INTERESTS AND BACKGROUND
My professional academic history and interests are diverse. Consequently, I’m willing to consider a range of academic pursuits and graduate student projects. My primary research interests are associated with behavioral ecology, which is fundamental to addressing many other scientific questions such as conservation strategies, habitat management, and human-wildlife conflict.
I am also very interested in promoting conservation through citizen education and engagement. To this end, I developed the Florida Master Naturalist Program (www.MasterNaturalist.org), a natural history and conservation education program for adults that offers multiple courses taught by a statewide network of certified FMNP instructors. We typically issue nearly 1,500 FMNP graduate certificates each year to mixed lay and professional audiences. Many FMNP graduates become very active in conservation efforts and contribute thousands of hours and millions of dollars to the state of Florida every year, whereas others have improved their professional skills, changed careers, and shared FMNP information in school classrooms to begin inspiring conservation leaders of the future.
I have only recently returned to the WEC faculty after serving administrative roles as Associate Dean of Extension and Program Leader for Natural Resources, and as Associate Director of Florida Sea Grant and Program Leader for Sea Grant Extension programs during 2013-2019. During this seven year administrative period I had little time for personal academic pursuits except for the FMNP, which I continued to lead and grow. Consequently, in many ways I am renewing my interest and activities in research and teaching and look forward to sharing this new phase of my career with faculty and student colleagues.