NWF Rocky Mountain Regional center welcomes new director

Former CO Parks & Wildlife manager to oversee wildlife, public lands conservation

Brian Kurzel, a former senior manager with Colorado Parks and Wildlife and a scientist with extensive policy and planning experience, has been named the new regional executive director of the National Wildlife Federation’s Rocky Mountain office.

Kurzel will start June 8 in his new position. He will oversee NWF’s work on defending access to public lands, sustaining fish and wildlife populations, promoting responsible energy development on public lands, connecting children and families to nature and partnering with tribal governments on projects, including the restoration of wild bison to their historic range. He joins NWF after about 10 years with Colorado Parks and Wildlife, where he was the policy and planning manager.

"Brian brings in-depth experience not only in science and biology but also in working with a variety of stakeholders, including hunters and anglers, for the good of wildlife and people who enjoy the outdoors. He knows the area, the issues and the different interest groups," said Andy Buchsbaum, NWF’s vice president of conservation action. "We’re excited to welcome Brian to our public lands team and as the leader of the important work NWF is doing to help conserve our great Western landscapes and wildlife."

Before leading policy and planning for Colorado Parks and Wildlife, Kurzel was the agency’s natural areas coordinator and program manager, overseeing a statewide, science-driven natural resource conservation effort focused on species and habitat protection. He was also a scientific consultant for the Colorado State Forest Service, principal investigator for the Department of Geography at the University of Colorado-Boulder and a science instructor at the university.

"I am thrilled to bring my passion for science and working with people together to help the Rocky Mountain Regional Center achieve its conservation and education goals," said Kurzel.  "It is an honor to work alongside the great staff at NWF to continue to build the center’s conservation network.  Being a part of NWF’s mission to inspire people and protect wildlife is a role I accept with great excitement."

Kurzel earned a master’s degree in science from CU-Boulder, with concentrations in forest ecology and biogeography. He received a bachelor of science degree from Cornell University’s Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. 

A native of Buffalo, New York, Kurzel has lived in Colorado for 17 years and worked in conservation, science or outdoor education for the past 20 years. 

The Rocky Mountain Regional Center staff works with NWF affiliates and partner organizations in seven states: Wyoming, Colorado, Nebraska, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada and Utah.

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