Faculty MS Natural Resources Conservation

Joe Henderson

Ph.D. in Teaching & Curriculum, Instructor of Sustainable Development and Strategic Communication

Dr. Joseph Henderson is a member of the Graduate Faculty and the Department of Environment and Society at Paul Smith’s College. He earned Ph.D. and M.S. degrees from the University of Rochester, and a B.A. from Colgate University. He’s trained in the environmental social sciences broadly, and as an anthropologist of environmental education in particular. His scholarship investigates how sociocultural, political and geographic factors influence teaching and learning in emerging energy and climate systems, and he is especially interested in how humans use political ideology to shape ecological conditions.

He is an editorial board member at the Adirondack Journal of Environmental Studies and the Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences. In 2020 he co-edited a collection of chapters on climate change education in his book Teaching Climate Change in the United States. He lives in Saranac Lake with his family where he is an elected member of the Saranac Lake Central School District Board of Education.

Eric Holmlund

Ph.D. in Environmental Studies, Director of Graduate Studies, Instructor of Environmental Ethics

Dr. Eric Holmlund is a member of the Graduate Faculty and Department of Environment and Society at Paul Smith’s College. He holds a Ph.D. in Environmental Studies from Antioch University New England, a M.S. in Teaching from SUNY Potsdam, a M.S. Ed. in Outdoor Recreation from Southern Illinois University and a B.A. in English from Dartmouth College. From 2000 to 2019, Eric founded and directed the Adirondack Watershed Institute Stewardship Program, which is New York State’s largest aquatic invasive species spread prevention and education program dedicated to protecting the natural heritage of Adirondack rivers, ponds and lakes.

Since 2014, Eric has co-directed a collaboration between Paul Smith’s College and the Tosco-Emiliano Biosphere Reserve in northern Italy focused on sustainable tourism and community identity. He has served as a wilderness recreation leadership instructor for Outward Bound and the Wilderness Education Association. He is a steering committee member of the Paul Smith’s College Global Center for Rural Communities and the Champlain Adirondack Biosphere Network (UNESCO Man and Biosphere Program).

Melanie Johnson

Ph.D. in Environmental Science, Professor of Conservation Science and Applied GIS/Remote Sensing, Departments of Natural Science and Forestry

Mel is an Associate Professor in Natural Sciences and Forestry. Her work centers around integrating remote sensing, GIS, and related skills with field work to examine real-world conservation issues and as communication tools. Current research projects involve using UAS (drones) for natural resource monitoring. Mel is also the director of Paul Smith’s College’s Adirondack Field Ecology summer program. She earned her Ph.D. from the University of Idaho, a Master’s in Geology from the University of North Dakota, and a undergraduate degree in Anthropology from Minnesota State University at Moorhead.

Brett McLeod

Ph.D. in Environmental Studies, Chair of Forestry Department, Instructor of Ecosystem Processes and Services

Dr. Brett McLeod is the International Paper Endowed Chair of Forest Resource Economics. McLeod’s belief that humans have the capacity to design and perpetuate durable, sustainable communities fuels his professional work. His accomplishments include US-AID-sponsored rural community development in the Dominican Republic, citizen science ecotourism development in Southeast Alaska, and the promotion of forestry and sustainable agriculture in the Adirondack-North Country of New York.

McLeod and his wife live on a 30-acre Adirondack homestead that produces grass-fed beef, pork, chicken, maple syrup, medicinal plants, produce, and lumber which is documented in his book, The Woodland Homestead: How to Make York Land More Productive and Live More Self-Sufficiently in the Woods (Sorey Publishing, 2015).

Deb Naybor

Ph.D. in Geography, Instructor of Research Design and Methods

Deb Naybor is an assistant professor of Environmental Studies and Sustainability at Paul Smith’s College. Her PhD from the SUNY Buffalo is in Geography and is a proud of alumni from Paul Smith’s with a degree in Forestry. For over 30 years she ran her ow land surveying and land management company in Western NY and was named one of the top women business owners in America by the US Small Business Administration. In 2004, she started her own small nonprofit organization and volunteered to set up small economic development programs in 18 countries in Asia and Africa. Deb’s research interests include sustainable housing and the impact of land rights on natural resource management.

With an interest in global sustainability and use of natural resources, Deb has taken Paul Smith’s students to India, Africa and Iceland in order to study a wide range of human and environmental interaction. She is a tiny house advocate, teaches Tiny House Design and has worked with students to design and build microcampers, lean-tos and a cordwood cottage as part of their senior capstone projects.

Becky Sutter skiing on a frozen Adirondack lake with orange jacket, white hat, and sunglasses

Becky Sutter

Instructor of Contemporary Water Law, Policy & Regulation

Rebecca Sutter is a proud Smitty from the class of 1997 who now teaches in the Department of Environment and Society. Rebecca received her Professional Certification in Sustainable Water Management from Columbia University, PC in Technology and Course Design from the University of Maryland, MST in Education from SUNY Potsdam and BS Natural Resource Policy/Hydrology from SUNY ESF.  She started her career in the PSC Forestry Department under the guidance of mentors Dr. Michael Rechlin and Dr. Michael Kudish; both of whom had a major influence on her teaching. Rebecca has developed curriculum in the math department and teaches statistics. Rebecca set the ball in motion for  the Disaster Management and Response program by designing curriculum based on the current  critical shortages faced in the fields of Sustainability and Emergency Management. Her research includes post disaster community resilience and rural community response to climate stresses effecting the global hydrological cycle.

She lives her dream on three acres in the Adirondacks where she raises summer foods,  stacks a lot wood and collects canoes.

Justin Waskiewicz

Ph.D. University of Maine. M.S. Northern Arizona University, Faculty, Department of Forestry


Brendan Wiltse

Ph.D. in Limnology, Visiting Assistant Professor, Water Quality Director of the Adirondack Watershed Institute

Brendan is a Visiting Assistant Professor at Paul Smith’s College and serves as the Water Quality Director at the Paul Smith’s College Adirondack Watershed Institute (PSC AWI). He holds a Ph.D. in limnology from Queen’s University and a B.Sc. in field biology from Paul Smith’s College. Brendan has a broad range of interests in the field of limnology. He has a strong background in paleolimnological approaches, specifically looking at the historical response of lakes at the Experimental Lakes Area to recent climate change. He has also published work on millennial-scale climate variability across eastern North America, as well as acid rain recovery in the Adirondacks. Recently, he has led research on road salt impacts on Mirror Lake in Lake Placid, NY, which contributed to forming a state-wide road salt reduction task force. Brendan has also built capacity for environmental-DNA work at PSC AWI, working on regional projects to map native and non-native fishes’ distribution. Brendan’s career has focused on merging science, communication, and management to protect freshwater ecosystems. He is a Certified Lake Manager through the North American Lake Management Society, a national accreditation program for lake professionals.

Wiltse also has a keen interest in conservation photography. His work has been published in regional and national magazines. Recently, he worked with Northeast Wilderness Trust on a project that raised over 1 million dollars to purchase the Eagle Mountain Preserve in the eastern Adirondacks. Brendan serves as the Vice President of The Waterman Fund, Associate Director of the Adirondack Lakes Alliance, and a board member of the Northern Forest Atlas Project.

Ellen George

PhD and MS in Natural Resources, Graduate Studies Core Course Sequence Instructor

Ellen is an instructor in the M.S. Natural Resources Graduate Program. She holds a Ph.D. and M.S. in Natural Resources from Cornell University in Ithaca, NY and a B.S. in Biology from the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, WA. Her research focuses on the restoration of threatened coldwater native fish species in the Great Lakes, with an emphasis on early life history, spawning habitat restoration, and population genetics. She is also active in science communication and outreach, with a particular interest in using social media for science communication. Ellen lives with her husband and dog in an off-grid cabin in Oswego County, NY, where they run a 200-acre diversified family farm.