About Nicole's Work

I am a conservation ecologist and science communication professional. My research explores the interactions of anthropogenic global change, ecological communities and human stewardship. I am most interested in critically evaluating traditional strategies and rhetoric for biodiversity conservation in order to improve the success and justice of the enterprise, its ability to accommodate global change and to empower people to see themselves, and act positively, as part of nature and as good, caring relatives. As Curator of Anthropocene Studies, I am investigating how natural history museums can play a transformative role in society, cultivating new 21st century appreciations and understandings of nature and people. I am collaborating with designers and educators to develop  informal learning engagements designed to engage people in complex global social-ecological challenges and build skills in resilience and systems-thinking, and just environmental problem-solving.    Prior to joining the museum in 2018, I was researching and practicing conservation land acquisition and stewardship directly while serving as the Director of Conservation Science at Peninsula Open Space Preserve, and as an Adaptation Scientist at Pepperwood Preserve and coordinator for the Terrestrial Biodiversity and Climate Change Collaborative (TBC3.org) in the San Francisco Bay Area. From 2011 - 2013, I served as faculty at the Nicholas School of the Environment, Duke University and taught classes about climate change adaptation.  I also worked for four years at Climate Central as a staff scientist.    As part of my environmental practice, I am very interested in the intersection of environmentalism, arts, and community organizing. At Duke University, I led an informal working group exploring science-art intersections, and I curated the inaugural exhibition at the Wegner art gallery. I continue to engage in a number of science-art collaborations supported through Invoking the Pause (invokingthepause.org), and in the context of trans-disciplinary museum programming.