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Governor’s Advisory Council for Hunting, Fishing and Conservation

The Governor’s Advisory Council for Hunting, Fishing and Conservation was created by the direction of Governor Tom Wolf through Executive Order 2015-13 on November 24, 2015.

Advisory Council Purpose

The purpose of the council is to provide a forum through which an open and forthright dialog will be fostered among a diverse group of outdoor recreation and conservation minded individuals, in order to provide the governor, commonwealth officials, and agencies with sound advice on matters pertaining to the conservation of Pennsylvania’s wildlife and other natural resources, and on ways to protect, promote, and enhance the outdoor heritage of the commonwealth.

Advisory Council Membership

Advisory council members are appointed by the governor. The advisory council can have up to 20 members.

Members must be Pennsylvania residents representing diverse interests and have a fundamental understanding of wildlife and the natural resources of the commonwealth.

Members also must respect hunting, trapping, angling, and other outdoor recreational activities as valuable and accepted priorities in determining wildlife and natural resource management.

They cannot be elected statewide officials, legislators, or officials/employees of certain state agencies or their family members.

Members are appointed for a one-year term and continue to serve until their successors have been appointed and qualified. A member may be reappointed for one or more additional terms.

Current members include:

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William Andahazy
William Andahazy, Ed.D., is a lifelong outdoors enthusiast and resides in Mountain Top, Luzerne County. As a member of the Governor’s Council, he believes in maintaining old traditions and creating new ones through a quality Pennsylvania outdoors experience.
Read more about William

​Andahazy has over 20 years of experience in university administration and corporate human resources management, specializing in global education, professional development, and program assessment. He is currently a higher education consultant and adjunct faculty member.
Andahazy holds a doctorate in educational leadership from Wilkes University, a masters in human resources management from the University of Scranton, a certificate in general management from the University of Chicago, and a bachelors from the University of Maryland.
He is an active member of the Nuangola Rod & Gun Club in Slocum, Pa., and Manor Sports Club in Pocono Manor, Pa. He is a member of the NRA, Trout Unlimited, Pheasants Forever, Amateur Trapshooting Association, Ducks Unlimited, Delta Waterfowl, Quality Deer Management Association, and PA Federation of Sportmens Clubs.
He enjoys hunting, fly fishing, trap shooting, and collecting old hunting and fishing memorabilia.

Doug Austen
Doug Austen has been a fisheries biologist and aquatic conservationist for more than 35 years. Austen is currently the executive director of the American Fisheries Society, the world’s largest and oldest professional society for fisheries and aquatic scientists, managers, and conservationists.

Read more about Doug

​Austen has worked for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; was executive director of the PA Fish and Boat Commission (2004-2010); and worked in a variety of positions with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and Illinois Natural History Survey.
Austen has a Ph.D. from Iowa State University, and he resides, fishes, hunts, and kayaks in Enola, Pa.

John Bane
A lifelong resident of Pennsylvania, John Bane has been an active sportsman for more than 30 years. A true outdoorsman, Bane takes full advantage of the commonwealth’s state game lands and DCNR recreational areas where he hunts and trains with his Deutsch Drahthaar, Remy. He is also an avid archery hunter and angler.

Read more about John

​Bane was appointed to the Governor’s Advisory Council for Hunting, Fishing, and Conservation in October 2016.
Currently, Bane is employed by a Pittsburgh-based energy company where he works to develop sound public policy issues. Prior to his time in the private sector, he worked for a statewide labor organization and served in the administration of Governor Edward G. Rendell.
He also served on the staff of former United States Congressman Tim Holden. Bane is a graduate of Mansfield University and is a member of numerous civic and social organizations.
Bane was born and raised in Schuylkill County and currently resides in Harrisburg with his wife, Yesenia. 

Charles Burchfield​
Charles Burchfield was raised in Blair County, Pa., attended the Williamsport Technical Institute, and served a four-year enlistment in the United States Air Force serving in Vietnam.
Read more about Charles
​After returning from overseas, he and his wife Cheryl moved to DuBois, Pa., and raised two daughters, Rebecca and Kathleen.
Burchfield retired in 2011 from Sysco/Guest Supply as a territory manager. He also began his outdoor communications business in 1978 serving the print, broadcast, and electronic media. He continues to be actively engaged in those pursuits.
Burchfield maintains active memberships in a number of national, regional, and statewide professional outdoor writing organizations, and has been recognized regularly for Excellence in Communications. He also is a member of several fraternal groups and sportsmen’s organizations.
​​Jolene Connelly
Jolene Connelly is a veteran educator in the fields of music and English. From a young age, she found conservation to be important to her and now is a member of a number of outdoor organizations.
Read more about Jolene

​When Connelly isn't volunteering her time teaching hunter trapper education, she can be found hunting, fishing, trapping, kayaking, mountain biking, or hiking somewhere in Pennsylvania.
She is thrilled to be a part of the governor's council and is proud to be able to give back.

Elizabeth "Libby" Daugherty​
Elizabeth "Libby" Daugherty is a school administrator with more than 33 years in public education in Pennsylvania. Her entire career has been focused on doing what is best for children, and she works under the motto of engage, educate, and inspire.
Read more about Elizabeth
​Daugherty was raised on her family’s farm in Elk Township, Clarion County, and resides there with her husband, Steve. Living in rural Pennsylvania, she truly believes that the youth of the commonwealth needs to be a focus for our opportunities to not only survive, but thrive.
After spending five years teaching high school mathematics at Keystone Jr Sr High School (her alma mater) in Knox, Clarion County, Daugherty moved into school administration.
She worked 14 years as an assistant principal at various schools in the Millcreek Township School District, Erie County, then relocated to Venango County to the Cranberry Jr. Sr. High School for the past 14 years as assistant principal.
Daugherty holds a Bachelor of Science in Education in secondary mathematics from Clarion University of Pennsylvania, and a Master of Education in school administration from Westminster College.
​​​James “Jay” Delaney
James “Jay” Delaney, from Wilkes-Barre, Pa., serves as the city fire chief and emergency management coordinator. Delaney leads a fire department with 78 full-time employees and a $10 million budget.

Read more about James

Delaney was nominated by former Governor Ed Rendell to serve as a commissioner with the Pennsylvania Game Commission. He served on the Board of Commissioners from 2007 until 2015, while serving as secretary, vice president, and board president in 2010.

Delaney has been a sportsman in Pennsylvania for more than 40 years. He has been involved with many organizations to keep conservation, hunting, and fishing alive and well in Pennsylvania. 
Delaney serves as a trustee with the Upper Pittston Sportsmen Club and has membership with the Mehoopany Creek Watershed Association, North Branch Land Trust, and Northeast Pennsylvania Chapter of Pheasants Forever.
In addition, Delaney has received conservation awards from the Georgetown Conservation Club, Pheasants Forever Central Susquehanna and Northeast PA Chapters, as well as the Pennsylvania Gun Dog Beagle Association.
He earned an associate of science degree in Fire Science Technology from Luzerne County Community College; Paramedic Certification, Emergency Management Certification, and Emergency Response Certificates from the National Fire Academy, Emmitsburg, MD.

Michael Dillon

Biography to come.

​James “Jim” Foster
​James “Jim” Foster first learned to love the outdoors hunting with his dad in the woods of northwestern PA. Later in life, Foster became an avid hiker and maintainer of trails.

Read more about James

Foster hiked the entire 2,190-mile Appalachian Trail in 2007, and has done all or part of several other trails around the world.

Foster serves on DCNR's Trails Advisory Committee and the PA Appalachian Trail Committee, and is a past director and officer of Keystone Trails Association.
Retired from the practice of law, Foster lives with his wife Tracey in Hampden Township, Cumberland County.

Michele Kittell
Michele Kittell is executive director of the non-profit Wildlife Leadership Academy, whose mission is to educate and engage the next generation of conservation leaders.

Read more about Michele
​Kittell has a diverse research background ranging from studying the ecological effects of an invasive plant species to fish behavior and genetics. She has participated in coral reef surveying in the Bahamas, fish health and husbandry research, and dolphin cognition projects.
Kittell enjoys teaching in formal and informal settings. Her experience includes teaching environmental science courses at community colleges, leading workshops for the general public on the indigenous flora and fauna of Oconee State Park in South Carolina, and introducing marine ecology to guests of Disney’s The Seas.
Kittell has published several scientific manuscripts and has presented her work nationally and internationally. She is an avid conservationist and enjoys traveling, birding, painting, nature journaling, and nature photography.
Kittell received her M.S. in zoology from Clemson University, and her B.S. in biology from Pennsylvania State University.

Skip Klinger

Skip Klinger was born and raised in Palmyra, Pa., and continues to live in the area with his wife, Dayl. They have been married 34 years and have three daughters.

Read more about Skip

​Klinger retired from the insurance and financial industry in 2011, after serving 32 years. He currently is the president and CEO of the Palmyra Sportsmen’s Association, Inc. He has been the president since October 1985, and served as the president and CEO since July 2009.

Klinger is the executive director of the PA State Shotgunning Association in Elysburg, Pa. As the state chairman of the Eastern FNRA, he is deeply involved with the Midway USA Foundation and raising funds to continue junior shooting programs in Pennsylvania.
He has been shooting since he was five years old and has hunted and fished most of his life. Klinger is a NRA Endowment and Palmyra Sportsmen life member.

​Leo Lutz
Biography to come.

Carolyn Mahan
Carolyn Mahan is a professor of biology and environmental studies and co-chair of the environmental studies program at Pennsylvania State University Altoona. Mahan has a Ph.D. in wildlife science from the Pennsylvania State University.

Read more about Carolyn
​Mahan’s research interests include the study of biodiversity in threatened ecosystems, the effects of human-modified landscapes on wildlife, and behavioral ecology of squirrels and other rare rodents (e.g., Allegheny woodrat, short-tailed chinchilla).
Her work has been published in a variety of scientific journals including Environmental Management, Global Change Biology, Conservation Biology, Journal of Mammalogy, and Journal of Wildlife Diseases, among others.
Mahan has served on the board of directors of the Pennsylvania Wildlife Society, the Center for Private Forests, and The ClearWater Conservancy, and she is past-president of the Pennsylvania Biological Survey.​

​Benjamin Moyer
Benjamin Moyer is an award-winning writer, editor, and columnist whose writing on nature, outdoor recreation, and natural resource conservation appears in numerous state, regional, and national publications.

Read more about Benjamin
​Moyer holds professional membership in the Pennsylvania Outdoor Writers Association and the Outdoor Writers Association of America.
He is a founding member of the Chestnut Ridge Chapter of Trout Unlimited and a member of the board of directors of the National Road Heritage Corridor. Moyer lives in Fayette County.

Paula Piatt
A native Pennsylvanian, Piatt ventured into the outdoors later in life, and in the past 30 years has become fully immersed in hunting, fishing, camping, and many other natural pursuits.

Read more about Paula
​After graduating from Lock Haven University with a degree in journalism and media studies, and a minor in political science, Piatt began a long career in the media, which has included radio, television, print, and public relations.
She currently serves as an associate editor with Outdoor News Publications.
Piatt is an active member of the Pennsylvania Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs, serving as the Bradford County delegate; a sponsor member of the National Wild Turkey Federation and Trout Unlimited. She also serves as secretary for her local club, the Sayre Sportsmen’s Club.
She also holds memberships in the Pennsylvania and New York outdoor writer associations. While she enjoys all kinds of fishing and hunting, her passion is turkey hunting, which she enjoys with her husband, Steve. Paula and Steve Piatt live in Sayre with their two Labrador retrievers.​

Spencer Simon
Spencer Simon was born in Pittsburgh and raised in the Hill District, the urban center of the city. Simon attended Pittsburgh Public Schools and graduated from a vocational school with a Commercial Art specialized diploma.

Read more about Spencer
​He actively served in the United States Navy during the Vietnam era with one tour to Vietnam.
Simon is a former steel worker, coal miner, graphic artist, photographer, as well as broadcast engineer for WTAE TV channel 4 in Pittsburgh.
Simon was called to Christian ministry in 1986 with a heart for the underserved in the City of Pittsburgh. He established a Saturday morning breakfast program and Bible study for public housing youth in the 1990s that remained in place for seven years.
At present, he is the Chaplain of a three hundred member Sportsmen Club in Zelienople, Butler County, Pa, which has provided an annual day of fishing for inner-city youth for 20 years.
He is an elder at Eastminster Presbyterian Church, and president of Greater Pittsburgh Fishing Derby Association.
Simon has been married for 51 years to Jacqueline M. Ransaw Simon, and has three children and seven grandchildren. ​

​Michael Steele
Michael Steele is H. Fenner Chair of Research Biology at Wilkes University. He’s been the Director of The Institute of the Environment and Sustainability, and the Chair of Biology at the university since 2005.

Read more about Michael
​Steele currently teaches population and evolutionary biology, animal behavior, and parasitology at Wilkes University. He has more than 100 publications including four books on squirrels and other non-game vertebrates.
Steele’s areas of research interest include plant-animal interactions, seed dispersal, and vertebrate ecology/conservation. He has a bachelor of science in biology from Millersville University and a PhD in biology and ecology from Wake Forest University in North Carolina.

Dan Surra
Dan Surra was born and raised in Elk County, and is a graduate of Penn State University with a bachelor of science degree in industrial arts education.

Read more about Dan
​Surra served as an instructor at the DuBois Area High School from 1976 to 1990.
He was elected to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives in November of 1990 and represented the 75th legislative district for nine terms.
Surra worked at DCNR from 2009 until 2011 as senior advisor to the PA Wilds initiative and executive director of the Governors Sportsmen Advisory Council under Governor Ed Rendell.
He is now retired and resides with his wife, Victoria, in Kersey, Pa.​

Jose Taracido

Jose Taracido is employed as the Farmland Habitat Program Supervisor of the Partners for Fish & Wildlife Program at California University of Pennsylvania. As supervisor, he oversees the field operations of up to five field crews installing habitat improvements throughout Pennsylvania.

Read more about Jose
​While the crews concentrate much of their work in Western Pennsylvania, they have worked throughout the state and also completed projects in West Virginia and Maryland.
Taracido is also involved in project development, grant writing, and outreach. California University of Pennsylvania’s Partners for Fish & Wildlife Program is a unique collaboration of a diverse mix of state, federal, local government agencies, and non-governmental organizations that have been cooperating since 1995 on watershed and farmland habitat restoration projects, mostly in western Pennsylvania.
Cooperating partners include: Pheasants Forever, Habitat Forever, the Ruffed Grouse Society, Pennsylvania Game Commission, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, USDA – Natural Resources Conservation Service, County Conservation Districts, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, and private agricultural landowners.
This partnership has received numerous awards and has been described as a national model for cooperative conservation by the Secretary of the Interior.​

​Donald Williams
Donald Williams is an avid hunter, fisherman, conservationist, disabled hunter advocate, gun dog trainer, and field trailer.

Read more about Donald
​Williams is a Penn State alumnus who is retired from the field of medicine. He is married with three grown children.
Williams is V.P. of Williams GT Engineering, LLC., a family-owned oil and gas holding company. He is Trustee of Juruena Mining and Commercial Industries, S.A.
Williams is a consultant for the Michigan DNR Trails Committee.
Williams is a member of many groups including the National Wild Turkey Federation, Pheasants Forever, Allegheny National Forest’s Forest Health Collaborative, National Eagle Scouts Association.
He is a life member of the Seaplane Pilots Association, Ruffed Grouse Society; and Pennsylvania Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs.


Also through Executive Order 2015-13, Governor Tom Wolf created the Governor’s Youth Council for Hunting, Fishing and Conservation.


The purpose of the youth council is to identify effective strategies for engaging younger generations in the conservation and preservation of Pennsylvania’s natural resources and the enhancement of the commonwealth’s hunting and fishing heritage.


The youth council is comprised of up to 20 individuals, ages 14 through 18. Youth council members are to communicate their ideas and recommendations through the advisory council to the governor and the secretary of DCNR.

Current youth council members include:

  • Garrett Beal -- Shermans Dale, PA
  • Tony Bertolino -- Strongstown, PA
  • Gabi Dodson -- Johnstown, PA
  • Jordan Edmonds -- Hershey, PA
  • Laurie Enders -- Ford City, PA
  • Jonathan Fisher -- Northumberland, PA
  • Nathan Greenberg -- Pittsburgh, PA
  • Emery Gunsallus -- Mill Hill, PA
  • Micah Landreth -- Shippensburg, PA
  • Brenden Leahy -- Newtown, PA
  • Peter Livengood -- Dunbar, PA
  • Peyton Nuske -- Pine Grove, PA
  • Rachel Olver -- Beach Lake, PA
  • Nicholas Silvis -- Hershey, PA
  • Grace Stewart -- Camp Hill, PA
  • Benjamin Wolf -- Blossburg, PA

The current youth council coordinator and mentors are:

  • Tim Brandt -- Youth council coordinator
  • Amidea Daniel -- Youth council mentor; Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission
  • Jeff Woleslagle -- Youth council mentor; DCNR