Craig Van Der Heiden, Ph.D.

Chief Executive Officer

Affiliation and Contact Information

The Institute for Regional Conservation
22601 S.W. 152 Avenue
Miami , Florida 33170
Tel. (561) 573-6302
Fax. (305) 245-9797



Ph.D. Integrative Biology, Florida Atlantic University, 2012
PhD Dissertation: Population distribution, habitat selection, and life history of the slough crayfish (Procambarus fallax) in the ridge slough landscape of the Central Everglades

M.S., Environmental Science, Florida Atlantic University, 2005
Thesis: Utilization distribution as a predictor in modeling black rhino (Diceros bicornis) habitat in Africa’s southern rift valley

B.S., Fisheries and Wildlife Management, Frostburg State University, 1996


Field Biologist, Ecology Laboratory Florida Atlantic University, Davie, FL (2004-2006)

Projects worked on:
- Investigating exotic plant invasions on tree-island in the Everglades
- Determining tree island elevation
- Analysing detritus decomposition in the ridge-slough hydrological and vegetative patterns of the central Everglades
- Measuring hydrology variables in the Everglades Water Conservation Areas and Big Cypress Seminole Indian Reservation
- Assessing bio-indicator species in Big Cypress Seminole Indian Reservation

Research Assistant (2003-2004)

Ecology Laboratory Florida Atlantic University Davie, FL
Involvement with several graduate research projects in ecology laboratory

Peregrine Falcon and other raptor nest monitoring and data collection (2000-2003)

Surveying and data collection for peregrine falcon and other raptors by abseiling and climbing to nests sponsored by the Zimbabwe Falconry Club

Research Technician

Frostburg State University Mammalogy Laboratory (1996)
Processing bald eagle pellets to determine mammalian prey

Research Technician (1995)

Frostburg State University Genetics Laboratory
Sampling cichlids in Lake Kariba and the Zambezi River and processing tissue samples

Research Technician (1994)

Delta Waterfowl- Manitoba and North Dakota
The effects of predator removal on duck nesting success. Capture and banding of wild ducks


General Manager (2001-2003)
Buffalo Safaris Kariba, Zimbabwe

- Management and operations of Buffalo Safaris, a photographic safari company, encompassing Lake Wilderness Safari Lodge, Kushinga Lodge, and Zambezi Canoeing
- Development of annual budget and bookkeeping, overhead and operational expenses
- Expansion of Kushinga Lodge, including building chalets, roads, and electric game fencing
- Maintenance of chalets, vehicles, trailers, speedboats, houseboats, pumps, roads and fencing
- Guide to VIP safaris for specialised groups; such as expeditions, and focuses on animal behaviour, ornithology, and ecology

Manager (1997-2001)
Lake Wilderness Safari Lodge Matusadona National Park, Zimbabwe

- Responsibility for daily operations of 22 bed camp, managing lodge, staff, quality control, maintenance of lodge and equipment
- Specialized walking safaris with dangerous game with emphasis on ecosystem elements, animal behaviour, and their interactions
- Reports to managing director, record keeping and budget development
- Training of guides to conduct safaris concentrating on safety, guest care, ecology of the Zambezi Valley, treatment of equipment, firearms, and handling of dangerous game

Professional Canoe Guide (1989-1992)
Zambezi Canoeing Kariba, Zimbabwe

Canoe safaris led down the lower Zambezi River from Kariba to Kanyemba (360 km), guiding and camping in remote wilderness areas


• Excursions included tented, back-packing, and specialised safaris in Mana Pools National Park, Chizarira National Park and Matusadona National Park.
• Volunteer as a guide and lecturer for Professional Hunters Association’s educational Rifa Camp for high school students.
• Fund-raising for Tony Waite Foundation, a local AIDS orphan feeding program in Kariba.
• Volunteer during National Parks and Wildlife Society sponsored anti-poaching and snare sweeps.
• Eco-challenge Zimbabwe 2001 participant.
• Acquisition of permits for safaris in Mana Pools and Matusadona National Parks.
• Proficiency in field research tools.
• Geographic Information System (ESRI) ArcMap 9.3 and various statistical programs (SAS, SigmaStat, PC-Ord)
• Board member Gold Coast Camp, 2010 – Current
• Director, Buffalo Safaris, Kariba, Zimbabwe, 2001 – 2003
• Regional representative for Lodge owners to the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority, 2000 – 2003


van der Heiden, Craig. Modeling crayfish (Procambarus fallax) population growth potential as a function of habitat. 2011. International Congress for Society of Conservation Biology, Auckland, New Zealand
van der Heiden, Craig and Dorn. 2010. Testing habitat selection theory with slough crayfish (Procambarus fallax) across two vegetated habitats. Ecological Society of America Conference
van der Heiden, Craig. 2008. Population utilization distribution as a predictor in modeling black rhino habitat. Poster. Florida Atlantic University Research Day
van der Heiden, Craig. 2007. Modeling black rhino habitat for reintroduction. Oral presentation given at the International Congress for Society of Conservation Biology, Port Elizabeth, South Africa
van der Heiden, Craig. 2005. Conservation of black rhino in Liwonde National Park, Malawi. Presentation to Malawi Ministry of Tourism, Department of National Parks and Wildlife, and WWF Finland.
van der Heiden, Craig. 2000. Feature presentations to Dean, faculty and university administrators on Zimbabwe as a venue for scholastic research, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Boston, MA


van der Heiden, C. In preparation. Movement patterns, home range and habitat selection of the slough crayfish (Procambarus fallax) in a flooded wetland
van der Heiden, C. and N. Dorn. Crayfish population distribution in the ridge-slough landscape of the central Everglades
van der Heiden, C. and N. Dorn, Erik Noonburg, Testing habitat selection theory with a wetland crayfish, distributed across two vegetated habitats
Dorn, N. J., P. Martin, C. van der Heiden, T. Kawai, and G. Scoltz. 2010. Correct identification of the newly named parthenogenic crayfish (Procambarus marmorkrebs) as the Everglades crayfish (P. fallax). Contributions to Zoology, 79:3
Dorn, N.J., C. van der Heiden. 1999. Crayfish population studies. South Florida Water Management District.


Florida Atlantic University International Travel Award, $600, 2011
Conservation Biology Travel award, $500, 2011
NSF GK 12 teaching Fellowship, $30 000, 2010
Florida Atlantic University Travel Award, $600, 2010
Diversity Fellowship, $2500, 2010
Florida Atlantic University Foundation, $2750, 2009
Vincent Saurino Graduate Fellowship in Biological Science, $1100, 2009
Sigma Xi Research grant, $960, 2008
Florida Atlantic University International Travel Award, $850, 2007
Florida Atlantic University Research Enhancement Programs, under Dr. John Volin $14,800, 2005
Endangered Species of Malawi, $1500, 2004
World Wildlife Fund Finland, $ 500, 2004
Total Malawi fuel donation, $1,750, 2004
Central African Wilderness Safaris Accommodation Grant, $5,950, 2004
Florida Atlantic University Graduate Scholarship, $6,000, 2003


Life Science Lab, Florida Atlantic University, 2012
NSF fellowship teaching Environmental Science GK12 Fall and Spring, 2011
Botany Lab, Florida Atlantic University, Fall 2009, 2010
Ecology Lab, Florida Atlantic University, 2007, 2008, 2009
Life Science Lab, Florida Atlantic University, 2003


Florida Atlantic University. Secondary growth in disturbed environments. Botany class, 2010
Broward County Library. Importance of bees. Pompano Beach, 2010
Broward County Library. Introduction to bee keeping. Pompano Beach, 2010
Florida Atlantic University. Everglades food webs. Principles of Ecology class, 2009
Florida Atlantic University . Population demography lecture. Principles of Ecology class. 2008
Florida Atlantic University . Herbivory and mutualism lecture. Principles of Ecology class. 2008
Florida Atlantic University. Conservation biology lecture. Principles of Ecology class. 2007
Broward County Charter School. Science in the classroom. 2007


Broward County Tree Trimmer’s License, 2005
Falconer (C Grade), 2002
Professional Hunters (Game Ranger) License, 1995
Private Pilot’s License, 1992
Scuba Certification PDIC, 1992
Wilderness First Aid, 1990
Captains License (coxswain) 1990


Ecological Society of America
Sigma Xi
Society for Conservation Biology