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Latest News: Updates from SER

2018-2020 Board of Directors

Friday, March 9, 2018  
Posted by: Rebecca Shoer
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SER is pleased to announce the 2018 - 2020 Board of Directors! The 2018 Board will be seated on July 1st, 2018. You can find a complete list of the current board hereNewly or re-elected Directors are indicated by a *. 

Thank you to all of our members who volunteered by running for office this year or by voting in this election. Thank you also to our returning and outgoing board members.

For a complete list of the nominees this year, click here.


Executive Officers

Jim Hallett
Eastern Washington University
Washington, USA

Jim Hallett is a research ecologist and Adjunct Professor in Biology at Eastern Washington University. For more than 20 years, Jim has been a principal on projects that directly bear on land management issues in the Pacific Northwest. In 2001, he and colleagues initiated a monitoring and evaluation program to assess the responses of vegetation and terrestrial wildlife to ecological restoration. Initially a collaborative project with the Kalispel Tribe of Indians in northeastern Washington Idaho, it is now a regional monitoring program for the Upper Columbia United Tribes and covers a diversity of habitats over a broad geographical area. He received his PhD from Texas Tech University. In addition to serving as Treasurer of the Board, Jim chairs the SER Publications Working Group.
Al Unwin
Vice Chair
Niagara College
Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada

Al serves as Chair for the School of Environmental and Horticultural Studies at Niagara College in Canada. Al also teaches graduate courses in ecosystem restoration and restoration ecology. He has served on SER’s board in a variety of capacities since 2001. Al was the conference chair for the 13th Annual SER International conference held in Niagara Falls, Ontario, in the fall of 2001. His passion and commitment for restoration are second, only, to his passion for fly fishing.
*Nancy Shaw
USDA FS Rocky Mountain Research Station
Boise, ID, USA

Nancy is a Research Botanist (Emeritus) with the US Forest Service’s Rocky Mountain Research Station in Boise, Idaho, USA. She received her B.S. in Zoology from the College of Idaho, an M.S. in Botany from Idaho State University, and Ph.D. in Crop Science (Seed technology emphasis) from Oregon State University. Her research focused on development and use of native plant materials for sagebrush steppe restoration, and she served as Team Leader for the Great Basin Native Plant Project for the last 13 years of her career. She was a founder of the SER Great Basin Chapter and currently serves on the Board of SER’s International Network for Seed-based Restoration Section.



James Aronson
Center for Conservation and Sustainable Development
Missouri Botanic Garden, USA

James worked as a restoration ecologist for 24 years at the Centre d’Ecologie Fonctionnelle and Evolutive (CNRS), in Montpellier, France. He now works as a senior scientist at the Center for Conservation and Sustainable Development, Missouri Botanical Garden, USA. He has published many books and articles on ecological restoration, ecological and economic rehabilitation, restoration of natural capital, and related subjects. James is co-founder of the Restoring Natural Capital Alliance ( and co-director of ASSET Research– Africa’s Search for Sound Economic Trajectories ( James has served as editor of the SER-Island Press book series, Science and Practice of Ecological Restoration, since it began in 2002.
Carol Maxwell
AECOM Sacramento.
Berkeley, California USA


With expertise in the arts, ecological restoration and landscape design, Carol’s goal is to inspire the partnership between people and ecologically healthy networks. She has over 10 years experience as a professional artist with an emphasis on ecological processes of growth, sustenance, and decay. She received a Master’s in Landscape Architecture from Temple University. Carol founded the first SER student association at Temple and served as Student Representative to the SER Board for two years. She is also a co-founder of Ecos San Francisco, a non-profit dedicated to cultivating environmental stewardship through community education, engagement and activism.
Kris DeCleer
Research Institute for Nature and Forest
Brussels, Belgium

Kris is a Senior Scientist in the Ecosystem Management Unit of the Research Institute for Nature and Forest (INBO) in Ghent, Belgium. He earned his Masters of Science in Biology and Ecology at the University of Ghent, Belgium. He is a founding board member of the Society for Ecological Restoration Europe Chapter, and also serves on the Board of Natuurpunt, one of the largest conservation NGOs in Belgium. He is a guest lecturer in restoration at the University of Antwerp and has authored or co-authored dozens of books and papers on ecological restoration topics, with an emphasis on wetland restoration.
*Cristina Eisenberg
Earthwatch Institute
Boston, MA, USA

Cristina is the Chief Scientist at Earthwatch Institute, where she oversees a global research program focusing on ecological restoration, human communities (particularly indigenous peoples), and resiliency. Prior to this appointment she taught restoration ecology at Oregon State University. She has authored several books for Island Press, as well as peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters. Cristina is working to reactivate and lead the SER Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) Committee.
*Vicky Temperton
Leuphana University
Lüneburg, Lower Saxony, Germany

Vicky is a professor of Ecosystem Functioning and Services at Leuphana University. Her research endeavors to test ecological theory for its potential to inform and improve restoration outcomes. She enjoys crossing boundaries between disciplines, countries, and regions, and is increasingly interested in the science-policy interface in ecological restoration.


Student Director

*Magda Garbowski
Student Director
Colorado State University
Fort Collins, Colorado, USA

Magda is a PhD student studying Invasion and Restoration Ecology. Her current research focuses on using functional traits of native and invasive species as predictors of establish success in different soil types. She has served as treasurer, vice-president, and president of the SER club at CSU and is currently serving as secretary for SER's Central Rockies chapter. In both her research and outreach, Magda is committed to promoting restoration of degraded systems for environmental and societal benefit.


Regional Directors

*Andrew Whitley
Wildlands Conservation Trust
Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

Andrew manages ecosystem restoration initiatives at Wildlands Conservation Trust, one of the biggest environmental NGOs in South Africa. Initially focused on managing invasive plant control projects, his work has broadened to a variety of restoration projects, especially the propagation and mass re-planting of indigenous trees. With SER2019 taking place in South Africa, Andrew hopes to use this opportunity to expand SER presence and membership throughout the continent of Africa.
*Ramesh Venkataraman
Junglescapes Charitable Trust
Bangalore, Karnataka, India

Founder of the restoration non-profit Junglescapes and a Certified Ecological Restoration Practitioner, Ramesh has worked to restore forests in and around a major tiger reserve in South India. He has worked to establish a community-participative model of restoration which actively involves indigenous communities living near forests. A key part of his work involves managing invasive species. Ecological restoration is a nascent field in India, and Ramesh works to increase awareness about restoration among stakeholder groups. Junglescapes received SER's Full Circle Award at the 2017 World Conference.
*Anne Tolvanen
Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke); Thule Institute of the University of Oulu
Oulu, Finland

Anne holds a professorship in forest ecology and the multiple use of forests in the Natural Resources Institute Finland and at the Department of Ecology, University of Oulu, Finland. The principal aim of her work has been to fit together multiple land-use needs, where restoration is one among many land-uses. She has acted as PI in research projects funded by the EU (LIFE, ERDF, EU Agricultural Fund, Interreg), Finnish Forest Research Insitute, the Academy of Finland, Nordic Forest Research Co-operation Committee, and private foundations.Anne is an active member of the Board of SER Europe, the Nordic restoration group “Evaluation of Ecological Restoration in the North” and the Finnish Board of Ecological Restoration. She is the European Chapter representative in the Board of Directors of SER.
*Luiz Moraes
Latin America/Carribbean
Brasília, DF, Brazil

Luiz is an agronomist who has worked both as a practitioner and a researcher in ecological restoration. His current work with Embrapa, the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation, focuses on ecological restoration in agricultural landscapes. Particularly interested in the power of connectivity and networking, Luiz has been involved with the Brazilian Network for Ecological Restoration (REBRE) since it began seven years ago. The exchange of diverse experiences and knowledge of restorationists worldwide is essential for the field of restoration ecology.
*Dave Polster
North America
Polster Environmental Services Ltd.
Duncan, British Columbia, Canada

David Polster is a plant ecologist with over 35 years of experience in vegetation studies, reclamation and invasive species management. He graduated from the University of Victoria with an Honors Bachelor of Science degree in 1975 and a Master of Science degree in 1977. He has developed a wide variety of reclamation techniques for mines, industrial developments and steep/unstable slopes as well as techniques for the re-establishment of riparian and aquatic habitats. He is the past-president (third term) of the Canadian Land Reclamation Association. He is the treasurer for the Western Canada Chapter of the Society for Ecological Restoration and is the NW Regional Representative on the board of the international Society for Ecological Restoration (SER). He was recently awarded the prestigious John Rieger Award from SER. He served as the alternate mining representative on the board of the Invasive Species Council of B.C. for 9 years, ending in 2015.
*Thomas Kaye
North America
Institute for Applied Ecology
Corvallis, Oregon, USA

Tom is the Executive Director of the Institute for Applied Ecology, a leader in habitat restoration and native seed production in Oregon. His current research at IAE includes reintroduction ecology of plants as a tool for their long term conservation in fragmented landscapes, grassland and wetland restoration, and factors that affect seed germination and establishment. He has extensive experience in nonprofit management, and is a Lifetime Member of SER.
*Randy Mandel
North America
Great Ecology
Denver, Colorado, USA

Randy is the Vice President, Technical Services of Great Ecology, and ecological and environmental consulting firm. He assists with project recruitment, design, and implementation, and has extensive experience in native plant ecology and prorogation. Randy has served as President of SER Central Rockies on multiple occasions, and hopes to use his extensive network to expand SER's work internationally, especially for regional and world conferences.
*Kingsley Dixon
Department of Environment and Agriculture, Curtin University
Perth, Western Australia

Kingsley is a restoration ecologist and conservation biologist, Professor and Director of the newly founded Center for Mining Restoration with 30 years experience in restoration focused on mine site and urban interface restoration and conservation practice. Kingsley is the Chair of SER’s Australasian chapter and was a founder of SER's International Network for Seed-Based Restoration Section. He sits on the SER Board of Directors Executive Committee. Kingsley is a passionate believer in the social, economic and environmental values of global restoration. In addition to his principal work at Curtin University, Kingsley also holds Visiting Professor appointments at Kings Park and Botanic Garden in Perth, Australia, at the School of Plant Biology of the University of Western Australia, and a Research Associate Appointment at the Missouri Botanic Garden in the United States.