Climate Change 

Distance Learning Module

Below you will find a compilation of all of the climate change resources we have to offer. Listed by grade level, (Pre-K to 2nd, Upper Elementary, Middle and High School) these materials are from our readers, monographs, and journals and focus on a certain aspect of climate change. Accompanying each article is an activity to help deepen understanding of the article and climate change research. Next, there is a section of Additional Resources, ranging from YouTube videos, like Climate Change LIVE, lesson plans, and other resources. There is also a section of Scientists Cards. This section features some of the Forest Service Scientists that are researching climate change.

Pre-K to 2nd Grade 

Climate change and wildfire:

  • Meet Dr. Goodrick - Reader Series:  This reader explores the connection between weather and wildfire. 
    • FACTivity - Determine how each pictured item may be useful in a fire (pg. 17); additional coloring page (pg. 18)

 

Climate change and weather:

  • Meet Ms. Lasseter - Reader Series: This reader explores how changes in rainfall affect streams and rivers in forested areas over time.
    • FACTivity - Record rainfall and weather conditions over a period of two weeks (pg. 20-22).

 

Climate change and plants and animals:

  • Meet Dr. Guo - Reader Series: This reader explores how animals may move to new habitats. 
    • FACTivity - Match each pictured animal to its habitat (pg. 18).

 

Climate change and the carbon cycle:

  • Meet Dr. Sun - Reader Series: This reader examines Dr. Sun's research into land-use changes in the southeastern United States over more than 100 years.
    • FACTivity - Describe how land is being used in each photo and determine how that land use helps or hurts the environment (pg. 20-22).

 

Climate change and people:

  • Meet Dr. Mercer - Reader Series: This reader explores the differences between rural and urban communities and how they may be impacted by climate change. 
    • FACTivity - Make a bar graph to chart the temperatures in two different cities (pg. 20-22)

 


Upper Elementary

Climate change and plants and animals: 

  • Article - Amphibious Assault: How Climate Change May Affect Amphibian Breeding: This article discusses how climate change can change the breeding patterns of some animals. Breeding patterns refer to when and how animals reproduce, including how many young an animal has and how often. If breeding patterns change, an entire population may change or become extinct. The question the scientists in this study wanted to answer was how certain amphibian populations and their breeding patterns may be responding to climate change. 
    • FACTivity - Compare and contrast human life and frog life with a creative writing assignment about a human who turns into a frog and vice versa (pg. 16).

 

 

  • Article - There's Snow Place Like Home: Tracking the Range of Wolverines Over Time: Wolverines are the largest member of the weasel family that lives on land. They live in areas far from humans and human development. Therefore, not much is known about these mammals. The scientist in this study wanted to accurately map the wolverine's range over time. The scientists also wanted to study whether climate change is affecting the wolverines' range.
    • FACTivity - Research and map the geographic range of an animal of your choice (pg. 37-38)

 

 

  • Article - Wild Ways: Assessing How Climate Change May Affect Certain Wildlife: Identifying which species may be the most vulnerable to a changing climate is important. This information can help people make decisions about how to best manage the land. It can also help make better decisions to support wildlife. In this study, the scientist wanted to learn more about species living in and around the Coronado National Forest. 
    • FACTivity - Research to determine how climate change may affect a certain species in your state (pg.12).

 

Climate change and the carbon cycle:

  • Article - Frozen Food: How Glaciers Provide Food to Animals that Live in the Ocean: In this study, the scientist studied glaciers and their nearby rivers in Alaska. The water coming from glaciers can be quite old and contain nutrients, such as carbon, that could be at least 5,000 years old. The scientist wondered if the carbon in the water was too old to be useful to animals living in the rivers and bays. 
    • FACTivity - Compare photos of glaciers taken over time (pg. 9).

 


Middle and High School

Climate change and weather:

 

  • Article - Flow Down! Can Managing Forests Help Maintain Water Supplies in the Face of Climate Change?: The scientists in this study wanted to figure out how forest management, climate change, and streamflow interact. First, the scientists wanted to identify if forest management could affect streamflow. Second, the scientist wanted to identify types of forest management that would help protect against extreme precipitation changes that may occur as the climate changes. 
    • FACTivity - Make your own rain gauge and measure the amount of rainfall that occurs over a month's time. (pg. 39-40)

 

 

Climate change and the carbon cycle:

  • Article - Fill Those Potholes! Identifying Ecosystem Services of Small Wetlands on the American Prairie: Scientists determine whether some of the ecosystem services provided by prairie potholes are restored when potholes are restored, and they measure the benefit to people of restored potholes compared to natural potholes and nearby cropland.
    • FACTivity -  Using several Natural Inquirer articles, identify the ecosystem services provided by this nation's natural resources; extension: examine the natural land around you in your yard, out of the car window, in your neighborhood, etc., and identify as many ecosystem services as you can there. (pg.50-51) 

 

  • Article - Inquiry 3: How Much Carbon Is Held by the World's Forests?: This article presents the results of a worldwide effort to understand the world's forests, organized by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. This inquiry focuses on the amount of carbon stored in each country's forests.

 

  • Article - Inquiry 4: What Do the World's Forests Have to Do with Climate Change?: Every 5 years the Food and Agriculture Organization, or FAO, publishes a report about the world's forests, called the Global Forest Resources Assessment. It contains information about forests in 233 countries and territories. All together, these forests are the world's forests. This inquiry focuses on the amount of carbon stored in the world's forests. 
    • FACTivity - Identify two actions you can take now to address climate change and make an action plan for implementing those changes (pg. 36).

 

 

  • Article - The GLAS Is Half Full: Satellites and Changing Tropical Forests: The scientists wanted to know if the information gathered by satellites was as good as the information they would get if they gathered it in person. The scientists in this study wanted to discover whether information gathered by satellites could be used to identify the age of tropical rain forests and to estimate the increase in the amount of biomass in growing rain forests. They also wanted to know if the information gathered by satellites could be used to estimate the amount of biomass held by old rain forests.
    • FACTivity - Simulate the Landsat images like the ones the scientists used to estimate biomass in the forests, but this time to estimate the ages of a group of people by viewing them from above (pg. 36).

 

  • Article - Everything but the Carbon Sink: Carbon Storage in the Southern United States: The scientists in this study were interested in environmental changes occurring in the Southern United States. The scientists were interested in changes occurring over a long time. In particular, the scientists were interested in understanding how increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide, increasing ozone, increasing nitrogen on Earth, climate change, and changes in land use affect the carbon cycle of the Southern United States.
    • FACTivity - Identify characteristics of a carbon sink and a carbon source by making observations about a series of photographs (pg. 22-26).

 

 

 

Climate change and the carbon cycle/Climate change and plants and animals:

  • Article - Where in the World is Carbon Dioxide? The Potential Impact of Rising Levels of Carbon Dioxide on U.S. Forests: There are many different types of plant communities in the United States. What will happen if the climate continues to change? The scientists in this research used math and computer models to find out how the plant communities might change. The results are predictions that can inform future science. 
    • FACTivity - Determine how much of a change in climate is needed to cause a change in the type of vegetation growing in an area by charting predicted yearly temperature changes in various cities across the U.S. (pg. 12-13).

 

  • Article - Balancing Act: Urban Trees and the Carbon Cycle: Is there a point where a tree does not hold enough carbon to make up for the emissions released to care for the tree? Scientists in this study want to know which trees grow the longest and store carbon the longest. The goal is to inform managers of the best trees to plant in urban environments. 
    • FACTivity - Research tree species to decide on a type to recommend for planting in your schoolyard (pg. 9).

 

  • Article - It's a Gas: The Exchange of Gases Between the Soil and the Atmosphere: People use land for many different reasons. Is the natural exchange of gases different between types of land use? The scientists wanted to see how greenhouse gas exchange in soils differed between old forests, new forests, and pastures. The scientists in this study learn about the nitrogen cycle. 
    • FACTivity - Simulate the greenhouse effect with a glass jar and some dirt (pg. 9).

 

Climate change and wildfire: 

 

  • Article - Where There's Smoke, There's Fire: Is Climate Connected to Very Large Wildland Fires?: Scientists explore if and how climate and weather are connected to very large wildland fires to help predict and prepare for future events.
    • FACTivity - Analyze and graph data to discover if there are patterns that show a relationship between PDSI (Palmer Drought Severity Index) and very large wildland fires in the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge; extension - use online data from National Atmospheric and Oceanic Administration to observe patterns in historical Palmer Drought Severity Indicies (pg. 29-34).

 

  • Article - Fire and Water: Predicting Future Wildfire in a Changing Climate: Successfully predicting where and when wildfires might occur is important. This prediction is important because of possible environmental and economic damage. As the climate warms, the possibility of wildfires might increase. The scientists in this study wanted to predict where and in what seasons wildfires might occur. 
    • FACTivity - Roleplay as a wildland fire safety educator with the Forest Service in the year 2050. Develop a wildland fire safety poster or education campaign to be distributed to students across the United States (pg.54).

 

Climate change and plants and animals: 

  • Article - Moving on Up: The Possible Impact of Climate Change on Forest Habitats: The scientists in this study were interested in trees that live in the Eastern United States. They wanted to explore how the habitat of these trees might change in the future as the climate changes. They also wanted to know how different tree species might move in response to a changing climate. 
    • FACTivity - Research the distribution of a particular tree species (pg. 26). 

 

  • Article - Back to the Future: Using Dead Trees to Predict Future Climate: The tree line is the edge of a habitat at which trees are capable of growing. In this study, the scientists wanted to examine dead trees that they found above the current tree line. The deadwood found above the current tree line indicated that the climate during the trees' lifetime was different than it is now. The scientists were interested in learning about the climate that existed when these trees were alive. 
    • FACTivity - In this exercise in dendrochronology, use the four core samples provided to construct the climatic history of these trees. Then complete a timeline of social, cultural, environmental, and scientific events that occurred during the lifetime of these four trees (pg. 48).

 

  • Article - There's Snow Place Like Home: Tracking the Range of Wolverines Over Time: Wolverines are the largest member of the weasel family that lives on land. They live in areas far from humans and human development. Therefore, not much is known about these mammals. The scientists in this study wanted to accurately map the wolverine's range over time. The scientists also wanted to study whether climate change is affecting the wolverines' range. 
    • FACTivity - Research and map the geographic range of an animal of your choice (pg. 68).

 

  • Article - Did They Make the Gradient? Climate and Stream Temperatures Now and Into the Future: If the temperature of a stream rises too high, the animals that live in the stream may find it difficult to survive. Big changes in a stream's daytime temperature as compared with its nighttime temperature may also cause a problem for aquatic animals. The scientists in this study were interested in answering three questions: (1) How does the shape of a stream affect its daytime water temperature? (2) How does the shape of a stream affect the difference between its daytime and nighttime water temperatures? (3) How might a rise in average air temperature over time affect a stream's water temperature?
    • FACTivity - Conduct an experiment with containers of water in the sun and the shade to determine if water movement affects water temperature (pg. 58-59).

 

  • Article - Beetles Are Supercool! Understanding the Life Cycle of Mountain Pine Beetles: Mountain pine beetles are important to the Western United States. They have a very special life cycle, that includes staying "supercool", or dormant, for most of their life. The scientists in this study want to know how this important life cycle could be affected by our changing climate. 
    • FACTivity - Catch a beetle in a bug box and record your observations and make some hypotheses about how they are formed and how they use their special features (pg. 10).

 

  • Article - Wide Open Spaces: Climate Change Impacts in Rural Areas of the United States: The scientists in this study were interested in studying how climate change may impact rural areas in the United States. Rural areas are expected to experience more negative impacts from the change in agriculture due to climate change than urban areas experience. However, rural areas may not experience as many extreme heat events as urban areas.
    • FACTivity - Create a presentation or brochure to explain the possible effects of climate change to people who live in rural areas (pg. 70).

 

  • Article - North of the Border: Are Nonnative Species Moving Northward as the Climate Changes: A naturalized species has two ranges. The first range is the one where the species lives in its native habitat. The second range is the one where the species is naturalized, surviving in a nonnative area without the help of humans. Species are more able to survive east to west across the globe, but are limited by latitude. The scientists in this study wanted to answer this question: Are naturalized species' latitudinal ranges the same, larger, or smaller than their native ranges?
    • FACTivity - Plot the native range and naturalized range of 25 species of plants on a graph. Use this data to note any general patterns in the native and naturalized ranges of these plants (pg. 83-86).

 

 

  • Article - How Now Round Crown: Predicting the Energy Future of Tree Crowns: Pine trees cover much of the Southeastern United States. When older pine trees are cut for making wood products, only the trees' boles are used. The scientists in this study wondered if there might be a use for the trees' crowns as well. In particular, they wondered whether the trees' crowns might one day be a source of energy. 
    • FACTivity - Make observations in nature and in the provided photographs of different trees to identify differences between managed and unmanaged trees (pg. 45-46).

 

 

  • Article - Nature's Notebook: Taking the Pulse of Our Planet: Phenology is the periodic series of life events in plants and animals that are related to climate. Changes in plant or animal phenology can show larger changes to Earth and its environment. The USA National Phenology Network creates a database from data collected by scientists and citizen scientists. Scientists can analyze the information to learn about trends, or changes over time, in climate phenology (pg. 76).
    • FACTivity - Use Nature's Notebook to collect phenology data in your school, town, or home (pg. 79). 

 

Other Resources

 

  • Climate Change LIVE: Join the Conversation - This is the second part of the Climate Change LIVE presentation and covers some more information about climate change, like leaning about past climate using ice cores, the impacts of climate change, and the differencec between climate and weather. The focus of the presentation, though, is on efforts students have made across the country to help address climate change. 

 

 


Scientist Cards (all grades)

Below you will find a list of scientist cards featuring scientists whose research focuses on different aspects of climate change. Click on the cards to learn more about their careers and the research they are completing. 

Dr. Bruce G. Marcot, Research Wildlife Ecologist


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  • Ph.D., Oregon State University Corvallis OR
  • USDA Forest Service Scientist
  • I study the reasons why plant and animal species are rare, why some are at risk, and how threatened or endangered species and ecosystem functions can be conserved and restored.

 

Ms. Laurie Stroh Huckaby, Dendroecologist


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  • M.S. Forest Ecology, Colorado State University
  • USDA Forest Service Scientist
  • A dendroecologist uses tree rings to reconstruct climate, disturbances (including human land use), and other factors that influence tree growth.

 

Dr. Connie Millar, Evolutionary Geneticist / Mountain Scientist


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  • Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley
  • USDA Forest Service Scientist
  • I am a mountain scientist, and I study the effects of past and present climates on mountain ecosystems.

 

Dr. Louis Iverson, Landscape Ecologist


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  • Ph.D., University of North Dakota
  • USDA Forest Service Scientist
  • A landscape ecologist studies how landscapes (ranging from large continents to small fields) are put together and how they function to provide ecosystem services to humans and all life.

 

Dr. Kurt Riitters, Landscape Ecologist


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  • Ph.D., Oregon State University
  • USDA Forest Service Scientist
  • Landscape ecology differs from traditional ecology by including humans as a key component of ecosystems.  We study how ecosystems are affected by human activities over very large regions.

 

Dr. Qinfeng Guo, Research Ecologist


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  • Ph.D., University of New Mexico
  • USDA Forest Service Scientist
  • A plant ecologist studies plants and how they function on the landscape.

 

Stephanie Laseter, Hydrologist


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  • M.S., University of Georgia 
  • USDA Forest Service Scientist
  • A forest hydrologist studies the water cycle.  Where does water go after it falls as a raindrop?  We study how it travels through a forest, into the soil, and eventually to a stream.

 

Ms. Erika Cohen, Physical Scientist


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  • M.S., University of Mississippi
  • USDA Forest Service Scientist
  • A geographic information system (GIS) is a computer system that can capture, store, analyze, manage and display geographic data.  A GIS professional uses the computer system to perform spatial analyses on geographic data to answer scientific questions and present the results in maps.

 

Mr. Michael Gavazzi, Biological Scientist


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  • M.S., Virginia Tech
  • USDA Forest Service Scientist
  • A biological scientist is a jack of all trades.  I work with other researchers in diverse disciplines to study forest ecosystems response to prescribed burning, climate change, and natural and man-made disturbance.

 

Ms. Jennifer Moore Myers, Resource Information Specialist


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  • M.S., North Carolina State University
  • USDA Forest Service Scientist
  • A GIS analyst uses geographic data to answer questions, solve problems, and tell stories.  In my work, this often means looking for spatial patterns that show how forests respond to climate change or other stressors.

 

Dr. Steven McNulty, Landscape Ecologist


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  • Ph.D., University of New Hampshire 
  • USDA Forest Service Scientist
  • Ecology is a Greek word - "ology" means "to study" and "eco" means house.  In this case, the house is the Earth, and I study large parts of our planet, so I am a "landscape ecologist."

 

Dr. Ge Sun, Hydrologist


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  • Ph.D., University of Florida
  • USDA Forest Service Scientist
  • Hydrologists study the water cycle.  Studying the water cycle means tracking water movement from raindrops falling from sky to the ground, going into the soils, flowing through the rivers, and eventually moving to the ocean.

 

Dr. Haiganoush Preisler, Statistical Scientist


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  • University of California, Berkeley 
  • USDA Forest Service Scientist
  • As a statistical scientist I translate scientists' hypothesis and word problems into a few (essential) equations that help further our understanding of the world we live in. 

 

Dr. Rich MacKenzie, Aquatic Ecologist


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  • University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee
  • USDA Forest Service Scientist
  • An aquatic ecologist studies plants and animals that live in streams, lakes, and wetlands.  We try to understand the roles these organisms play in aquatic ecosystems and how stressors such as land use change, climate change, and exotic species influence those roles.

 

Dr. David Flores, Research Social Scientist


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  • Ph.D., University of Michigan
  • USDA Forest Service Scientist
  • A research social scientist studies the relationships between people and the environment.

 

Dr. Deborah Finch, Research Wildlife Biologist


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  • Ph.D., University of Wyoming - Laramie
  • USDA Forest Service Scientist
  • A wildlife biologist studies living organisms such as birds, mammals, reptiles, and amphibians and their habitats, their life history, population changes, and movement patterns.

 

Dr. E. Ashley Steel, Quantitative Ecologist


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  • Ph.D., University of Washington-Seattle
  • USDA Forest Service Scientist
  • A quantitative ecologist uses mathematical skills and ideas to better understand forests, rivers, oceans, fish, wildlife, climate, and more.

 

Dr. Steve Matthews, Wildlife Landscape Ecologist


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  • Ph.D., Ohio State University
  • USDA Forest Service Scientist
  • A landscape ecologist studies how different land uses influence and shape ecological communities.  I am particularly interested in how birds and forests respond to a changing environment.

 

Dr. Andrezej Bytnerowicz, Ecologist


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  • Ph.D., Silesian University, Katowice, Poland 
  • USDA Forest Service Scientist
  • As an ecologist, I monitor and evaluate the impacts of air pollution and climate change on forests and other ecosystems.

 

Dr. Wayne J. Arendt, Research Ornithologist


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  • Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • USDA Forest Service Scientist
  • I study disturbance ecology, climate change, conservation and management of Neotropical resident and migratory bird communities and invasive species.

 

Dr. Louise Loudermilk, Fire Ecologist


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  • Ph.D., University of Florida
  • USDA Forest Service Scientist
  • A fire ecologist explores the interactions between wildland fire and plant communities.  I study how fires burn and how forests grow and reassemble after fire. 

 

Dr. Lindsey Rustad, Forest Ecologist


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  • Ph.D., University of Maine 
  • USDA Forest Service Scientist
  • A forest ecologist studies the interrelated patterns and processes of vegetation, animals, energy, water and nutrients in forests.

 

Dr. Mike Dockry, Research Scientist / Social Scientist

Dr. Mike Dockry, Research Scientist / Social Scientist
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Dr. Mike Dockry, Research Scientist / Social Scientist

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  • Ph.D., University of Wisconsin - Madison
  • Member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation
  • USDA Forest Service Scientist
  • A forester/social scientist studies how people and communities use, manage, and think about their forests and sustainability.

Dr. Randy Kolka, Research Soil Scientist

Dr. Randy Kolka, Research Soil Scientist
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Dr. Randy Kolka, Research Soil Scientist

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  • Ph.D., University of Minnesota
  • USDA Forest Service Scientist
  • Soil scientists study how soils influence the cycling of water, nutrients, carbon, pollutants, and other materials.  We also study similarities and differences among different soil types. 

Dr. Brooke Penaluna, Research Fish Biologist

Dr. Brooke Penaluna, Research Fish Biologist
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Dr. Brooke Penaluna, Research Fish Biologist

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  • Ph.D., Oregon State University
  • USDA Forest Service Scientist
  • A fish biologist studies fishes and the habitats they occupy to better understand the relationships between fish biology and habitat.

Dr. Paul Schaberg, Research Plant Physiologist

Dr. Paul Schaberg, Research Plant Physiologist
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Dr. Paul Schaberg, Research Plant Physiologist

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  • Ph.D., University of Vermont
  • USDA Forest Service Scientist
  • A plant physiologist studies the biology of how plants work.  These studies are often done to determine if a part of a plant is not working or is causing the plant problems.  An example includes low air temperatures causing injury and poor growth.

Dr. Charles Luce, Hydrologist

Charles Luce, Hydrologist
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Charles Luce, Hydrologist

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  • Ph.D., Utah State University
  • USDA Forest Service Scientist
  • Hydrologists study how water moves around the world, whether as streamflow, groundwater, precipitation, or transpiration.  Water is important to all life.

Dr. W. Matt Jolly, Research Fire Ecologist

W. Matt Jolly, Research Fire Ecologist
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W. Matt Jolly, Research Fire Ecologist

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  • Ph.D., University of Montana
  • USDA Forest Service Scientist
  • As a research fire ecologist, I study how vegetation, weather, and terrain interact to influence wildland fires.

Dr. Travis Warziniack, Environmental Economist

Travis Warziniack, Environmental Economist
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Travis Warziniack, Environmental Economist

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  • Ph.D., University of Wyoming
  • USDA Forest Service Scientist
  • Environmental economists study the way people interact with nature.  This research includes how people value nature, how they respond to changes in the environment, and what policies can be used to protect the environment. 

Dr. Natalie S. van Doorn, Urban Ecologist

Natalie S. van Doorn, Urban Ecologist
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Natalie S. van Doorn, Urban Ecologist

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  • Ph.D., University of California Berkeley
  • USDA Forest Service Scientist
  • An urban ecologist studies the relationship of living organisms with each other and their surroundings in an urban environment.  I have focused by research on urban forests which are an important part of urban ecosystems in many cities and towns across the world. 

Dr. Becky K. Kerns, Research Ecologist

Becky K. Kerns, Research Ecologist
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Becky K. Kerns, Research Ecologist

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  • Ph.D., Northern Arizona University
  • USDA Forest Service Scientist
  • Plant ecologists study plants and their surroundings, or environment, and inform people about how to leave plant communities healthy for future generations. 

Dr. Katherine J. Elliot, Forest Ecologist

Katherine J. Elliot, Forest Ecologist
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Katherine J. Elliot, Forest Ecologist

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  • Ph.D., University of Maine
  • USDA Forest Service Scientist
  • A forest ecologist studies interactions among plants, animals, energy, water, and nutrients.  A forest ecologist also studies how all of these things relate to patters and processes in forest ecosystems. 

Christie Hawley, Natural Resource Analyst

Christie Hawley, Natural Resource Analyst
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Christie Hawley, Natural Resource Analyst

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  • M.N.R., University of Georgia
  • USDA Forest Service Scientist
  • As a natural resource analyst, I gather geographic and field data on forests and wildland fires.  I analyze these data using computer software to answer scientific questions related to fire and plant interactions.

Dr. Yongqiang Liu, Research Meteorologist

Dr. Yongqiang Liu, Research Meteorologist
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Dr. Yongqiang Liu, Research Meteorologist

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  • Ph.D., Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences
  • USDA Forest Service Scientist
  • As a research meteorologist, I study how climate variability and climate changes drive forest disturbances, like wildland fires.  I also study how forest conditions affect the environment, and how to predict climate-forest interactions.

Matthew P. Peters, Ecologist

Matthew P. Peters, Ecologist
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Matthew P. Peters, Ecologist

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  • M.S., Arizona State University
  • USDA Forest Service Scientist
  • Ecology is the study of the relationships between organisms and their physical surroundings.  As an ecologist, I use my background in geography to examine spatial patterns in ecology. 

Dr. Matt Reeves, Ecologist

Dr. Matt Reeves, Ecologist
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Dr. Matt Reeves, Ecologist

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  • Ph.D., University of Montana
  • USDA Forest Service Scientist
  • As an ecologist, I study the interaction of climate, plants, and animals in rangelands.  

Sarah Wiener, Social Scientist

Sarah Wiener, Social Scientist
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Sarah Wiener, Social Scientist

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  • M.S., North Carolina State University
  • USDA Forest Service Scientist
  • As a social scientist, I study the ways that landowners and natural resources specialists interact with scientific information.  I help scientists and tool developers improve their communications and products.

Dr. Chris Swanston, Climate Adaptation Specialist

Dr. Chris Swanston, Climate Adaptation Specialist
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Dr. Chris Swanston, Climate Adaptation Specialist

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  • Ph.D., Oregon State University
  • USDA Forest Service Scientist
  • I help natural resources professionals consider how to change the management of ecosystems to address the challenges of a changing climate.

 Dr. Sue Eggert, Aquatic Ecologist

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  • Ph.D., University of Georgia
  • USDA Forest Service Scientist
  • Aquatic ecologist study how forest and other environmental factors influence the plants, animals, and ecological processes in aquatic ecosystems. This knowledge helps resource managers better manage land and aquatic habitats so they provide clean water for people and wildlife.

 

 Dr. Sherri L. Johnson, Research Ecologist

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  • Ph.D., University of Oklahoma
  • USDA Forest Service Scientist
  • A research ecologist studies streams and lakes to explore both who lives in the water and how forestry and year to year climatic variability impact the water quality and water as habitat for biota.

 

 Dr. José J. Sánchez, Environmental Economist

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  • Ph.D., University of California, Riverside
  • USDA Forest Service Scientist 
  • Environmental economist study the interaction between people and nature. My research includes people's preferences towards nature, the value they place on nature, and how environmental changes affect people's preferences and values.

 


Additional Scientist Cards

These scientists conduct research in fields related to climate change, like exploring alternative fuels, researching carbon sequestration, tracking forest loss and growth, mapping changing animal ranges, and more.

 

Dr. Trista Patterson, Economist


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  • Ph.D., University of Maryland
  • USDA Forest Service Scientist
  • Oikos is the Greek root word for "household."  It is also the root of the word "economy" and "ecology!"  Good managment of the economy, and ecology, is like good management of a household.

 

Dr. Dana Mitchell, Research Engineer


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  • Ph.D., Auburn University
  • USDA Forest Service Scientist
  • Engineers study many different areas.  My area is forest operations, or more simply put, logging management.

 

Dr. Nick Skowronski, Forest Ecologist


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  • Ph.D., Rutgers University
  • USDA Forest Service Scientist
  • A forest ecologist studies how plants and animals interact within a forest community.  Some of these scientists are particularly interested in how forests cycle carbon and work to measure how carbon moves through these systems.

 

Dr. John Schelhas, Forester / Anthropologist


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  • Ph.D., University of Arizona
  • USDA Forest Service Scientist
  • A forester / anthropologist studies the diversity of ways that people talk about, value, and use trees and forests.

 

Dr. Linda Heath, Research Forester


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  • Ph.D., University of Washington
  • USDA Forest Service Scientist
  • I study ways to provide estimates of multiple environmental benefits.  An example of a benefit is forest carbon.  The estimates are needed at local to national to global scales.

 

Dr. Connie Harrington, Silviculturist / Tree Physiologist


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  • Ph.D., University of Washington (Seattle)
  • USDA Forest Service Scientist
  • A silviculturist studies how trees interact with each other and how changing a tree's neighborhood influences how it grows and the other plants that grow with it.  A tree physiologist studies the biological processes that influence tree growth.

 

Dr. Eileen H. Helmer, Ecologist


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  • Ph.D., Oregon State University
  • USDA Forest Service Scientist
  • Ecologists help study the relationships among organisms and between organisms and their environment.

 

Dr. Melody Keena, Entomologist


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  • Ph.D., University of California at Davis
  • USDA Forest Service Scientist
  • An entomologist studies insects and their interactions with other organisms and the environment.

 

Dr. Susan Cordell, Plant Ecophysiologist


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  • Ph.D., University of Hawaii, Manoa
  • USDA Forest Service Scientist
  • A plant ecophysiologist studies the ways in which plants interact with the environment.

 

Dr. Keith Aubry, Wildlife Biologist


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  • Ph.D., The University of Washington
  • USDA Forest Service Scientist
  • A wildlife biologist studies terrestrial wildlife species (mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians) and the habitats they occupy to better understand their biology and habitat relationships.

 

Dr. Kurt Riitters, Landscape Ecologist


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  • Ph.D., Oregon State University
  • USDA Forest Service Scientist
  • Landscape ecology differs from traditional ecology by including humans as a key component of ecosystems.  We study how ecosystems are affected by human activities over very large regions.

 

Dr. Kevin McKelvey, Ecologist


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  • University of Florida
  • USDA Forest Service Scientist
  • Ecology is the study of interactions between organisms and their environment.  I primarily study animals.

 

Dr. Scott Goodrick, Meteorologist


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  • University of Alabama, Huntsville
  • USDA Forest Service Scientist
  • A meteorologist studies weather and climate.  Weather is what is happening today or tomorrow.  For example, is it raining or is it hot or cold?  Climate is how weather changes over time.  For example, this winter was colder or warmer than normal. 

 

Dr. Grant Domke, Research Forester

Dr. Grant Domke, Research Forester
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Dr. Grant Domke, Research Forester

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  • Ph.D., University of Minnesota
  • USDA Forest Service Scientist
  • As a forester, I study carbon dynamics in forest ecosystems.  I develop and improve techniques to estimate forest carbon stocks and changes to the carbon stocks using forest inventory information. 

Melanie Taylor, Soil Ecologist

Melanie Taylor, Soil Ecologist
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Melanie Taylor, Soil Ecologist

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  • M.S., University of Georgia
  • USDA Forest Service Scientist
  • A soil ecologist studies how soil interact with the organisms that live in and on them.

 

Dr. Christopher Woodall, Applied Forest Ecologist

Dr. Christopher Woodall, Applied Forest Ecologist
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Dr. Christopher Woodall, Applied Forest Ecologist

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  • Ph.D., University of Montana
  • USDA Forest Service Scientist
  • An applied forest ecologist develops new knowledge regarding the function and processes of forest ecosystems.  This knowledge can have real impacts on forest management and conservation. 

Dr. Dexter Strother, Forest/Soil Ecologist

Dexter Strother, Forest/Soil Ecologist
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Dexter Strother, Forest/Soil Ecologist

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  • Ph.D., University of Georgia
  • USDA Forest Service Scientist
  • As a forest and soil ecologist, I am interested in how forest management practices impact soils. 

Dr. Sean Healey, Forest Ecologist

Sean Healey, Forest Ecologist
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Sean Healey, Forest Ecologist

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  • Ph.D., University of Washington
  • USDA Forest Service Scientist
  • A forest ecologist studies the structure, composition, and processes that interact in a forest to provide different habitats for plants and animals.  My research focuses on improving our understanding of changes in forest conditions.

Julie A. Arnold, Forestry Technician

Julie Arnold, Forestry Technician
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Julie A. Arnold, Forestry Technician

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  • B.S., Clemson University
  • USDA Forest Service Scientist
  • As a forestry technician in the research field, my work is a balance of field work (ie, collecting samples, taking measurements, and downloading dataloggers), lab work (ie, sample preparation and analysis), and data processing (ie, creating spreadsheets, charts, and graphs).

Dr. C. Meghan Downes, Economist

Dr. C. Meghan Downes, Economist
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Dr. C. Meghan Downes, Economist

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  • Ph.D., University of New Mexico
  • USDA Forest Service Scientist
  • As an economist, I study how humans use the environment for goods and services.  I also study the value people place on natural resources and processes.

Dr. Sharon Hood, Fire Ecologist

Sharon Wood, Fire Ecologist
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Sharon Wood, Fire Ecologist

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  • Ph.D., University of Montana
  • USDA Forest Service Scientist
  • Fire ecologists study how wildfire changes ecosystems.  As a fire ecologist, I study the impacts of removing fire from, or changing how fires burn in, forests which originally had fire. 

Dr. Steve Norman, Forest Ecologist

Dr. Steve Norman, Forest Ecologist
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Dr. Steve Norman, Forest Ecologist

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  • Ph.D., Penn State University
  • USDA Forest Service Scientist
  • A forest ecologist studies forest changes to understand what it means for forest values like clean air and water, wood products, wildlife habitat, and recreation.

Dr. Carl Trettin, Soil Ecologist

Dr. Carl Trettin, Soil Ecologist
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Dr. Carl Trettin, Soil Ecologist

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  • Ph.D., North Carolina State University
  • USDA Forest Service Scientist
  • Soil ecologists focus on understanding the interaction between soils, water resources, ecosystem productivity, and biodiversity to ensure sustainable landscapes.  Soil is the foundation for our agricultural and forest ecosystems.

Dr. David Wear, Resource Economist / Computer Modeler

Dr. David Wear, Resource Economist / Computer Modeler
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Dr. David Wear, Resource Economist / Computer Modeler

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  • Ph.D., University of Montana
  • USDA Forest Service Scientist
  • As a resource economist and computer modeler, I study how people choose to use and manage forests and natural resources.  This enables us to predict how people may use those resources in the future. 

Dr. Gregory Frey, Forest Economist

Gregory Frey, Forest Economist
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Gregory Frey, Forest Economist

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  • Ph.D., North Carolina State University
  • USDA Forest Service Scientist
  • A forest economist seeks to understand human decisions that impact forests.