Workshop and Seminar Summaries

Virginia Working Landscapes hosted the workshop, "The Future of our Forests," at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI) on September 29, 2018. This workshop aimed to share the latest local research on forest and watershed health. Dr. Walter Carson of the University of Pittsburgh and Jenny McGarvey of the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay presented talks about their work to understand and protect forested ecosystems; afterward, Dr. Bill McShea led a walking tour of SCBI's research forest.

Click here to read a summary of the seminar portion of the workshop and to learn more about the threats facing forests and how to protect forest biodiversity.


Dr. Walter Carson is an Associate Professor at the University of Pittsburgh. He is a broadly trained ecologist who earned his doctorate at Cornell University and later conducted postdoctoral research at Princeton University with Steve Hubble and also at the University of Minnesota with Dave Tilman. He is a leading expert on the ecology and biodiversity of the Eastern Deciduous Forest Biome. He has also conducted extensive research on tropical forests in Costa Rica, Panama, and Ecuador. He was a University of Pittsburgh Fellow in Sustainability from 2015 to 2016 and was a Charles Bullard Fellow in Forest Research at Harvard University in 2017.

Jenny McGarvey is the manager for the Chesapeake Forests Program at the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay. As the Chesapeake Forests Program Manager, Jenny works on developing and implementing programs that improve the health of existing forests, create new forests in places important to Chesapeake residents, and communicate the benefits of forests to residents, governments and businesses. Jenny is a trained forest ecologist, and received her MS degree in Environmental Sciences from the University of Virginia. She is based out of Richmond, VA.

Bill McShea’s is an ecologist at SCBI whose work focuses on the conservation of mammals. McShea has also researched the role of white-tailed deer in shaping plant and wildlife populations that share eastern deciduous forests. This work expanded to look at interaction between deer and invasive plant species and disease transmission. McShea received a Bachelor of Science in Animal Behavior from Bucknell University in 1977, a Master of Science in Zoology from University of New Hampshire in 1981, and a doctorate in Biological Sciences from the State University of New York in Binghamton in 1985.


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Virginia Working Landscapes
Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute
1500 Remount Road
Front Royal, Virginia 22630
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