LCC Leverages Expertise to Build Communities of Science
for Tallgrass Prairie Conservation
By Ashley Spratt
The Eastern Tallgrass Prairie and Big Rivers Landscape Conservation Cooperative (LCC) welcomes a team of dedicated natural resources professionals to advance and coordinate conservation efforts to restore and connect wildlife with people across the functional working landscape of America’s heartland.
"We are proud of the inclusive nature of our LCC community, and are taking full advantage of the expertise embedded within each of our partner organizations to continue to build a more complete community of science dedicated to addressing shared natural resources challenges in the Midwest," said Glen Salmon, LCC Coordinator.
Our LCC community welcomes Illinois Natural History Survey staff members Jamie Ellis, Lama BouFajreldin, Susan McIntyre, and Craig Miller as they take the helm of four Technical Advisory Groups (TAGs) focused on the following focal areas: prairie restoration; river restoration; agroecology; and urban watersheds. Using a structured decision making approach, TAG coordinators will work alongside nearly 300 members of the TAGs from federal, state, NGO, and academic institutions to identify limiting factors that impede successful conservation decision making as a precursor to developing business plans bridging research and management for each of these four focal areas.
"The LCC creates a forum where conservation practitioners can build upon each other's capacities to accomplish goals over broad landscapes and across jurisdictional boundaries that would never be achievable by a few organizations working on their own. The Illinois Natural History Survey is excited to be a partner in this endeavor," said Brian Anderson, Director of the Illinois Natural History Survey.
The LCC also welcomes graduate students Kristin Shaw from Indiana University and Megan Cross from the University of Minnesota. These graduate students will be working within the LCC community to support human dimensions research focusing on agriculture, land use and urban planning.
Jamie Ellis (INHS) – Prairie Restoration TAG Coordinator
James (Jamie) Ellis is a botanist who works as the Vegetation Survey Coordinator for the Critical Trends Assessment Program at the Illinois Natural History. A native of rural west-central Illinois, Jamie earned a B.S. in Ecology, Ethology, and Evolution from the University of Illinois and then traveled north to earn a M.S. in Natural Resource Ecology and Management from the University of Michigan. He is responsible for coordination of data collection at hundreds of plots in forest, wetland, and grassland habitats across Illinois. Jamie’s interest in prairie ecology, restoration, and management comes from his direct observations of the needs and challenges of landscape-scale conservation in his travels across the prairie state over the past 15 field seasons. Jamie also volunteers his time with local conservation organizations including Grand Prairie Friends and the Urbana Park District.
Lama BouFajreldin (INHS) – River Restoration TAG Coordinator
Lama BouFajreldin is an Associate Research Scientist at the Human Dimensions Research Program with the Illinois Natural History Survey. Lama has a Ph.D. in Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She also holds a B.S. and M.S. in Environmental Health from the American University of Beirut, Lebanon. Lama's research interests relate to human dimensions of watershed management and aquatic invasive species.
Susan McIntyre (INHS) – Agroecology TAG Coordinator
Susan McIntyre works as a Wetland Plant Ecologist at the Illinois Natural History Survey. She earned a B.S. in Zoology, a B.A. Psychology and a Master of Natural Resources in Policy and Management from North Carolina State University. She has worked with a variety of agencies, including local NRCS and Soil and Water Conservation District offices, North Carolina State Parks, North Carolina Extension Forestry, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the Department of the Army. Her primary interests are habitat degradation and restoration within urban and agricultural landscapes and their provision of ecosystem services, particularly for wildlife and water quality. She is particularly interested in methods for improving the ecological relationship of urban and agricultural areas with their adjacent natural communities. Some of her past research has focused on private landowner incentives for conservation through USDA programs, and she views outreach to landowners as a critical component to successful conservation.
Craig Miller (INHS) Urban Watersheds TAG Coordinator
Craig Miller received his doctoral degree in Parks and Recreation Management from Pennsylvania State University specializing in the human dimensions of wildlife management. He holds doctoral minors in statistics, wildlife ecology, and forest resources. Craig has conducted over 100 mail, internet, telephone, and on-site surveys in 16 states for state and federal agencies. He has administered over $4 million in grant funds, authored more than 50 peer-reviewed journal and over 80 technical reports. His work has included studies of agriculture producers’ involvement and support for conservation programs, public knowledge of wetlands, Gulf coast erosion and hypoxia, attitudes toward groundwater quality, and perceptions of urban wildlife. He has served on the faculty at the University of Idaho, Louisiana State University, the University of Georgia and currently is adjunct Associate Professor with the University of Illinois. Craig leads the Human Dimensions Program at the Illinois Natural History Survey.
Megan Cross - USFWS Pathways Program
Megan Cross is a current M.S. student in the Natural Resources Science and Management Program at the University of Minnesota, specializing in economics, policy, management and society. Megan received her B.A. in Comparative Cultures and Politics and B.S. in Fisheries and Wildlife Biology from Michigan State University (MSU). She built upon her coursework by spending two years working for the MSU Extension Director’s office, furthering her training in science-related outreach, and completing an internship at Ducks Unlimited in their Governmental Affairs Office in Washington, D.C., gaining exposure to the policies and legislation that impact wetlands, water quality and waterfowl breeding areas. She also spent a summer studying sustainable agriculture at EARTH University in Guácimo, Costa Rica. Megan has worked for the Service since April 2012. She worked as a Student Career Experience Program biological science technician for the Ecological Services division of the East Lansing Field Office before moving to Minneapolis, where she has started work with the Landscape Conservation Cooperatives (LCC), focusing on Gulf hypoxia and private landowner motivations.
Kristin Shaw - Conservation Specialist, SPEA Service Corps Fellow
Kristin Shaw earned her B.S. in Biology and Political Science with minors in Sustainability Studies and Religion from Morningside College, Sioux City, Iowa, in May 2013. Currently she is a candidate at Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs for an M.S. in Environmental Science and M.A. in Public Affairs, with a concentration in environmental management. Kristin brings passion for the environment and a willingness to learn to the LCC community. During her undergraduate career, Kristin co-founded an environmental student group with a mission to promote environmental and sustainability awareness on campus as well as in the Sioux-land community while working with groups like the Northwest Iowa Sierra Club Group, Loess Hills Audubon Society, and Morningside College’s Sustainability Committee. She has worked with Woodbury County Conservation Board as a volunteer, Naturalist/Habitat Intern, and an Outdoor Skills Intern at Dorothy Pecaut Nature Center. Her work with the LCCs will focus on urban watershed management.