Meet the people who make FCSal possible
Lauren grew up in Pennsylvania and has followed her passion for reptiles and amphibians all over the east coast. She started at the Smithsonian National Zoo in 2011 and has a masters in conservation science and policy from George Mason University. In early 2011 Lauren initiated the Chopsticks For Salamanders (CFS) program as a conservation movement to save salamanders. Today CFS has officially become a stand-alone organization, FCSal, raising thousands of dollars for salamander conservation each year.
Megan grew up in New York and graduated from Wesleyan University in Connecticut with a degree in Science in Society. Megan is currently the Supervisor of Reptiles at the Fort Worth Zoo. She previously worked at the Phoenix Zoo and the Bronx Zoo. Megan has worked with Chopsticks for Salamanders from the very beginning and has loved watching the program flourish and grow into FCSal.
Kat grew up in North Carolina where she attended college at North Carolina State University, graduating in 2007 with a degree in Zoology. Kat is an animal keeper at the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore. At the zoo, she works with native reptiles and amphibians, native birds, and North American River Otters. Also, is has worked with Project Golden Frog at the Maryland Zoo which breeds and keeps the largest population of these extinct-in-the-wild animals. In her free time she enjoys hiking, music, movies and time with her husband and dog.
Kirsten Hecht has over 10 years of experience as an aquatic ecologist and science communicator. She received her B.S. from The Ohio State University and worked in Appalachia for several years before moving to Florida. Kirsten is working on her PhD in Interdisciplinary Ecology at the University of Florida where she also received her MS. Inspired by her son, Dmitry, environmental communication became her passion. She has managed social media accounts for several organizations including the Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation (PARC) and is also the creator and manager of www.giantsalamanders.org.
Adam Smith grew up in Divonne-les-Bains, France. He has a BS in Environmental Geography from the University of York, UK, and an MS in Conservation at University College London (UCL). Having previously worked in field research and environmental policy, Adam now works as a Development Coordinator at Conservation International where he manages a portfolio of donors, carries out prospect research, and supports donor stewardship and outreach. Adam’s passion for conservation and herpetology arose from hiking in the mountains of France and Switzerland and observing the Alpine Newts and frogs than frequented his pond.
Jasper graduated from Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania with a B.S. in Biology and a B.A. in Music in 2015, where his love for amphibians was first ignited. While at Gettysburg, he worked on multiple projects with salamanders, ranging from disease ecology to egg-algae symbiosis. After taking a brief hiatus working in fisheries science in Massachusetts, he returned to salamander research at Trent University in Ontario. Here, his M.Sc. research investigated kin selection and tail regeneration in blue-spotted salamanders. He is currently a Ph.D. student at East Carolina University working with competition dynamics in larval marbled salamanders.
Pat grew up in southern Ontario, Canada and always had a passion for wildlife, specifically reptiles and amphibians. Since finishing his BSc Biology in 2016 he has led and worked on many research projects ranging from fundamental ecology to conservation in a variety of taxa. Pat is currently an MSc candidate at Trent University studying how diet and predators affect responses to risk in larval spotted salamanders. After defending his MSc, he hopes to pursue a career in herpetological research and conservation.