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Our Team


Headshot of Ingrid Haeckel

Ingrid Haeckel

Conservation and Land Use Specialist | Contact

Ingrid joined the team in 2013 and works with municipal and regional partners to integrate conservation of priority natural areas and biodiversity into community inventories and plans. She develops conservation and land use extension programs and tools such as the Hudson Valley Natural Resource Mapper and provides technical assistance to communities in the mid- and upper-Hudson Valley. Ingrid began her career at Hudsonia Ltd., where she worked on a variety of biodiversity mapping and habitat assessment projects. Ingrid earned her MA degree in Geography with an emphasis in ethnobotany at the University of Texas at Austin.

Headshot of Nate Nardi-Cyrus

Nate Nardi-Cyrus

Conservation and Land Use Specialist | Contact

Nate came to the program in 2018 and works with municipalities, land trusts, and other partners to incorporate conservation science into land-use planning. He provides extension programs, tools, and technical assistance to communities in the mid- and lower-Hudson Valley. Before coming to the Estuary Program, Nate conducted natural resources management and conservation easement monitoring for Scenic Hudson Land Trust. He holds an MS degree in Natural Resources Management with a concentration in forestry from the University of Connecticut.

Headshot of Laura Heady

Laura Heady

Conservation and Land Use Program Coordinator | Contact

Laura has 20 years of experience working on biodiversity initiatives in the estuary watershed, creating and implementing science-based outreach and technical assistance programs for land-use decision makers, and developing partnerships and strategies to advance conservation planning. She joined the Estuary Program in 2006 after directing the biodiversity education program at Hudsonia Ltd. Special interests include connectivity conservation, strategizing and collaborating to reach meaningful outcomes, and clear communication. Laura created and manages the Amphibian Migrations & Road Crossings Project. She earned her MS degree in biology with an emphasis in ecology from Idaho State University.

Dr. D. Ponstingel headshot

Dr. Daria Ponstingel

Postdoctoral Associate | Contact

Daria Ponstingel is a postdoctoral associate at the Department of Natural Resources and the Environment. Daria earned her PhD in Geography from Texas State University at San Marcos. Her research investigates human aspects of environmental well-being, including how decision-making, governance, and policy affect the outcomes of socio-ecological systems, and how these impacts can be managed and regulated. Daria uses GIS and remote sensing techniques to analyze ecological change and evaluate ecosystem services, such as carbon sequestration. In her work, Daria also applies diverse economies and Ostrom’s frameworks to understand human behavior in natural resource management.

Dr. Shorna Allred headshot

Dr. Shorna Allred

Principal Investigator | Contact

Shorna Allred is a Professor and Associate Director of the Center for Conservation Social Sciences in the Department of Natural Resources and the Environment at Cornell University with a joint appointment in the Dept. of Global Development. A conservation social scientist, Dr. Allred teaches and conducts research in the areas of global sustainability, conservation and land use decision-making, community resilience, and environmental justice with particular interest in social dimensions of climate change mitigation and adaptation. Her main interests center on how conservation social science can facilitate community-based approaches to planning and management while enhancing the resilience and sustainability of communities both locally and abroad. Dr. Allred has been Principal Investigator for this program since 2021. Read more about Shorna’s research and teaching interests here.

Headshot of Dr. Patrick Sullivan of Cornell University Department of Natural Resources

Dr. Patrick Sullivan

Principal Investigator Emeritus | Contact

Patrick Sullivan is Professor Emeritus and former chair of the Department of Natural Resources and the Environment at Cornell University. With a PhD in Biostatistics and Biomathematics from the University of Washington, his research focuses on assessment and management of marine, estuarine, and freshwater fisheries. For 22 years, Dr. Sullivan was a member of the Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC) that advises the New England Fisheries Management Council. He is currently serving as a member of the SSC that advises the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council. He also serves on the Steering Committee of the Center for Independent Experts, which provides independent scientific peer review of fisheries assessment methods nationally for NOAA/NMFS. Dr. Sullivan was Principal Investigator for this program from 2008 to 2021. Read more about Pat's research and teaching interests here.

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A woman stands at the edge of an ice-covered vernal pool in the woods in winter. By L. Heady
Our team has benefited from the assistance of many interns and part-time staff through Cornell, SUNY Albany, SUNY New Paltz, and the Student Conservation Association. Photo by L. Heady


We are fortunate to work with many partners on outreach, planning, and development of new data and tools to advance conservation in the Hudson River estuary watershed. The successful implementation of our program relies on this collaborative and ever-growing network of state agencies, conservation organizations, land trusts, and academic institutions.

Large group of people in conference room listening to a presentation. By L Heady
2019 Hudson Valley Conservation Partners meeting. Photo by L. Heady