About Fen's Work

Fen is an avian ecologist unraveling how forested landscapes can jointly support ecosystems and human need. Their work centers around the North Woods, a unique mosaic of 10 million acres of largely private commercial forestland in present-day northern Maine. This landscape is both an ecological keystone and an economic lifeline. It is the largest globally Important Bird Area in the Lower 48, largest undeveloped wilderness area in the Eastern U.S., and a core climate refugium for threatened species. Commercial logging in the North Woods is also a key source of employment in neglected rural communities and a major supplier of wood products used throughout New England. To balance these varyingly aligned interests within this landscape, Fen is collaborating with private commercial, public, and nonprofit conservation stakeholders to develop tailored recommendations for improving wildlife habitat while meeting management goals. To continue this work into a lasting footprint of science communication, they are partnering with the Appalachian Mountain Club to create an accessible birding trail that highlights the roles that intentional forest management can play in providing for biodiversity. 

Most importantly, the landscape of focus in Fen’s work is at the center of the Wabanaki-Acadian forest, an area of immense cultural, ecological, and material significance to tribes within and around the Wabanaki Alliance since time immemorial. Indigenous sovereignty is the anchor of biodiversity conservation and environmental justice in the face of global change, particularly in landscapes like the North Woods, which have evolved with indigenous stewardship for their entire existence. In this light, Fen is also collaborating with members of the Wabanaki Alliance to center indigenous language, placenames, and land history in their project narratives. Fen is also passionate about mentorship, and prioritizes making spaces for early-career scientists with safe, compensated, and gender-inclusive working conditions.

In their spare time, Fen can be found migrating to their wintering grounds on cross-country skis, songwriting to join the dawn chorus, or testing their wings as a fledgling drag artist.