Wildlands & Woodlands Website

Highstead works to inspire curiosity and build knowledge about plants and wooded landscapes in order to enhance life, preserve nature, and advance sound stewardship practices.

Highstead Ecology Interns 2004 - Present

Get Involved > Internships > Ecology Internships > Previous Interns

Summer Interns

Bethany Burgee and Thad Miller


Student Fellows

Lisa Schauer and Dana Graef

Dave Grunzel and Luke Reese

2004 Team - Bethany Burgee: Smith College / Thad Miller: Bethel College

Bethany and Thad studied the distribution and abundance of invasive exotic plants in relation to land use history and environmental characteristics at Highstead.  They established over 100 permanent forest plots on the property, providing baseline vegetation data for our print and electronic outreach and education materials, as well as data from which all subsequent research at Highstead can draw.


2006 Team - Dana Graef: Princeton University / Lisa Schauer: New Mexico State University

Dana and Lisa extended Highstead's grid of permanent forest plots into abutting conservation lands owned by the Nature Conservancy, the Redding Land Trust, and the Town of Redding.They established and sampled over 60 plots, broadening the diversity of forest types and land use characteristics sampled on Highstead's lands and successfully forging partnerships with other conservation groups in town.


2007 Team - Catherine Erne: Shippensburg University / Jesse Taylor-Waldman: Connecticut College

Catherine and Jesse studied the distribution of forest communities and invasive plants across the Redding landscape and the role of deer browsing in oak forests of southwestern CT. They established 45 permanent vegetation plots across Redding, stratifying by bedrock type, surficial materials, and soil type; and they sampled deer browsing, antler scraping, and forest understory characteristics in 20 plots across Redding and five surrounding towns.


2008 Team - Dave Grunzel: Washington and Jefferson College / Luke Reese: University of Minnesota

Dave and Luke studied 250 years of forest compositional change in Redding, CT and assessed the impacts of deer and moose to southern New England forests. Dave and Luke sampled and identified over 800 trees across the town of Redding, sampled the herbaceous and overstory tree layer in Highstead's oak forest exclosure plots and collected baseline seedling, shrub, and herbaceous data in Harvard Forest's deer and moose exclosure plots.


2009 Team - Stephen Murphy: Denison University / Erik Yando: Connecticut College

Stephen and Erik studied five years of forest change across Highstead, focusing on the effects of deer browsing on mountain laurel sprouting and tree regeneration and the spread of invasive plants. They re-sampled 90 permanent forest plots, measured regeneration characteristics of over 100 mountain laurel stems, and calculated tree seedling density inside and outside of our three deer exclosures.


Carlyn Perovich

Carlyn Perovich

Ecology Interns

Josh House and Maribeth Chassey

Ecology Interns

Amanda Pachomski and Olivia Zukas


Ecology Interns

Alex Petzke


Ecology Interns

Aaron Lefland and Jill Hautaniemi



2010 Team – Carlyn Perovich: Tulane University

Carlyn studied regional patterns of ungulate browsing and tree regeneration in unharvested forests of Central New England, focusing on foundation tree taxa that are in decline (hemlock and oaks).  She and her field partner at Harvard Forest sampled over 70 forest plots.


2011 Team – Maribeth Chassey: University of Connecticut/ Josh House: Ohio State University

Maribeth and Josh studied regional patterns of deer activity and vegetation patterns in relation to forest fragmentation and patch size in Connecticut.  They sampled deer and forest characteristics in 60 forest plots across the state.


2012 Team – Olivia Zukas: Sterling College/Amanda Pachomski: SUNY Binghamton

Olivia and Amanda participated in a range of long-term studies at Highstead and in the greater Redding landscape.   Their work included resampling long-term deer exclosures, establishing baseline monitoring plots for a Phragmites removal project at Highstead, sampling tree regeneration in recent canopy gaps from 2011 storm damage, and resampling deer hunted vs. unhunted properties in the towns of Redding and Ridgefield.


2013 Team – Alex Petzke: SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry

Alex assisted with several long-term studies at Highstead and in the greater Redding landscape. He worked with botanical expert, Bill Moorhead, to sample herbaceous layer vegetation at Highstead’s 15-year-old deer exclosure; collaborated with Redding town preserve manager, John McLaren, to resample 6-7-year forest plots on four town preserves; and resampled vegetation plots around the Highstead pond as part of our Phragmites removal project.


2014 Team – Jill Hautaniemi: Dickinson College/Aaron Lefland: Brandeis University

Jill and Aaron gathered baseline herbaceous layer vegetation data at eight new deer exclosure sites on Aquarion Water Company land in southwestern CT for a study examining the interactive effects of deer and disturbed forest openings (from wind damage and salvage logging) on forest regeneration and diversity; they also collected vegetation data in Massachusetts and northern Connecticut as part of the moose, deer, and forest dynamics study; collected the third year of vegetation data for Highstead’s Phragmites Removal Project; and continued to collaborate with Redding town preserve manager, John McLaren, to resample 7-8-year forest plots on Redding town preserves.