Meet the Staff

Man in mud with scientific equipment

Dusty Perkins, Program Manager

(970) 589-1474, email

Primary Responsibilities: Planning, management, implementation, and coordination of all aspects of the NCPN I&M program. Protocol lead for big rivers, invasive exotic plants, and landbird monitoring.

Education and Experience: PhD, Wildlife Ecology, University of Maine; MS, Wildlife and Fisheries Conservation, University of Massachusetts; BS, Wildlife Ecology, University of Maine.

Before coming to the NCPN in 2007, Dusty served as program manager for the Southern Plains Inventory and Monitoring Network. Prior to joining the National Park Service, Dusty was a Wildlife Biologist for the Fish and Wildlife Service in Naples, Florida.

Woman in red shirt

Rebecca Weissinger, Aquatic Ecologist

(435) 719-2356, email

Primary Responsibilities: Managing and coordinating monitoring of water quality and springs and seeps. Assisting with wadeable streams monitoring.

Education and Experience: MS, Environmental Science and Policy, Northern Arizona University

Rebecca started as a seasonal biological science technician on NCPN amphibian and reptile surveys—and liked it so much she figured she might as well dedicate her career to the I&M program. After graduate school, she worked as a field crew leader for riparian and springs monitoring for the Southern Colorado Plateau Network before returning to NCPN as an ecologist.

Woman surrounded by plants

Dana Witwicki, Vegetation Ecologist

(435) 719-2352, email

Primary Responsibilities: Managing monitoring of upland vegetation and soils, wadeable streams, and climate, and coordinating vegetation field crews.

Education and Experience: MS, Environmental Science, Oregon State University; BS, Biology, Cornell University

Dana has been an ecologist with the National Park Service for more than 10 years, and has been working on the NCPN upland vegetation and soils protocol since its early beginnings. Before that, she worked seasonal jobs in plant ecology research and environmental and outdoor education.

Man in front of canyon sunset

David Thoma, Landscape Ecologist

(406) 994-7725, email

Primary Responsibilities: Satellite-based monitoring of land surface phenology and landscape dynamics, and integrating results from multiple monitoring protocols.

Education and Experience: PhD, Watershed Science, University of Minnesota; MS, Soil Science, Montana State University; BS, Agronomy, University of Arkansas.

David uses satellite imagery to describe broad-scale patterns of vegetation response to climate. Before joining NCPN, he helped map the soils of Yellowstone, and worked as a research hydrologist for the Agricultural Research Service in Tucson, Arizona.

Woman in red rock landscape

Helen Thomas, Data Manager

(435) 719-2340, email

Primary Responsibilities: Overseeing the design, development, implementation, and maintenance of the network's data management applications and processes.

Education and Experience: PhD, Information Technology, Georgia Tech; MS, Operations Research, University of Texas; BS, Decision & Information Sciences, University of Maryland

Helen has served as the NCPN data manager for over 12 years. Prior to that, she worked as a consultant, designing, developing, and implementing enterprise information systems. She also previously taught graduate-level courses in database systems.

Woman with red soil in background

Aneth Wight, Cartographic Technician

(435) 719-2348, email

Primary Responsibilities: Obtaining, creating and managing spatial data for the network; creating maps and performing spatial analyses.

Education and Experience: BS, Geography and Earth Resources, Utah State University.

Aneth specializes in GIS, cartography, and GPS technology. She previously worked as the GIS Specialist for a small town in Colorado before finding her way back to Moab. She worked briefly for the Southeast Utah Group before joining the network.

Woman wearing shirt saying "Glacier"

Alice Wondrak Biel, Writer-Editor

(406) 250-1921, email

Primary Responsibilities: Providing science communications support (writing, editing, graphic design, web design, social media) for the Northern Colorado Plateau Network and Sonoran Desert Network.

Education and Experience: PhD, Geography, University of Colorado; MA, American Studies, University of Wyoming; BPhil, Interdisciplinary Studies, Miami University of Ohio

Alice has been a writer-editor for the National Park Service for more than 15 years, first at the Yellowstone Center for Resources and now for the Inventory & Monitoring Division. Prior to that, she worked seasonally as a planning assistant for Yellowstone National Park. She has published numerous articles in professional journals as well as a book, Do (Not) Feed the Bears: The Fitful History of Wildlife and Tourists in Yellowstone (Univ. Press of KS, 2006).

smiling woman

Mary Anne Schrade, Administrative Assistant

(928) 556-7405, email

Primary Responsibilities: Providing administrative support to Northern Colorado Plateau Network and Southern Colorado Plateau Network, including travel, timekeeping, and purchasing.

Education and Experience: BA, Psychology, Northern Arizona University

smiling man

Luke Gommermann, Biological Science Technician

(435) 719-2354, email

Primary Responsibilities: Managing field crews for monitoring of big rivers, invasive exotic plants, and wadeable streams (crew leader), and collecting data across network parks.

Education and Experience: MS, Soil and Water Science, University of Florida; BS, Geological Sciences, University of Florida

Before permanently joining NCPN in January 2017, Luke worked seasonally with the NPS as a biological science technician with NCPN and as a park ranger of environmental education at Big Cypress National Preserve.

Woman in front of waterfall

Sarah Karinen, Biological Science Technician

(435) 719-2342, email

Primary Responsibilities: Managing the uplands monitoring crew (crew lead), and collecting vegetation data across network parks.

Education: BS, Environmental Biology/Plant Biology, Michigan State University

Sarah has been counting, measuring, and identifying plants for the network since 2011. Prior to that, she spent a few years working in the West on various projects for universities and the US Forest Service. For the last decade, she has been a field botanist and currently works at her dream job, teaching and leading our amazing field crew.

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Kiki Fahey, Biological Science Technician

email

Primary Responsibilities: Collecting data for monitoring of uplands, big rivers, invasive exotic plants, and wadeable streams across network parks.

Education and Experience: MS, Plant Biology and Conservation, Northwestern University; BS, Environmental Science/Sustainable Food and Farming, University of Massachusetts–Amherst

Kiki previously worked for the National Park Service at Apostle Islands National Lakeshore and Assateague Island National Seashore. She has also worked for the U.S. Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management, Audubon, and the Student Conservation Association.

Man wearing backpack looking at large mushroom

Brandon Gottung, Biological Science Technician

email

Primary Responsibilities: Collecting data for the big rivers, wadeable streams, and uplands protocols across NCPN and Chihuahuan Desert Network parks.

Education and Experience: BS; Russian Language and Literature, Microbiology and Botany; University of Wisconsin–Madison. Fulbright Scholar, Republic of Georgia.

Brandon worked seasonally for the Central Alaska Network, Rocky Mountain Network, and NCPN until permanently joining NCPN in his current position, split with the Chihuahuan Desert Network.

Woman in winter hat

Amy Washuta, Biological Science Technician

(435) 719-2353, email

Primary Responsibilities: Collecting data and assisting crew leaders for monitoring of uplands, big rivers, invasive exotic plants, and wadeable streams across network parks.

Education and Experience: MS, Interdisciplinary Ecology, University of Florida; BS, Geological Sciences, University of Florida

Amy has a hybrid background of science and education. She has taught high school biology and worked for the National Park Service as a park ranger in environmental education.

Woman with water quality meter smiles at camera

Carolyn Hackbarth, Hydrologic Technician

(435) 719-2344, email

Primary Responsibilities: Collecting and summarizing hydrologic data associated with water quality and wadeable streams monitoring.

Education and Experience: BS, Environmental Engineering, University of Colorado

Before joining the NCPN team in 2012, Carolyn worked as a biological science technician for the aquatic resources program at Glen Canyon National Recreation Area.

Last updated: June 25, 2018