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School of Environment and Natural Resources


Featured Speakers

Featured Speakers for Take Flight!


Doug Tallamy, PhD is the T. A. Baker Professor of Agriculture in the Department of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology at the University of Delaware.

Dr. Tallamy has authored 104 research publications and has taught insect related courses for 40 years. Chief among his research goals is to better understand the many ways insects interact with plants and how such interactions determine the diversity of animal communities. His book Bringing Nature Home: How Native Plants Sustain Wildlife in Our Gardens was published by Timber Press in 2007 and was awarded the 2008 Silver Medal by the Garden Writers' Association. The Living Landscape, co-authored with Rick Darke, was published in 2014. Doug's new book 'Nature's Best Hope' released by Timber Press in February 2020, is a New York Times Best Seller. Among his awards are the Garden Club of America Margaret Douglas Medal for Conservation and the Tom Dodd, Jr. Award of Excellence, the 2018 AHS B.Y. Morrison Communication Award and the 2019 Cynthia Westcott Scientific Writing Award. 


Jane Breckinridge is the director of the Euchee Butterfly Farm located in Leonard, Oklahoma, and an enrolled citizen of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation. 

Ms. Breckinridge has spent the last twenty years raising and exhibiting butterflies throughout the United States and Canada, as well as providing community and youth education on butterflies. In 2013, Ms. Breckinridge founded the Natives Raising Natives Project, which is teaching rural tribal members to be butterfly farmers in order to reduce unemployment, promote science education for Native youth and raise awareness of the need for protecting the fragile eco-systems that support butterflies and other threatened pollinators. She is the co-director of Tribal Environmental Action for Monarchs and Tribal Alliance for Pollinators which partner with Monarch Watch and Native American tribes to restore habitat on tribal lands. She has spent over thirty years working in the magazine publishing industry, specializing in audience development and consumer marketing, and graduated from Macalester College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science.


Rebecca Spach is the director of vegetation management at FirstEnergy.

Ms. Spach is directly responsible for tree trimming and other vegetation management options for the approximately 14,000 miles of FirstEnergy transmission line corridors. In addition, she provides oversight and support for the vegetation management work done along the more than 140,000 miles of distribution lines in the company’s six-state service area. Spach joined Ohio Edison in 1987 as a forestry technician and has been promoted to a variety of supervisory and management positions over the years in the Forestry and Vegetation Management groups. A resident of Doylestown, Ohio she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Ashland University and has an Associate’s degree in Applied Science Forestry Technology from Hocking College.


Gabe Karns, PhD is a visiting assistant professor in the School of Environment and Natural Resources at The Ohio State University.

Gabriel Karns has a shared position between the School of Environment and Natural Resources and Ohio State University-Mansfield.  Understanding how vegetation management on working lands, such as rights-of-ways, provide opportunities as well as challenges for conservation has been one of his focal areas and led to on-the-ground partnerships across the utility and transportation sector and several advisory roles to those industries to help scale conservation-positive practices.  Involving students in field research has always been a priority, and Mansfield’s Ecolab initiative is opening up new doors to involve future professionals in field research at the local scale.  He also teaches a number of senior-level classes including Wildlife Ecology Methods, Wildlife Habitat Management, and the Capstone course for Wildlife and Forestry majors.  He earned wildlife science degrees from North Carolina State (BS and MS) and Auburn University (PhD) before becoming a part of the Terrestrial Wildlife Ecology Lab over 8 years ago and more recently expanding his accountabilities to Ohio State Mansfield.