Organization & Personnel

The Northern Forest Atlas is a project of the Northern Forest Atlas Foundation, a tax-exempt corporation registered in New York State.

The Northern Forest Atlas Foundation is based in Lake Placid New York. Ed McNeil is its president, and Ray Curran its secretary/treasurer.  The other board members are Tim Barnett, Charles Canham, Ray Curran, Melissa Eisinger, Larry Master, Zoë Smith, Amy Vedder and Brendan Wiltse.

Ed McNeil, over the Ausable Lakes

Ed McNeil, flying and filming over the Ausable Lakes

Zoë Smith, WCS Adirondack Program

Zoë Smith, Paul Smith College, Adirondack Watershed Institute

Zoë Smith formerly directed the Adirondack Program of the Wildlife Conservation Society and is currently Deputy Director of the Adirondack Watershed Institute at Paul Smith College.  Zoë serves on the board of the Atlas project.

Ray Curran

Ray Curran, Treasurer

Amy Vedder, Johnsburg

Amy Vedder, Johnsburg

Staff & Collaborators

Jerry Jenkins directs the Atlas project. He is a former staff scientist with the Wildlife Conservation Society Adirondack Program and does field work, photography, writing, graphics, and design for the Atlas project. He was trained in physics and philosophy and has fifty years of field experience as a botanist and ecologist in the northern forest. He is the author of The Adirondack Atlas, Acid Rain in the Adirondacks, Protecting Biodiversity on Conservation Easements, and Climate Change in the Adirondacks. He has received, among other honors, the Harold K. Hochschild award from the Adirondack Museum and the W.S.Cooper award from the Ecological Society of America.

Jerry Jenkins, in White Creek

Jerry Jenkins, in White Creek

Brett Engstrom on East Twin

Brett Engstrom on East Twin

Brett Engstrom is a botanist and natural-resource ecologist from Marshfield, Vermont. He has thirty years of field experience in the northern forest, and is an expert in grasses and sedges. He is providing ecological information and helping edit the woody plants guide, and will be a co-author of the sedge and grass guides.

Charles Canham is a senior scientist at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in Millbrook, N.Y., and a member of the Atlas board. His work has involved the measurement and modeling of forest dynamics; the flow of nutrients through forested watersheds; the impacts of small mammals on forest regeneration; and the simulation of long-term changes in forest composition under different climate and harvest scenarios. He has been involved in the Atlas project from the beginning and has recently published Forests Adrift, available from booksellers and Amazon.

Charlie Canham, Great Mountain Forest

Charlie Canham, Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies

Sue Williams, Algonquin Peak

Sue Williams, on Algonquin Peak

Sue Williams, from Rowe, Massachusetts, is a naturalist, consulting botanist, and artist. She and her daughter studied bryology with Howard Crum at Eagle Hill in the early 1990s. She went on to become one of the best field bryologists in the east; her daughter went on to become a soloist with Ballet West. She is currently helping with moss inventories and ecological mapping for the Atlas, is co-author of our Moss Digital Atlas, and is preparing a moss book of her own that the Atlas may publish.

Larry Master, from Keene, N.Y., has sixty years of experience as a naturalist, zoologist, and photographer. He was for many years chief zoologist for The Nature Conservancy and NatureServe. He has studied animals at many sites throughout the northern forest and taken photographs all over the world. Some of his photos may be seen here. He is on the board of the Atlas Foundation and has contributed the mammal and bird pictures for this website.

Larry Master

Larry Master

Brendan Wiltse

Brendan Wiltse is Water Quality Director at Paul Smith College’s Adirondack Watershed Institute and Visiting Assistant Professor at Paul Smith’s College. Brendan’s research focuses on aquatic ecosystems in the Adirondacks and northeastern North America, ranging from the historical response of lakes to recent climate change, to road salt pollution and to acid rain recovery. His photography appears in regional publications, this website and is used to advance conservation of Adirondack ecosystems.

Steve Uzzell is a well known author and photographer in the United States. He started 40 years ago as the assistant to the editor of National Geographic and a member of their photographic staff. His work has garnered international acclaim and won numerous awards.  Steve lives north of Denver, Colorado with his wife Susan, also an author and photographer, and golden retriever Dudley.

Steve Uzzell

Steve Uzzell, Photographer

Dan Spada, Forest Biologist

Dan Spada, Plant Ecologist

Dan Spada, from Tupper Lake, NY retired after a 27 year career with the Adirondack Park Agency.  He is active in the Adirondack Research Consortium, ADK Botanical Society, and NY Flora Association.  Dan has lectured at Paul Smith College, Cornell University and SUNY Plattsburg. Dan is also a professional musician and Nordic skater on wild lake ice.  His expertise in wetland classification and ecology has been very helpful in writing and editing scripts for the wetland videos.

Ed McNeil,  Atlas President, has served as Chair of the Adirondack chapter of The Nature Conservancy, member of The Nature Conservancy’s NY State board, and Chair of the Adirondack Land Trust.  Ed flew Charlie Canham (above) throughout the Adirondack Park Park for a multi-year nitrogen deposition study using an airplane he built especially for the project, and then built another for filming the videos seen here on the NFA website.

Ed McNeil landing on Lower Saranac Lake

Ed McNeil landing the AirCam on Middle Saranac Lake


The Atlas project is made possible by these people and others: donors, friends, advisors, colleagues, critics. It is a big, complicated, exciting project, and one in which we are pushing hard against the borders of what we are able to do. We could not do it without their help and support. Ed, Zoë, I, and the board thank them deeply.

Jerry Jenkins, December 2015


George Read
October 10, 2016 at 4:40 pm

Appears to be a great project well done!!! So much to read and so little time…………

A couple of typos that I’ve caught so far:
In Charles Canham’s bio “imacts” should probably be “impacts”
In Sue William’s bio, is “M.A.” master of arts or more likely for the state. I think that putting periods in the states’ abbreviation letters is misleading as the USPS doesn’t separate the abbreviation letters with periods, as you do.

I’m looking forward to reading more.

Aloha, George Read.

Lori McNeil McKeon
April 6, 2018 at 8:30 pm

Hi Ed ,
Looking for relations to Delbert McNeil from Tupper Lake ~ this is my grandfather
[email protected]

April 16, 2018 at 10:01 am

Hi Lori,

My family was from Canada, without connection in NY state, so I have no knowledge of your grandfather.

If he was from Tupper Lake, he had to be hearty! Ed

George B Benner
May 24, 2018 at 2:45 pm

If you happen to Jerry Jenkins in the near future, ask him if he is still a virtuoso on the penny whistle? He may not remember me but give him my best wishes from the past.
George Benner, Prof Emeritus..Adelphi University

June 14, 2018 at 2:11 pm

Will do George. Thank you. Ed

Shawn Markel
May 14, 2020 at 12:39 pm

George, this is Jerry’s sister. Are you the same George who was part of the Pumpkin Hook Band?

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