Craighead Institute


The Craighead Institute (formerly Craighead Environmental Research Institute) is an applied science and research organization with a long history of designing and managing innovative research projects in support of conservation in the Northern Rockies and around the world. Our mission is to maintain healthy populations of native plants, wildlife and people as part of sustainable, functioning ecosystems. The Craighead Institute has been in operation for 50 years and was founded in 1964 by renowned grizzly bear researcher Dr. Frank Craighead.

Scientific Foundations

Over the past four decades, Craighead Institute has conducted a wide variety of ecological research that has included grizzly bears in Yellowstone Park, genetic research on grizzly bears in Alaska, conventional and satellite radio-telemetry of wildlife, and remote sensing to map vegetation and wildlife habitat. In the past 15 years Craighead Institute has also been active in guiding conservation policy and management. We have developed wildlife habitat suitability and connectivity models and designed large-scale conservation areas for regions in the United States, Canada, and Tibet.

Helping Communities Protect Their Natural Heritage

As increasing numbers of Americans move west, planners and land managers are confronted with the challenging task of guiding the design and placement of new roads, homes, communities and much-needed renewable energy developments in ways that preserve the teeming wildlife populations and vast wild landscapes that draw us here. The Craighead Institute is committed to partnering with other scientists, land managers, planners, and concerned citizens to build and apply effective, science-based solutions to these environmental challenges with the goal of sustaining both people and wildlife in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Craighead Institute believes that people can coexist with intact wild ecosystems. We are confident our efforts will continue to play a key role in helping resource managers and conservationists develop conservation plans that benefit all species - including people.

Adaptation Work:

Conservation Science

Durable conservation solutions require a commitment to scientific facts, innovative problem solving, and fairness to stakeholders. And, in today’s world, progressive avenues for direct, positive involvement. At Craighead we have a long tradition of conducting field studies of wildlife, developing tools that help people put scientific information to use, and implementing projects that get real conservation done on the ground.

Youth in Conservation

Young people want and deserve a healthy world that includes clean water, clean air, wildlife and outdoor adventure. Having leaders for conservation tomorrow depends on what we do today. At Craighead, we link young people to the outdoors and offer them control of their future through active participation in science-based solutions for people and wildlife.

Conservation for 2100

By the early 20th century, many wildlife populations in North America had been decimated by unregulated and commercial harvest. The revolutionary solutions our predecessors derived almost 100 years ago included game laws, the development of wildlife science as a profession, and systems to effectively fund population management. Today, our wildlife face new and different threats, many of them habitat-related. In order to meet the challenges of the 21st century, we must innovate now. Modern conservation will depend upon collaboration among diverse interests with a common goal; maintaining biodiversity and a healthy environment for all species. Modern conservation needs to be inclusive, not adversarial; and respectful, not confrontational. We all need to unite to fight a common enemy which is ourselves.


Sector Addressed
Taxonomic Focus