Areas of Expertise: biodiversity and public lands protection, habitat connectivity, geospatial analysis, resource ecology, ecosystem management, community engagement.
A career conservationist, Ben Prater supervises and directs Defenders of Wildlife's efforts to protect imperiled wildlife and their habitats in the Southeast. As Southeast Program Director he is responsible for leading a field team focused on the protection of rare threatened, and endangered species through public outreach, effective advocacy and the application of science, law, and policy for the conservation of biodiversity. He provides strategic direction for Defender's programs to recover species and address the most pressing threats to their conservation. This is accomplished by working with state and federal agencies; implementing human-wildlife coexistence strategies; promoting environmentally responsible development, and maintaining and enhancing ecological integrity of important wildlife habitats. Some of the species he works to protect include: red wolves, Florida panthers, manatees, freshwater mussels & fish, amphibians, migratory shorebirds, and whales.
Ben holds a Masters of Environmental Management from Nicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences at Duke University and a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science, from Catawba where he graduated in 2002. He lives just outside of Asheville in Arden with his wife, two young sons, and a one-eyed dog named Sadie.