Associate Professor ~ Director of the Field Naturalist Graduate Program

Jeffrey Hughes


Office Location:

267 Jeffords Hall

  • 802-656-0708

Areas of Expertise and/or Research

Landscape Ecology, Environmental Problem Solving


  • Ph.D. 1987, Cornell University

Research and/or Creative Works

In the past, most of my research centered around ecological questions having real-world implications (such as): (i) how wide riparian zones need to be to conserve plant and animal populations; (ii) ways by which riparian zones might be managed to protect streams from upslope pollutants; (iii) how roads (abandoned and active) impact the surrounding and future forest; and (iv) how sugar maples growing at the edge of their ecological range can be used to forecast how climate change will alter forest ecosystems.

Those types of questions still captivate me but my emphasis these days has shifted to writing books that pull together lessons learned from teaching, research, consulting, and advising; (earlier adventures as a Peace Corps Volunteer, Alaskan park ranger, Maine Guide, cruise ship naturalist, prep school teacher, and logger were instructive also, as was working in a milk jug factory with folks who had no other employment options). Here’s what I’ve been working on:

Forthcoming Books

  • Hughes, J. W. 2018. Things Colleges Should Teach Students (but don’t) (in review)
    Synopsis: College students have no way of knowing what they don’t know or what they need to know. This book fixes that. Half of the book teaches professional norms and people smarts; the other half answers questions that a zillion students ask every semester. Figuring out what to cover was easy – professors and employers made that abundantly clear!
  • Hughes, J. W. 2018. The Environmental Professional’s Toolbox (in review)
    Synopsis: To be effective and not go crazy, environmental professionals need to do all kinds of things they don’t know how to do – find money, manage budgets, work with difficult people, convince people to do things they don’t want to do, run meetings with warring factions, etc., etc., etc. There’s never time to learn these skills before they’re needed, so we blunder through, stressed out of our minds. The Environmental Professional’s Toolbox offers a more pleasant and sure-footed alternative.
  • Hughes, J. W. 2018? How to Build a Grizzly Bear (in preparation)
    Synopsis: As we age, too many of us lose our child-like wonder about how nature works. This book, for non-science folk, seeks to rekindle that sense of wonder by (sneakily) presenting scientific principles as light-hearted, playful mysteries and adventures.
  • Hughes, J. W. 2007. Environmental Problem Solving: a How-To Guide. University Press of New England.
    Synopsis: It’s easy to complain about the status quo or about the world falling down around your ears. It’s less easy to do something about it. Environmental Problem Solving: a How-To Guide is for those who want to make things better but don’t know how.

Courses Taught

Landscape Inventory & Assessment (NR 385/PBIO 395); Fundamentals of Field Science (PBIO 223); Environmental Problem Solving (PBIO 226); Forest Ecosystem Analysis (FOR 122); Becoming a Modern Day Thoreau (HCOL 186)