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Jennifer Pontius

My research is cross-disciplinary with the ultimate goal of scaling plot-based forest health relationships to a landscape-scale using remote sensing and GIS modeling. To date, this work has focused on the detection and mapping of pre-visual forest decline symptoms resulting from invasive species, global climate change and acid deposition/nutrient depletion. These techniques provide a much-needed tool for the early detection of new and existing stressors and will allow forest management agencies to focus management efforts before stands are severely impacted.

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James Duncan

Jim Duncan serves as the director of the Forest Ecosystem Monitoring Cooperative, where he strives to improve access to information and monitoring of forested ecosystems in the northeast. He supports Cooperators by making long-term monitoring data on the region’s forested ecosystems more accessible, providing needed aggregation and syntheses of disparate data into products that are more useful for seeing and responding to change, and building new regional networks for greater collaboration in monitoring. He also supports interdisciplinary teams in UVM's Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources with spatiotemporal analysis and integration of social and ecological data, and serves on his towns tree board. He previously worked to increase transparency in the oil, gas and mining sectors by giving decision makers and citizens tools to map and interact with data, including in Mongolia and Ghana.

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Pia Ruisi-Besares

Pia is a Research Specialist and Project Manager for the Forest Ecosystem Monitoring Cooperative (FEMC) at UVM. A lover of botany, Pia is broadly interested in ecosystem function and the interactions that impact forest health. Prior to working with the FEMC, she served as Project Coordinator for an urban forestry non-profit, administering collaborative programs with the State of Hawaiʻi’s Urban and Community Forestry Program. She also worked as a Research Associate at the Lyon Arboretum for several years coordinating external research projects and indulging in her love of plants. Pia holds a B.A. in Environmental Science from Skidmore College and a M.S. in Natural Resources from the University of Hawaiʻi-Mānoa where she studied the restoration potential of a critically endangered species.

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John Truong

John started his work with FEMC as a summer field intern in 2016 after graduating from the University of Vermont. Following the field season, he transitioned from an intern to the Project and Field Coordinator. When he’s not working on field projects John can be found at our Spear St. office crunching data, working on outreach, and other miscellaneous tasks. Outside of work John enjoys volleyball, photography, fishing on his kayak, and drumming.

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Jeanine McGann

Jeanine has been working with ecology and informatics since 2003, when she was in the process of earning her master’s degree in Water Resource Management at the University of New Mexico. She has held positions in Web and Data Management with the Long Term Ecological Research Network, the Washington State Department of Ecology, and the New Mexico Bureau of Geology. She also managed data for a collaborative macroecology project involving four labs at three separate universities, and a related project with the Botanical Information and Ecology Network at University of Arizona. She enjoys biking, hiking, and kayaking.

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Elissa Schuett

Elissa is the Community Engagement Specialist for FEMC. She comes from a background of field ecology research and has transitioned into outreach and science communication. She uses her scientific understanding and background to connect academia, state and local agencies, community stakeholders, and the general public to research findings and program outcomes. Prior to working with FEMC, Elissa was staff in the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources as research and communications coordinator for the Lake Champlain Sea Grant program, Northeastern States Research Cooperative, and Vermont Water Resources and Lake Studies Center. At home in Burlington, Elissa is most often playing make-believe games with her two young children.

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Matthias Sirch

Matthias is working to collect and archive overlooked datasets throughout New England and New York. He has monitored forests as they relate to declining bird species across the United States and has pursued his interest in geospatial techniques between field seasons through the UVM Spatial Analysis Lab.

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Emma Tait

Emma is a Data Scientist for the Forest Ecosystem Monitoring Cooperative (FEMC). She has been working with FEMC since 2016, with a brief hiatus for a master’s degree, first as a student GIS technician and then as a full time GIS analyst working with regional partners standardizing and aggregating Forest Health data. Now as a Data Scientist she provides analytical, scripting, web development, spatial analysis, and data modeling support as well as maintaining FEMC’s online mapping portals, services and custom code. In her academic life she is a feminist digital geographer fascinated by digital natures in videogames. In her professional life she loves maps and the complex problem solving involved in GIS, scripting and data analysis, particularly when it is in service to important interdisciplinary environmental work. In the rest of her life she can be found playing disc golf, hiking, biking, fishing, canoeing, sewing, reading science fiction, and playing videogames.

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Nancy Voorhis

Nancy Voorhis is the Database and Web Developer for the Forest Ecosystem Monitoring Cooperative (FEMC). She is responsible for development and management of the FEMC data archive, website, and associated cyberinfrastructure. She most recently worked as a consultant developing software, performing web and database backend programming and providing system and network support to nonprofits and educational institutions. She started her career working for the USDA Forest Service as a Research Forester. Outside of work, she enjoys being active, and preferably outside, pursuing hiking, biking, cross country skiing, tennis, swimming – depending on the season.

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Alexana Wolf

Xana began as the Front End Web Developer for the FEMC in July 2020. She is happy to be back in Vermont after an 8 year hiatus working as a technical support engineer in San Francisco. In her free time Xana enjoys hiking with her dog, Biscuit, making stained glass artwork, and riding her motorcycle.

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Alyx Belisle

Alyx started working as a Data Archivist with FEMC in the winter of 2019. She graduated UVM with a BS in Plant and Soil Science. Most of her work experience is in residential and commercial sustainable landscaping. She is excited to explore the studies implemented by conservation programs in her home state and throughout New England.

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Emma Gwyn

Emma is an ECO AmeriCorps member serving with the Forest Ecosystem Monitoring Cooperative (FEMC) for the 2020/2021 service term. She graduated from the University of Vermont in the spring of 2019 with a BS in Environmental Sciences focused in Conservation Biology and Biodiversity and a minor in Geospatial Technologies. Emma will be assisting with the collection and quality assurance of data for Vermont’s forest health monitoring network. She will also assist the organization’s outreach and engagement efforts as well as focus on developing the accessibility of the FEMC’s Data Archive to maximize its utilization and. Outside of her AmeriCorps service, Emma enjoys canoeing the lakes and rivers of the Northeast.

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Josephine Robertson

Jo graduated from the University of Vermont in 2019 with a BS in Plant Biology. Jo's internship with the FEMC as a field technician in the summer of 2018 was foundational in developing her love of Vermont's flora and fauna. She rejoined the FEMC in the summer of 2020 to work as a field crew lead, and transitioned to working as a data technician once the field season ended. She loves nothing more than being outside, immersed in the biodiversity that comprises Vermont's forests, marshes and swamps.

Current Interns

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Julia Dell'Amore
  • Intern
  • Joined FEMC: 2020

My name is Julia Dell'Amore and I'm from Burlington, Vermont. I am currently studying environmental science and minoring in French at the University of Vermont. In my free time, I enjoy getting out on the lake and skiing. I am excited to be working with the FEMC as a data research assistant!

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Lukas Kopacki
  • Intern
  • Joined FEMC: 2020

Lukas Kopacki is from Ringwood, NJ and is currently a junior majoring in forestry with minors in history and geospatial technologies at UVM. When off of work, Lukas enjoys getting lost in the woods, gardening and woodworking. Lukas is glad to be afforded the opportunity to work at the FEMC and has cultivated a love for data within his three months aboard.

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Venus Rohra
  • Intern
  • Joined FEMC: 2020

I am an Environmental Engineering major with a minor in Pure Mathematics. I am a Data Research Assistant here at FEMC and I help with digitizing at risk environment data and other digitization projects.

Past Staff

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Jake Van Deursen
  • ECO Americorps
  • Active: 2019-2020

Jake began his service with FEMC in the fall of 2019 as a member of ECO AmeriCorps. He graduated from St. Lawrence University in the spring of 2019 with a BA degree in Environmental Studies and Economics. Jake will be assisting with the collection and archive of high quality data from Vermont’s health monitoring network. He also focuses on developing routes of outreach and engagement to maximize the potential for utilization of FEMC archives and products. Having grown up in the heart of New Hampshire's White Mountain National Forest, Jake is now excited to explore the terrain of Vermont's Green Mountains.

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Alexandra Kosiba
  • State of Vermont Climate Forester
  • Active: 2017-2020

Alexandra (Ali) is a forest ecologist and tree physiologist who specializes in understanding tree response to climate and other environmental change. She is the former Research Projects Coordinator for FEMC where she oversaw and analyzed data for regional and state projects. Ali received her PhD and MS degrees in Natural Resources (Forest Science) from the Rubinstein School of Environment and Natural Resources at UVM, after which she worked as a Research Specialist analyzing regional forest disturbance data, and then the Instructor for Dendrology and Natural Resource Ecology and Assessment. Currently, Ali is the Climate Forester for the State of Vermont where she helps provide scientific expertise to the Department of Forests, Parks, and Recreation, guide forest adaptation strategies, and create resources for education and outreach.

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Carl Waite
  • VMC Director
  • Active: 1991-2016

As Program Coordinator for the Vermont Monitoring Cooperative (VMC), I work with cooperators from state and federal agencies, academia and environmental non-profit organizations to coordinate their monitoring and research activities and to try to connect them to other folks or groups with similar interests. I am also site supervisor for several national environmental monitoring programs with sampling equipment located at the Proctor Maple Research Center in Underhill, including: NADP/NTN, NADP/MDN, USDA UVB, AMNet and AMON. Additionally, I am a research team member of the NForM Climate Change Study and Aiken Green Roof experiment.

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Mim Pendleton
  • Site Operator
  • Active: 1995-2018

Starting as a part-time site coverage operator at FEMC’s air quality site in Underhill in the mid-1990s, Mim became the primary air quality technician in the early 2000s. As needs changed over the years, Mim edited the VMC newsletter, worked on communications and outreach, and various FEMC publications. Along with the rest of the FEMC staff, she has organized the Annual Conference, edited the Annual Monitoring Update and worked on our database and website. Mim retired in the spring of 2018, but remains on staff as a consultant and extra pair of hands for the air quality site. Outside of work, she enjoys gardening and hanging around with her ancient horse and other critters, and traveling to new places, especially cities.

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Judy Rosovsky
  • Outreach Coordinator
  • Active: 1996-2017

Judy works with research biologists on a variety of forest health projects, ranging from insect diversity to acid rain monitoring with the goal of facilitating communication between research scientists, politicians and the lay public; and to archive and make forest ecosystem and other ecological information available in an accessible manner to a wider audience. Until recently Judy taught as an adjunct instructor in local colleges, primarily at Johnson State College. Judy previously split her time between FEMC and the USDA’s APHIS Plant Protection and Quarantine (PPQ) program, which is a regulatory arm of the USDA. She is now the State Entomologist for the state of Vermont

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Caroline Drayton
  • Environmental Technician
  • Active: 2016-2017

Beginning as a Perennial Intern through the Rubenstein school, Carloline was hired as temporary staff in 2017. Here, she worked on analyzing and developing a methodology for the FHM Hemi photo protocol. She also worked on establishing a protocol for FHM's dendroband project.

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Mike Finnegan
  • Database and Web Developer, Site Operator
  • Active: 2016-2019

Mike focuses on developing digital tools that can be used to manage and visualize data gathered by our cooperators, also serving as the main field technician for the FEMC's remote meteorlogical stations and is the primary site operator at the air quality site in Underhill, VT. Graduating from the University of Vermont with a B.S. in computer science and working as a field technician for years, Mike has developed an understanding of data requirements and idiosyncrasies. Outside of work Mike loves biking, climbing, skiing, and playing music.

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Daria Etchings
  • Intern, 2020
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Kira Cincotta
  • Intern, 2020
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Maddie Quill
  • Intern, 2020
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Julia Pupko
  • Intern, 2019
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Gene Desideraggio
  • Intern, 2018
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Brenna Christensen
  • Intern, 2019
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John Benner
  • Intern, 2019
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Eva Paradiso
  • Intern, 2019
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Danielle Ward
  • Intern, 2018
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Stephen Rotella
  • Intern, 2018
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Ismar Biberovic
  • Intern, 2018