Kim Knowlton, DrPH
Senior Scientist and Deputy Director, Science Center, Natural Resources Defense Council (New York); Assistant Professor, Department of Environmental Health Sciences, Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health (New York)
Kim Knowlton has worked for nearly 20 years as a health scientist specializing in the public health impacts of climate change. She advocates for strategies to prepare for and prevent these impacts, especially in vulnerable communities. Since joining the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) in 2007, she has been helping communities adapt to our changed climate, connect the dots between climate and health, and has put science in the service of advocacy to protect people and the planet. Her research into the links between climate change and health has helped the NRDC and its partners to strengthen health preparedness in city and state climate adaptation planning. She has also studied heat- and ozone-related mortality and illness as well as the connections among climate change, infectious illnesses, flooding, aeroallergens, and respiratory ailments such as allergies and asthma. Dr. Knowlton was a co-convening lead author on the Human Health chapter of the Third U.S. National Climate Assessment report, and among the researchers who participated in the second New York City Panel on Climate Change.
Susan Beatty, Ph.D.
Emerita Professor of Biology and Past Provost for The Sage Colleges (Troy and Albany, New York); Emerita Professor of Geography, University of Colorado, Boulder (Boulder, Colorado).
Susan Beatty has been involved with the Huyck Preserve for more than 40 years. From 1975 to 1981, she was a Cornell University graduate student conducting dissertation research in plant ecology and soil science. She has returned to the Preserve every summer to continue her research on forest understory dynamics. After finishing her Ph.D., she held faculty and administrative positions at the University of California Los Angeles (1982-1990), the University of Colorado Boulder (1989-2011), and at Portland State University in Portland, Oregon (2011-2014), before finally coming “home” to Rensselaerville in 2014 for a job as provost at The Sage Colleges.
Dr. Beatty has also served as the Huyck Preserve’s Scientist in Residence (2010-2011), a member of the Board of Directors (2011-2019; chair in 2015-2017), and as the Summer Research Fellow in 2019. She has supervised graduate and undergraduate students, many of whom have completed Ph.D., masters, or undergraduate honors projects at the Preserve.
Tom Alworth, M.S.
Deputy Commissioner, New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (Albany, New York)
Tom Alworth was Assistant Director at the Huyck Preserve in the 1990s and, in addition to coordinating the Huyck researchers’ field work, he conducted a seven-year study on the reproductive behavior of the house wren (Troglodytes aedon). After leaving the Preserve, he served as executive director of the Hitchcock Center for the Environment (Amherst, Massachusetts), and later became the executive director of the Catskill Center (Arkville, New York). Since 2008, he has been a deputy commissioner in the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, and is responsible for leading and overseeing the agency’s management and protection of natural resources across the state. He is an avid fly-fisherman, hiker, and a big fan of John Burroughs and the Catskill Mountains.
Ph.D. Candidate and Teaching Assistant, Drexel University (Philadelphia)
Meghan Barrett received a 2018 Huyck grant for her research on Eastern carpenter bees (Xylocopa virginica) and is continuing to conduct research into the summer of 2019. In her current project, she seeks to understand how communal brood chambers influence the development, sex-allocation ratios, and morphology (structure) of the poorly studied, solitary grass-carrying wasp (Isodontia auripes). Her long-term research is on Hymenoptera (bees, ants, and wasps), using these systems to understand the relationships among morphological, behavioral, and physiological variation, while trying to determine the environmental and developmental variables that generate this variation. In addition to pursuing her Ph.D., she is also working on a masters in Undergraduate STEM Education at Drexel and studying the impact of active-learning strategies on the retention of information in biology classrooms.
Joan Herbers, Ph.D.
Dean and Professor Emerita of Evolution, Ecology and Organismal Biology and of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, Ohio State University (Columbus, Ohio)
Ecologist Joan Herbers has studied the inner workings of ant colonies all over the world, including the Huyck Preserve, for most of her academic life. She was an assistant professor in zoology at the University of Vermont (Burlington, Vermont) when she first learned about the Huyck Preserve from Cornell scientist Thomas Eisner (who had conducted research at the Preserve in the 1970s). In 1980, she began exploring the ant fauna there and stumbled upon a phenomenon that would consume her for the next 20 years: Some species of the genus Leptothorax often consisted of ant workers and more than one queen peacefully cohabiting. This habit of polygyny (multiple queening) had been described in the literature, but Dr. Herbers was the first to ask, “Why would two queens share?” Her work on the Huyck Preserve is documented in some 50 papers, many co-authored with students. Her students have also received Huyck research grants to do work on ants. One of those groups, headed by Susanne Foitzik (now a professor at Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz in Germany) continues visiting the Preserve to this day.
George Robinson, Ph.D.
Emeritus Professor of Biological Sciences, State University of New York at Albany (Albany, New York); former Director of the Graduate Program in Biodiversity, Conservation, and Policy
George Robinson, who began conducting research at the Huyck Preserve in the 1990s, has been on the faculty of the University at Albany since 1993 and teaches courses on biodiversity, conservation, restoration ecology, plant ecology, biogeography, and introduction to biology. He has supervised 44 graduate theses and dissertations, 11 of which were based on research at the Preserve including studies of forest succession, beech bark disease, stream ecology, and the ecology of invasive earthworms. His current work at the Preserve involves studying the phenology (timing of biological events in relation to changes in season and climate) and carbon allocation (the way resources are shared among leaves, stems, and roots) of coniferous trees in response to longer growing seasons.
Dr. Robinson is a member of the Preserve’s Scientific Advisory Committee, which he chaired for 15 years; has served on the Board of Directors (1998-2012) including a term as vice president (2011-2012); and spent a summer as the Preserve’s resident Senior Research Fellow (2014).
Owen D.V. Sholes, Ph.D.
Retired Professor of Biology, Department of Natural Sciences, Assumption College (Worcester, Massachusetts)
After earning a Ph.D. in ecology from Cornell University, Dr. Sholes became a professor at Assumption College teaching biology, ecology, and environmental science. He and his wife live on five hectares of land in Rutland, Massachusetts. Dr. Sholes has spent much of his time, whether for teaching, research or relaxation, in the fields and forest near his home or elsewhere in Massachusetts, New York (Huyck Preserve), Pennsylvania, Arizona, and New Jersey. At home, he enjoys having farmers for neighbors, deer and woodchucks in the garden, and a stream along the edge of the property. His research included studying old-field communities, forest succession, and tree-ring analysis of disturbance events. At home and away, Dr. Sholes has experienced firsthand the inexorable changes in the landscape which inspired his interest in looking at Robert Frost as a naturalist in his recent book Stopping By Woods: Robert Frost as New England Naturalist (2018).
Kerry Woods, Ph.D.
Professor, Natural Sciences, Bennington College (Bennington, Vermont);
Director of Research, Ives Lake Field Station of the Huron Mountain Wildlife Foundation (Big Bay, Michigan)
Kerry Woods, who has been a member of the Huyck Preserve’s Scientific Advisory Committee since 2000, is a plant community ecologist interested in the long-term dynamics of old-growth forests of northeastern North America. His recent work includes long-term studies of old-growth forests in Michigan; analyses of landscape patterns as related to the land-use history of the Taconic Mountains; and collaborative biogeographic analyses of late-successional, cool temperate forests in Europe, Asia, and North America. Dr. Woods has been on the faculty of Bennington College since 1986 and teaches ecology, evolution, and field biology. He is the Director of Research at the Ives Lake Field Station of the Huron Mountain Wildlife Foundation in northern Michigan. The station provides access to large tracts of old-growth forests and several pristine lakes. He has also served as an editor for journals of the Ecological Society of America and the International Association for Vegetation Science.