Staff

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 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 Research Scientist in the Department of Natural Resources & the Environment at UConn and an Adjunct Lecturer in 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, and the effects of non-native plants on wildlife habitat quality.

johnfoley

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 turtles in the area. 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 maintains Great Hollow’s facilities and coordinates and leads many of our 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 incoming director of our Eco-Discovery Camp. She also assists with community events, fundraising, graphic design work, 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. Prior to joining Great Hollow, she taught photography as an adjunct professor at Western Connecticut State University and was the director of the Bank Street Theater in New Milford.

Robert Clark, Ph.D.
Research Scientist

Dr. Clark is an insect ecologist who joined Great Hollow in the spring of 2021. His primary research interests include the roles of insects in forest and agricultural food webs, and invasive insect management using advanced data science techniques. At Great Hollow, he is designing and leading studies involving tri-trophic interactions among plants, insects, and birds in forest food webs, invasive insect ecology, and citizen science as a tool to study forest entomology at large spatial scales. Originally from Connecticut, Dr. Clark earned his B.S. and M.S. in Ecology and Environmental Science from Central Connecticut State University, and his Ph.D. in Biology from Wesleyan University. He is an associate editor of the scientific journal Food Webs, and holds adjunct faculty affiliations with Western Connecticut State University and Washington State University, where he was previously an Assistant Research Professor.

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.