Research Practicum

For the final three weeks of the program, the Fellows focus on a collaborative practicum, designed to meet their expressed skills and interests. Each group is mentored by a PEC staff person or a professional from one of PEC’s many partner organizations. At the end of the final week, the Fellows present their work to PEC’s staff and board of directors via Google Meet.

2023 Practicum Presentations

How Trails and Greenways Create Healthier, Wealthier Communities
Georgia Gayle Kretz and Mohammad Ahmadi
Mentor: Peter Krebs

A Landowner’s Guide to Saving the Brook Trout
Jimena Espinoza and Darryl Acker-Carter
Mentor: Laura O’Brien

The Benefits of Riparian Buffer Species on Terrestrial Wildlife
Catherine McVicker and Annie Castillo
Mentors: October Greenfield and Linnea Stewart

Assessing the Visualize 2050 Transportation Plan in Northern Virginia
Aaryan Awasthi and Duncan Griffiths
Mentors: Bill Pugh and Douglas Stewart

Best Practices for Public Process in a New Era
Susannah Gerhardt and Rebecca Popp
Mentor: John McCarthy

Foraging Practices and Access in the Piedmont
Julia Tracy and Maggie Forsyth
Mentors: Maggi Blomstrom and Linnea Stewart

2022 Practicum Presentations

Food for Thought: An Assessment of Equitable Food and Land Access in the Virginia Piedmont
Elizabeth Hernandez and Sophie Creager-Roberts
Mentor: Sophia Chapin

Storymapping PEC’s Plantings for the Piedmont Program
Bailey Coleman and Sophia Masciarelli
Mentor: Maggi Blomstrom

Affordable Housing in Loudoun County, VA
Jack Magner and Alyna Baharozian 
Mentors: Gem Bingol and Stewart Schwartz

Storymapping the Piedmont Grassland Bird Initiative
Sofia Marino and Sage Strack
Mentor: October Greenfield

Food Access for Fifeville
Gabrielle Jadotte and Rachel Schwind
Mentor: Peter Krebs

Utility Scale Sprawl
Mario Seaman and Noah Woods
Mentors: Don McCown and Dan Holmes

2021 Practicum Presentations

Landscapes of Memory: Documenting and Preserving Community and Family Cemeteries in the Virginia Piedmont
Julia Rankin and Samantha Grossman
Mentor: Kristie Kendall

Invasives in Your Yard: A Homeowners Guide to Invasive Plants
Lauren Taylor and Lauren Hutchison
Mentors: Gem Bingol, Julie Bolthouse, Marco Sanchez, and Sophia Chapin

Campaigning for BRT: Route 7 and Sustainable Equity
Alberto Della Torre and Annie Price 
Mentors: Stewart Schwartz and Douglas Stewart

StoryMapping the Threat of Data Center Development in PWC’s Rural Crescent
Anelyse Regelbrugge
Mentors: Julie Bolthouse, Hugh Kenny, Gem Bingol, and Watsun Randolph

Environmental Justice in the Virginia Piedmont and Beyond
Simon Willig, M.H. Chau, Diamond McAllister
Mentors: Tiffany Parker and Watsun Randolph

Energy Efficiency Update
Thomas Jackson and Carly Harris
Mentors: Bri West and Sophia Chapin 

Restoring Bolton Branch
Janis Arrojado and Liam Dolan
Mentor: Claire Catlett

2020 Practicum Presentations

50 Years of Scenic River Protection in the Piedmont: A StoryMap
Meredith Hickman and David Malcolm
Mentors: Kat Imhoff, Hugh Kenny, John McCarthy, and Watsun Randolph

Warrenton’s Vacant Land
Clio Bate, Savannah Hall, and Colin Gates
Mentors: Dan Holmes, Julie Bolthouse, and Watsun Randolph 

Racial Inequity and Outdoor Spaces: A Case Study on PEC’s Conserved Lands
Ben Fernando and Rebecca Topness 
Mentors: Celia Vuocolo and Marco Sánchez 

Carbon Offset: A Dive into PEC’s Carbon Footprint
Wade Ebert and Isabel Lisle 
Mentors: Chris Miller and Chris Hawk

Planting Native: benefits and testimonies that will make you garden differently
Gabriella Creeser and Trinity Mills 
Mentors: Gem Bingol, Celia Vuocolo, and Bri West

2019 Practicum Presentations

Carbon Sequestration in the Piedmont’s Grasslands
Emily Dalton and Jake Nicastro
Mentor: Mike Kane

Collaborative Conservation in the Blue Ridge Region
Kaitlin King and Nell Pearson
Mentor: Tracy Lind

Barriers to Solar Generation in Virginia: A Podcast
Ariel Gans and Philip Pericak
Mentors: Dan Holmes and Bri West

Recognizing Unconventional Agricultural Practices in the Piedmont
Katie Schmidtmann and Molly Cullen
Mentor: Tracy Lind

PEC Brings Back the Brook Trout
Annabelle Stanley and Merissa Shebell
Mentors: Claire Catlett and Celia Vuocolo

Assessing the Impacts of Vehicle Crossings on Blue Ridge Trout Streams: Rappahannock & Madison, VA
George Castillo and Ben Landolt
Mentor: Claire Catlett

2018 Practicum Presentations

Honoring Local Heritage: Uncovering Historic Sites in the Blue Ridge
Chloe Harris and MacKenzie Earl
Mentor: Kristie Kendall

Watershed Warriors
Evan Raskin and Celeste Wilson
Mentors: Julie Bolthouse and Claire Catlett

Make Some Noise About Noise Pollution
Tess Kendrick and Libby Truitt
Mentor: Dan Holmes

Spaces Worth Saving, Areas for Affordability: The Intersection of the Conservation Movement and the Affordable Housing Crisis in the City of Charlottesville and Albemarle County, Virginia
Isobel Lingenfelter and Megan Routbort
Mentor: Dan Holmes

Arachnids, Ailanthus and ArcGIS: Invasive Species Mapping at the Clifton Institute
Ganon Hingst and Julia Stinson Ebert
Mentors: Dr. Bert Harris and Dr. Eleanor Harris

Podcast – Preservation Politics
Zachary Harris and Daniel Kim
Mentor: Sean Tubbs

2017 Practicum Presentations

Shadow of Shenandoah: A PEC Fellows Podcast
Andrew Olive and Jacquelyn Smith
Mentor: Kristie Kendall

Trout Monitoring Protocols for the Upper Rappahannock
Dana Ek and Callee Manna
Mentors: Claire Catlett and Peter Hujik

Historic and Non-Historic Property Values in Charlottesville and Albemarle
Abigail Chan and Kate Moody
Mentor: Jeff Werner

Atrazine: A Silent Killer
Josh McGhee and Drake Starling
Mentors: Julie Bolthouse and Dan Holmes

Data Centers and Energy Consumption
Emma Will and Shayne Willette
Mentor: Rob Marmet

Reviving Small Town U.S.A.
Quyen Ha and Harrison Premen
Mentors: Paula Combs and Dan Holmes

2016 Practicum Presentations

An Assessment of the Pollinating Insect Population Gilbert’s Corner
Mary Collins and Victor Lau
Mentor: Celia Vuocolo

Enhancing Public Access to the Rapidan River
Eliot Berz and Haley Wilbanks
Mentors: Peter Hujik and Dan Holmes

Residential Solar in PEC’s Nine Counties: Emily and Liam’s Fantastic Adventure through County Government
Liam McAuliff and Emily Onufer
Mentor: Bri West

The Piedmont Environmental Council: An Oral History
Amanda Bengston and Joel Carver
Mentor: Karen Hunsberger

An Inventory of Historic Bridges In The Piedmont Environmental Council’s Service District
Eric Teller and Anne Wilcosky
Mentor: Kristie Kendall

Improving Transit Oriented Development: A Greener, More Connected Loudoun County
Amanda Demmerle and Anne Weidhaas
Mentors: Stewart Schwartz and Gem Bingol

2015 Practicum Presentations

Exploring Property Value Change in the Piedmont
William DeCesare and Kori Goldberg
Mentor: Jeff Werner

Restoring Brook Trout Habitat in the Piedmont
Michael Carter and Nicholas Wells
Mentors: Carolyn Sedgwick, Watsun Randolph, and Jonathan Marquisee

Millennials for the PEC: Securing the Future for the Piedmont Environmental Council through the Incorporation of the Millennial Generation
Chantal Madray and Caitlin McCarthy
Mentors: Maggi MacQuilliam, Marco Sanchez, Jess Palmer & Bri West

Updating the Loudoun Outdoors Guide
Silas Domy and Andrea Levy
Mentor: Mike Kane

Visualizing Stewardship–A Photographic Library of Good Land Management Practices
Claudia Elzey and Kendall Grannis
Mentors: Gem Bingol and Maggi MacQuilliam

Morrison Ruins Preservation and Interpretive Plan–Restoration of Historic Ruins on Jim Northup’s Property (Superintendent of Shenandoah National Park)
Rachel Earnhardt and Joseph Mutter
Mentor: Kristie Kendall

2014 Practicum Presentations

Farmer Chef Express Website-Developing Their Gleaning and Surplus Program
Lauren Faccinto (San Anselmo, CA / Kenyon College: Sociology and Environmental Studies) and Hannah Itzler
(Ft. Lauderdale, FL, University of Florida: Sustainability and the Built Environment
Mentor: Jess Palmer

Social Media Outreach Series and Fellowship Promotion
Chelsea Johnson (Avon, IN / Lawrence University: Environmental Studies with Policy Focus) and Susanna Kirschner (Richmond, VA / University of Mary Washington: Environmental Science)
Mentor: Marco Sanchez

Strengthening What We Already Protect: Updating Easements in the Cromwell’s Run and South Fork Rivanna Watersheds
Laurel Abowd (Glenmont, NY / University of Virginia: Environmental Sciences) and Natalie Sheffield
(Charlottesville, VA / College of William and Mary: Environmental Science and Policy, English)
Mentors: Heather Richards and Maggi MacQuilliam

Assessing Stream Water and Habitat Quality at Gilbert’s Corner
Michael Ament (DePere, WI / University of Michigan: Environmental Science and Anthropology) and Preston White (Bealton, VA / James Madison University: Integrated Science and Technology)
Mentors: Gem Bingol and Mike Kane

A Green Infrastructure Schematic (Vision) for the Piedmont
Brian Stark Godfrey (Charlotte, NC / University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill: Political Science and Geography) and Peter Klemz (Manassas, VA / Virginia Tech: Public and Urban Affairs)
Mentors: Dan Holmes, Watsun Randolph, Jonathan Marquisee

EPA Clean Power Plan as it Applies to Virginia
Alexa White (Riverhead, NY / University of Maryland, Baltimore County: Environmental Science) and Samuel Zacher (Columbus, OH / University of Chicago: Environmental Studies and Economics)
Mentor: Rob Marmet

2013 Practicum Presentations

A Portfolio of Smart Growth Features: Illustrating Powerful Land Use Concepts
Meredyth Sanders (Vienna, VA / University of Virginia: Urban & Environmental Planning, Minor in Environmental Science)
Mentor: Katherine Vance

A Guide to Sustainable NoMA
Mathew Smead (Chapel Hill, NC / University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill: Environmental Science, Minor in Geography)
Mentor: Galin Brooks, NoMa BID

The Fauquier County Outdoors Guide
Julia Bridstrup (Warrenton, VA / University of Virginia: Environmental Science, Minor in Anthropology)
Mentor: Julie Bolthouse

Trail Mapping in the PEC Region
Henry Bell (Oak Grove, MN / Middlebury College: Joint Major in Geography & Environmental Studies, Minor in Spanish)
Mentor: Watsun Randolph

High School Lesson Plans on Land Use and Environmental Planning
Melissa Andrews (Carlisle, MA / University of Pennsylvania School of Design: Master of City Planning – Land Use & Environmental Planning Haverford College: Growth and Structure of Cities, Minor in East Asian Studies)
Mentor: Leslie Ziegler, Highland School

Conservation Stories of Virginia
Caroline Massie (Rappahannock, VA / University of Virginia: English, American Studies, Minor in Media Studies)
Mentor: Kristie Kendall

The Outer Beltway: We Can Have it All
Terry Chen (Winchester, MA / University of California Los Angeles: Environmental Science, Minors in Geography & Environmental Studies)
Mentor: Bri West

The Charlottesville Western Bypass: A Case Study of Water Quality Regulations and Their Role in Virginia Transporation Projects
Rachel Locke (Arlington, VA / University of Virginia: Environmental Thought & Practice, Leadership & Public Policy)
Mentor: Diana Norris

Outreach Efforts to Improve Water Quality in the Shenandoah River
Robert Stuart (Edinburg, VA / University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point: Masters in Natural Resources Virginia Tech: Horticulture)
Mentor: Shenandoah Riverkeepers, Jennifer Keck

The Viability of Biofuels as a Replacement for Fossil Fuels
Sarah Wheatley (Rappahannock, VA / Mount Holyoke College: Environmental Studies with a Concentration in Geoscience)
Mentor: Sue Ellen Johnson and David Wheatley, Pilot

An Intimate Look at Farms and Food: Outreach for PEC’S Buy Fresh Buy Local Campaign
Charlotte Rodina (Manassas, VA / University of Mary Washington: English)
Mentor: Jessica Palmer  

2012 Practicum Presentations

Farmers Markets and Outreach to Low-Income Populations
Louise Searle (Fredericksburg, VA / Randolph College: Environmental Studies, Minors in American Culture & Sociology)
Mentor: Sue Ellen Johnson, PEC       

Assessment of Environmentally-Responsible Practices at the Airlie Conference Center
Spencer Middleton (Stillwater, MN / Evergreen State College: Human Ecology)
Mentor:  Breanna Detwiler, Environmental Policy Coordinator and Assistant to the President, Airlie Conference Center      

Outreach to the General Public on Black Bear Management in the Piedmont
Mindy Bridges (Denver, CO / University of Colorado Boulder: Anthropology & Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Certificate in Peace &  Conflict Studies)
Mentor: Tom Wood, Director, Environmental Studies on the Piedmont      

The Legal Guide to Farming
Matthew P. Castelli (Egg Harbor, NJ / University of Richmond: Biology and Indiana University Maurer School of Law)
Mentors: Sue Ellen Johnson & Diana Norris, PEC   

Historic Assessment of the James City Property in Madison County: Making the Case for Preservation
Jocelyn Friedman (Mount Kisco, NY / Carleton College: American History, Minor in European Studies)
Mentors: Kristie Kendall & Beth Burnam, PEC       

Access Management Along Route 29: An Intersection-Scale Analysis
Andrew Pericak (Charlottesville, VA / University of Richmond: Environmental Studies & Geography, Minor in Music)
Mentor: Jeff Werner, PEC      

Stream Habitat Study and Outreach in the Long Branch Watershed
Susan E. O’Neill (Leesburg, VA / Central Washington University: Biology with a Minor in Chemistry
University of Washington: Certificate in Environmental Law & Regulation)
Mentor: Gem Bingol, PEC      

Business Models for Community-Supported Agriculture (CSAs) and Urban Rooftop Gardening
Brian C. Sproul (Chicago, IL / University of Oregon School of Law: Environmental & Natural Resource Law)
Mentor: Pablo Elliot, Stoney Lonesome Farm   

New/Green Urbanism Developments in the D.C. Suburbs
Erin B. Pierce (Clifton, VA / James Madison University: Political Science, Minors in Environmental Studies & Sociology)
Mentor: Stewart Schwartz, Executive Director, Coalition for Smarter Growth      

Habitat Corridor Management By Private Landowners
Katharine M. Chute (Wayzata, MN / Harvard: Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, Minor in Government and
University of MN, Duluth: Environmental Education)
Mentor: James Barnes, PEC      

Guide to Rural and Agricultural Life for New Residents
Jeremy J. Rothwell (Chesapeake City, MD / Washington College: Political Science & History and University of Delaware: Masters in Urban Affairs & Public Policy)
Mentors: Sue Ellen Johnson & Bri West, PEC      

Assessing the Availability of Native and Invasive Plants in Nurseries Across the PEC Region
Morgan R. Carter (Millwood, VA / University of Mississippi: Public Policy Leadership, Minors in Environmental Studies and Business)
Mentor: James Barnes, PEC