Prairie Wildlife Research: Mission

Prairie Wildlife Research was established in 2001 as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization with the mission to research and conserve wildlife species of the prairie and their associated habitats. PWR works throughout the Great Plains with federal and state agencies, universities, private landowners, and other non-governmental organizations to conduct timely, economical, and quality studies and projects that contribute to sound management decisions. PWR's focus includes all wildlife species inhabiting the prairie. Projects include surveys, reintroductions of native species, habitat enhancement projects, and working with others to resolve wildlife-related issues.

Prairie Wildlife Research: Team

Travis LivieriTravis Livieri, Executive Director, founded Prairie Wildlife Research in 2001. Travis earned his B.S. degree in Biology and Wildlife and M.S. degree in Natural Resources with wildlife emphasis from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. His M.S. thesis investigated the selection of prairie dog colonies by black-footed ferrets. He has worked with prairie dogs and black-footed ferrets since 1995 and traveled throughout the Great Plains to conserve and research prairie species. Travis has received several awards including an Emmy, US Forest Service Regional Forester Partner of the Year and several others. In 2009 Travis was featured in Jane Goodall's Hope for Animals and appeared in the documentary film Return of the Prairie Bandit in 2011. He is a member of the The Wildlife Society, the American Society of Mammalogists, and the Black-Footed Ferret Recovery Implementation Team (past chair and member of Conservation Subcommittee, member of Executive Committee)


April LivieriApril Livieri comes from a background of event planning, retail sales and connections with the domestic ferret community. From a young age she has been interested in animals and has owned domestic ferrets since she was a teenager. At Prairie Wildlife Research she works part-time coordinating donations and sponsorships, helping with outreach and social media and maintaining connections between PWR and the domestic ferret community.



Ann Marie GageAnn Marie Gage, Development Director, has been involved with biodiversity conservation and environmental education since 1992. She completed her B.S. in Zoology at Colorado State University. She has worked with numerous non-profit organizations to optimize their fundraising, educational outreach and membership programs. Ann Marie joined Prairie Wildlife Research in 2006 and served as chair of the Black-footed Ferret Recovery Implementation Team Education and Outreach Subcommittee.



Wally Van Sickle is a Board Member and President/Founder of IDEA WILD, a Colorado non-profit that works to equip, empower and activate the world’s most promising environmental leaders to grow and strengthen the movement to conserve the planet's biodiversity. In 1986, after earning a B.S. in Zoology, Wally volunteered to assist conservation biologists in Kenya. He later earned an M.S. in Zoology while deveoping methods of estimating mountain lion populations in Utah. Soon after, he headed for Australia, and then Belize, again volunteering to assist conservation biologists. He started IDEA WILD in 1991.

Skyla Fay


Past Board Members:

Eric M. Anderson, PhD

Martin Grenier

Jane Perry


Prairie Wildlife Research: Why Should You Support PWR?

Prairie Wildlife Research (PWR) was founded in 2001 with the mission to conserve and research wildlife species of the North American prairies. Over the past 15 years our primary focus has been the prairie dog ecosystem and the endangered black-footed ferret. We have raised nearly $1.5 million in the past 15 years that all went to field recovery of black-footed ferrets, prairie dogs, swift fox, burrowing owls and other species. Our partners, donors and funders consistently support us because:

  • We have the most field experience with black-footed ferrets. Black-footed ferrets are nocturnal and we use spotlights to find them on prairie dog colonies. Since 2001 we have spotlighted, located and captured more than 2,000 black-footed ferrets across North America. In the past 10 years we have vaccinated more than 650 black-footed ferrets against plague in Conata Basin / Badlands. Plague is the most significant biological threat to black-footed ferrets.

  • We work everywhere and have diverse partners.  There are 26 black-footed ferret reintroduction sites in North America and we have worked at or with all of them.  Our partners include more than 30 federal agencies, state agencies, organizations, tribes, universities, zoos and landowners.

  • We have the flexibility to get things done quickly, efficiently and economically.  Whether it is performing surveys to find black-footed ferrets, evaluating prairie dog colonies, writing reports, conducting research, public presentations, or building partnerships, PWR is the best organization for the job.  We try to keep our costs low so that funds can be used for on-the-ground conservation.

top_ratedWe were listed as a Top-Rated NonProfit in 2012 (and previously in 2010) by Great Nonprofits. Our work has been featured in Hope for Animals by Jane Goodall, the New York Times, Newsweek, CNN, The Weather Channel, PBS, Defenders of Wildlife magazine and more.  In 2011, our work with black-footed ferrets in Canada was featured in the 50-minute documentary “Return of the Prairie Bandit”.  Among our honors and awards are Southeast Regional Emmy Award for Expeditions with Patrick McMillan, Regional Partner of the Year from the US Forest Service Rocky Mountain Region, Recognition of the First Canadian Reintroduction of the Black-Footed Ferret from Parks Canada, Black-Footed Ferret Protection Achievement Award from the Prairie Dog Coalition, Black-Footed Ferret Recovery Implementation Team Award for performance and accomplishments as Chair of Conservation Subcommittee, US Forest Service National Grasslands Prairie Partner Award for support of National Grassland management, and International Ferret Congress for dedication to black-footed ferret recovery.

As experts in the fields of black-footed ferret recovery, the prairie dog ecosystem and endangered species we are often invited to speak and give presentations at universities, zoos, symposium, conferences and public events.  True to our name, we also engage in wildlife research and have authored or co-authored more than 25 peer-reviewed research publications about black-footed ferrets and prairie dogs.

We need your support to continue our important conservation field work for black-footed ferrets, prairie dogs and other species.  Consider a symbolic Adoption of a prairie animal, Shop for a great gift or commit to a monthly Donation.  Your support puts us into the field and our boots on the ground to save the species we all love!