|Liz Johnson has combined a love of the outdoors with her special knowledge of wildlife biology, geology and teaching to develop a position as Manager of Metropolitan Biodiversity Programs at the American Museum of Natural History's Center for Biodiversity and Conservation.
"I have always been interested in the outdoors," she told us. "I grew up in New Jersey before many of the interstate highways were built, so there was much less development and more wild places for me to explore. My backyard led directly to woods, fields, and a swamp where I spent most of my free time while growing up."
In keeping with her love of science and the outdoors, when it came time to pick a major in college she selected wildlife biology, but by the time she graduated, she'd added another. She had to take a geology class as part of the course requirements, and she liked it so much she added geology as a second major. "It turned out to be a terrific combination, since I learned much about landforms, hydrology, and soils, all of which help determine which plants and animals can live in an area." Since then, she has followed up with a science teaching certificate and a master's degree in ecology.
Over the years, in part through her work as a Natural Science Curator for The Morris Museum and as Director of Science and Stewardship for The New Jersey Field Office of the Nature Conservancy, she has had the opportunity to teach, conduct plant and animal surveys, manage nature preserves, work with endangered species, and guide the development of various science programs.
In her current position, she is working to develop projects that will contribute to the conservation of biodiversity in the New York metropolitan area. "It's exciting to be a part of a program that will help people better understand how they can live compatibly with the variety of plants and animals that also call the New York metro area their home."
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