Leif Richardson – Co-principal Investigator

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

Kent McFarland – Co-principal Investigator

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 – Project Coordinator

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.

Mark Ferguson – Natural Heritage Zoologist

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.

Meredith Naughton – Biologist

Meredith is a graduate student in the University of Vermont Field Naturalist Program. Meredith has always found complexity and adventure in the minute. She has analyzed ant genetics, tracked guppy life history traits, sorted aquatic insects to assess stream health, and led hand-lens safaris from the tropics to Vermont. Partnering with Vermont Center for Ecostudies, Meredith’s masters project will help bring awareness to the current state of bee diversity and ecology in Vermont.