and contact information
Senior Research Ecologist, New England Wild Flower Society, Framingham, Massachusetts.
Research Associate, Harvard Forest, Petersham, Massachusetts.
Senior Editor, Rhodora.
Electronic mail efarnswo [at] mtholyoke.edu. Phone (413) 253-0728.
Publications: Click here for complete list and .pdf downloads for individual use.
Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts. September 1992 to November 1997.
Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) awarded November 1997.
Dissertation: Evolutionary and ecological physiology of mangrove seedlings: Correlates, costs, and consequences of viviparous reproduction.
Graduate studies on the evolutionary physiology of seed dormancy with Dr. Elizabeth Kellogg.
Additional studies on plant ecophysiological responses to climate change with Dr. Fakhri A. Bazzaz.
Harvard Traveling Scholar, September 1996-January 1997, to University of Cape Town, South Africa.
1994-95 Harvard Traveling Scholar: visited 17 countries in comparative survey of mangroves.
Graduate of International Workshop on Molecular Evolution, Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole, Massachusetts, August 1995.
1995-96 National Science Foundation Graduate Research Education Training Grant GRE-9554522 in molecular evolution.
University of Vermont, Burlington, Vermont. September
1989 to August 1991.
Master of Science, Department of Botany, Field Naturalist Program.
Thesis: Studies of the Guánica Biosphere Reserve in southwest Puerto Rico.
Studies in Alaska, Puerto Rico and Vermont covering botany, zoology, geology and geomorphology.
Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island. September,
1980 to May, 1984.
Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies, with honors, completed in seven semesters.
Thesis: Developed the first state regulations for protection of groundwater from storage tank contamination.
University of Stirling, Stirling, Scotland. September to December, 1982.
Semester's study abroad: philosophy, sociology, and environmental studies.
Fellowships and Honors
2005-06 Bullard Mid-Career Research Fellowship, Harvard University.
2000 Smithsonian Institution Post-doctoral Fellowship.
2000 Finalist, AAAS Congressional Science and Technology Policy Fellowship.
1998-00 National Science Foundation Post-doctoral Fellowship, two years (DGE-9714522).
1997 Finalist, AAAS Mass Media and Engineering Fellowship.
1996 Finalist, Fulbright Fellowship to South Africa.
1995-96 Harvard University John S. Parker Merit Fellowship.
1994 Harvard Bok Center Certificate for Distinction in Teaching (Evolutionary Biology).
1993-4 Graduate student representative to the department (appointed).
1993 Harvard Bok Center Certificate for Distinction in Teaching (Introductory Biology).
1993 Harvard University Bowdoin Prize for Essays in the Natural Sciences.
1993 Election to Sigma Xi, Scientific Research Society.
1990-91 Selected as graduate representative to University of Vermont search committee for Provost.
1990 Switzer Foundation Fellowship in Environmental Science.
1984 Smithsonian Environmental Research Center Fellowship.
1984 Susan Colver Achievement Prize in Environmental Studies, Brown University.
1983 Mellon Foundation Intern in Environmental Studies, Brown University.
Research and Travel Grants and Awards
2014 Lead Investigator, Institute of Museum and Library Services grant (10-14-0373): Developing new online botany education courses.
2013 Winner of the Maria Pirie Environmental Education Program Award for Go Botany.
2013 Winner of New England Society Book Award as a Specialty Title, for the Science & Nature category.
2013 Winner of the International
Book Award in the General Science category.
2008-2013 Principal Investigator, National Science Foundation Grant (DRL-0840186; $2.5 million): Go Botany: Integrated Tools to Advance Botanical Learning.
2006 Co-Principal Investigator, Institute of Museum and Library Services Grant (MA-04-08-0113-08; $150,000): Online New England Flora Project.
2004 Massachusetts Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program Research Grant for studies of rare plants along the
Green River floodplain, Greenfield, Massachusetts.
2001 National Science Foundation Grant, Directorate of Graduate Education, awarded September 2001.
1999 U. S. Fish & Wildlife Service Conte Refuge Grant to support Greater New England Symposium on the Ecology of Invasive Species, Yale University.
1998 U. S. Fish & Wildlife Service Conte Refuge Grant to initiate volunteer monitoring program through Connecticut Chapter of The Nature Conservancy.
1996 Harvard Sheldon Traveling Fellowship to Cape Town, South Africa.
1996 National Science Foundation Dissertation Enhancement Grant IBN-9623313: Rated first in national panel.
1996 DeLand Award for Research, Arnold Arboretum.
1995 Department of Organismic & Evolutionary Biology Travel and Research Grant.
1994 Exploration Fund Research and Travel Grant, Explorer's Club.
1991 Grant-in-Aid of Research, Sigma Xi Scientific Research Society.
1991 Smithsonian Institution Caribbean Coral Reef Ecosystems Program (CCRE) fellowship.
1990 University of Vermont Graduate School Mini-Grant travel award.
2013 to 2014: Interim Director of Education, New England Wild Flower Society.
9/09 to 9/14: Editor-in-Chief, Rhodora, Journal of the New England Botanical Club, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts. Tripled publication impact factor, secured archiving through JSTOR, and increased numbers of pages printed. Chaired the 120th anniversary research conference celebrating botanical research in northeastern North America. Currently serve (2014 on) as Senior Editor.
10/08 on: Senior Research Ecologist, New England Wild Flower Society, Framingham, Massachusetts. Developing the Society’s first online courses in Field Botany and Native Plant Horticulture and Design. Published “State of the Plants” report, a peer-reviewed regional analysis of plants and their conservation in New England, released to > 150 news outlets nationwide in March 2015. Directed a $2.5 million National Science Foundation project to develop "Go Botany: Integrated Tools to Advance Botanical Learning." This award-winning web application contains interactive identification keys to over 3500 native and naturalized plants of New England, a citizen-science collaborative site, and curricular materials for use by professional botanists, educators, and students. It has been used by hundreds of thousands of visitors from throughout the world, and served as the basis for the Smithsonian Institution’s Go Orchids identifier for all the orchid species of North America. I previously served as co-Principal Investigator on a pilot IMLS-funded project ($150,000) to develop the Plant Identifier: New England web application. I served as Interim Director of Education from July 2013 to June 2014.
02/06 on: Scientific Illustrator. Completed technical drawings for the award-winning Flora Novae Angliae (Yale University Press, 2011), and served as sole illustrator for four other books, including the award-winning Field Guide to the Ants of New England (Yale University Press, 2013). See Artist page.
5/08 to 12/08: Consultant to The Trustees of Reservations, Massachusetts. Completed botanical inventory and report on biological diversity of Royalston Falls Reservation, Royalston, Massachusetts.
12/07 to 3/08: Consultant to the Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Bureau, Concord, New Hampshire. Completed a draft updated federal Endangered Species Research and Recovery Plan for Jesup's milk-vetch (Astragalus robbinsii var. jesupii).
06/06 on: Consultant, Mount Grace Land Conservation Trust, Athol, Massachusetts. Writing commissioned white paper on forest stewardship on Mount Grace conservation lands, completing conservation restriction baseline reports, and other projects.
10/00 to 10/05: Research Ecologist, New England Wild Flower Society, Framingham, Massachusetts. Managing all phases of a multi-year, $500,000 project to complete comprehensive conservation plans for 100 rare plant taxa throughout New England. Recruiting and contract authors for plans, conduct scientific peer-review of plans, edit, publish, and disseminate finished versions of plans. Collaborated with conservation organizations and agencies throughout the region to implement actions proposed in the plans. Awarded an additional $49,900 grant from the National Science Foundation to support student research in conservation biology. With a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Science, also conducted an assessment of seedbanking and collections practices at NEWFS and published a model protocol by which to prioritize target populations for seed collection.
6/04 to 10/04 and 1/08 to 3/08: Consultant to the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Concord, New Hampshire. Completed a draft revised Federal Endangered Species Recovery Plan for Jesup's milk-vetch (Astragalus robbinsii var. jesupii).
5/04 on: Consultant to the Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program, Massachusetts. Conducted botanical surveys for rare plant species.
5/04 on: Consultant to the U. S. National Park Service, Connecticut. Performed natural resource assessment of the Metacomet-Mattabesett Trails as part of the National Scenic Trails Study, which led to the Federal designation.
6/03: Consultant to the U. S. Forest Service, Green Mountain National Forest, Rochester, Vermont. Completed 15 summaries on the biology and biogeography of rare species in New England National Forests.
8/01 on: Consultant to Department of Environmental Protection, Hartford, Connecticut. Developing conservation and management plans for the Natural Areas Program.
8/98 to 9/00: National Science Foundation Post-doctoral Fellow and Visiting Professor, Smith College, Clark Science Center, Northampton, Massachusetts. Projects included: teaching environmental science senior seminar at Smith College, directing student projects to assess water quality for City of Northampton; developing a curriculum and internship program jointly sponsored by The Nature Conservancy and University of Connecticut to train undergraduates in rapid ecological assessment; consulting with the Hubbard Brook Research Foundation Science Links Project to publicize long-term data on acid rain nationally to Congress and the media; field research on the ecophysiological responses of invasive and native wetland plant species to climate change.
5/97 to 6/98: Stewardship Ecologist, The Nature Conservancy, Connecticut Chapter, Middletown, Connecticut. Coordinated all conservation-related scientific research and oversaw $50,000 annual competitive grants program. Supervised student interns in producing educational materials. Established strong liaison with Connecticut Natural Diversity Database to facilitate data-sharing on rare species in the state. Offered presentations on conservation to adult groups and undergraduate courses. Worked with multi-disciplinary teams to evaluate the conservation value of lands throughout Connecticut. Participated in national seminar on population viability analysis.
2/98: Consulting Scientist, Union of Concerned Scientists, Cambridge, Massachusetts. Compiled peer-reviewed information updates on the science of climate change. Participant since 1996 in volunteer Sound Science Initiative to communicate science accurately and clearly to the public.
5/92 to 5/95: Co-principal investigator, Plant-Animal Interactions in Mangroves (NSF BSR-9107195), with Dr. A. M. Ellison, Belize, Central America. Also participated in Earthwatch (citizen science), Smithsonian, and National Geographic Society-funded research on mangroves since 1987.
3/88 to 4/88 and 11/88 to 12/88: Research Associate, Earthwatch Institute Mangrove Project, Placencia, Belize. Taught and co-supervised four teams of Earthwatch volunteers in research.
9/84 to 9/86: Research Assistant, Brown University Department of Biology. Field and laboratory work in salt marsh ecology with Dr. Mark Bertness on below-ground plant interactions, rhizome morphology and plant foraging.
9/84 to 4/85 (part-time): Research Assistant, Pawtucket Memorial Hospital, Family Medicine Division, Rhode Island. Several projects addressing health care policies in Rhode Island, including pre-natal health care and the treatment of low back pain. Organized the studies, interviewed participants, and created computer databases to process incoming information.
6/84 to 9/84: Smithsonian Work-Learn Fellow, Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, Maryland. Research with Dr. Dennis Whigham and Dr. Tom Jordan on nutrient uptake and morphometric variation among marsh plant species of the Chesapeake Bay.
12/83 to 5/84: Consultant to the Department of Environmental Management (DEM), Division of Water Resources, Rhode Island. Conducted research, produced reports for circulation to other states, and drafted preventative regulations addressing problem of leakage of pollutants from underground chemical storage tanks.
9/83 to 1/84: Coordinator/Intern, Rhode Island Environmental Health Project, DEM-funded. Helped to develop a computerized system of environmental monitoring data for use in correlation studies with incoming Health Department data.
6/83 to 9/83: Mellon Foundation Intern in Environmental Studies, Brown University. Coordinated group research project on groundwater pollution in Rhode Island.
6/82 to 8/82: Research Assistant in behavioral ecology with Dr. Douglass Morse, Brown University. Empirical studies of plant-pollinator interactions and stochastic models of insect foraging.
12/80 to 5/81: Research Assistant in chemistry (volunteer), with Dr. Philip Reiger, Brown University. Studies of the action of arsenite compounds on enzymes.
Teaching and Mentoring
1/08 to 5/13: Master Teacher, Conway School of Landscape Design, Conway, Massachusetts. Providing graduate-level instruction in ecological science. Promoted to Adjunct Faculty in 2010.
8/08 on: Graduate Faculty, University of Rhode Island (Coastal Resources Institute), Kingston, Rhode Island. Service on graduate student committees, advising, and research.
9/02 on: Graduate Faculty, University of Massachusetts (Department of Natural Resources Conservation), Amherst, Massachusetts. Service on graduate student committees, advising, and research.
1/07 to 6/07: Member, Masters Committee, Antioch
College, Keene, New Hampshire.
9/04 to 12/05: Visiting Professor, Hampshire College (School of Natural Sciences), Amherst, Massachusetts. Taught intermediate level seminar in Conservation Ecology.
1/99 to 5/00: Visiting Professor of Environmental Science and Policy, Smith College. Teaching senior capstone seminar in Environmental Science, with emphasis on science communications. Supervised undergraduate intern in research, Summer, 1999.
1/99 ongoing: Discussion Leader, Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities, South Hadley, Massachusetts. Facilitating library reading groups throughout the state.
1/99 ongoing: Coordinator, REAL Team training program, University of Connecticut. Training students via course-work and apprenticeships in rapid ecological assessment techniques for conservation decision-making by The Nature Conservancy. Students hired by TNC to perform conservation work in Summer.
8/98 to 8/99: Switzer Foundation Mentor, for Switzer Fellow at Yale University.
1/96 to 5/96: Teaching Fellow, Biological Sciences 120, Plant Physiology, with Dr. N. Michele Holbrook, Harvard University.
9/93 to 1/94: Teaching Fellow and University Writing Fellow, Science B-15, Evolutionary Biology, with Dr. E. O. Wilson, Harvard University. As the only Harvard Writing Fellow in sciences, I introduced writing projects as new part of the biology curriculum in this Core (non-majors) course.
9/92 to 1/93: Teaching Fellow, Biological Sciences 2, Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, with Dr. Karel Liem, Harvard University.
7/91: Elderhostel Instructor on the natural history of Vermont, Stowe, Vermont.
12/88 to 7/89: Consultant to Environmental Education Program, La Selva Biological Station, Organization for Tropical Studies, Costa Rica. Designed and produced the first educational materials on rain forest natural history for visitors to the station, including four interpretive guides to trails, permanent visitor displays in English and Spanish, and an Arboretum trail in cooperation with U.C. Berkeley. Supervised a graduate intern, Summer 1989.
1/87 to 10/87 and 4/88 to 11/88: Director, Experimental College, Cornell University. Managed all aspects of the Experimental College, Cornell's curriculum of short, non-credit courses for students and the Ithaca community. Supervised 40 teachers, undergraduate interns. Increased profits by fifty per cent in three semesters.
1/82 to 5/82: Private tutor in university chemistry and calculus and grader, courses in applied mathematics and physics, Brown University.
Memberships in Scientific
New England Botanical Club
Ecological Society of America
Botanical Society of America
Appointments and Professional
Associate Editor, Biological Invasions (peer-reviewed scientific journal).
Associate Editor, Earth Matters column, Daily Hampshire Gazette, Northampton, Massachusetts.
Member, Board of Directors, Hitchcock Center for the Environment, Amherst, Massachusetts 2001 to 2003 and 2014 on.
Corporate Board Member, The Trustees of Resevations, Massachusetts, 2011 to 2014.
Chair and member, Town of Royalston Cultural Council, 2007 to 2010.
Member, Town of Royalston Open Space Committee, 2004 to 2006.
Member, Scientific Advisory Board, Hudsonia Ltd., Annandale, New York, 2003 to present.
Member, Editorial Board, American Journal of Botany, 2001 to 2006.
Guest Reviewer for student projects, Conway School of Landscape Design, Conway, Massachusetts, 2000 to present.
Member, Regional Advisory Council, New England Plant Conservation Program (NEPCoP) of the New England Wildflower Society, Framingham, Massachusetts (1999 to present).
Five College Faculty Associate, Amherst, Massachusetts, 2000 to 2002.
Board Member and Chief Financial Officer, Massachusetts Chapter of the Society for Conservation Biology 1999 to 2001.
Reviewer for: American Journal of Botany, American Midland Naturalist, American Society of Fisheries Monograph Series, Annals of Botany, Australian Research Council, Biological Conservation, Biological Invasions (guest editor), Biotropica, Bulletin of Marine Science, Cambridge University Press, Caribbean Journal of Science, Conservation Biology, Conservation Letter, Ecology, Ecosystems, Environmental Management, Estuaries, Global Ecology and Biogeography Letters, Journal of Ecology, Journal of the Torrey Botanical Society, Journal of Tropical Ecology, Journal of Tropical Forest Science, Marine and Freshwater Research, Marine Biology, Nature, Northeastern Naturalist (guest editor), Pacific Science, Plant Physiology, Restoration Ecology, Science and Engineering Ethics, Trends in Ecology and Evolution, U. S. National Science Foundation, Wetlands, Wetlands Ecology & Management.
Other skills and interests:
Member and soloist in classical and contemporary chorales and performance groups; play guitar and piano. See Musician page.
Professional, published scientific illustrator (portfolio available on request). See Illustrator page.
Wooden Boat builder and long-distance kayaker.
Experience and facility with the following software and programming languages: ArcView GIS, MS Access, WordPerfect, MS Word, MS Excel, HTML-5, Python, R, EstimateS, S-Plus, Systat, Sigma Plot, PC-Ord, Dreamweaver, Microsoft FrontPage, Arts and Letters.
Certified in First Aid and CPR.