Susannah Lerman

Susannah Lerman


Susannah is a Research Ecologist with the USDA Forest Service Northern Research Station (NRS). Her research highlights strategies and tools for reconciling urban development with conservation through the use of a socio-ecological approach to improve fundamental understanding of key ecological processes in urban systems, with a focus on wildlife. As a Science, Engineering, and Education for Sustainability Fellow (SEES Fellow 2012-2015), she investigated ways in which to increase participation in implementing wildlife yards and gardens in cities and suburbs by manipulating yard-care behaviors and testing how wildlife (e.g., bees) respond. In addition, Susannah leads the Urban Wildlife and Biodiversity Initiative with NRS through the development and integration of a wildlife habitat component for the USFS NRS i-Tree urban forest modeling software. Susannah also partners with the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center and heads up their Neighborhood Nestwatch project in Springfield, MA. Susannah received her PhD from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst in 2011, and worked with the National Science Foundation-funded Central Arizona-Phoenix Long Term Ecological Research (CAP LTER) project, a multi-partnered approach to understanding urban ecology in the Sonoran desert of Phoenix, Arizona. Her PhD research investigated how urban residents interact with native wildlife, both directly and indirectly through landscape plantings, and how these actions in turn, influence urban biodiversity. She incorporated long-term bird monitoring and behavioral experiments to evaluate the potential of yards landscaped with native plants to reverse the loss of urban biodiversity. Susannah received her MSc in Conservation Biology from Antioch University New England. Her thesis was based on the winter ecology of a small, migrant owl, Striated Scops Owl that winters in the Acacia wadis of southern Israel. Through this research, she fully explored how desert wildlife is intricately linked to the delicate processes of a desert ecosystem.

Fellow at a Glance

Fellowship Year:
Academic Background:
University of Massachusetts Amherst, Ph.D.
Current Position:
Research Ecologist
USDA Forest Service
Conservation Science & Biology
Land, Open Space, Smart Growth
Natural Resource Management
Currently Working On:
Urban Natural Resources and Urban Wildlife
45 Gill Center Rd
Northfield, MA 01360-9501
(413) 545-5447

A vibrant community of environmental leaders