Our Team

Chris Beaumler

Christine Baeumler
Associate Professor of Art & Founder of Backyard Phenology

Christine Baeumler is an environmental artist and Associate Professor at the University of Minnesota who explores the potential of art as a catalyst to increase awareness about environmental issues and to facilitate stewardship. Her community–based environmental practice is collaborative and involves the ecological interventions on urban sites with attention to increasing biodiversity, providing habitat, improving water quality and the aesthetic dimension.
Email: [email protected]


Rebecca Montgomery

Rebecca Montgomery
Professor of Forest Ecology & Founder of Backyard Phenology

Rebecca A. Montgomery is Associate Professor in the Department of Forest Resources in the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences at the University of Minnesota. Montgomery’s research interests include forest ecology, plant functional ecology and global change. Currently, her core research addresses the effects of project climate change (warming, drought, elevated CO2) on various North American ecosystems including: temperate/boreal forests, prairie grasslands and peatlands. She leads the Minnesota Phenology Network.


Beth Mercer-Taylor

Beth Mercer-Taylor
Sustainability Education Coordinator, UofM

Beth Mercer-Taylor is the sustainability education coordinator at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. She administers the Sustainability Studies Minor, an interdisciplinary, freestanding program with nearly 200 undergraduates enrolled. Her work involves recruiting and advising students, creating community-¬building activities, coordinating the efforts of the curriculum committee that oversees the minor’s academic program, and leading new initiatives related to sustainability on campus.


Sam Graf

Sam Graf
Outreach Coordinator

Sam's brain lights up like a field of prairie flowers every time he gets to help someone visualize what phenology is. While working with the Minnesota Phenology Network, Sam has found that people's connection to the lingual, visual, numerical, and spiritual qualities of phenology can happen simultaneously and in mutually reinforcing ways. Sam works with the Backyard Phenology team to build relationships with partners, participants, and volunteers. If you have any questions about Backyard Phenology or are interested in partnering, Sam would love to hear from you!


Kate Flick

Kate Flick
PhD Student in Natural Resource Science and Management

Kate has a deep interest in healing landscapes. She combines social and ecological lenses with multiple ways of knowing to complex issues of Place identity in the past, present, and future. Her work looks at participatory education methods that engage people in culturally relevant layers of Place.



Mae Davenport Bio Picture

Mae Davenport
Associate Professor; Interim Director of Graduate Studies

My research interests are focused on the human dimensions of natural resource management, specifically sustainable land use planning; community-based ecosystem management; recreation planning; and human beliefs, attitudes and behaviors associated with landscape change. My research program has investigated community capacity for watershed conservation, stakeholder attitudes toward wetlands restoration, residents’ perceptions of the re-colonization of cougars in the Midwest, and recreational boating practices associated with aquatic invasive species and fish diseases. I am particularly interested in applying and expanding existing theories of community capacity in community health and development disciplines to the ecosystem management context. Much of this work is interdisciplinary and integrates biophysical and social sciences to better understand and address natural resource management problems.


Nicholas Jordan Bio Pick

Nicholas Jordan
Professor, Dept. Forest Resources

My research program in agricultural ecology addresses use of biological diversity to improve on-farm productivity and resource efficiency, while reducing harmful environmental effects of agroecosystems.  Research, instruction and many service/outreach activities are integrated around this theme.