People

Faculty and Staff

Anita Morzillo

Anita Morzillo

Anita Morzillo is an assistant professor at UConn’s Department of Natural Resources of the Environment. Anita specializes in human dimensions of natural resources, a social science focused on understanding why humans make the decisions they do about natural resources, and the characteristics of humans that influence those decisions. She uses this information to learn about how humans interact with their natural world in a landscape context (across geographic space and time). Anita leads social science research for the Stormwise project, the objective of which is to understand public concerns about “barriers” and opportunities for tree and forest management in urban, suburban, and rural communities. Read more about her research: http://www.nrme.uconn.edu/Faculty_and_Staff/Morzillo.php

Robert Fahey, UConn NRE, Stormwise

Robert Fahey

Dr. Fahey is interested in understanding linkages between the composition, structure, and functioning of forest ecosystems and designing and testing management strategies focused on manipulating these aspects of forests to increase their resilience to a variety of stressors. He works across the spectrum of anthropogenic impacts in forests from urban to rural, and is particularly interested in adapting ecological and silvicultural knowledge to human-dominated landscapes. He is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Natural Resources and the Environment at the University of Connecticut and received his B.S. in Natural Resources from Cornell University, M.S. in Forest Science from Oregon State University, and Ph.D. in Forest Ecology and Management from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

John Volin, UConn NRE, Stormwise

John Volin

Dr. John Volin is Professor and Department Head in the UConn Department of Natural Resources and the Environment and Director of Environmental Science. He is working with a talented doctoral candidate, Jason Parent, to investigate how remote sensing technologies can be applied to assessing and managing the roadside vegetation. They will introduce you to Light Detection And Ranging (LiDAR) and how this technology can paint a digital 3-d picture of the forest edge, providing utilities and communities with important information about potential risk and work prioritization.

Tom Worthley, UConn Extension, Stormwise

Tom Worthley

As Associate Extension Professor, UConn Extension Forester Tom Worthley is examining the potential for wood product value recovery from roadside forest management. Working with non-traditional harvesting methods and local utilization scenarios, perhaps our roadside forests might also become “working lands,” generating local jobs and economic activity. In addition, economic benefits are anticipated with a more resilient power infrastructure and long-range through dramatic reductions in trimming schedules.

Jeff Ward, CAES, Stormwise

Jeffrey Ward

Dr. Jeffrey Ward, Chief Scientist, Department of Forestry and Horticulture, at the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station is currently conducting Stormwise forest roadside vegetation management research and the creation of demonstration areas at locations across the state. Jeff has decades of forestry research experience in Connecticut and offers insight as to how research results can translate to management recommendations.

Jason Parent, UConn NRE, Stormwise

Jason Parent

Jason Parent is an assistant research professor in UConn’s Department of Natural Resources and the Environment. He specializes in the application of remote sensing and geospatial technologies to address problems involving natural resources. His current research focuses on 1) mapping tree hazards to utility infrastructure with air- and ground-based laser scanner data, 2) determining environmental conditions that can be used to predict tree failure, and 3) understanding how trees respond to the increased wind exposure that results from vegetation management.

Chandi Witharana, UConn NRE, Stormwise

Chandi Witharana

Chandi's efforts broadly capture the methodological developments and adaptations to unseal faster, deeper, and more accurate analysis of large volumes of high-resolution remote sensing data. Geographic object-based image analysis, point cloud analytics, machine learning, unmanned aerial systems stand out as some of the key pitches in his agenda. He conducts interdisciplinary remote sensing research with high international visibility, speaking equally to the transformational uses of remote sensing in environmental, industrial, and humanitarian applications. His scope is global and diversity is an integral part of Chandi, himself, as well as his research. Some of his work includes satellite-based tracking of Antarctic wildlife, mapping ice-wedge polygonal Arctic tundra, aerial laser scanning for archeological reconnaissance, 3D infrastructure analytics for electric utility industry, and on-demand censusing of refugees in armed-conflicted areas in south Asia. Thinking beyond its research and industrial merits, he always appreciates the strengths of remote sensing to address the requirements of the Next Generation Science Standards via the key elements from physics and engineering. He is actively seeking creative ways, such as imagery-enabled lesson plans to harness remote sensing in K-12 STEM education.   

Tom Meyer, UConn NRE, Stormwise

Tom Meyer

Tom Meyer was awarded a Ph.D. from Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas in 1998, where he was a research associate in the Mapping Sciences Laboratory. He now is an associate professor of geodesy in the Department of Natural Resources and the Environment at the University of Connecticut, where he teaches courses in geomatics, GNSS surveying, geodesy, digital terrain modeling, and spatial statistics. Dr. Meyer has published an undergraduate textbook on geodesy, and is on the editorial boards of the Journal of Surveying Engineering and Surveying and Land Information Science. His work with Stormwise combines his background (Master’s degree) in Computer Science and geomatics. He is writing algorithms and data structures to detect and extract features, like utility poles and wires, from LiDAR data sets. Read more about Dr. Meyer's work: http://www.nre.uconn.edu/pages/people/bios/meyer.php

Dave Miller, UConn NRE, Stormwise

David Miller

David R. Miller is Professor Emeritus, Natural Resources and the Environment, UCONN. His education and 40 year career have been in forest and agriculture meteorology, hydrology and climatology. He is an expert in the physics of wind-in-trees. He is advising and helping the field researchers to insure scientific rigor and the practical application of their work in Stormwise.

Students

Nancy Marek, UConn NRE, Stormwise

Nancy Marek

Nancy Marek is in her third year of doctoral work in the Department of Natural Resources and the Environment. She received a B.A. in biology from Mount Holyoke College and completed her M.S. at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. Her research interests include using drones to map the distribution of understory invasive species in the temperate deciduous forest, deep learning, and L-Systems. Nancy's study sites are located across Connecticut, as part of the UConn Stormwise Project.

Nancy Marek, UConn NRE, Stormwise

Daniel Hale

Dan is a master’s student in UConn’s Department of Natural Resources and the Environment. His research is on public attitudes toward roadside vegetation management, and how attitudes are influenced by the context of the landscape where people live. Dan’s research combines social science and landscape ecology to understand public perceptions of vegetation management across a gradient from urban to rural areas. Before coming to UConn, Dan has worked for the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, Washington State Department of Ecology, American Chestnut Foundation, and ski patrols in Vermont and Utah.

Julia Rogers, UConn NRE, Stormwise

Julia Rogers

Julia Rogers is a master's student in the UConn Natural Resources Department. She is an avid hiker, canoeist, and lumberjack. Her research focuses on the response of roadside forest understory communities to the Stormwise management prescription. The introduction of forest management to these edge forests has the potential to enhance edge effects by increasing the depth and intensity of the edge influence. She is specifically interested in how the Stormwise treatment might influence plant community structure and composition, the dominance of invasive plant species, and the abiotic community.

Steven DiFalco, UConn NRE, Stormwise

Steven DiFalco

Steven DiFalco, Master's Student in the College of Agriculture, Health, and Natural Resources, is interested in invasive species ecology, forest management, and how humans interact with the environment. Before coming to UConn, he worked for NYS Parks doing forest restoration, native plant propagation, and vegetation monitoring. He is excited to work on the Stormwise project focusing on human dimensions and spatial analysis.

Danielle Kloster

Danielle Kloster

Danielle Kloster's research interests lie in the human dimensions of forest management. She is specifically interested in the role values and attitudes play in determining how people want forests managed. As part of the Stormwise team, her dissertation research focuses on societal perceptions of roadside forests and roadside tree and forest management. Roadside forest trees provide aesthetic and environmental benefits, but can also threaten power infrastructure. She is exploring the value trade-offs that people must make between preserving forests and having reliable power supply, as well as where mismatches might occur between the biophysical management needs and social acceptability of that management. Read more about Danielle: http://anitamorzillo.weebly.com/people.html

Amanda Bunce

Amanda Bunce

Amanda Bunce received a B.A. from Central CT State Univ. in studio art, and an M.S. in Natural Resources from UConn in 2017. She is a naturalist, artist, lumberjack, avid hiker and native New Englander. She works on the Stormwise project as a research technician, up-keeping the 3 biomechanics sites in Storrs, Orange and Torrington. Her research interests include in the ecological effects of forest management in southern New England and increasing resilience of the forest in the face of climate change, fragmentation and other challenges faced by northeastern forests today.

Frances Champagne

Frances Champagne

Frances Champagne, master's student at the College of Agriculture, Health, and Natural Resources, has a broad-based background in forest resources and horticulture, as well as an interest in forest entomology. Her interests focus on local forest resources, including wood products. She hopes to see an increase in Connecticut forest product production through appropriate management practices, including harvesting of roadside trees to be milled into lumber, and the planting of appropriate tree species along roadsides and near utility lines throughout the state.

Forest Crew, UConn NRE, Stormwise

(L-R) Carl Underwood, Jon Cherico, Brandon Coleman and Tom Garafano

UConn Forest Crew

The UConn Forest crew is responsible for the majority of the harvesting, logging and milling operations for the Stormwise research demonstration sites. This highly skilled and talented group of six undergraduate students, from the College of Agriculture, Health, and Natural Resources, gains valuable on-the-job training about sustainable forestry practices, land cover types, forest inventory and woody plant identification. They also maintain a vibrant firewood delivery business across eastern CT.

Absent crew members from the photo: Sofia Mancini and Nick Vertefeuille