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The Pennsylvania iMapInvasives program was launched in 2013 with the goal of spearheading a movement to share invasive species data across local, state, and government entities within Pennsylvania and to provide a tool for natural resource professionals to effectively track and manage invasive species.
The Pennsylvania iMapInvasives program is administered by staff from the Pennsylvania Natural Heritage Program.
Amy Jewitt serves as the iMapInvasives Coordinator for the state of Pennsylvania, a position based out of the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy and the Pennsylvania Natural Heritage Program. By serving in this lead administrative role, Amy maintains a constant flow of new data coming into the database, provides broad-based support to new and "super" users, and trains individuals and organizations in the applications of this unique on-line tool.
Amy has developed a community of database users among agencies, consultants, academia, citizen scientists, and non-profits, each with an interest in tracking distribution data on invasive species. She develops educational materials about invasive species and iMapInvasives applications, reviews invasive species reports that are submitted to the database, and assists with invasive species field surveys and the creation of invasive species management plans.
By attending various outreach events, Amy helps to raise awareness of the efforts to track invasive species in Pennsylvania through the use of iMapInvasives. She also maintains the Pennsylvania iMapInvasives homepage (this website) to ensure that the most up-to-date information is available for individuals interested in learning about the tools available in the database.
Through her past involvement in both the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture's Plum Pox Virus Eradication Program and the United States Department of Agriculture's Asian Longhorned Beetle Cooperative Eradication Program, Amy has become a passionate advocate for raising awareness of the severe impacts that invasive species cause to the economy, our natural environment, and to people's overall health and well-being.
Amy's education includes a B.S. in Agricultural Science from the Pennsylvania State University with minors in Horticulture, International Agriculture, and Leadership Development.
Currently serving as an aquatic ecologist for the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy and the Pennsylvania Natural Heritage Program, Mary Walsh brings 13 years of experience to the Pennsylvania iMapInvasives project. As an ecologist, Mary works on projects conducting surveys for native and invasive aquatic species, documenting damage to ecosystems, conserving freshwater organisms, and working on conservation plans.
Since the inception of the Pennsylvania iMapInvasives project in 2008, Mary has worked on all aspects of the program including project management, formatting and quality checking invasive species datasets, educating new users on database functions, coordinating invasive species reporting, and analyzing and summarizing invasive species distributions.
Mary has developed priorities for invasive species tracking and surveying by compiling information on species deemed as "Early Detection" and "High Priority" for Pennsylvania. She also coordinates grants from state and federal agencies and oversees the tasks accomplished in each associated grant used to fund the Pennsylvania iMapInvasives project.
Mary's education includes a B.S. in Ecology, Ethology, and Evolution from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a M.S. in Ecology from The Pennsylvania State University.
Conservation Information Manager
Kierstin brings her science-based education and a broad understanding of the threat of invasive species to natural resources to the Pennsylvania iMapInvasives project. For 16 years, she has managed rare and endangered species information with the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy and the Pennsylvania Natural Heritage Program (PNHP). Kierstin currently serves as the Associate Information Manager for the PNHP.
When the Pennsylvania iMapInvasives program first began in 2008, Kierstin worked with Mary Walsh to gather initial invasive species datasets for inclusion into the database, coordinated with the iMapInvasives website host to trouble-shoot technical issues, and collaborated with other participating iMapInvasives programs to complete the initial setup of the Pennsylvania node of iMapInvasives.
Since the launch of Pennsylvania iMapInvasives in 2013, Kierstin's primary role has been preparing large datasets for bulk loading into the database, quality control checks, Geographic Information Systems (GIS) tasks and support, and general project and personnel management. She has also assisted with presentations and training new users.
Kierstin's education includes a B.S. with majors in Natural Resource Management and Biology from Cornell University.
Pennsylvania Natural Heritage Program Director
For 24 years in the Natural Heritage Program, Jeff has documented rare plants and animals and the detriment of invasive species in their habitats. In his role as the Director of the Pennsylvania Natural Heritage Program (PNHP) at the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, Jeff has been a constant advocate for applied invasive species management in areas that are high priorities for conservation. He contributes his education and extensive experience in natural resources planning in helping to guide the Pennsylvania iMapInvasives program.
In his role as the PNHP Director, Jeff supervises a staff of more than 30 biologists, information managers, and GIS specialists who collect and manage information concerning Pennsylvania's rare and threatened species and natural communities of concern. This information informs planning and land use decisions throughout the state and is used in the environmental review process for numerous types of development within the Commonwealth.
Prior to becoming Director, Jeff served the PNHP as a County Natural Heritage Inventory Coordinator and Natural Community Ecologist and has completed numerous inventory, ecological planning, and resource management projects.
Jeff has a B.S. in Biochemistry from the Pennsylvania State University and an M.S. in Natural Resources Planning from the University of Vermont where he specialized in ecology, ecological restoration, and natural resources planning. Jeff grew up in western Pennsylvania, has lived in both central and eastern Pennsylvania, and after over 20 years as an ecologist in the Commonwealth, Jeff has traveled extensively throughout the state's 67 counties.
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