Forest Pest and Pathogen Program Director
Areas of Expertise
Invasive species, forest health, indirect effects, natural climate solutions, outreach and education
Media ContactAdrienne Egolf
Leigh is the Director of TNC’s Forest Pest and Pathogen Program, which sits within the North America Natural Climate Solutions team. Leigh works to bring stakeholders together to achieve common goals in support of forest health from the forest pest and pathogen perspective. Her projects include: managing the Don’t Move Firewood campaign, convening the Continental Dialogue on Non-native Forest Insects and Diseases, working to improve the international biosecurity measures in place for solid wood packaging and leading partnership efforts to accelerate the development of pest- and pathogen-resistant native trees. Leigh’s leadership of the Don’t Move Firewood campaign has led to its being widely regarded as one of the most innovative public outreach arms of The Nature Conservancy.
Leigh earned her B.A. in biology at Williams College and her M.S. in wildlife biology at the University of Montana in Missoula, where she studied the intersection of native wildlife, invasive plants and biological control insects. Originally from New York state, Leigh’s work as a biological technician prior to graduate school took her across the United States, including stints in Puerto Rico, New Mexico, Arizona, Idaho, Wyoming and eventually her now-home state of Montana.
Her publications cover topics ranging broadly from human behavior-change campaigns to regulatory gaps analysis. Leigh’s work has a practical focus; her priority is to use social science and data-based decision making to determine what feasible actions can most efficiently bring forth greater protections of forest health.