Main Office: (401) 874-5800
General Email: email@example.com
David W. Gregg, Ph.D., Executive Director
David W. Gregg has been director of the Rhode Island Natural History Survey since 2004. An amateur naturalist since childhood, by training David is an archaeologist who’s excavated in Europe and Alaska. He holds a Ph.D. in anthropology from Brown University. Prior to the Survey, David directed the Spellman Museum of Stamps, in Weston, Mass., and was a curator at Brown’s Haffenreffer Museum. David Gregg is a Senior Fellow of the Coastal Institute at URI and has been a Leadership Fellow and Mentor with the Initiative for Nonprofit Excellence. David has hosted documentary videos, published on archaeology, environmental management, and unconventional curriculum, and taught anthropology and museum studies. David is a board member of the Ralph Waldo Emerson Memorial Association and on the Collection Committee of the Rhode Island Historical Society.
Amanda Freitas, Wildlife Action Plan Liaison
Amanda Freitas joined the Natural History Survey in July 2013 as the RI Wildlife Action Plan Community Liaison, a position created in partnership with RI Department of Environmental Management’s Division of Fish and Wildlife and the RI office of The Nature Conservancy. Her first task was to bring the state’s diverse stakeholders to the table for the state’s Wildlife Action Plan’s 2015 revision. Her continuing charge is to help government agencies, municipalities, conservation organizations, and Rhode Islanders of all stripes implement the conservation actions in the now-complete plan. Amanda came to the Survey with nearly 12 years of combined experience in the private-sector and state and federal agencies focusing on environmental planning, permitting, and restoration in Southern New England. She has a BA and MA in Environmental Science and Policy from Clark University.
Kyle Hess, Wildlife Biologist Assistant
Kyle Hess has worked at the Natural History Survey since 2018. Kyle followed a roundabout path to his wildlife biology occupation: at first spending time in community college, jumping on the dot-com bandwagon for a while, and ending up as a personal trainer in a boutique-style gym. But he grew up hunting and trapping and deep down inside he always knew he wanted to be a biologist. After fifteen years in the workforce, the birth of his first child, and watching the Deepwater Horizon spew oil for 87 days, Hess decided to put aside doubts and he enrolled at URI to pursue a degree in environmental science and management. After graduation he began work at Audubon Society of Rhode Island where he monitored preserves around the state in the winter and in the summer led the RI Youth Conservation League.
Thomas Kutcher, Wetlands Scientist
Tom Kutcher is a Wetland Scientist for the Rhode Island Natural History Survey, where he works to develop wetland monitoring, assessment, and restoration protocols for Rhode Island’s state environmental agencies. He is a recent co-author of the Rhode Island Salt Marsh Monitoring Strategy (2016) and principal author of the Rhode Island Coastal Wetland Restoration Strategy (2018). Tom has developed and implemented wetland monitoring and assessment methods across Rhode Island, including for recent large-scale salt marsh restoration projects. Tom formerly worked as Stewardship Coordinator at the Narragansett Bay Estuarine Research Reserve, where he wrote the Habitat and Land Cover Classification Scheme for the National Estuarine Research Reserve System (2008), and served as the Narragansett Baykeeper with Save The Bay and the Waterkeeper Alliance. Tom lives and recreates along the shores of Narragansett Bay with his marine-biologist wife and two salty kids.
Hope D. Leeson, Botanist (contract)
Hope D. Leeson is a botanist with over 30 years of field experience in southern New England. Leeson is dedicated to documenting Rhode Island’s rare plant populations, native plant communities, and invasive species, as well as providing public education on these topics. She has worked for government agencies and private contractors and has consulting for numerous non-profit organizations. Leeson has taught at the University of Rhode Island and the Rhode Island School of Design. As coordinator of the Rhody Native™ Initiative, Leeson applied her understanding of native plant communities and plant growth habits to the sustainable procurement of wild collected seed, propagation, and consultation with land managers for successful habitat restoration.
Kira M. Stillwell, Program Manager
Kira grew up in Rhode Island as the daughter of a shark biologist, forming strong connections with the ocean: surfing, fishing, boating and generally becoming “a water girl” whose favorite ecological zone is the shore and marine environment. After adventures in the Rocky Mountain West, California, and elsewhere, Kira returned to Rhode Island in 2004 and joined the Survey staff. She has been deeply involved with other organizations, such as Chicks on Sticks and Eating with the Ecosystem, promoting healthy relationships between people and the ocean. As befits a program manager, Kira is very people-focused and particularly enjoys the contacts with members and friends that her administrative duties bring. Survey friends sometimes describe themselves by the taxa they “bioblitz” . . .birds or lichens or mushrooms; Kira will tell you she bioblitzes people. Thank goodness—someone has to keep track of us all.