildlife Conservation Society. She is an ecologist, human-natural systems scientist, and science writer. Her works focuses understanding the ecological impacts of climate change and how people respond to environmental changes in effort to inform adaptation strategies. Lauren is helping to build climate change adaptation planning efforts across the Americas with WCS and develop projects that offer benefits to wildlife conservation and people. Lauren has worked extensively in remote forest ecosystems from Alaska to Chile, and joins WCS with previous experience in non-profit conservation. In 2015, Lauren received her PhD from the Emmett Interdisciplinary Program in Environment and Resources at Stanford University, where she now holds an appointment as an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Earth System Science.

For the past couple years, Lauren was a Research Associate and Lecturer at Stanford, teaching courses in science communication and sustainability. She has developed and taught interdisciplinary field courses in the Grand Canyon and Southeast Alaska, and led workshops on non-fiction science writing. In addition to publishing her academic research in peer-reviewed journals, Lauren has contributed to The New York Times. Her work has been covered by media such as The Atlantic, Scientific American, Outside, and The Christian Science Monitor. She is the author of a forthcoming book, In Search of The Canary Tree (Basic Books, Hachette Book Group, Inc. 2018), which draws from her years of research on the effects of climate change in Alaska’s coastal temperate forests and communities. It is a surprisingly hopeful story of her search for resiliency in a warming world. For more information, see www.leoakes.com.

Photo Credit: Clayton Boyd