Few faculty members have just one role in the Field Naturalist Program. Our faculty are teachers, advisors, mentors, and friends. Students regularly take classes with faculty outside the program too, including in the Biology, Plant Biology, and Plant and Soil Science departments and in the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources. Non-program faculty sit on FN graduate committees as well.
An FN graduate himself, Walter is the program director and teaches Landscape Inventory & Assessment using the classic Field Naturalist "layer cake" approach to ecology. He is the founding director of the PLACE (Place-based Landscape Analysis & Community Engagement) Program and co-coordinator of the Greater Burlington Sustainability Education Network. He also coordinates the Rubenstein School’s dual master’s degree program with Vermont Law School and teaches ecology there each summer.
Walking through the forest without knowing how to read the landscape is like walking through a library without knowing how to read a book. Forests record their histories in rock formations, tree rings, cellar holes, and beaver chew. Alicia guides students through the Field Naturalist Practicum as they solve these forest mysteries and cultivate an intimate understanding of the natural world. She is Executive Director of the Vermont Master Naturalist Program, Field Naturalist for the City of Burlington, and an alum of the FN Program.
Josh is a science writer, environmental journalist, and photographer whose work has appeared in a variety of places, from the Wall Street Journal to Conservation Magazine to the NASA homepage. He teaches Professional Writing, helping FN students tackle a wide range of styles. Since 2006, he has been a staff writer at UVM covering all the natural and physical sciences. His reporting work has taken him from bat caves in Vermont to the ice sheet of Greenland.
Cathy teaches Field Botany, a fast-paced course designed to acquaint FN students with the diversity of vascular plant species in Vermont and the organization of those species into natural communities. Since 1991, she has taught a variety of courses at UVM in field botany, plant systematics, and plant evolution. Her particular loves are walking in the woods, getting to know new plants and landscapes, and sharing good food and music with friends.
Seasoned pteridologist, director of the Pringle Herbarium since 1974, and former department chair of 24 years, Dave has been instrumental in charting a course into the future for the FN Program. He has advised numerous Field Naturalists and is a frequent guest lecturer on ferns in Field Botany. Every other January, he leads a field course on tropical botany in Costa Rica, which many FNs have taken. He lives in Jericho, where he has served as town moderator since 1999.
Much of Sonia's work happens behind the scenes, where she helps organize new-student orientation and solves other logistical puzzles for the program. She also co-teaches Fundamentals of Field Science. Elsewhere in the department, she works on projects ranging from experimental research on poplar trees to exhibits of the university’s natural history collections. She graduated from the FN Program in 2017. Outdoors, she enjoys birding by ear.
An ecologist specializing in native pollinator conservation, Jason co-teaches Fundamentals of Field Science and Winter Ecology. Since graduating from the FN Program in 2019, he has worked with UVM's Gund Institute for Environment to survey native bee populations across Vermont while teaching courses on the topic. He lives on an off-grid homestead in the northern Green Mountains where he plans to cultivate native trees, shrubs, and perennials for conservation.
Stephen teaches field geology, in which students explore key field sites within a day’s drive of UVM to understand the geologic underpinnings of northern New England. This includes both the rock history and the glacial geology of the area, which is the focus of Stephen's research. When he's not hiking for work or pleasure, he's likely to be bicycling or nordic skiing.
Jeffrey directed the Field Naturalist Program for 33 years, retiring in 2021. No one has done more to shape the ethos of the program than he. A forest ecologist for most of his career, Jeff was once a French teacher, a Peace Corps volunteer, an environmental consultant, a park ranger in Alaska, a fishing guide in Maine, and a bunch of other things that aren’t resume material.
The vital socio-ecological component of the program curriculum owes its existence to Deane. He was director of the Rubenstein School's Ecological Planning Program, the FN sister program, until his retirement in 2017. Now he and his wife live in Seattle, near their grandchildren. Deane still serves on the board of the FNEP Alumni Association.
The former writing instructor, Bryan is now a consulting field naturalist chasing birds and insects. He's sometimes lured back to campus to discuss anything from the Oxford comma to sparrow identification. Most recently, he's been photographing rare butterflies for the State of Maine and writing a book on what a dragonfly tells us about the planet and the human condition.