Growing up near Lake Erie in a region known for its vast marshes and forested wetlands, Ashley connected with freshwater ecosystems early on. More recently while working with landowners enrolled in the USDA Conservation Reserve Program, she fell in love with the beauty of the western Great Plains and developed a great appreciation for the people who live and work here. This passion meshes perfectly with her mix of experience and training in both wildlife biology and social science.
As the Social Science Lead, Ashley guides the integration of social science into PLJV’s conservation work, including examining how stakeholder groups think about conservation issues and making sure that human considerations are included in conservation planning and delivery. Ashley enjoys challenging assumptions and developing new and unique conservation solutions that work for people and wildlife and is pleased that PLJV encourages this kind of thinking. She believes the integration of social science into conservation work is key to developing unique and transformative conservation programs and partnerships in the region.
Ashley has worked on a variety of topics ranging from understanding the motivations and intended conservation behaviors of Conservation Reserve Program participants to studying negative human-wildlife interactions at National Park Service sites. Before joining PLJV, she worked as a Conservation Social Scientist at the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, the National Bird Conservation Social Science Coordinator at Virginia Tech, and a Human Dimensions Specialist at the National Park Service in Fort Collins, Colorado. She holds a bachelor’s degree in wildlife ecology from the University of Madison-Wisconsin, a master’s degree in human dimensions of natural resources from Colorado State University, and is currently completing her doctorate in wildlife biology at Colorado State.