Wood River Wolf Project Staff

Kurt Holtzen
Senior Field Advisor


Kris Thoreson
Field Manager

Kris has extensive experience in a wide variety of areas related to natural resource work and the sciences.  He began his career by teaching biology and ecology at the High School and College level.  While teaching, Kris obtained his M.S. degree through South Dakota State University in riparian ecology.  Kris has been involved in a number of projects in the natural sciences ranging from monitoring wildlife movements for privately funded projects to conducting botanical clearances for the BLM.  As Field Manager for the Wood River Wolf Project, Kris is responsible for determining the presence of wolves in areas where livestock are grazing and helping employ non-lethal measures to prevent predator/livestock conflicts.  Kris is an avid outdoorsman with interests in skiing cycling and archery.  This wide array of interests creates a unique set of skills that Kris can apply to his work as Field Manager.


Phoebe Bean
Social Media Coordinator
Project Photographer

Phoebe Bean grew up in San Francisco, California, and is currently finishing a degree in Psychology at the University of Montana in Missoula. She spent much of her childhood in Idaho learning how to herd sheep on her parents’ ranch outside of Sun Valley, which she believes helped solidify her love for conservation. Passionate about the outdoors, Phoebe has been involved with a variety of outdoor-oriented organization and companies. She worked as an Independent Contractor for the Wood River Land Trust installing Pronghorn-friendly fencing on local Sun Valley ranches, guided fly-fishing trips on the Silver Creek Preserve, and interned for The Orvis Company in the Adventures Department. Phoebe is currently advocating for wildlife conservation and public lands preservation through a number of collaborative film projects across the country. She works for Lava Lake Ranch as the company’s photographer, social media manager, and field monitoring assistant, and began working for The Wood River Wolf Project in May of 2016. Phoebe is most at home in nature and loves chasing trout with a fly rod and hiking in the backcountry with her dogs and camera. 

Reid Hensen
Field Technician and Translator

Reid is the summer intern for Lava Lake Land & Livestock and has been spending his summer days fixing fence, selling meat at the local farmers market, and helping the Wood River Wolf Project. He goes to school at the wonderful University of Montana and is excited to graduate in December with a degree in Psychology. He spends much of his academic time researching the human dimensions of natural resource conservation, an overlooked yet crucial aspect of any land management. In his free time, he loves to bike, climb, ski, and run and occasionally enjoys a good swing dance. 

Wood River Wolf Project Consultants

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Avery Shawler

Avery graduated from Middlebury College in Vermont with a degree in Conservation Biology in 2013. She has had a lot of experience in the field - from conducting large mammal abundance and diversity surveys in Namibia, to conducting bat hibernacula surveys in over 60 caves in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park. She has also worked for National Ecological Observatory Network in Boulder, Colorado and for the National Park Service in southeastern Arizona. She first arrived in Idaho in 2014 working for the BLM in Shoshone, doing vegetation, sage grouse, and bat surveys. She started independent contracting in the Wood River Valley and worked with the Idaho Conservation League, Central Idaho Rangelands Network, The Nature Conservancy, and the Lava Lake Institute for Science & Conservation. She joined the Wood River Wolf Project in May 2015, and was the Project Coordinator until to the summer 2017.  In the fall of 2017,  Avery will be starting her Ph.D. at the University of California Berkeley in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management studying predator-livestock conflict in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.

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Lauren Hennelly

Lauren Hennelly grew up in Illinois and received her B.S. at University of Wisconsin-Madison in Evolutionary Biology. On campus, her thesis work focused on disentangling the ecological and phylogenetic influences on vertebrate eye morphometric evolution. In 2015, Lauren was a Fulbright scholar affiliated with the Wildlife Institute of India studying Himalayan and Indian wolves for 11 months. This work focused on recording wolf howls to investigate possible behavioral differences in the world’s oldest and least studied wolf lineage. Most recently, she was working with the Wyoming Migration Initiative to investigate if wolves, cougars, and grizzly bears key in on ungulate migration routes using camera trap and radio collar data. In the fall of 2016, she started her Ph.D at University of California-Davis to study the ecology, evolution and conservation of Asia’s wolves, especially the Himalayan wolf. Lauren joined the Wood River Wolf Project for the summer of 2016 and helped with setting up game cameras, conducting howl surveys, delivering Band Kits, and communicating with the herders.

Wood River Wolf Project Steering Committee

Brian Bean
President - Lava Lake Institute
for Science & Conservation

Brian Bean is a co-founder of the Lava Lake Institute and co-owner of Lava Lake Land & Livestock and Lava Lake Lamb in South Central Idaho. He and his wife Kathleen founded Lava Lake Ranch in 1999 with the purchase and consolidation of six historic sheep and cattle ranches with the intention of producing and marketing 100% grass-fed and finished lamb while protecting the natural characteristics of the landscape. Their conservation efforts in Idaho began with the donation of a 7,500-acre conservation easement to The Nature Conservancy in 2001.

Today, Brian is working with the Natural Resources Conservation Service and TNC to complete the 11th and 12th conservation easements on Lava Lake Ranch’s deeded lands. When closed, Lava Lake will have permanently protected more than 20,000 bio-diverse acres in the Pioneer Mountains – Craters of the Moon landscape in the High Divide region.

The Beans established the Lava Lake Institute for Science & Conservation in 2004, a non-profit organization that supports conservation research in the Pioneer—Craters area. The Institute serves as the fiscal sponsor for the Wood River Wolf Project, now in its ninth year. Lava Lake is one of several sheep producer members of this successful nonlethal predator control collaborative and Brian serves on the Project’s Steering Committee. Brian also serves on the Board of the Heart of the Rockies Initiative and is active in the Pioneers Alliance.

Brian is a magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Pomona College, where he was a dual major in botany—molecular biochemistry and biophysics and in zoology. Brian was awarded his MBA by the Stanford Graduate School of Business, where he was a Miller Scholar. Before business school, Brian was a captain in the United States Marine Corps, having served with the 1st Marine Division.

Larry Schoen 
Blaine County Commissioner

First elected in 2006, Larry Schoen is serving his fourth term on the Board of County Commissioners representing District 1 (which includes all of Blaine County south of Fox Acres Road in Hailey and Broadford Road in Bellevue).  Previously, Larry served many years as a Blaine County Planning and Zoning Commissioner, Carey Rural Fire Protection District Commissioner and a Blaine Soil Conservation District Supervisor.   

He got his B.A. in Biology from UC Santa Cruz, and his M.S. in Journalism from Columbia University. Before coming to the Wood River Valley, he was a New York city based television producer. As part of the ranching community, he learned to farm from scratch and now grows grain and hay near Silver Creek. He has a permanent conservation easement on the property, where wildlife is abundant. He has two children that are in high school. 

Amongst other duties and activities, Larry serves on the following boards and committees: Blaine County Ambulance District, Friedman Memorial Airport Authority, Region IV Development Association, Southern Idaho Solid Waste District, Idaho Fifth Judicial District Magistrates Commission, IAC/ISA Jail Standards Committee, IAC Environment, Energy and Land Use Committee (Chairman), IAC Board of Directors, District IV Representative, NACo Environment Energy and Land Use Committee, NACo Rural Action Caucus, and the NACo Resilient Counties Advisory Board.

He also acts as County liaison to the following outside agencies and organizations: Blaine County Housing Authority, Blaine County Community Drug Coalition, The Senior Connection, University of Idaho Extension & 4-H, Blaine County Fair, Cooperative Weed Management Agency, and the Blaine Soil Conservation District.

Kurt Nelson
District Ranger
U.S. Forest Service
Ketchum Ranger District