Samantha leads the Maine science team, which includes the stewardship staff that care for TNC Maine’s preserves; scientists that work on topics as diverse as freshwater ecosystem restoration, conservation prioritization, renewable energy siting, spatial ecology, mapping and database work; and specialists in community engagement and social science. When asked about the diversity of science practiced at TNC, Samantha remarked that “Its’s critical that we base our conservation actions on sound natural science, and it’s just as important that we understand and practice the science of people. By understanding what motivates people to take care of nature, we can dramatically increase our effectiveness.”
Samantha spent two decades in Maine State Government natural resource agencies linking natural science, social science and people to improve public decision-making about natural resources. She has served at the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, the Maine Department of Marine Resources, and most recently as head of Maine's Land Use Planning Commission. Samantha also has experience in the academic, nonprofit and private sectors.
Samantha holds a Bachelor of Science degree in biology and English literature from Washington University in St. Louis and a Master of Wildlife and Fisheries Conservation from the University of Massachusetts, focused on human dimensions and conflict resolution.
Samantha’s first introduction to TNC was as a burn crew member in Minnesota and a preserve caretaker in California, and she has now come full circle back to the organization that helped her get her start in the field. When she is not at her desk, Samantha can be found in the wild parts of New England and Atlantic Canada, exploring and learning.