Alum Profile: Camilla H. Fox
Alum Profile: Camilla H. Fox
April 11, 2019 - By Sergio Olivarr
Founder and Executive Director of Project Coyote
Camilla H. Fox is the founder and Executive Director of Project Coyote- a national non-profit organization based in Mill Valley, California that promotes compassionate conservation and coexistence between people and wildlife through education, science, and advocacy. The organization reaches out to a wide variety of audiences including youth, educators, artists, ranchers, and policy-makers to promote coexistence with wildlife, with a core-component of science-based advocacy.
Camilla Fox was born in St. Louis, Missouri where she lived until age eight. Her father studied domestic wild canines and her mother rescued cats, and from a young age, Camilla developed an abiding love for animals and wild nature. Growing up with a rescued orphaned wolf named “Tiny” for 15 years and a variety of animals, Camilla knew at a young age that she wanted to help animals and the earth.
At just six years old, she expressed to her parents her decision to not consume animals and was supported in developing a vegetarian lifestyle. From ages eight to eighteen, she lived in Freeport, Maine and then attended Boston University where she graduated magna cum laude with a degree in English Literature and Women’s Studies. She decided to move across the country to the San Francisco area to work in the non-profit sector focusing on animal and environmental protection.
Several years later, Camilla found herself amidst the rock formations of the Grand Canyon at a Carnivore Conservation Conference in 2000, where she met David Parsons. Camilla and Dave formed a strong alliance, and Dave encouraged Camilla to return to school for a graduate degree after a passionate conversation about carnivore conservation and predator mismanagement in the United States. At that time, Camilla was not willing to leave her job at the Animal Protection Institute. Seven years later she was ready to immerse herself back into academia.
David Parsons was a Prescott College advisor who made an impact on students, encouraging the spirit of knowledge and instilling a force of action. Dave would later take on Camilla as a mentee, and he advised her on her graduate Thesis; “Marin County’s Strategic Plan for Protection of Wildlife and Livestock,” where Camilla studied the traditional (and lethal) predator control plan in her home county of Marin. Her later successful campaign was to end the USDA government contract with Marin County and adopt her own non-lethal alternative pilot program designed to assist ranchers to implement non-lethal predator deterrent measures, and that would take into account the safety of the region’s wolves and other wildlife.
Camilla found having a defined passion was an ideal match for a college like Prescott that encourages self-motivation and individualized learning, where she had the freedom to design her graduate school experience the way she wanted. Camilla is also thankful for the staff; her fantastic advisors and supportive mentors, especially her thesis committee who provided a framework for success. As a Prescott College student, Camilla felt “supported and mentored” and was able to “delve deep” into the specialized field that interested her.
After graduating from Prescott College with a Master of Arts in Wildlife Ecology, Policy, and Conservation, Camilla sought to actualize her now successful non-profit, “Project Coyote.” Project Coyote has spearheaded creating campaigns aimed at protecting native carnivores, in order to guide federal, state and local wildlife management policies and practices that foster humane and ecologically sound solutions to human-wildlife conflicts. Her previous work includes serving as an appointed member on the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture’s National Wildlife Services Advisory Committee. Camilla currently serves on several non-profit advisory boards while overseeing her own non-profit that includes more than 60 individuals nationwide, many of whom are volunteers who give their time and talents to Project Coyote. She has produced two award-winning documentaries and has been featured in several others and has received extensive media attention across the globe. She has authored more than 70 publications and is a co-author of two books; Call of the Wild and Coyotes in our Midst.
Her most recent successes as an agent for humanitarian work are manifested by her many merits of recognition. Camilla was named one of the 100 Guardian Angels of the Planet (2013) and the 2014 Conservationist of the Year Award by the John Muir Association. She holds the Humanitarian of the Year Award from the Marin Humane Society and the Christine Stevens Wildlife Award from the Animal Welfare Institute. Finally, the Fund for Wild Nature honoring her with the Grassroots Activist of the Year Award in 2016. Her nonprofit also has seen a recent notable victory in New Mexico, where Senate Bill (SB76) was signed into law, banning the senseless killing of wildlife, after a multi-year campaign involving a strong coalition of national and state organizations and wildlife advocates. This highlights the praxis that is instilled at the core of Prescott College’s experiential learning. Her next project is centered in Arizona, showing her film in Sedona and formulating local resolutions, pressuring state legislature to pass similar wildlife protection legislation in AZ.