Amy Daniels, Class of 1999

Amy Daniels, Class of 1999

Amy Daniels ’99, national program leader for landscape science with the U.S. Forest Service, Research & Development, provides national coordination of the landscape research portfolio across six regional research stations. As the Forest Service lead on coordinating the use of down-scaled climate projections, she serves in a science-advisory capacity to integrate research findings about landscape dynamics into national strategies and policies for priorities like broad-scale restoration, open space conservation, and climate change adaptation. “In layman’s terms, I bring together research from many different disciplines and figure out what these research findings mean for a given problem in a given landscape. My job is the intersection of research and land management and is just beyond anything I could have conceived of when I majored in biology at Wesleyan.”

Amy was a member of the first cohort of Munroe Scholars at Wesleyan. In 2009, she earned her Ph.D. in interdisciplinary ecology from the University of Florida with funding assistance from a NASA Research Fellowship and a Fulbright Fellowship. Prior to joining the Forest Service in 2010, she spent nearly a decade working in forest and wetland conservation and in community development in various Latin American countries. She also held positions with other federal and state agencies.

Amy has led a national dialogue within the agency on developing best practices for the selection of down-scaled climate projections to support decision-making and evaluate different management approaches for future climate conditions. She also coordinates a national research portfolio with a hundred scientists across the country from Alaska to Puerto Rico and Maine to Hawaii. The scientists are collecting data, designing experiments, and developing a knowledge base that in turn informs the management actions taken on the nation’s forests and grasslands.

“My work gets me out of bed every morning. I am passionate about being part of a multiple-use agency. We balance many objectives for the land we manage—to produce timber, water, recreation opportunities, wilderness, new knowledge, and such. In contrast, an agency like the National Park Service has a simpler mission that doesn’t require balancing extractive and non-extractive objectives. The complexity, the fact that there are no easy answers, is what I find so rich and rewarding.”