2020 “Vir-Naturalist” Webinars


Tess O’Sullivan: Making Critical Connections for Idaho Wildlife
Tuesday, May 12  |  7:00 – 8:00 PM EST
Link to recording

 Tess  shares her experiences protecting long distance migration corridors for pronghorn and grizzly bears in Idaho with The Nature Conservancy.

Tess is the Land Conservation Strategy Lead for TNC Idaho. A dedicated conservation biologist, Tess has expertise in conservation easements, botany, ecology, wildlife migration, range management, public funding for conservation, mapping, ecological monitoring, and partnerships. She has worked in large landscape conservation in Idaho since graduating from UVM in 2002.


Anya Tyson: Tracking Timber — A Tree-part Story
Tuesday, May 19  |  7:00 – 8:00 PM EST
Link to Recording

What do Carlos Santana, an endangered snail, and mass spectrometry have in common? They all feature into a grand scheme to thwart timber poachers. Adventure Scientists’ Timber Project mobilized citizen scientists across three states and one Canadian province to gather 1000 samples across the range of bigleaf maple in just five months. Oddly reminiscent of the current moment, Anya’s team equipped volunteers using only online trainings, webinars, and the US Postal Service. All said and done, the Timber Crew donated 5,600 hours of field work and supplied multiple scientists, including the USFWS Forensics Lab, with research-grade reference specimens. 

Anya Tyson works to collaboratively improve land management across Oregon’s sage-steppe. Previously, she led citizen science projects involving bigleaf maples, loons, and Clark’s nutcrackers. A proud Goshawk (AG, 2017) and a northeastern no-nothing, Anya got her money’s worth as a Field Naturalist. She enjoys long-haul adventures, accordion, and singing Wyoming’s praises.

KHALe presentation photo -taxodium-seedling

Katherine Hale: Seed Germination in Rare and Not-So-Rare Conifers: Bald Cypress, Dawn Redwoods, and Lessons for Conservation Horticulture
Tuesday, May 26  |  7:00 – 8:00 PM EST
Link to Recording

Katherine Hale thought she knew about growing plants, until she accepted a challenge to create a reliable germination protocol for bald cypress (Taxodium distichum) for a regional botanic garden. “Oh, that’ll be fun; it’s a well-studied species popular in the horticultural trade. How hard can it be?” But just because the information’s in a book doesn’t mean it’s easy… especially compared to the cypress’s ecological counterpart in China, the dawn redwood (Metasequioa glyptostrobiodes).  

Hailing from the North Carolina Piedmont, Katherine Hale is hard at work growing more plants and transforming an old farmhouse and environs into a diverse, sustainable landscape that mimics naturally occurring ecosystems. She writes about natural history for love and money.


Jessie Griffen: Breaking the Cycle — The Race to Restore the Sagebrush Sea
Tuesday, June 2  |  7:00 – 8:00 PM EST
Link to Recording

What do eastern Oregon ranchers and an east coast-raised FNEP have in common? As the wildfire-cheatgrass cycle rages across millions of acres, they are racing against time to beat back an existential threat to a place they love. Clean air, old ways of life, and North America’s cutest rabbit are at stake. Journey into the Big Empty, one of “the least novelized, least painted, least eulogized of American landscapes,” for tales of unlikely allies, untold natural history marvels, and largely under-celebrated beauty. And uncover bold new attempts to restore the range.

Jessie Griffen works as a restoration ecologist for The Nature Conservancy. She lives with her partner, Levi Old, also an FNEP, in Baker City, Oregon.

Chelsea Clarke: An Artist in the Arctic
Wednesday, June 10  |  5:00 – 6:00 PM EST | Hosted by North Branch Nature Center
Link to Recording

Arctic sea ice is melting and it’s not just affecting polar bears. Artist and Field Naturalist Chelsea Clarke explores how changing sea ice conditions are impacting the plankton at the foundation of the Arctic food web, and discusses why artists are an important part of the research effort. We also get a glimpse into life on a Coast Guard icebreaker above the Arctic Circle. 

Chelsea Clarke is an artist and 2018 FN alumna. In 2014, Chelsea spent spent six weeks at sea as a resident artist on a scientific research expedition in the Pacific Arctic.

Grace Glynn: Ecological Integrity of Maine’s Salt Marshes
May 7  |  UVM Plant Biology Marvin Seminar Series
Link to Recording

Take a trip to the coast of Maine and its forgotten peatlands: Spartina saltmarshes. Mangroves of the North, these coastal wetlands sequester massive amounts of carbon, filter pollutants, and act as nurseries for estuarine animals. But the peat that forms the foundation of these marshes is threatened by accelerated sea level rise. In this Marvin seminar, Grace shares a few peat-centric metrics she piloted as part of a Master’s project–sponsored by Maine Natural Areas Program–that sought to develop ecological assessment methodology for use in Spartina saltmarshes.

Fresh out of the FN program, Grace works as a wetlands consultant in central VT. A self-identified hydrophyte, she is interested in peatland restoration and the flora of mudflats.

Eric Hagen: A Shared Life – People and Biodiversity in Vermont
May 7 | UVM Plant Biology Marvin Seminar Series
Link to Recording

How do we share the planet with the rest of life? Using E.O. Wilson’s Half-Earth concept, Field Naturalist Eric Hagen presents about protecting biodiversity here in the Winooski Watershed, and throughout Vermont.