ALPINE - Steering Committee

ALPINE Beginnings

In 2014, academics from institutions across New England met to explore the enormous potential for college and university communities to collaborate on a shared mission to accelerate the pace of conservation and help advance the goals of Wildlands and Woodlands. Subsequent meetings brought a growing group together to share and connect the innovative conservation activities of faculty, students, administrators, and alumni. In May 2016, ALPINE held its first Steering Committee meeting, began sharing information and accomplishments through an active web page, and finalized major thrusts for the coming year.

Steering Committee Members

DAVID FOSTER is an ecologist and author of Thoreau’s Country – Journey through a Transformed Landscape; Forests in Time – The Environmental Consequences of 1000 years of Change in New England; and Hemlock – A Forest Giant on the Edge. He has been a faculty member in biology at Harvard since 1983 and Director of the Harvard Forest, the University’s 4000-acre ecological laboratory and classroom since 1990. David is the Principal Investigator for the Harvard Forest Long Term Ecological Research program, sponsored by the National Science Foundation, which engages more than 100 scientists investigating the dynamics of New England landscape as a consequence of climate change, human activity, and natural processes. David serves on the boards of The Trustees of Reservations, Choate School, and Highstead Foundation. In 2010 he and colleagues advanced Wildlands and Woodlands – A Vision for the New England Landscape, which lays out an ambitious plan for the protection and conservation of forest and farmland across the region. David’s latest book – A Meeting of Land and Sea: Nature and the Future of Martha’s Vineyard – was released by Yale University Press in January 2017.

ISABELLA GAMBILL is a research and program associate in conservation policy at the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy. Through her work with the International Land Conservation Network as a member of its founding team, Isabella is helping to connect and support practitioners and experts in private land conservation around the world. With the formation and growth of the ILCN, she is helping the team discover how to share best practices, case studies, and private land conservation tools across continents, governmental codes, language barriers, and more. Isabella is also involved in the creation and management of a more local network, Academics for Land Protection in New England (ALPINE), which is a project based out of a partnership between the Harvard Forest, Harvard University and the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy. Through ALPINE, Isabella is also examining the various ways that students, faculty, and academic institutions can engage in large landscape conservation efforts and act as conservation catalysts throughout New England. As a recent graduate of Wellesley College, Isabella is especially drawn to the role that young conservation professionals and students can play in cross-boundary, cross-sectoral, and interdisciplinary conservation efforts. Isabella hopes that with networks like ALPINE and the ILCN, innovative large landscape conservation projects will continue to populate and transfer to new jurisdictions, and become as inclusive and diverse as possible. Isabella holds a B.A. in Environmental Studies, with a focus in Environmental Justice, from Wellesley College.

MARIANNE JORGENSEN currently serves as the coordinator for Academics for Land Protection in New England (ALPINE), a network that seeks to explore and expand the role that New England academic institutions play in conserving the natural heritage of the region. ALPINE helps academics connect, collaborate, and conserve through knowledge exchange and targeted activities that catalyze the pace and scale of conservation. Prior to her work with ALPINE, Marianne worked for 16 years in the field of international education; from sending undergraduate students from US colleges and universities on study abroad programs to working with the University of the Arctic, a consortium of 120 international colleges and universities across 8 countries to promote study in the Arctic. Marianne has an MBA from Boston University and a B.A. in Botany from Connecticut College.

DAVID KITTREDGE is on the faculty in the Department of Environmental Conservation where he leads the undergraduate forestry program and serves as the state’s Extension Forester. He teaches forestry classes and a course in land protection. His current research interests focus on private woodland owner attitudes towards their land and the concept of an ecosystem-based approach to management. If the paradigm is to be applicable in a forested landscape dominated by numerous small, private ownerships, it is vital to know landowner attitudes towards such an approach, understand their relevant behaviors and decision making, and use this knowledge to design appropriate programs or incentives that will be successfully adopted. He has a growing interest in land protection techniques, human decision making, and the use of GIS in testing landowner attitudes towards thinking about their individual properties in the bigger picture. In general, he is interested in directing his research and outreach efforts towards ensuring a forested landscape that is capable of providing the myriad of important benefits to society into the future.

BILL LABICH is Senior Conservationist at Highstead Foundation and Coordinator of the Regional Conservation Partnership (RCP) Network. With a background in forestry and land use planning, Bill organizes, writes about, and assists in advancing collaborative approaches to large landscape conservation in New England and eastern New York. Bill has helped RCPs collaborate to acquire over $5.6 million for landowner outreach, planning, coordination, and land protection activities since 2009. He has co-authored papers on cross-boundary cooperation among private landowners, on the Wildlands and Woodlands Vision, and on RCPs in New England. Bill has a master’s in regional planning from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and a BS in forestry from the University of Maine at Orono.

JAMES N. (“Jim”) LEVITT is the manager of land conservation programs in the Department of Planning and Urban Form at the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy in Cambridge, Massachusetts and director of the program on conservation innovation at the Harvard Forest, Harvard University, in Petersham, Massachusetts. In addition, he holds ongoing fellowships at the Harvard Kennedy School and at Highstead, a non-profit organization advancing land conservation in New England. Levitt focuses on landmark innovations in the field of land and biodiversity conservation (both present-day and historic) that are characterized by five traits: novelty and creativity in conception; strategic significance; measurable effectiveness; international transferability; and the ability to endure. Levitt has written and edited dozens of articles and four books on land and biodiversity conservation. He has lectured widely on the topic in venues ranging from Santiago, Chile, to Beijing, China, and Stockholm, Sweden. He has played an instrumental role in the effort to organize the International Land Conservation Network (ILCN), whose mission is to connect organizations around the world that are accelerating voluntary private and civic sector action to protect and steward land and water resources. Levitt is a graduate of Yale College and the Yale School of Management (Yale SOM). He was recently named a Donaldson Fellow by Yale SOM for career achievements that “exemplify the mission of the School.”

PHILIP NYHUS is Director of the Environmental Studies Program at Colby College. His interdisciplinary research bridges the natural and social sciences to address human interactions with the environment. He is particularly interested in large mammal conservation, human-wildlife conflict, and large landscape conservation. Nyhus has studied tiger conservation and restoration in Indonesia and China, co-edited Tigers of the World, and is the founding Series Editor of Biodiversity of the World: Conservation from Genes to Landscapes (Elsevier/Academic Press). He is active in state, national, and international conservation initiatives, including serving as the North American convenor for the Conservation Breeding Specialist Group of the IUCN Species Survival Commission, a member of the IUCN Cat Specialist Group, member of the science advisory committee for the Eastern Whooping Crane Partnership, and chief consultant for environmental and wildcat conservation for the Wildcat Conservation Legal Aid Society. He is a member of the ALPINE steering committee and has participated in a range of meetings related to colleges and universities as catalysts for large landscape conservation, including organizing a conference at Colby in 2013 on Students as Catalysts for Large Landscape Conservation and co-organizing a conference in 2016 on Community, Culture, and Conservation: Sustaining Landscapes and Livelihoods.

MARY TYRRELL is the Executive Director of the Global Institute of Sustainable Forestry and MODS Director at Yale’s School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. Her work focuses on land use change, forest fragmentation, and sustainable forest management on U.S. private lands. She leads the Sustaining Family Forests Initiative, a national coalition aimed at improving the effectiveness of outreach, services and programs for family forest owners, thus enhancing conservation and stewardship of America’s private lands. She received a BA in Mathematics from the University of New Hampshire, a Master of Business Administration from Boston University and a Master of Forest Science from Yale University.