Kristen M. Kaczynski, PhD
I am currently an Associate Professor in Applied Ecology in the Geological & Environmental Sciences Department at California State University, Chico. I conducted postdoctoral research on riparian fire ecology and restoration in the Department of Forest and Rangeland Stewardship at Colorado State University, working with Dr. David Cooper. I earned my PhD in Ecology from Colorado State University in Spring 2013. I studied the causes of riparian willow dieback in the Rocky Mountains, predominantly in Rocky Mountain National Park. Prior to my graduate work I worked for the National Park Service (North Cascades NP, Sequoia-Kings Canyon NP, and Yosemite NP) and the US Forest Service (Shasta Trinity National Forest and Northeast Research Station).
updated April 2021
Matt Mayer, Environmental Sciences Master's Student
Matt joined the lab in Fall 2019. He's interested in fire and disturbance ecology and has a great background in landscape ecology. His master's work included mapping dozer lines on the Carr Fire, in areas where land is managed by the Bureau of Land Management and the US Forest Service. Using these updated maps, Matt is examining post-fire recovery of vegetation across the Carr Fire.
Claire Monahan, undergraduate researcher
Claire joined the lab in spring semester of 2019. She assisted Hannah on her vegetation field data collection, while also collecting data for her own independent study investigating post-fire seedling recovery. In 2020-2021, Claire started a new project investigating the recovery of blue oak, comparing recruitment in a wildfire footprint, dozer lines, and at sites which have been managed through prescribed burning.
Natalie Pangilinan, Environmental Sciences honors student
Natalie is a senior in Applied Ecology. Her honors thesis will be examining how wildfire impacts late and early growing season drought stress of Blue Oaks. She will be studying Blue Oaks in Upper Bidwell Park, within the footprint of the July 2021 Park Fire. She's excited to use the pressure bomb!
Lilly Trejo, Wildland Management Master's Student (through the Interdisciplinary Masters Program)
Lilly started in summer of 2019 with an Adelante fellowship. She has been working on laying the groundwork for a seed collection protocol for the Big Chico Creek Ecological Reserve. She's identified native herbaceous plants for seed collection for use in restoration projects and post-prescribed fire.
Heather Pendleton, Environmental Sciences Honors student (Dec 2021)
Heather is researching how different wildfire mitigation techniques impact the seedbank. She has selected sites at the Big Chico Creek Ecological Reserve that have had manual fuel reduction and will compare with sites that have had manual fuel reduction with a prescribed burn. She worked on this research during Fall 2020 and Spring 2021, and will graduate in Fall 2021.
Max Claret, Environmental Sciences honors student (May 2021)
Max examined long term vegetation and biodiversity changes in the Big Chico Creek watershed. Using Wieslander vegetation data and CalVeg, he compared vegetation community and tree species composition change.
Hannah Weinberger, Master's in Environmental Science (May 2020)
Hannah investigated the post fire response of vegetation at a nearby foothill wildfire that burned in September 2017. In addition, she examined methods for dozer line restoration.
Click here for Hannah's website
Jessica Shippen, Bachelor's of Science in Environmental Science - Applied Ecology (May 2018)
Jess worked as a research assistant in Drakesbad Meadow in summer 2017. She presented our research at the SERCAL conference in May 2017. Jess was also awarded the Outstanding Achievement in Environmental Science award for Spring 2019. She is currently an MS candidate in the Interdisciplinary Master's program at Chico State.
Lexi Thornton, Master's in Environmental Science (December 2018)
Lexi's thesis research investigated the role of nurseries and roads as anthropogenic sources for Sudden Oak Death spread into seven counties in Northern California. Lexi is currently working at the Geographic Information Center in Chico.
Allen LaGrange, Master's in Environmental Science (May 2018)
Allen completed his master's research field work in the summers of 2016 and 2017 and graduated in May 2018. The title of his thesis was The Response of Wet Meadow Vegetation along a Hydrologic Gradient after Passive Restoration.
Jimmy Monge, Honors in Environmental Science (May 2017)
Jimmy assessed the in-stream leaf decomposition rates of one non-native (Ficus carica) and three native riparian plants. His research was conducted in Big Chico Creek at the Big Chico Creek Ecological Reserve. Jimmy will continue working at the Aquatic Bioassessment Lab at Chico State and is currently working on a manuscript on his honors research. Jimmy is currently working at Quantum Spatial.
Lexi Smith, Honors in Environmental Science (May 2017)
Lexi worked on a project in collaboration with River Partners and the US Fish and Wildlife Service. She examined the success of seven different upland species after restoration on a gravel bar at the La Barranca unit of the Sacramento River National Wildlife Refuge. Lexi went on to earn her Master's in Environmental Science at Yale University.
Emily Welemin, Honors in Environmental Science (May 2016)
Senior Project topic: The effect of mowing and burning on yellow starthistle populations
updated May 2021