Kent McFarland – Director

A co-founder of the Vermont Center for Ecostudies, Kent is a conservation biologist, photographer, writer and naturalist. He has been on the State Advisory Group for Invertebrates for the Vermont Endangered Species Committee since 2002. He’s spearheaded the Vermont butterfly, bumble bee, and other Vermont Atlas of Life projects. Learn more on the VCE website.


Spencer Hardy – Co-director

Spencer is a biologist and the VTBees coordinator. He has surveyed birds, alpine butterflies, and worked on the Vermont Bumble Bee Atlas for VCE. Spencer worked for several seasons in California with bumble bee and pollinator studies in California. His interest in pollinators is motivated both by a fascination with small, under-appreciated organisms and a selfish desire to preserve the tasty fruits and vegetables that depend on them. Learn more on the VCE website.

Leif Richardson – Project Advisor

Leif is a consultant at Stone Environmental and a postdoctoral researcher at the Gund Institute for Environment at the University of Vermont. His work focuses on the distribution and diversity of native bees, as well as their value as agricultural pollinators. His work at UVM examines how Vermont blueberry growers benefit from a complex web of interactions involving beneficial soil microbes, highbush blueberry, and bee pollinators. At Stone Environmental, he assesses risk of pesticides and development projects to managed and wild pollinators and endangered species. He has previously worked on VCE’s Vermont Bumble Bee Atlas and as an ecologist with the Vermont Nongame and Natural Heritage Program. Leif’s research specialty is bumble bee ecology and conservation and he is co-author of Bumble Bees of North America: an Identification Guide. Learn more on Leif’s website

Mark Ferguson – Natural Heritage Zoologist – Project Advisor

Mark is a wildlife biologist with the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department and serves as zoologist with the Department’s Natural Heritage Inventory. His work takes him into woods, fields, and waters in search of rare fish, amphibians, and invertebrates. He helps shape both state and Northeast regional efforts to conserve and restore vulnerable wildlife populations.


Sam Droege –  USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center – Project Advisor and Taxonomist

Sam Droege has been spent most of his career at the USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center.  He has coordinated the North American Breeding Bird Survey Program, developed the North American Amphibian Monitoring Program, the BioBlitz, Cricket Crawl, and FrogwatchUSA programs and worked on the design and evaluation of monitoring programs.  Currently he is developing an inventory and monitoring program for native bees, online identification guides for North American bees at, and with Jessica Zelt reviving the North American Bird Phenology Program.  His group maintains high resolution photographs of insects an other macro natural history objects at: