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Michelle Johnson Joins U.S. Forest Service’s New York City Field Office

Mitchell_Ctr_kw72615Michelle Johnson, doctoral candidate in UMaine’s Ecology and Environmental Science program and graduate research assistant with the Sustainability Solutions Initiative (SSI), will join the US Forest Service’s New York City Urban Field Station as a Social Scientist/Ecologist this fall.

Johnson, a member of SSI’s Alternative Futures team who helped develop the award-winning Maine Futures Community Mapper (MFCM), will work with a variety of stakeholders including city parks officials, non-governmental organizations and the general public in the field station’s effort to develop and promote natural areas in urban settings.

“Natural areas affect quality of life in urban places and, with more people moving into cities, urban places are becoming more important to ecology in this country,” Johnson said.

Johnson’s research focus will be on stewardship of urban natural areas, tree biology in urban environments and urban areas as socio-ecological systems. She also will be involved in organizing public seminars and outreach programs based on the field office’s mission to promote environmental stewardship and ecological literacy.

Johnson has been at UMaine for four years researching both land use spatial modeling methods and how land use change scenarios can affect citizen engagement with planning. Her advisors are Kathleen Bell, Associate Professor of Economics and Mario Teisl, Professor of Resource Economics and Policy in the School of Economics. Johnson holds a Master’s of Science in Natural Resource Planning from the University of Vermont.