Our People

Maia Murphy-Williams

Applied Conservation Ecologist


Maia Murphy-Williams headshot.

Maia Murphy-Williams Maia is an applied conservation ecologist for The Nature Conservancy in Washington. © Courtesy of Maia Murphy-Williams

Areas of Expertise

Landscape-scale conservation, climate change resilience within wildlife populations


Maia Murphy-Williams is an applied conservation ecologist at The Nature Conservancy in Washington. As the science program specialist, Maia manages the day-to-day operations of the science team and supports The Nature Conservancy’s portfolio of science projects through ecological research, fieldwork, communications and partnerships. Maia focuses on ecosystems-based research, adaptive management, administration, budgets, contracts and communications among the science team and between the science team and other partners. Maia runs the Science at Home speaker series and works with the marketing and philanthropy teams to connect our science work to supporters and partners. Maia also dabbles in visual science communications through cartography, scientific infographics and multimedia presentations.

In March 2020 Maia earned her Master of Science in wildlife science and ecology at the University of Washington School of Environmental and Forest Sciences. Her thesis research examined the effects of climate change on the declining population of endemic Olympic marmot and their alpine ecosystems on the Olympic Peninsula in partnership with Olympic National Park. Maia was also involved in a variety of other wildlife projects in Olympic, most recently the mountain goat translocation project of July 2019. Maia was a member of the Vogt lab and collaborated on several projects including the Holistic Learning Collaborative, an Earth Lab-funded project seeking to develop a community participatory approach to create a foundational holistic framework to guide environmental management decision-making. In 2014, Maia earned a BA in biology with a focus in ecology, evolution and organisms from Colorado College. Her background is in ecological field research, and she has worked on several wildlife projects across a wide diversity of ecosystem types in Kenya, Tanzania, Costa Rica, the Colorado Front Range, California and Washington. Before joining The Nature Conservancy, Maia gained a wide array of environmental science work experience, including three years working for federal agencies. From 2015 to 2016, Maia spent two seasons at Olympic National Park as a biological field technician on the Olympic Fisher Project doing fisher reintroduction and non-invasive monitoring. In 2017, Maia worked for the U.S. Forest Service as the lead for a crew of 16 on the Sierra Nevada Carnivore Monitoring Program. Her research interests include landscape-scale conservation and climate change resilience within wildlife populations.

Maia grew up in Seattle and spent a lot of time exploring our wonderfully diverse Pacific Northwest ecosystems, deepening her lifelong fascination and appreciation for the natural world and cultivating a drive to protect them. Maia also works with community groups around Seattle and is a volunteer organizer for Environmental Professionals of Color (Seattle Chapter) and is passionate about cultivating a world in which people and nature can thrive.

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