- Program Coordinator, Virginia Working Landscapes
Background And Education
Erin Thady is the survey and volunteer coordinator for the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute's Virginia Working Landscapes program. Virginia Working Landscapes is a Smithsonian-led research program that promotes the conservation of native biodiversity and sustainable land-use through research, education and community engagement. Thady’s role is to coordinate and promote ecological monitoring activities and serve as a key liaison between SCBI, citizen scientists, landowners, research collaborators and agency/NGO partners.
Along with a team of ecologists, Thady supports Virginia Working Landscapes’ research-based program that works with community volunteers to collect standardized inventory and long-term ecological data with the purpose of informing conservation approaches for native biodiversity. Her focus is to coordinate and execute biodiversity monitoring surveys on sites in the Northern Virginia Piedmont and Shenandoah Valley region. She conducts field surveys, implements internal and external research projects, and summarizes research results to share with resource specialists and land managers. Additionally, Thady manages the recruitment, training, and site assignments for VWL’s citizen science network. Prior to joining the Smithsonian, she served as a wildlife biologist with Fairfax County and a bat technician with both the D.C. Department of Energy and Environment and the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation. Her career experience has involved surveying various wildlife populations, evaluating human impacts to the landscape, promoting human-wildlife coexistence measures, and leading conservation-focused outreach and education initiatives.
Thady received her bachelor’s degree in biology from James Madison University in 2016 and her master’s degree in wildlife and fisheries biology from Frostburg State University in 2018. Her Master’s research focused on evaluating the impact of off-road vehicle recreation activities on small mammal and bat communities in western Maryland.
Thady’s interest in wildlife conservation and sustainable land use led her to the Smithsonian, where she enjoys engaging the community in ecological research and conservation initiatives. As a Virginia native, she is passionate about local natural resource conservation efforts. Thady currently resides in Linden, Virginia, and spends most of her time exploring the beautiful natural surroundings.