Chad Seewagen, Ph.D.
Executive Director

Dr. Seewagen joined Great Hollow as the organization’s first executive director in May of 2016. He leads Great Hollow’s conservation science program, the planning of education programs and community events, fundraising, and all other aspects of the administration and operation of Great Hollow. Prior to joining Great Hollow, Dr. Seewagen was a Senior Wildlife Biologist and Technical Director at a New York City-based environmental consulting firm, and before that, worked as a Research Scientist and Intern Program Coordinator in the Department of Ornithology at the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Bronx Zoo.  He has a B.S. in Wildlife & Fisheries Conservation from the University of Massachusetts – Amherst, an M.A. in Conservation Biology from Columbia University, and a Ph.D. in Biology from the University of Western Ontario. He is an adjunct faculty member of the Department of Natural Resources & the Environment at UConn and the Department of Ecology, Evolution, & Environmental Biology at Columbia University. Dr. Seewagen’s primary research interests include the physiological ecology of bird migration, the impacts of mercury pollution on birds, the impacts of light pollution on bats, and the effects of non-native plants on wildlife habitat quality.


John Foley
Naturalist & Preserve Steward

John is a self-taught naturalist who has spent years working in and around Great Hollow, studying the local plants and animals that make the area so special. He is a Connecticut DEEP-certified Master Wildlife Conservationist and has worked as a field technician for multiple agencies and organizations, such as the Connecticut Bureau of Natural Resources and Bureau of Outdoor Recreation. He sits on the Board of Directors of the Friends of the Great Swamp and formerly, the Naromi Land Trust. John’s passion is turtles, and he has spent the past several years collecting valuable data on the movement patterns and survivorship of multiple species of turtles in the area. At Great Hollow, John works hard to maintain our trail network and manage habitat for native plants and wildlife. John also maintains Great Hollow’s grounds and facilities, and coordinates and leads many of our community events and outreach initiatives.

Tara Ewers
Education Coordinator & Camp Director

Tara develops and instructs Great Hollow’s environmental education programming for children and adults, and is the director of our Eco-Discovery Camp. She also assists with community events, fundraising, graphic design, social media content, website maintenance, raptor care, and just about everything else that goes on behind the scenes at Great Hollow. She’s a lifelong resident of Connecticut with a deep love of the outdoors, photography, and the combination of the two. Tara has a B.A. in Art from Western Connecticut State University and a Certificate of Photojournalism and Documentary Photography from the International Center of Photography in New York City. She is also currently working towards a master’s degree in Wildlife and Fisheries Biology from Clemson University. Prior to joining Great Hollow, Tara taught photography as an adjunct professor at Western Connecticut State University and was the director of the Bank Street Theater in New Milford.

Wales Carter, Ph.D.
Post-doctoral Research Fellow

Dr. Carter is a physiological ecologist who is leading studies at and beyond Great Hollow on the nutritional ecology of migratory songbirds. He also coordinates Great Hollow’s summer internship program, providing mentorship to aspiring ecologists. Dr. Carter joined Great Hollow in the spring of 2021 following a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Rhode Island, where he studied the diet and spatial behavior of translocated New England cottontail rabbits. He earned his B.A. in Biology from Dartmouth College and Ph.D. in Biological and Environmental Science from the University of Rhode Island studying the effects of dietary fatty acids and antioxidants on the energy metabolism of songbirds.