Organization & Personnel

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

The Northern Forest Atlas Foundation is based in Lake Placid New York. Ed McNeil is its president, Ray Curran its treasurer, and Melissa Eisinger is its Secretary.  Board members include Charles Canham, Ray Curran, Larry Master, Amy Vedder, Brendan Wiltse, Lee Keet, Margot Ernst, Tom Butler, Kitty Liu, and Elizabeth Lee.

Ed McNeil, over the Ausable Lakes

Ed McNeil, flying and filming over the Ausable Lakes

Amy Vedder, Johnsburg

Amy Vedder, Johnsburg

Dr. Amy Vedder teaches at Yale University, and is best known for her work with gorillas in Rwanda and books In the Kingdom of Gorillas and African Rain Forest Ecology and Conservation. Amy is well known for her conservation work in the wilds of the US and in Africa, and will be the next president of the Northern Forest Atlas Foundation.

Ray Curran

Ray Curran, Treasurer

Melissa Eisinger, Secretary

Ray Curran is an ecologist and wetlands scientist who worked 30 years with the Adirondack Park Agency, heading the environmental science and analysis unit. Ray has advanced degrees from SUNY-ESF and Syracuse University. He serves as Treasurer of the Northern Forest Atlas Foundation.

Melissa Eisinger is a long serving administrator and fundraiser for Adirondack not-for-protits, including The Nature conservancy, Adirondack Land Trust and the Adirondack Foundation. She also serves on the boards of Cloudspilitter Foundation, Mercy Care and the Northern Forest Atlas Foundation, as secretary.

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. In addition to the publications shown on this website, 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 (Adirondack Experience) 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 authored the recently published Forests Adrift.

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 author of An Ecological Guide to Mosses and Common Liverworts of the Northeast.

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, won numerous awards and has been published in over 100 publications.

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 sampling 520 lakes, using an airplane he built especially for the project, and then built another for filming the videos seen here on the Atlas website.

Ed McNeil landing on Lower Saranac Lake

Ed McNeil landing the AirCam on Middle Saranac Lake

Lee Keet

Lee Keet started his career as a software engineer and founder of an early software company. Lee manages a small private equity firm with a hi-tech portfolio. He is Chair of the Cloudsplitter Foundation, a not-for-profit whose philanthropic mission is to improve the environment, economy, and lives of the people of the Adirondacks.

Margot Ernst

Tom Butler

Margot Ernst and her husband run a 150 year old eco-resort on Elk Lake in the Adirondack High Peaks, where they have given a 12,000 acre easement on their property. Margot is very involved in environmental issues on the board of Audubon, NPR (National Public Radio) and Island Press, a non profit that publishes books to communicate ideas on environmental issues worldwide.

A conservation activist and writer, Tom Butler is the author or editor of more than a dozen books including Wildlands Philanthropy, Protecting the Wild, and ENERGY: Overdevelopment and the Delusion of Endless Growth. He serves as senior fellow for Northeast Wilderness Trust, a regional land trust.

Elizabeth Lee

Kitty Liu

Elizabeth Lee is Executive Director of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Essex County. She is a National Geographic Educator and holds an MS in environmental science with a specialization in teaching science outdoors. She is also a NYS Outdoor Guide, concentrating on the Champlain Valley.

Kitty Liu is the Editorial Director of Comstock Publishing at Cornell University Press, overseeing the acquisition of academic and trade titles in science, nature, and the environment. Kitty leads Cornell University Press’ participation in the Mellon University Press Diversity Fellowship program, and serves on the Association of University Presses’ Acquisitions Editorial Committee.

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, I and the board thank them deeply.

(Zoë Smith was a founding board member of the Northern Forest Atlas Foundation, and is now Deputy Director of the Adirondack Watershed Institute at Paul Smith College.)

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

Camille Walker
November 11, 2021 at 11:48 pm

Hi – this message is for Ed. You didn’t by chance use to hang glide? If so do you remember a friend/coworker who took up the sport with you named John Davie? Please reach out if this is you…Thank you!

November 17, 2021 at 12:07 pm

Yes, this is that Ed! John Davie was a friend and worked for me as a project manager for several years. My neck aches just thinking of the many hang gliding impacts with the ground, although that started me airplane flying, which I still do today. Ed

June 23, 2022 at 6:24 pm

Camille, I thought I replied, but yes that is me, 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?

Ted Watt
October 6, 2021 at 8:24 pm

I am a Plant Conservation Volunteer with the Native Plant Trust. I am trying to reach Jerry J to ask him about the Woodsia obtusa that he found at SH Hill in Pownal, Vermont in 1995. I know it is a long time ago. We are searching again for the species this Monday and we have a GPS but the info we have been getting from NPT has not always been correct. Jerry, would you be willing to share your GPS location for this fern? Or I could tell you what we were given and you could let me know if it is correct? Thank you for your time and consideration, Ted Watt, 87 Oakland Street, Greenfield, MA 01301. 413-824-7669

November 5, 2021 at 5:35 pm

Ted, Jerry is flat out and will be for some time. He has much on his plate getting these publications done before he is not longer able. We have 4 field guides and a book on Ecology in the works now.

Ed McNeil

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