2024 Theme: Continuing to Advance Prescribed Fire Forward

Presenter Biographies

Kip Adams is a certified wildlife biologist and the National Deer Association’s Chief Conservation Officer. Kip received his B.S. in Wildlife and Fisheries Science from the Pennsylvania State University and his M.S. in Wildlife from the University of New Hampshire. He worked as a wildlife biologist for the Florida Game and Fish Commission and as the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department’s deer and bear project leader prior to his employment with the Quality Deer Management Association (now NDA) in 2002. Kip writes the Whitetail Wisdom column for NDA, has authored chapters in five books, has given over 700 presentations on deer and habitat management, and has provided whitetail content for numerous television shows.

Dr. Bearer currently serves as Chief Land Manager for the Pennsylvania Game Commission. Responsible for managing the Game Commission’s Public Lands, Private Lands, and Prescribed Fire programs within the Bureau of Wildlife Habitat Management, he has extensive experience working with a variety of conservation partners on any number of terrestrial and aquatic habitat management projects. Scott coordinates the agency’s habitat work and its Pittman-Robertson and other habitat grant funding. Prior to his work at PGC, he was Regional Fire Landscape Ecologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) in Albuquerque, NM, and spent 10 years as Senior Scientist with The Nature Conservancy. He was a postdoctoral fellow with USFWS at Patuxent Research Refuge where he helped delist the bald eagle as federally endangered, he holds a Ph.D. from Michigan State University where he studied giant panda habitat use in Wolong Nature Reserve, Sichuan, China; a M.S. from Clarion University in Wildlife Ecology where he studied bat habitat use; and a B.S. in Forestry and Wildlife from Virginia Tech.

Todd is the Prescribed Fire Program Specialist for the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Bureau of Forestry.  His duties include overseeing the prescribed fire program for the Bureau, reviewing all the burn plans for Pennsylvania, serving as an Agency Representative to the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency, and assisting in the wildland fire program.  Prior to his current position, he worked as a Fire Operations Forester for the Division of Forest Fire Protection and as a Service Forester in the William Penn Forest District.  He has been active on the Steering Committee for the Pennsylvania Prescribed Fire Council since its inception and has been on the Board of Directors since 2016.  He has served as the Vice-Chair, Acting Chair, and is currently the Secretary of the Board.  He also serves on the Governing Board for the Coalition of Prescribed Fire Councils.

Todd has been involved with wildland fire since the early 90’s and is currently qualified as a Task Force Leader and a RXB2.  He received his B.S. in Forest Resources Management from West Virginia University.

Justin is a Wildlife Habitat Manager with the Pennsylvania Game Commission’s Southeast Region.  He received a bachelor’s degree in Wildlife Fisheries Science from The Pennsylvania State University in 2010 and has been with the PGC since 2011.  For 12 years, Justin has worked on PGC habitat crews in a variety of different habitats and locales.  As it pertains to prescribed fire, he is focused on utilizing fire in herbaceous and shrubland habitats to manipulate vegetation and help combat invasive species.  He is an active member on the PGC’s burn crew and is currently qualified at the Firing Boss level. He has also had the pleasure of becoming a UASP (drone pilot) for his agency’s prescribed fire program.

Jeremy is the Fire Forester for Sproul State Forest where his primary role is to administer the district’s wildfire and prescribed fire programs.  In his current role, Jeremy is tasked with handling all aspects of the District’s Prescribed Fires Program including staff training, laying out and preparing fire units and breaks, writing, and implementing burn plans, as well as being a liaison between other agencies, fire companies, and the general public.  Operationally he is a nationally qualified Single Resource Boss working towards opening his ICT-4 Task Book.  Jeremy joined the Pennsylvania Prescribed Fire Board of Directors in 2021.  Since joining he has been active on the Annual Meeting Committee as well as the Communications Committee helping to improve the outreach of the Council.

Josh Fuqua is a Forest Technician with the Pennsylvania Game Commission in the SW Region. He received an Associate Degree in Urban Forestry from Dakota College at Bottineau. He has been with the Agency for 20 years full time, in 3 different regions.  He has been involved with Prescribed Fire since 2007 with the Pennsylvania Game Commission.  He also served as a Maintenance Supervisor. He is qualified as an RXB2 Burn Boss for prescribed fire, Chainsaw Faller 2 with the Bureau of Forestry for Wildfire, and an Assistant chainsaw instructor for the Pennsylvania Game Commission. He has also helped instruct many NWCG classes over the years. He is the Chair for the Pennsylvania Prescribed Fire Council and been on the Board for many years also serving as Vice Chair.

Neil Gifford is the Conservation Director for the Albany Pine Bush Preserve Commission, and a community representative on the North Atlantic Fire Science Exchange, with 26+ years of fire ecology and Rx fire experience. He earned associate’s, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees in Ecology and Environmental Science from Paul Smith’s College, and Plattsburgh State University, with an emphasis on fire ecology and field ornithology.

Melissa M. Kreye is an Assistant Professor of Forest Resources Management and Extension Specialist in the Department of Ecosystem Science and Management at Pennsylvania State University. Her research/extension programs focus on the economic and policy aspects of private forest management including climate-smart forestry and prescribed fire.

JD Lambrinos is the Forest Program Manager at Ft. Indiantown Gap National Guard Training Facility, where he also serves as the Assistant Wildland Fire Program Manager. JD received his A.S. degree in Forest Technology from Penn State Mont Also and his B.S. in Forest Biology from Paul Smith’s College. He began burning at FIG in 2006 and has largely been involved in fire management throughout his career. The primary goal at Ft. Indiantown Gap is to support military training through responsible land management.

Dr. Marcus Lashley is an Associate Professor in the Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation at the University of Florida and Director of the UF DEER Lab. His work focuses on applied habitat management of game species, especially white-tailed deer, and turkey. He is also host of the Wild Turkey Science and Fire University podcasts. His recent research has focused on the application of silviculture and prescribed fire techniques for management of deer forage and nesting and brood rearing cover in upland hardwood and open pine forests.

Dr. Andrew Little is an Assistant Professor of Landscape Ecology and Habitat Management, and Extension Specialist at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL). He received his B.S. degree from Penn State University in Fisheries and Wildlife in 2006, his M.S. degree from Mississippi State University in 2011, and his Ph.D. from the University of Georgia in 2015. Andy is a wildlife spatial ecologist focused on creating innovative solutions to the growing wildlife conservation and management needs in multi-functional landscapes where there are competing interests for agricultural production, wildlife conservation, and ecosystem services.  His research primarily focused on studying gamebirds, ungulates, mesopredators; wildlife-habitat relationships; landscape ecology; and predator-prey ecology. Dr. Little also leads the Applied Wildlife Ecology and Spatial Movement (AWESM) Lab at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Curtis Noll is from Berks County, Pennsylvania. He attended The Pennsylvania State University where he received dual bachelor’s degrees in forest management and wood products. He has been employed by the Pennsylvania Game Commission since 2013 and presently works in the Public Lands Office of the Bureau of Wildlife Habitat Management in Harrisburg. His central duties include coordinating the development of, reviewing, and approving Comprehensive Management Plans (CMPs) for all State Game Lands across the Commonwealth. CMPs are the foundational document for all habitat management that occurs throughout the State Game Lands system and are developed by field staff in each of the PGCs six field regions. Previously he worked as a forester in the agency’s southeast region for 9-years where he functioned as part of the prescribed fire crew since 2015. During his time as a forester, projects he was a part of mainly focused on rapidly increasing young forest habitat across SGLs in the region.

Brian Plume is a Forest Fire Specialist Supervisor with Pennsylvania DCNR Bureau of Forestry. He is responsible for wildland fire suppression, training, prevention, and prescribed fire in the Tioga Forest District. He serves on the Eastern Area Coordinating Group Operations Working Team along with various Bureau of Forestry working groups. Brian has over 30 years of wildland fire experience, is qualified as an Incident Commander Type 3 (ICT3), Safety Officer (SOFR), Burn Boss Type 2 (RXB2) and is a Burn Boss Type 1 Trainee (RXB1-t). He is also part of the Southern Blue Ridge TREX (prescribed fire training exchange) Incident Management Team.

Ed Sayre has had a remarkable career in the Fire Service. With over 45 years of experience as a firefighter (45 in Structure and over 30 in Wildland). Ed has seen action as a NWCG Approved Engine Boss, a Heavy Equipment Boss & Operator, a Type 4 Incident Commander, a Type I Firefighter and Sawyer. He also has a Degree in Business Management from Community College of Morris and Fire Science from Pikes Peak State College. Ed’s wisdom and experience have proven to be extremely valuable not only in the field but also as the Shop Foreman at Wildland Warehouse.

Ed has been with Wildland Warehouse for over 15 years. He is the pillar of our Skid Unit Design and Fabrication Team as well as a key member of our Initial Attack Truck (IAT) Program. Not only does Ed bring a high level of hands-on firefighting experience and irreplaceable industry knowledge to the company, but his mechanical ability, project management capabilities and people skills have proven to be an asset to our team.

Olivia Spencer is a PhD student in Geography at Penn State with strong interests in fire science and proactive management applications for fostering fire-resilient and healthy communities. Recently, she completed a project exploring potential impacts of prescribed fire on blacklegged tick populations in central Pennsylvania, linking important human health implications to forest stewardship. Moving forward, she hopes to model potential fire futures across under-researched regions of the U.S. to better understand risks to human and ecosystem health under a changing climate.

Mark Turner is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Tennessee School of Natural Resources. His research focuses on habitat management for white-tailed deer and other game species. He has been involved in multiple projects investigating fire effects on wildlife and vegetation across several states and will be speaking on fire seasonality in upland hardwood forests.

Aaron Tyson began his forestry career as an arborist in the urban forestry sector. In 2006 he started with the Pennsylvania Game Commission, where he was involved with the Forest Inventory and Analysis Program. He then became a forester with the Pennsylvania Game Commission Northeast Region and a year later transferred to the Northcentral Region, where is currently working. He is also a Firing Boss and Unmanned Aircraft Systems Pilot. Aaron has been very involved with the Game Commissions prescribed burn program from its infancy and has participated in over 90 prescribed burns and wildfires over the past 14 years.