weeds across borders header and globe logo with plant
Stephen Darbyshire is a biologist with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada at the Eastern Cereal and Oilseed Research Centre in Ottawa where he has worked for about 30 years. His research focuses on grass taxonomy and weed biology. One branch of research concerns reproduction and dispersal in plants as natural processes and as they are affected by human activities.

Jenny Ericson is the Acting National Invasive Species Program Coordinator for the National Wildlife Refuge System (NWRS), US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) in the Arlington, Virginia office. She has worked in invasive species management for the NWRS since 2003. In addition to serving as Acting Coordinator for the program, Jenny manages the successful Invasives & Volunteers program for the NWRS. Jenny’s career in biodiversity conservation and natural resource management began as a Fellow of the University of Michigan Population-Environment Fellows Program, which took her to the Mexican Yucatan where she lived and worked in the rural villages surrounding the Calakmul Biosphere Reserve for the World Wildlife Fund, Mexico Program. Later, she directed the Community-based Conservation Program for the Andean Division (South America) of the Nature Conservancy. She has also worked as an independent consultant on human migration and protected area management for Conservation International. Jenny has a graduate degree in Environmental Systems from Humboldt State University and an undergraduate degree in Comparative Religions from Oberlin College.

Russ Jones received a BA in Biology from Mansfield University in Mansfield, Pennsylvania, a MS in Crop Science from North Carolina State University in Raleigh, North Carolina, and a PhD in Agronomy from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, where he specialized in plant growth regulators and herbicides. He followed with a Postdoctoral appointment at Purdue University where he was supported by a NASA Space Biology grant to study physiology of mechanical stress in plants. Prior to joining the US Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Pesticide Programs/Biopesticides and Pollution Prevention Division as a Biologist and Risk Assessor in 1997, Jones worked for government contractors on health effects and the environmental fate of pesticides in support of USEPA pesticide regulatory activities. As Biochemical Branch Senior Biologist, his responsibilities include: Biochemicals branch Science Review Process Leader, Chair of the Biochemical Classification Committee, Office of Pesticide Programs Invasive Species Contact, and current Co-Chair of the Federal Interagency Committee for the Management of Noxious and Exotic Weeds (FICMNEW).

Previous to starting her S-K Environmental business, Sheilah Kennedy was Coordinator for Noxious Weed Control Board of Okanogan County, Washington for 14 years. Encompassing 3.1 million acres, Okanogan County is the largest county in the State of Washington. Her responsibilities of developing programs that crossed jurisdictional boundaries and providing a stronger prevention program led to starting the “Weed Wash Business.”

Cory is a Senior Program Invasive Plant Specialist with the Plant Health and Biosecurity Directorate of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency based in Winnipeg. Our major files include a Canadian Invasive Plants Framework, an Invasive Plant Policy, implementing regulation of invasive plants and an EDRR plan for invasive plants in Canada. Cory is also working with a Quads project with New Zealand, Australia, US, and Canada on weed incursion planning. Cory has worked with invasive alien species for over 18 years and published numerous papers in peer reviewed journals and contributed chapters to books – he is a Phd candidate at the University of Manitoba studying spatial predictive modeling and EDRR systems.

Les Mehrhoff is a hand-lens toting naturalist and the founder and director of the Invasive Plant Atlas of New England (IPANE) http://ipane.org. He works with the USGS’s National Biological Information Infrastructure and is deeply involved in national invasive species efforts, especially the early detection of new or poorly known invasive plants. Les is Curator of the New England Botanical Club Vascular Plant Herbarium, a Research Associate of the Harvard University Herbaria and a Curatorial Affiliate of the D.C. Eaton Herbarium at Yale and the Arnold Arboretum in Boston where he is currently undertaking a reevaluation of the Spontaneous Flora of the Arboretum that was last done in the 1930s. Les is on the board of the Josselyn Botanical Society of Maine, the Regional Advisory Council of the New England Wild Flower Society’s New England Plant Conservation Program, and the Connecticut Departmental of Environmental Protection’s Taxonomic Advisory Committee for plants, and is Co-chair of the Connecticut Invasive Plant Working Group. Les represents IPANE on the Connecticut Invasive Plant Council and the Massachusetts Invasive Plant Advisory Group. He works on the early detection of invasive plants with several federal agencies including the Fish & Wildlife Service, the US Forest Service, US Department of Agriculture, and has lectured locally, nationally, and internationally on many aspects of this subject and IPANE.

Les received a PhD from the University of Connecticut where his thesis research revolved around plant dispersal biology and the distribution of plants. His thesis was “A Phytogeographical Analysis of the Flora of Connecticut.” He was the former curator of the G.S. Torrey Herbarium at the University of Connecticut; before coming to Storrs, Les was the Supervising Biologist with the Connecticut Geological & Natural History Survey and botanist/coordinator of the Connecticut Natural Diversity Database (state heritage program). He has taught courses at New England College, University of Connecticut, Wesleyan University, and Trinity College. He currently works as a botanist and educator with Invasive Plant Control, Inc. from Nashville, TN. Les’s fervent hope is that he remains an active and productive naturalist and field biologist, still enjoying spending as much time as possible outside in the field photographing all things natural and collecting herbarium specimens.

Gina has been with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) for 29 years. She is currently the National Program Lead for policy and budget development for invasive plants, invasive species and Grasshopper & Mormon cricket, and pesticide programs on BLM administered public lands. Gina has worked in BLM field and state offices in New Mexico and Arizona BLM’s National Training Center Bachelor of Science: Agriculture Major: Range Science, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, New Mexico 1985. Master Business Administration emphasis economics: University of Phoenix, Phoenix, Arizona 1990.

Dr. Alan Tasker became the National Noxious Weed Program Manager for the USDA APHIS Plant Protection & Quarantine staff now known as Emergency and Domestic Programs in 1999. Al had joined APHIS in 1991 from a consulting firm to work for the Environmental Analysis and Documentation staff as a member of the team developing the Medfly Environmental Impact Statement, also writing a number of weed environmental documents. He moved to the pesticide registration support staff of the Agency 1993. He has served as a member of the APHIS National Weeds strategic planning team since its inception in 1992.

Al’s training as a weed scientist and agronomist, and his knowledge of general agriculture, has led to experience in government, industry, and consulting, including pesticide research, market development, and pesticide registration. His responsibilities have included inter- and intra-departmental liaison activities; writing and review of scientific literature; and support of automated information systems.

Al has worked in all US states beginning in “M” except Maine and Massachusetts. As recent co-chair of the interagency Federal Committee for the Management of Noxious and Exotic Weeds, Al (as Sheriff Al) has for the last several years been passing out “Invasive Weed Control Deputy” badges and singing weed songs (such as the Kudzu song) with Randy Westbrooks (aka Randy the Weed Wrangler) for Kid’s Fun Day at the US National Weed Awareness Week. In addition to a PhD in agronomy from the University of Missouri-Columbia, Dr. Tasker received a BS in agriculture from Kansas State University, and a MS in agronomy from Montana State University.

Logos of Weeds Across Borders 2010 sponsors