We are deeply appreciative of the generous ongoing contribution of expertise by world-class experts in their respective fields. These collaborators represent a variety of research interests that support the extraordinary and vast mosaic of habits and processes that comprise the Okefenokee. We are fortunate that this illustrious list continues to grow as we move closer to our objective of being awarded the UNESCO World Heritage Site designation.
Dr. Curt Richardson
Curt Richardson is the John O. Blackburn Distinguished Professor of Resource Ecology, Professor of Resource Ecology and founding Director of the Duke University Wetland Center in the Nicholas School of the Environment. His research interests in applied ecology focus on long-term ecosystem response to large-scale perturbations such as climate change, toxic materials, trace metals, flooding, or nutrient additions.
Dr. Wes Anderson
Wes Anderson is a SE wetlands, ecology and invasive species expert. He has considerable conservation and land management expertise. His research interests include the Impacts of an Invasive Ecosystem Engineer Upon Wetlands and Aquatic Communities Across a Subtropical Agroecosystem.
Dr. Paul Keddy
Paul Keddy is a professor of ecology for 30 years and has published over 100 scholarly papers and several books. He has been designated as a Highly Cited Researcher with awards from the Society of Wetland Scientists and the Environmental Law Institute and further designated as a Champion of Nature. The focus of his career has been upon the principles that organize plant communities, with particular emphasis upon wetlands, including alligators.
Dr. C. Rhett Jackson
Rhett Jackson is the John Porter Stevens Distinguished Professor of Water Resources at the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources at the University of Georgia. He conducts trans-disciplinary investigations of water quality issues in collaboration with faculty from Crop and Soil Sciences, Ecology, Engineering, Entomology, Geography, Geology, Marine Sciences, and other programs.
Dr. Elliott E. White
Elliott White is Assistant Professor of Earth System Science at Stanford University. He brings an interdisciplinary approach to research draws from ecology, hydrology, biogeochemistry, and remote sensing. He is a coastal ecosystem scientist that studies the effects of saltwater intrusion and sea level rise (SWISLR) on vegetation in the coastal land margin with a particular expertise on the NACP.
Dr. R. Scott Winton
Scott Winton is a Research Scientist at Stanford University Department of Earth System Science. He is a global wetlands ecologist and biogeochemist with an interest in the tropical peatland carbon cycling and the impacts of hydropower on tropical aquatic ecosystems, top-down controls of ecosystem biogeochemistry and wetland methane emissions
Dr. Bradley J. Bergstrom
Bradley Bergstrom is a Professor in the Department of Biology at Valdosta State University. His research specialties include Ecology and Systematics, and his expertise is informed by collaborations with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Branch of Migratory Bird Research, Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, MD.
Dr. Whit Gibbons
Whit Gibbons is a herpetologist and Professor Emeritus of Ecology at the University of Georgia, and former Head of the Environmental Outreach and Education program at the Savannah River Ecology Laboratory (SREL). He is the author or editor of 25 books on herpetology and ecology and has published more than 250 articles in scientific journals and more than 1,000 articles on ecology in magazines and newspapers.
Dr. William H. Schlesinger
Bill Schlesinger is the former President of the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, a private ecological research institute on the grounds of the Cary Arboretum in Millbrook, NY. He had assumed this position after 27 years on the faculty of Duke University. He is the author or coauthor of over 250 scientific papers on subjects of environmental chemistry and global change and the widely-adopted textbook Biogeochemistry: An Analysis of Global Change. Schlesinger was among the first to quantify the amount of carbon held in soil organic matter globally, providing subsequent estimates of the role of soils and human impacts on forests and soils in global climate change. He was elected a member of The National Academy of Sciences in 2003, and was President of the Ecological Society of America for 2003-2004. His past work has taken him to diverse habitats, ranging from Okefenokee Swamp to the Mojave Desert to Antarctica.
Eammon Leonard is a Plant Biologist with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. He is working on projects focused on assessment and management of invasive species on state lands in coastal Georgia, groundcover restoration and promoting the use of native species.
Dr. Todd Rasmussen
Todd Rasmussen is a Professor at the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources at the University of Georgia. His specializations include fluid flow and contaminant transport through surface and subsurface environments, focusing on the physical, chemical, mathematical, and statistical description and quantification of hydrologic processes.
Dr. Robert K. Peet
Robert Peet is a Professor of Biology at UNC Chapel Hill focused on advancing ecology through the development of international databases and data standards that allow new forms of synthesis. He is researching vegetation of the SE United States including studies of the dynamics of SE forests, human-altered hydrology and compositional variation in fire-maintained Coastal Plain pinelands, and factors influencing the composition and species diversity of terrestrial plant communities.
Cyril Kormos is Executive Director with Wild Heritage, a project of Earth Island Institute, and has served as Vice-Chair for World Heritage on IUCN’s World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA) since 2012. He sits on the IUCN WCPA Steering Committee, chairs the IUCN WCPA World Heritage Network and serves as the NGO liaison to the World Heritage Programme).
Tilman Jaeger is a Program Adviser with the IUCN World Heritage Programme. He is a forester by training who earned a master’s degree focusing on landscape change in the Central African Republic and another one on indigenous resource use in protected areas in Asia.
Jean Goetz Mangan
Jean Goetz Magnan is part of the Legal Writing faculty at the University of Georgia Law School. She and her entire 2022 seminar on technical writing undertook to review and synthesize the Okefenokee’s many criteria for outstanding universal value and provided a much-needed arm’s length view of the exceptionality of “the swamp” from a global perspective.
Jean’s participating students included, among others:
Sara Aicher is a biologist at US Fish and Wildlife Service whose research and work is based in the Okefenokee. Her passion and dedication to moving the Okefenokee’s UNESCO bid from a vision to a reality has consisted of some thirty years of research, synthesis and significant intra-governmental and community engagement.
Sabine is an Environmental and Earth Sciences graduate student with a specialization in geospatial mapping. Using her mapping and scientific writing expertise, she has worked with Spark Climate Solutions, NASA DEVELOP and NASA SERVIER, Reneration, and the U.S. Geological Survey. Some of her maps of the Okefenokee will be a part of the emerging UNESCO materials for nomination.
“…The Okefenokee is a twilight place – an ecosystem that is both dark and bright, water and land, beautiful and dangerous. It is a place of overlap, of blurred lines, and of ambiguity.”
~ p. 3 Megan Kate Nelson, Trembling Earth: A Cultural History of the Okefenokee Swamp
Photos by: Chris Funk