Dr. Richard Jeo has a long history of implementing successful large-scale conservation projects, developing educational programs and conducting conservation research in wild places around the world. As Montana state director for The Nature Conservancy, Richard heads a committed team of scientists, conservation experts and support staff who apply their expertise and innovation so that Montana remains a place where nature and people thrive. Since taking the position in 2013, Richard has led the protection and stewardship of 117,000 acres of Montana forests in the Crown of the Continent through the application of impact investor funding, accelerated conservation of critically threatened prairie habitat in the Northern Great Plains, and spearheaded new solutions to addressing the impact of climate change on the availability of clean, cool water in the High Divide Headwaters.
Throughout his career, Richard has been committed to combining sound science-based methods with an entrepreneurial approach to conservation finance. He joined the Conservancy in 2003 to direct the Greater Caribbean Basin Ecoregional Assessment, one of the largest and most complex science assessments ever completed, covering over 115 islands and 28 different nations. In 2009, as Director of TNC’s Canada program, he helped create a $120M public-private fund focused on sustainable development and conservation management by First Nations in the Great Bear Rainforest that was part of an historic 21 million-acre protection and sustainable management package. He has established local, natural-history based educational programs that integrate indigenous communities with large scale conservation strategies in landscapes ranging from the Namibian deserts to taiga systems of the Northwest Territories of Canada.
Dr. Jeo received a Ph.D. from the California Institute of Technology in 1997 where he studied mechanisms of perception in visual systems of the primate brain. Richard continues to maintain an active presence in conservation science and his research interests include the intersection between biological and cultural diversity and the application of behavioral economics to conservation practice. He lives in Helena, Montana, with his wife and daughter.