catherine d. haffner
Cathy joined the Wildlife Diversity Division team in July 2011 as a Wildlife Biologist in the Planning and Grants Administration Section. As the Wildlife Diversity Planning Coordinator, Cathy works with Game Commission colleagues and agency partners to implement and amend the Pennsylvania Wildlife Action Plan, the state blueprint for proactive wildlife conservation.
Her fascination with the natural world began at a young age in the suburbs of New York City where she enjoyed exploring her neighborhood with a butterfly net and magnifying glass. Volunteering at a local nature center throughout middle and high school nurtured her interest in wildlife, particularly birds. Upon graduating from the University of Michigan with a B.S. in Resource Ecology and Management in 1997, Cathy spent several years assisting with various federal and state threatened and endangered bird projects in the Midwest, including Kirtland’s Warbler, Common Loon, and Piping Plover. She received a M.S. in Conservation Biology from the University of Minnesota in 2005. Her graduate research focused on breeding season space use by Great Lakes Piping Plovers.
Shortly after receiving her master’s degree and moving to Pennsylvania, Cathy worked at a county Conservation District implementing watershed conservation initiatives by building inter-agency partnerships, motivating volunteers, and soliciting financial support for grassroots projects (2005-2010).She has been engaged in wildlife research and management efforts for the Pennsylvania Game Commission in various capacities since 2008. Most recently she coordinated the agency’s wind energy program (2010-2011), working with companies to avoid and minimize impacts to birds and mammals from wind project development. She also spent several years coordinating waterbird surveys as a part-time biologist aide (2008-2010) and served as a technical expert for Game Commission Piping Plover recovery planning efforts.
Cathy is a member of several professional and non-profit organizations, including The Wildlife Society, Society for Conservation Biology, and Pennsylvania Society for Ornithology and is an active member of the local bird club. As an avid hiker, kayaker, and cross-country skier, she enjoys her free time exploring Penn’s Woods and paddling remote waters with her family.