Meet the Staff

Steve Thomas looking at a bat
Steve Thomas

Steve Thomas, Network Program Manager

(270) 758-2160; Email

Primary Network Responsibilities: Overall manager of the Cumberland Piedmont Network program. Budget management, workplan establishment, contribution to scientific activities (protocol development, data analysis, interpretation, and writing).

Cave vital signs monitoring program leader. Protocol development, implementation, data analysis, and reporting for cave monitoring protocols.

Active Projects: Allegheny Woodrats, Cave Bats

Education and Areas of Expertise:
MS, Biology/Applied Ecology, Eastern Kentucky University
BA, Biology (Environmental and Research Options), Covenant College
Following the merger of the Mammoth Cave prototype I&M program with the Cumberland Piedmont Network, I served as co-coordinator of the network from 2007 to 2008. From 2001 to 2006 I was the coordinator of the prototype program. Prior to that, I was a nongame wildlife biologist with the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, and a biotech with the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks. My interests include wildlife ecology, endangered species conservation, cave ecology, running, backpacking/hiking, bicycling, and family.
Clare Bledsoe standing in front of waterfal
Clare Bledsoe

Clare Bledsoe, Biologist

(270) 758-2133, Email

Primary Network Responsibilities: Forest vegetation monitoring support. Project lead for invasive species early detection monitoring.
Active Projects: Invasive Species Early Detection, Forest Vegetation Monitoring
Education and Areas of Expertise:
BS, Forest Science, University of Wisconsin
Certificate in Environmental Studies, University of Wisconsin
I started out as an intern for the CUPN in 2011, primarily serving as a field assistant for forest vegetation, cave bats, and cave crickets monitoring. I began assisting with vegetation monitoring data management for the network in 2013 and officially joined the network in 2016. I have a background in forest ecology and conservation, and have also served as a natural resources intern for Mammoth Cave National Park, a conservation intern for Natureserve, and a botany field technician for the University of Georgia. Besides monitoring, I also assist with maintaining CUPN park species lists and publications in the Integrated Resource Management Applications (IRMA) Portal, which provides easy access to National Park Service applications that manage and deliver resource information to parks, partners and the public.
Trent Deason
Trent Deason

Trent Deason, Biological Science Technician

(270) 758-2162, Email

Primary Network Responsibilities: Support the cave vital sign monitoring protocols, including summer and winter bats, cave crickets and cave aquatic biota. Provide field assistance with forest vegetation, ozone foliar injury and water quality monitoring.

Education and Areas of Expertise:
M.S. Environmental Science, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
B.S. Environmental Science, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Prior to joining CUPN in 2020, I gained experience in species conservation and restoration through my work and study of American Chestnut. Additionally, I have worked in environmental consulting, invasive species management, and most recently as a Preservationist Intern with Chickamauga & Chattanooga NMP where I assisted in cultural and natural resource management. Before seeking an education in environmental science, I served in the U.S. Air Force from 2009 - 2015 in radio and satellite communications.
Sammi Jo Eubank
Sammi Jo Eubank

Sammi Jo Eubank, Biologist

(270) 758-2132, Email

Primary Network Responsibilities: Budget clarification, responsible for physical property, vehicle manager, Collatoral Duty Safety Officer, water quality monitoring, assist with ozone monitoring and Integrated Resource Management Application.

Education and Areas of Expertise:
BS, Healthcare Administration; Minor, Gerontology
Geographic Information System Certificate

I joined CUPN in May 2001, as a part-time data manager. After working for 2 years I became a SCEP student. Following completion of the GIS certificate from Western Kentucky University I began my lifetime career as a Biologist with the NPS.
Kurt Helf searching in the water.
Kurt Helf

Kurt Helf, Ecologist

(270) 758-2163, Email

Primary Network Responsibilities: Protocol development, data analysis, and reporting for cave crickets and cave aquatic biota resources for the Cumberland Piedmont Network.

Active Projects: Long-term monitoring of cave cricket entrance populations at Mammoth Cave National Park, Long-term monitoring of cave aquatic biota at Cumberland Gap National Historical Park, Mammoth Cave National Park, and Russell Cave National Monument.

Education and Areas of Expertise:
Ph.D. Ecology, University of Illinois at Chicago
BS, Biology, University of Illinois at Chicago

Prior to working for CUPN I was an ecologist for the I&M prototype program at Mammoth Cave National Park where I worked on resource management including insect inventory, mussel aquaculture, mercury ecotoxicology, and cave ecology. My primary area of expertise is cave aquatic and terrestrial community ecology.

Johnathan Jernigan
Johnathan Jernigan

Johnathan Jernigan, Physical Scientist

(270) 758-2146; Email

Primary Network Responsibilities: Protocol development, data collection, data analysis and reporting for ozone foliar injury. Also, assist with data collection and analysis of cave meteorology data for cave bats and cave crickets protocols. Assist with data collection on water quality and vegetation protocols.

Active Projects: Ozone foliar injury

Education and Areas of Expertise:
MS, Mathematics, Western Kentucky University
BA, Mathematics, Western Kentucky University

I studied the mathematical relationship between air temperature and wind patterns in parts of Mammoth Cave as part of my thesis work. Then, I worked as an Instructor of Mathematics at Western Kentucky University. I have since been working with the Cumberland Piedmont Network and also collect surface air quality data at Mammoth Cave National Park. I enjoy listening to music, watching movies, reading, riding roller coasters, bicycling and hiking.

Bill Moore
Bill Moore

Bill Moore, Supervisory Ecologist/ Data Manager

(270) 758-2161, Email

Primary Network Responsibilities

Project lead for forest vegetation monitoring and data management support to the network

Education and Areas of Expertise:
MS, Wildlife Science w/minor in Range Science, New Mexico State University
BS, Wildlife Management, Eastern Kentucky University

Prior to working for the National Park Service, Bill worked as a regional nongame biologist for the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources primarily working with herps, bats and birds. He also spent a few years working as a rangeland specialist for the Bureau of Land Management in Medford, Oregon, and as a wildlife specialist in New Mexico focused primarily on T&E issues.

Lillian Scoggins
Lillian J. Scoggins
Lillian J. Scoggins, GIS Specialist

(270) 758-2149, Email

Primary Network Responsibilities: CUPN GIS Specialist for 14 network parks providing GIS and GPS assistance as necessary for inventory projects.

Active Projects: Water quality, Air Quality, Cave Aquatic Biota, Vegetation, Cave Crickets, Bats and Park NRCAs

Education and Areas of Expertise:
BS, Horticulture/Agriculture, Western Kentucky University
GIS Certificate, Western Kentucky University

Prior to working for CUPN, I started my career with the park service at Mount Rushmore as an interpretation ranger in 1997. From there I spent two seasons at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore in various divisions; including interpretation, fee collection, maintenance, firefighting and dispatch. My last season before I ended up at my home park of Mammoth Cave National Park (MACA), was spent on Little Cranberry Island at Acadia National Park. I worked at MACA as a temporary secretary for the Science and Resource Management division. I was then hired on at MACA for a six month Student Conservation Association (SCA) GIS intern. Once my SCA position was complete, I was put into a student program currently called NPS Pathways. I then attended Western Kentucky University and completed my GIS Certificate program in 2002. After which I became a 50/50 split GIS Specialist for CUPN and MACA.

Brenda Wells
Brenda Wells

Brenda Wells, Biologist

(270) 758-2134; Email

Primary Network Responsibilities: Curatorial contact for 14 parks; which includes curation of specimens, ICMS data entry/management and liaison between the parks and their repositories. Water quality technician. NPSTORET water quality data entry/management. Network website management.

Active Projects: Water quality, Natural History Collections, Website Management

Education and Areas of Expertise:
MS, Biology, Western Kentucky University
GIS Certificate, Western Kentucky University
BA, Art, Western Kentucky University

I started working with Natural History Collections in curatorial at Mammoth Cave National Park for my graduate assistantship in 2000. In 2004 I was able to move into a position with the Cumberland Piedmont Network, stationed at MACA, working with I & M collections for the network’s 14 parks. My position then expanded to help with the water quality program; sampling, testing, and data entry.

Last updated: January 13, 2021