Staff

Chad Seewagen, Ph.D.
Executive Director

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Chad joined Great Hollow as the organization’s first Executive Director in May of 2016. He is currently working to develop scientific research programs and collaborations both within and beyond the preserve, attract external scientists to use the preserve as a field research station, develop formal and informal educational programs and community events for youth and adults, and raise funding to support Great Hollow’s initiatives. 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 prior to that, worked as a Research Scientist in the Department of Ornithology at the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Bronx Zoo.  He received a B.S. in Wildlife & Fisheries Conservation from the University of Massachusetts in 2002, a M.A. in Conservation Biology from Columbia University in 2006, and a Ph.D. in Biology from the University of Western Ontario in 2010. His primary area of expertise and research interest is the ecology and physiology of migrating birds, but at Great Hollow, Dr. Seewagen is eager to see a wide variety of the organisms living on the preserve, from plants up to large carnivores, studied by our staff and collaborators.

johnfoley

John Foley
Outreach Coordinator & Preserve Steward

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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 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 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 turtles inhabiting Great Hollow and neighboring natural areas. At Great Hollow, John works hard to maintain the trails that so many people enjoy hiking while also managing the land to optimize habitat for native plants and wildlife. John also coordinates our events and outreach initiatives.

Sena Rasun-Mahendra
Education Coordinator

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Sena is the recipient of Great Hollow’s Education Fellowship and is serving as our first Education Coordinator. In this role, Sena is developing Great Hollow’s experiential environmental education programming and summer camps. Sena recently received her M.Ed. from Antioch University-New England, and brings over 15 years of outdoor and environmental education experience to the Great Hollow team. Over the course of her career, Sena has directed the wilderness camping program for an urban charter school, led 30-day backpacking trips for adjudicated youth, taught at several residential environmental education and nature centers, and most recently coordinated the nature-based learning program at a rural elementary school.

Brittany Harry
Research Intern

Brittany graduated with a B.S. from Auburn University this May, with a major in Agronomy and minor in Entomology. She was the recipient of multiple scholarships and other academic awards during her time at Auburn. Brittany joins Great Hollow with three previous summers of research experience related to ecology, plant science, and entomology, and is interested mainly in Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths), plant-insect interactions, and invertebrate diversity. At Great Hollow, Brittany will be assisting with our study of the effects of Japanese barberry on invertebrate community composition and food abundance for songbirds and other insectivorous wildlife, in addition to helping with various other projects and programs.

John Correia
Research Intern

John recently graduated from Central Connecticut State University with a B.S. in Biology and several academic achievements and awards. His Honor’s Program thesis was on niche partitioning between black-capped chickadees and tufted titmice, and ornithology is his primary area of interest. At Great Hollow, John will be assisting with our ongoing studies of ovenbirds in addition to projects involving bats, turtles, and invertebrates.

Support Staff:

Meredith Cleary – Business Manager