Allyson Muth, Director, Assistant Research Professor, Private Forests Management

Dr. Muth’s work and research focuses on peer learning to enhance forest stewardship across the Commonwealth. Her studies include investigations into the use of collaborative learning to promote community development, ways to enhance the relationship between natural resources professionals and private forest landowners, cross boundary cooperation, and peer-to-peer learning. She also focuses on outreach to private forest landowners through the Pennsylvania Forest Stewards volunteer program.

Jeffrey Allen Osborne, Forest Stewardship Program Associate
Theodore R. Alter, Professor of Agricultural, Environmental and Regional Economics, Co-Director, Center for Economic and Community Development Adjunct Research Fellow, Australian Center for Agriculture and Law, University of New England, Human Dimensions of Natural Resources and the Environment Graduate Faculty

Theodore R. Alter's research, teaching, and outreach activities focus on issues of public choice, democracy, and social and institutional processes on a wide range of community issues. Dr. Alter teaches courses on institutional analysis, power, conflict, and community decision making, and conflict framing and resolution. Much of his work and the work of his research team – which includes research dealing with social capital, broadband, entrepreneurship, innovation, and the role of public engagement in land grant universities - centers on how culture and institutional structure and power have produced conflict, inhibited collaboration, or framed issues in a way that affects the way public decisions are made. Dr. Alter strives for the integration and equal weighting of local and expert knowledge in understanding these issues, which directly involve and impact public action and perceptions around forest resources in Pennsylvania.

Margaret C. Brittingham, Ph.D. Professor Emeritus of Wildlife Resources and Extension Wildlife Specialist

Dr. Brittingham's research focuses on avian ecology, specifically the effects of habitat fragmentation on bird populations, incorporating wildlife needs into forest management plans, and managing for wildlife on private lands. Recent projects include studying the factors influencing habitat quality and productivity of Pennsylvania's forest songbirds, and the ecology and management of urban roosting crows.

Bradley Cardinale, Department Head, Ecosystem Science and Management

Dr. Cardinale was the professor and director of the Cooperative Institute for Great Lakes Research in the School for Environment and Sustainability at the University of Michigan. He became the department head January 2021. He is one of the foremost scholars in ecosystem science and studies the conservation and restoration of biodiversity in natural systems, as well as the ecological design of human-engineered ecosystems. Most of his research is focused on the management of biodiversity in freshwater habitats such as streams, lakes and wetlands, but he has worked in ecosystems as diverse as grasslands, forests and kelp beds.

Leland Glenna, Professor of Rural Sociology and Science, Technology, and Society

Leland Glenna's teaching and research focus is on the role of science and technology in natural resource and environmental policy making and the social and ethical implications of democratizing science and technology research. He has conducted research and published articles on a range of environmental and natural resources issues, including soil conservation policy, watershed management, alternative energy policy, and biotechnology.

Dr. James R. Grace, Retired, Maurice K. Goddard Chair in Forestry and Environmental Resources Conservation

Dr. Grace’s work focuses on public policy as it relates to private forest lands within the Commonwealth. Specific areas of focus include the protection and sustainable management of private forestland through the use of various forest certification systems, improved land use planning, and the use of BMPs during the development of Marcellus gas production.

Gary J. San Julian, Professor Emeritus of Wildlife Resources

Dr. San Julian’s research has been in Human Dimensions and Wildlife Damage Management. He Co-Directs the Northeast Wildlife Damage Management Cooperative and is currently serving as the Past Chair of The Wildlife Society’s Wildlife Damage Management Working Group. As one of the extension wildlife specialist, he works with landowners to enhance wildlife habitat and control damage to crops and property by nuisance wildlife. He is on the Planning Committee for the Conservation Leaders for Tomorrow program and an instructor for student and agency training workshops.

A.E. Luloff, Professor Emeritus of Rural Sociology

Dr. Luloff teaches, conducts research, and writes about the impacts of rapid social change, as a result of sociodemographic shifts, on the natural and human resource bases of the community. Working with Finley, he lead the development of and co-chairs the Human Dimensions of Natural Resources and the Environment dual-title, inter-college graduate degree program at Penn State. He is a co-founder and current Executive Director of the International Association for Society and Natural Resources.

Carolyn Mahan, Professor of Biology

Dr. Mahan has a Ph.D. in Wildlife Science. Her research interests include the study of biodiversity in threatened ecosystems, the effects of human-modified landscapes on wildlife, and behavioral ecology of squirrels. Dr. Mahan has served on the board of directors of the Pennsylvania Wildlife Society and The ClearWater Conservancy and she currently is president of the Pennsylvanaia Biological Survey. She teaches core courses in biology and environmental studies.

Marc McDill, Associate Professor of Forest Management

Dr. McDill’s research focuses on the sustainable management of forests, including both public and private forestland. His research on private forest lands has emphasized forest taxation and forest landowner knowledge, attitudes, motivations and behaviors. Dr. McDill also develops growth and yield models, which are useful for forest management planning. Recent work has focused on understanding the potential impact of market trends, such as growth in biomass markets, and environmental trends, such as climate change, on the management of forest lands of all types.

Frans Padt, Ph.D. Teaching Professor of Environmental Planning

Dr. Padt has more than 25 years experience in community and regional environmental planning as a researcher, educator, policymaker, and consultant. He received his Ph.D. in Political Sciences of the Environment from Radboud University Nijmegen in the Netherlands in 2007.

Sanford Smith, Teaching Professor in Forest Resources and Natural Resources and Youth Extension Specialist

Dr. Smith's teaching and research focuses on forestry and natural resources programs for youth, adult volunteerism in conservation and environmental education, and forest stewardship on private forest lands. He is also a state Extension Specialist for Cooperative Extension and holds a joint appointment with the Department of Agriculture and Extension Education. His primary responsibilities in these roles include statewide leadership for 4-H & youth programming in natural resources, natural sciences curriculum development, graduate student advising, and program evaluation.

Kim Steiner, Professor Emeritus of Forest Biology

Dr. Steiner's research focuses in part on solving the problems of oak regeneration in Pennsylvania's forests, and he is active in restoration of the American chestnut. He serves on the Forest Timber and Ecosystem Management Advisory Committees of the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation of Natural Resources, the advisory committee to Purdue's Hardwood Tree Improvement and Regeneration Center, the board of directors of the Pennsylvania Council of Professional Foresters, and the board of directors of The American Chestnut Foundation.

Susan L. Stout, US Forest Service Project Leader, Retired

Dr. Stout is the former Research Project Leader for a four-state tem of 13 forest scientist, of whom six focus their work primarily in Pennsylvania forests. The Research Team has cooperated with Penn State Forestry Extension for more than 30 years to provide training in sustainable forestry to natural resource professionals in the state, including those who provide services to private forests owners. She is personally involved in many collaborative studies that represent the Center’s focus, and has special interests in technology transfer, deer impact on forest ecosystems and silviculture.

James C. Finley Center for Private Forests


416 Forest Resources Building
University Park, PA 16802

James C. Finley Center for Private Forests


416 Forest Resources Building
University Park, PA 16802