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Meet the people who make FCSal possible


Lauren Augustine

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.

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Julia Geschke

Julia grew up in northeast Ohio and received a B.S. in wildlife ecology and management from the University of Maryland, followed by a Master of Environmental Management degree from Duke University. While in grad school, she completed her master's project on habitat and population connectivity of salamander species in central NC. Currently, she is the Reptile & Amphibian Conservation Coordinator at the Indianapolis Zoo's Global Center for Species Survival, where she works with the IUCN Species Survival Commission's reptile and amphibian specialist groups to help them further their conservation initiatives.

Kat grew up in North Carolina where she attended NC State University for her undergraduate degree in Zoology.  Currently Kat lives in Baltimore, Maryland where she had previously worked as an Animal Keeper working with native reptiles, amphibians, otters and bobcats as well a large colony of Panamanian Golden Frogs. After 13 years she changed positions and now works in the Conservation Department after earning her Masters from Miami University. Kat has served as FCSal Treasurer for the last 6 years and has traveled to Boquete Panama to represent FCSal at a Salamander Festival in 2019. In her spare time she enjoys hiking, movies, music and time with her husband and dog.


Kat Mantzouris


Kirsten Hecht

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 finished 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

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Jasper Leavitt

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. candidate at East Carolina University working with community dynamics in aquatic ecosystems.


Caley Johnson

Caley grew up in Michigan, where her passion for reptile and amphibian conservation began with flipping logs to look for salamanders. After working for several years as a Licensed Veterinary Technician, she decided to follow this passion for conservation and received a B.S. in Wildlife Biology from Grand Valley State University. She loves working with threatened and endangered species and has previously worked on research projects with Eastern Massasauga rattlesnakes, Blanding's turtles, and American marten. Caley is currently an M.Sc. student at Grand Valley State University researching spatial ecology and habitat selection of spotted turtles in Northern Michigan.

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