Lab Members

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Dr. Elizabeth Covelli Metcalf

Dr. Libby Metcalf is an Associate Professor of Recreation & Natural Resource Management in the W.A. Franke College of Forestry and Conservation at the University of Montana. In 2011, Dr. Metcalf received a dual Ph.D. at the Pennsylvania State University in Recreation, Parks, and Tourism Management and the Human Dimensions of Natural Resources and the Environment. Her research interests generally center around recreation management issues, wildlife related issues, and understanding complex social-ecological systems. Dr. Metcalf’s theoretical approach is based in social-psychology and often includes the examination of attitudes, values, and beliefs. Dr. Metcalf has worked on statewide studies examining outdoor recreation, hunter recruitment and retention issues, and river management. Her more recent work has focused on larger social-ecological systems such as the social dimensions of river restoration and wildlife management. Dr. Metcalf utilizes structural equation modeling in social data analysis and has been working with other researchers to develop models to couple human and natural systems.  Along with her research, Dr. Metcalf is a dedicated teacher where she provides field-based opportunities for her undergraduate students including field trips and internships. At the graduate level, Dr. Metcalf offers seminar style courses and close mentoring for her advisees. Libby is also an avid runner and outdoor enthusiast, favoring activities that include sunshine and water. Her favorite place to recreate is the upper Blackfoot River where she enjoys floating and fishing with her family.

Dr. Elizabeth Covelli Metcalf

Dr. Alexander L. Metcalf

Dr. Alex Metcalf is an Assistant Professor of Human Dimensions in the Department of Society & Conservation in the W.A. Franke College of Forestry and Conservation at the University of Montana where he serves on the undergraduate faculties for Environmental Science & Sustainability and Wildlife Biology, and the interdisciplinary graduate faculties for Systems Ecology and the BRIDGES Food Energy and Water Nexus. In 2010 Dr. Metcalf received a dual Ph.D. from The Pennsylvania State University in Forest Resources and the Human Dimensions of Natural Resources and the Environment. His research focuses broadly on the human dimensions of natural resources using theories and methodologies from sociology- and psychology-related disciplines to address natural resource issues while advancing theory. He employs qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods in his research, including spatial (GIS) techniques, to understand relationships between humans and the environment, and the consequences of conservation behavior across scales. Dr. Metcalf is particularly interested in understanding the factors which drive conservation decisions by private landowners, including the cross boundary realities of many natural resources; using theories of social-ecological system dynamics to inform management toward desired outcomes; improving the use and measurement of attitudes, beliefs, and values in agency and NGO decisions and outreach/extension; and helping ensure people and communities are fairly and meaningfully engaged in natural resources decision-making processes. Dr. Metcalf has oriented his research toward a variety of natural resource contexts and issues including forest management and restoration, private land conservation, fire policy and management, invasive species control, regenerative agriculture, and human-wildlife interaction. Dr. Metcalf enjoys teaching at all levels, including in his freshmen intro to natural resource conservation class (NRSM 121), his upper-division course on natural resource decisions (NRSM 379), and a graduate course on theories used in human dimensions research (NRSM 574)

Dr. Alexander L. Metcalf

Tina Cummins, Ph.D. student, Forest and Conservation Sciences

Tina is a Ph.D. student in Forest and Conservation Sciences. Her broad research interest is combining social science theories with data science methods to improve resource management. In the Lab, Tina is studying how to increase the efficiency of agricultural behavior change programs in the Chesapeake Bay using data science. Tina completed an M.A. in Economics and an M.S in Business Analytics at the University of Montana in 2017. She has worked as a social and economic consultant for Ecosystem Research Group in Missoula. A couple of her notable projects were a socio-economic monitoring for the Clearwater Basin Collaborative in Idaho as part of the Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program and measuring the economic impact of proposed interim measures for Sage Grouse in Wyoming. Tina was previously a Sustainable Cities Fellow at the University of Southern California.  She is always ready for any road trip or travel experience, particularly ones that involve hiking, dragon boat paddling, tennis, running half marathons and listening to books on Audible.

Tina Cummins, Ph.D. student, Forest and Conservation Sciences

Megan Moore, Ph.D. student, Forest and Conservation Sciences

Megan is a Ph.D. student in Forest and Conservation Sciences. She is interested in better understanding issues such as rural community resilience, water quality and climate change adaptation in the West through social psychology and political ecology lenses. She received a B.A. in environmental studies, political science and Spanish (she couldn’t choose just one) from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She served two terms as an AmeriCorps member in Nevada and Michigan as a land health assessment technician and watershed management specialist. She also worked for the USFS and BLM as a crew lead for stream monitoring projects throughout Idaho, Oregon, Montana, Washington and California. She enjoyed romping around in streams but felt that the projects lacked a human-nature connection. This led her to Montana State University, where she received an M.S. in geography. Her master’s work focused on the barriers and opportunities of implementing natural water storage, specifically flood irrigation and beaver mimicry, as a climate adaptation strategy for a ranching community in southwest Montana. Her non-academic interests include searching for the perfect donut and convincing staunch dog lovers that cats are cool.

Megan Moore, Ph.D. student, Forest and Conservation Sciences

Holly K. Nesbitt, Ph.D. Candidate, Forest and Conservation Sciences

Holly joined the lab in fall 2018. She focuses her research on the adaptive capacity of communities as they respond to ecological change as a member of an NSF-funded EPSCoR project on the eastern redcedar invasion of the Great Plains. She has a background in both quantitative biophysical sciences and policy planning. Prior to joinig the Lab, Holly worked as a decision analyst and facilitator to resolve resource management issues and develop policies and plans for agencies, communities, tribes and industry. She earned an MRM (Master’s in Resource Management) from Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, where she studied fisheries science and indigenous rights and a B.S. from Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, where she studied aquatic ecology. Unlike many people at UM, Holly uniquely enjoys spending time outside (all jokes aside, her activities of choice include canoeing, hiking, and skiing). She also enjoys a good book, a good beer, and is very excited about the latest reboot of the Star Wars franchise.

 

Holly K. Nesbitt, Ph.D. Candidate, Forest and Conservation Sciences

Ada Smith, Ph.D. Candidate, Forest and Conservation Sciences

Ada joined the Lab in 2018, making her way back to Montana where she has family roots. Growing up on a small farmstead in rural Wisconsin and spending summers on her grandparents' ranch in Montana were formative in developing Ada’s interest in food systems that connect and sustain people and places. Ada’s current research focuses on adaptive rangeland management and the role of livestock production on rangelands, or “working landscapes,” in supporting both economic and ecological sustainability in light of drought and other climate-related events. She earned her B.A. in Anthropology and Environmental Studies at Wellesley College and her M.A. in Resources, Environment and Sustainability at the University of British Columbia where she worked in partnership with Gitxaala Nation to explore the relationship between Indigenous knowledge, education, and food sovereignty. Ada seeks out the quieter places on the map mostly for trail runs, ski runs, and taking her rifle for a walk, but seldom says no to new adventure moving in the mountains.

Ada Smith, Ph.D. Candidate, Forest and Conservation Sciences

Nate Bender, M.S. Candidate, Resource Conservation

Nate began his M.S. program in the fall of 2019, after previously earning bachelor’s degrees in both psychology and business administration (marketing emphasis) in 2012 from the University of Montana. His research focuses on the intersection of business and resource conservation – how both innovative business models and strategies from marketing, communications and behavioral science can be effectively applied to conservation issues. This research builds on professional experience as an account and project manager in the marketing industry and an internship at the Biomimicry Institute. A native Montanan, Nate dedicates his free time to endurance activities and is a competitive ultrarunner sponsored by Ultimate Direction. In 2018, he completed the first continuous self-powered linkup of Montana’s 27 peaks taller than 12,000 feet. However, he still whines a lot about blisters.

Nate Bender, M.S. Candidate, Resource Conservation

Haley Hodge, M.S. Candidate, Resource Conservation

Haley joined the Lab in the fall of 2018. Her research evaluates stakeholder satisfaction with public engagement processes and forest management techniques in the Swan Valley, Montana. Prior to joining the Lab, Haley graduated from the University of Montana in 2018 with a B.S. in resource conservation and a minor in ecological restoration. While at UM she has investigated interagency fire management policies for land management agencies and conservation policies for land trusts, and enjoyed getting her hands dirty in soils laboratories examining fuel particle dynamics, as well as nutrient cycling in tropical soils. In her free time, Haley enjoys fishing mountain lakes in Montana's backcountry.

Haley Hodge, M.S. Candidate, Resource Conservation

Kenneth Edmo, M.S. Candidate, Resource Conservation

Kenneth joined the lab in the fall of 2021, after earning a bachelor’s degree in wildlife and fisheries in 2017 from Salish Kootenai College. His research focuses on understanding and improving interactions between grizzly bears and humans in Montana. In his free time, Ken enjoys spending time with friends, traveling, and hiking.

Kenneth Edmo, M.S. Candidate, Resource Conservation

Rachel Shouse, Research Associate

Rachel Shouse graduated from the University of Montana in the spring of 2019 with a B.S. in parks, tourism and recreation management. She joined the lab during her undergrad to assist with the creation of the 2020-2024 Montana Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP) for Montana State Parks. She is involved in various projects pertaining to outdoor recreation and provides support to the lab when needed. The opportunity to work in various areas of study has helped broaden her interests in pursuing her future academic and professional endeavors. Rachel enjoys exploring the waterways and mountains in her home state of Montana and is always on the hunt for new fishing spots. 

Rachel Shouse, Research Associate