Current MERE Staff
Kyle Rodd, Project Coordinator 2015
Interested in landscape ecology and animal tracking, Kyle is a M.S. candidate in the Conservation Biology cohort studying the tracks and sign of the animals of New England, as well as the ecological relationships of those who leave them; he was also a summit steward in 2014. Originally from Western Massachusetts, he has traveled all over the country, settling for a time in the Bay Area before returning to the New England woods. Kyle brings years of outdoor education and public outreach experience to the MERE project, and is excited to be furthering the mission of alpine stewardship throughout the Northeast.
Jenifer Dickson, Summit Steward 2015
Jenifer is from Wilder Vermont, growing up nearby to Mount Ascutney, she took to her love of the mountains at a young age. She is currently a Master’s candidate in the Conservation Biology program. Her work is focused on alpine plant species composition of snowbed communities and the potential effects on these communities from climate change. Jenifer joined MERE at the start of 2015 and plans to continue and finish the work started on the Monadnock Plant Guide. She spend the summer continuing the ongoing research and data collection in the crevice communities and worked in Thoreau Bog. She is very excited to be a Summit Steward on Mount Monadnock and to use this opportunity to continue to explore and advance her research field and to provide education of the mountains and the alpine for the public.
Jay DeGregorio, Summit Steward 2015
Jay is currently a MS candidate in Environmental Studies with a concentration in Environmental Education. He is interested in educating children and young adults in non-formal settings, educational outreach, and getting people of all ages to experience the natural world. Originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Jay grew up loving the outdoors from a young age. He spent time living and traveling in various places throughout Pennsylvania and beyond for undergraduate study at Penn State and through internship work. Aside from teaching, Jay’s other passion lies in snowboarding. Since he was four Jay has loved recreating in the mountains, and over the years has fostered a lifelong love and respect for mountainous landscapes and places.
Alyssa Milo, Summit Steward 2015
Alyssa comes to MERE as a Master’s International student in the Sustainable Development and Climate Change concentration. Born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, her passion for hiking, backpacking, mountain biking, and all things outdoors is quickly finding its way into her time here at AUNE. She is excited to be able to expand and share her newly acquired New England knowledge with others as a Summit Steward before continuing her previous work with urban farming during her Peace Corps service next fall.
Daniel Prial, Environmental Educator
Daniel has always been passionate about people and nature. Growing up in Connecticut, he had plenty of space to run around and has continued running around through Europe, Africa and the American West. Most recently Daniel worked for the National Park Service in California, teaching the public about the great conservationist John Muir. Whether cooling in a waterfall or bagging a peak, Daniel has always shared his passion for nature with others. Daniel is now a Master’s Candidate in Environmental Education with a focus on empowering communities through environmental experiences.
Hillary Ballantine, Summit Steward 2014
Emily Beck, Biodiversity Curriculum Project (Ed/Outreach)
Christopher Beltz, Researcher 2010
Jonathan Billig, Volunteer Program Coordinator 2011
Amber Boland, (Research) Assessment of Ice Storm Damage
Marilyn Castriotta, Summit Steward 2012
Alexandra Coombs, (Research) Monadnock Plant Collection Project
Eva Dannenberg, Research Assistant, 2013
Tim Demers, Summit Steward, 2012
Diane Eno, Creative Explorations
Meg Fairchild, Project Coordinator 2008-2009 – Outreach and Strategic Planning (Ed/Outreach)
Chris Frauenhofer, Summit Steward 2014
Christine Gleason, Monadnock Advisory Commission Brochure (Ed/Outreach)
Andrew Glikin, Lantern Slides Project (Ed/Outreach)
Melissa Green, (Research) Distribution of Monadnock’s Understory Communities
Nathaniel Hoag, Voice of Monadnock
Bonnie Hudspeth, Writing/Journalism (Ed/Outreach)
Annie Jacobs, Writing/Journalism (Ed/Outreach)
Hana Kiewicz-Schlansker, Summit Steward 2013
Samantha Langolis, Summit Trail Steward 2009 (Ed/Outreach)
Rose Lenahan, Education Coordinator – Facilitation of Keene High School Student Work (Ed/Outreach)
Tyler Maikath, MERE Project Coordinator (Ed/Outreach)
David Mallard, (Research) Description & Distribution of Monadnock’s Natural Communities
Joe Martell, Research Assistant
Andy Patari, Curriculum Coordinator (Ed/Outreach)
John Peckham, MERE Researcher 2013
Kari Post, Summit Trail Steward, 2010 (Ed/Outreach)
Adam Rusk, Data Analyst, 2014
Jamie Samowitz, Education Coordinator 2011
Lauren Schottenfeld, Summit Trail Steward 2009 (Ed/Outreach)
Ruby Stahel, Summit Steward and Educator 2012
Lindsay St. Pierre, Project Coordinator 2014
Josh Surette, Summit Trail Steward 2009 (Ed/Outreach)Matt Walter, Research Assistant
Jill Weiss, Project Coordinator 2010
Andrea Wilkins, Summit Steward and Educator 2012/2013
Yvonne Yeung, Summit Steward and Educator 2011
Past MERE Staff
With a background in education and science and a passion for the environment, Lindsay came into MERE as a research assistant working with the MERE baseline data as well as assisting with the data analysis protocol for Adopt-A-Crevice-Community program. Academically Lindsay’s interests are in forest ecology, carbon sequestration, climate change and other conservation issues. Her master’s research in the conservation biology program involved investigating characteristics of riparian forest that link to stream bank stability. Lindsay continues with MERE as Project Coordinator and currently is a doctoral candidate pursuing research in forest ecology and carbon sequestration.
Hillary Ballantine is a candidate for a MS in Environmental Studies at Antioch University New England. Within MERE, she is a summit steward. Hillary has a long running passion for conservation, particularly in the marine environment. She enjoys educating the public on conservation issues and ways for them to get involved.
Adam comes to MERE in pursuit of his Masters of Environmental Studies with a concentration in Conservation Biology. Working as a data manager and analyst, he is working with the Mt. Monadnock baseline data, compiling a master dataset and preparing it for a large resampling effort on the mountain in 2017. Additionally, he works on projects for the Alpine Stewardship Network, Point O Woods Nature Center, and the Adopt-a-Crevice-Community project. Adam’s academic focus is in quantitative landscape conservation utilizing Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and remote sensing to facilitate management and conservation efforts. His Master’s thesis involves modeling bat species distributions using LiDAR (light detection and ranging) derived 3D forest metrics as predictors.
John is originally from southern Vermont and calls the Green Mountains home. He is interested in the relationship between wildlife and forest ecology, and is currently pursuing his M.S. in Conservation Biology. As part of his Master’s research, John is investigating the impact of snowshoe hare herbivory on the understory and regeneration layers in the spruce-fir zone of Mount Monadnock. He is excited to be a part of the MERE project, as it offers him the opportunity to explore his research interests in a setting he thoroughly enjoys.
Eva is a Masters candidate in the Conservation Biology concentration at Antioch. She is currently focused on plant ecology, particularly in rare alpine and boreal ecosystems in the Northeast. Eva’s professional background includes work in rare plant monitoring, wetlands ecology and delineation, river and stream assessment, and nature education. While with MERE as a research assistant, she has identified the approximately 45 plant species present on the summit of Monadnock, and resampled the mountaintop plant communities as part of a long-term study on vegetation changes over time. She is also working on managing data, and illustrating and rewriting a field guide to the plants of Monadnock’s summit, for MERE.
Growing up in Adirondack State Park in upstate New York, Hana developed her love for wild places roaming the woods around her house. She went on to study ecology at the University of Vermont. This is her first year at Antioch University in the Conservation Biology program. She hopes that her involvement with MERE as a Summit Steward will give her a chance to become acquainted with the ecology of Mt. Monadnock.
Coordinator of 2013 Alpine Stewardship Gathering
Marilyn brings to a combination of experience in mountain climbing, expertise in public outreach, leadership in outdoor recreation, and passion for alpine conservation. She is excited to be part of a team that is ecologically and educationally minded in its efforts to both protect and enjoy one of the most climbed mountains in the world! The focus of Marilyn’s MS Conservation Biology research thesis is Adirondack alpine in the face of climate change. In particular, she will be assessing the snowbank community, which is vulnerable to the effects of increasing global average temperature and erratic weather patterns.
Andrea is a Master’s candidate in Environmental Education. She joined the MERE staff in Fall of 2012 from Lake Tahoe, Nevada. She has extensive backpacking and outdoor experience in the east and west coasts and is passionate about instilling a sense of wonder for nature through outdoor educational programs. Currently pursuing a M.S. in Environmental Education, she hopes to foster a stewardship ethic and fascination for the mountain in the visitors and students that she engages through summit stewardship, school outreach, and research.
Tim is pursuing his M.S. in Sustainable Development and Climate Change to compliment his 5 years of professional experience in the field of wildlife biology. After working for 5 years in places like the Mojave Desert, and south-central Florida, Tim is interested in land conservation and stewardship so people can share our world with the other species we share it with. As a lover of the great outdoors, Tim is excited to be a part of MERE and have a chance to engage with the public in the effort to educate hikers and other outdoor enthusiasts about the importance of conservation and proper stewardship of the natural world.
After a career in environmental education and grassroots organizational capacity building Jill is examining the application of communication theories to regional conservation and ecological stewardship. Needs assessment, networking and strategic planning for MERE are part of her exploration. MERE can prepare recreational users to become active conservation participants. She would like to see it become the ‘go to’ source in New England for ecological and cultural information and education for Mt. Monadnock, the gateway peak to the mountains of the Northeast.
In December of 2008, a severe ice storm struck Mount Monadnock and much of central New England. The occurrence of this ice storm presented the MERE Project with a unique opportunity, as there is not often baseline data available from which to estimate change in forest structure after such an event. Dave Mallard’s and Melissa Green’s research will be valuable to this assessment. Amber Boland will begin assessing canopy damage and calculating the volume of coarse woody debris on the forest floor this summer to assess the direct impact the storm had on the forest structure.
In the Fall of 2008, Alexandra Coombs began working with the MERE Project to plan and
conduct her Master’s Project – an inventory and collection of the flora of Mount Monadnock.
In 2009, Coombs began collecting samples of all flora found on Monadnock, which will be
preserved and stored in the Herbarium at Antioch as a reference and teaching tool for future
students who wish to study this important aspect of Mount Monadnock’s ecology. This
capstone project will be the perfect finish to Coombs time at Antioch, where she has been
guided by her love of plants from day one.
During the summer of 2008, master’s candidate Melissa Green conducted a study of the understory vegetation on Mt. Monadnock. Using the long-term research plots previously established by David Mallard, she recorded percent cover of understory species, tallied saplings, and measured environmental variables at each plot. Green is currently analyzing the data she collected, and is combining her data with Mallard’s to get a more complete picture of the distribution of plant communities on the mountain.
As part of her analysis, Green is also looking back at historical data collected by Henry Thoreau in the 1850’s, Henry Baldwin in the 1970’s and Diane Eno’s 2006 species lists to determine if any shifts in species composition have occurred over time. Analyzing past plant species distribution and current climate science, Green hopes to predict possible scenarios for future distribution of plant communities on the mountain in the face of climate change. Her research will serve as baseline vegetative data for the MERE long-term research project.
Joe Martell is a first year Conservation Biology student with research interest in aquatic ecosystems and land-use. Joe joined the MERE project in the spring of 2010 as a research assistant looking at techniques for collecting elevation data, and also researching changes in forest structure along elevation gradients. Joe is excited to be contributing to the MERE project and the the education of the surrounding communities.
Yvonne’s academic focus is in the Science Teacher Certification program. She developed a connection to Mt. Monadnock several years ego when she led trail crews on projects around the mountain. With additional work experience in outdoor and environmental education, she is happy to converse with and educate visitors along the trails and atop the summit with the goal of hoping that they too will foster a connection with the mountain and realize the importance of minimizing their impact on its unique ecosystems.
After spending the summer of 2011 sailing up and down the Hudson River aboard the Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, Jonathan Billig joined the MERE project as a Volunteer Coordinator. Currently pursuing his M.S. in Environmental Education, he is interested in building educational communities that mingle the human and the natural world. His work experience includes environmental fundraising in Seattle, research science in the Alaskan Tundra, and plant-science education at the New York Botanical Garden. Jonathan is excited to work with the incredible human community that supports Mount Monadnock.
Jamie’s focus is to support MERE’s educational mission through the development of content and curriculum related to the ecology of Mt. Monadnock. Jamie’s academic focus is Sustainable Development and Climate Change and is a graduate of the Teton Science Schools graduate program. She is passionate about sharing her love for the natural world while climbing mountains or canoeing rivers with students, and has taught field ecology and complex systems theory in both the U.S. and Brazil.
Ruby is from Humacao, Puerto Rico. She has experience as a wilderness ranger and is interested in the management of natural sites used for recreation. Her focus is on forest, wildlife, and fisheries research. She is currently working on a post hurricane Irene stream assessment of the Green Mountain National Forest. MERE is a good fit because she is passionate about preserving sensitive ecosystems while still allowing for recreational use. From Ruby: “I recognize the challenges Monadnock faces with such a high visitor use volume, and feel that as a steward I have a great opportunity to engage with the public to educate them about the mountain’s unique ecology.”
Chris is interested in alpine restoration, recreation ecology, nutrient cycling, and soil/vegetation interactions. Chris is studying several alpine plant crevice communities as part of his Masters research and hopes to restore vegetation to these disturbed areas on the summit of Mt. Monadnock. It is hypothesized that the alteration of compacted soil and microclimate through the use of scarification, compost, and mulch mats will positively affect the establishment of vegetation. He spent five years working as a backcountry guide and instructor in Jackson Hole, Wyoming which helped to solidified his passion for ecological research. He plans to continue my education with a PhD in ecology.
Through the early summer of 2007, Matt Walter contributed to the MERE Project by working as Dave Mallard’s research assistant. Walter assisted by helping Mallard to establish permanent research plots and collect baseline data on the location, composition, size, and health of tree and shrub species inhabiting Monadnock’s upper reaches between 2000 and 3000 feet in elevation.
Working directly with Mallard, under the direction of Dr. Peter Palmiotto, gave Walter the opportunity to develop field skills and exercise good research habits when navigating, taking measurements, and recording data. Palmiotto and Mallard presented a strong model of good research practices, making it clear that compiling a large data set requires organization, efficiency, and diligence. Their example served Walter well as he engaged in his own thesis work-examining red fox and eastern coyote movements in relation to development patterns. In addition to being grateful for the research experience he acquired on Monadnock, Walter is glad that he was able to lend a hand in building the MERE Project’s ecological barometer: a valuable monitoring tool that will provide clear signatures of climate change and thereby inform ecologists, students, and others of climate induced ecological changes for years to come.
To complete his master’s degree in Conservation Biology, David Mallard established 88 permanent research plots on Mt. Monadnock during summer of 2007. Between 2000 and 3000 feet in elevation, he visited each five-meter radius plot, recording the diameter at breast height (DBH) and species of each tree greater than two inches in diameter; tree canopy height; a tally of saplings of each species; the percent cover of shrubs; the presence of ground cover plant species; and soil depths. Beyond the quantitative data, Mallard conducted a qualitative health assessment of live trees and dead tree decay, as well as the general community structure and composition of each transect outside of the plots.
The purpose of Mallard’s study: to describe the natural communities and their current distribution on Mt. Monadnock. Mallard used the information he gathered from each plot to delineate the distribution of forest communities on the mountain. He identified seven distinct community types within the study area: subalpine rocky bald; sheep laurel-labrador tea heath-krummholz; red spruce-heath-cinquefoil rocky ridge; high elevation spruce-fir forest; northern hardwood-spruce-fir forest; sugar maple-beech-yellow birch forest; and hemlock-beech-oak pine forest. Mallard discovered that subalpine rocky bald and sheep laurel-labrador tea heath-krummholz communities are both rare statewide, extremely rare in this region, and considered to be highly sensitive to climate change. Additionally, the dominant community type, high elevation spruce-fir forest, is also extremely rare in this region and considered to be highly sensitive to climate change. His research will serve as baseline vegetative data for the MERE long-term research project. Learn more about Dave Mallard’s work on Mount Monadnock.
Read Dave Mallard’s Master’s Thesis (PDF 850K)
In Fall 2010, Kari Post joined the MERE project as a Summit Steward. An avid outdoor enthusiast and experienced outdoor educator, Kari is passionate the preservation and protection of natural areas and educating others how to enjoy these resources responsibly. She is also an accomplished natural history photographer and has used her talents to help document Mount Monadnock’s subalpine flora for the MERE plant identification guide as well as several other educational projects involving the mountain. In addition to her work on the summit, Kari also collaborates with the MERE project in designing educational resources and curriculum for students in the classroom.
During the summer of 2009 Samantha Langlois will be working as a Summit Steward on the slopes of Mount Monadnock. As the second most climbed mountain in the world, Mount Monadnock experiences the impact of many human feet. As a Summit Steward Langlois looks forward to a lot of time spent hiking Monadnock’s trails and hanging out above treeline, acting as an educational resource for the many thousands who visit Monadnock State Park each year.
Lauren Schottenfeld joined the MERE project in the summer of 2009 for a practicum working as a Monadnock Trail Steward. She has spent the last four years working as an environmental educator at various educational centers and camps on the East Coast, and has found so much joy in sharing her knowledge and love of the outdoors with folks of all ages. Schottenfeld is hoping to continue sharing her respect and admiration for the natural world with multitudes of hikers on Monadnock this summer and fall. She aspires to point out the hard to see critical life processes of the mountain’s numerous ecosystems to educate all guests towards a sustainable enjoyment of the second most climbed mountain in the world!
Emily came on board with MERE in spring 2009 for a practicum working with Keene High School AP Environmental Science class. She will be teaching a unit on biodiversity in a local context and the resulting lesson plans will be available on website. This experience relates directly to her career goals of promoting ecological literacy in high school students. Emily hopes that this partnership with MERE will help inform her final project at Antioch.
Andy Patari, MS Candidate, Science Teacher Certification
Andy Patari joined the MERE project in the fall of 2010. As Andy’s academic concentration is in the Science Teacher Certification program, he spent a year working as the Curriculum Coordinator for MERE before becoming a summit steward. From Andy: “My work with MERE has given me valuable classroom experience through the Adopt-A-Crevice-Community program, as well as the chance to interact with hikers on the summit of Mount Monadnock. I’m proud to be contributing to the stewardship and research that’s happening on the summit.” Andy also served as a Peace Corps volunteer (Guatemala), he is an outdoors man and interested in finding a resonant balance between educational usage and proper stewardship that will allow future generations to enjoy the mountain and minimize the impact our activities.
Rose Lenahan joined the MERE project in the fall of 2008 with the goal of educating others about the importance and beauty of Monadnock. She took the role of Education Coordinator, which enabled her to work with Keene High School’s AP Environmental Studies students. Lenahan coached the students in designing research methods and helped to organize and carry out a study trip up the mountain. She hopes to continue working with MERE and Keene High students to establish a permanent study site in order to monitor crevice communities over many years. Lenahan is a New Hampshire native and has always loved Monadnock. She is very enthusiastic about this project and hopes that its results will help educate people about the mountain, and preserve it for future generations to experience.
In the fall of 2008, Meg Fairchild began working with the MERE Project as the first ever Project Coordinator. In this role, Fairchild has had the opportunity to work on a variety of tasks to keep the MERE Project moving forward. Some of her accomplishments include: taking aerial photographs of Mount Monadnock’s summit to be used to identify crevice communities to be surveyed by the Keene High School Students; preparing for and helping facilitate a strategic planning meeting to identify the mission and goals of the MERE Project; editing and maintaining content on the MERE Project Website; and preparing a slide presentation to show how change has occurred on Mount Monadnock throughout time. As a native of the topographically flat state of Michigan, Fairchild has been grateful for the opportunity to fall in love with such a beautiful, unique, and iconic mountain, which seems to provide a grounding consistency to both residents and visitors to this region, even though change is indeed the only true constant.
Andrew Glikin joined the MERE Project in the spring of 2008 to work on the Lantern Slides Project. Glikin began by studying several photographs of Monadnock taken from 1903 to 1907. Then he scouted out the same locations where these older photographs were shot and retook the same photos today. The resulting pairs of images effectively capture the landscape changes that have taken place over the past century due to vegetation regrowth and human influence on the land of Mount Monadnock and its surroundings. Glikin was grateful for the opportunity to use his photographic skills on a project that will have an educational impact on people who will view these images as part of the MERE Project.
While studying at Antioch, Christine Gleason had the opportunity to work with the MERE project as Education Coordinator. In association with the Monadnock Advisory Commission, Gleason created an informational brochure to be displayed at Monadnock State Park. The pamphlet provides educational and outreach information regarding current threats, research, and management at Monadnock State Park. In addition, the Monadnock Advisory Commission brochure aims to raise visitors’ awareness of our local, natural landmark. Gleason’s work played an important role in bringing together three organizations-The Monadnock State Park, The Monadnock Advisory Commission and MERE-with same goal of preserving Mt. Monadnock for generations to come.
Annie Jacobs’ program at Antioch focused on educating the public through clear, engaging, and informative writing on environmental topics. Throughout her program, she sought creative and effective ways to educate with the written word. For the MERE Project, she felt that there must be a way to relate the research on Mount Monadnock to people living in surrounding towns. How, and with what type of information, was the biggest question, and she settled on two major media venues: newspaper and website. Annie wrote an article for the Keene Sentinel, and worked closely with Bonnie Hudspeth to write much of the material on this website.
After hiking the mountain with a the Keene High School students; interviewing people who love the mountain, and people working on the MERE Project; and researching the lore and history of the mountain, Jacobs tried to shed a big-picture light on this special mountain, and the important research taking place there. Along with editing Whole Terrain, Antioch’s Journal of Reflective Environmental Practice, the MERE Project was an important piece of her Antioch program, and she will always feel a special kinship with Monadnock.
As part of her work in Environmental Communications, Bonnie Hudspeth explored many methods of blending the art of science and writing to effectively communicate with an extensive and diverse audience. As communications coordinator for the MERE Project in the spring of 2008 Hudspeth wrote content for and designed the MERE Project website and wrote grants to initiate funding.
In addition, Hudspeth wrote an article for the Keene Sentinel, published on February 25, 2008, reporting the start of the collaborative MERE Project to the greater Monadnock community. Hudspeth had the opportunity to practice and improve her interview skills by speaking with many of the individuals involved in MERE Project partner organizations, such as Charlie Royce of the Monadnock Advisory Commission and Marshall Davenson of Keene High School.
Hudspeth hiked Mt. Monadnock with Davenson’s Keene High School AP Environmental Science class on their first ascent up the mountain to start identifying and describing pocket communities. During the hike Hudspeth took pictures for the MERE Project website and interviewed students about their experience.
As part of his Masters studies in Environmental Media Arts at Antioch University New England, Nathaniel Hoag is directing his creative talents toward Mount Monadnock. Following on the heels of an independent study in Music and Nature, Nathaniel is developing a CD that explores the mountain’s natural and cultural soundscape.
The CD will include field recordings, music, interviews, poetry readings, and historic re-creations. It will guide listeners on a tour of Mount Monadnock’s distinctive acoustic features, and will offer a unique perspective of some colorful events and characters from the mountain’s history.
From Thoreau to noise pollution, and from ravens to crickets, Nathaniel’s composition will feature the voice of one of New Hampshire’s most beloved mountains. Listen to audio clips from Nathaniel’s ProjectThe Voice of Monadnock..
Tyler Maikath joined the MERE project in the Fall of 2009 as the new Project Coordinator. The diverse nature of his position includes working with colleagues to educate the public about MERE, develop curriculum, and expand research plots on Monadnock. He also works with Keene High School’s AP Environmental Science students on their crevice communities project on Monadnock’s summit. Enthusiastic about engaging the public in ecological research, Maikath hopes that as people learn more about Monadnock they will want to preserve this singular peak for the enjoyment of generations to come.
Joshua Surette is a fourth semester RMC student who works for MERE as a Summit Steward. Whereas the majority of his studies revolve around fresh water wetland management, he has strong interests in the MERE project. Having a fascination with sub-alpine zone ecology as well as an awareness of the importance in stewarding it, Joshua enthusiastically engages hikers with the natural history, ecology, and management challenges of Mt. Monadnock.