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Lisa Williams 

Lisa received her B.S. in Ecology/Environmental Studies from Juniata College in Huntingdon PA and her M.S. in Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences from Penn State University’s School of Forest Resources. A long-time biologist with the PA Game Commission’s Wildlife Diversity Division, Lisa coordinated the development of Pennsylvania’s Wildlife Action Plan, a comprehensive document designed to identify conservation priorities for nearly 200 species of imperiled wildlife in the Commonwealth. Soon after completion of the Plan, she helped coordinate the Game Commission’s emergency response to White Nose Syndrome, the worst wildlife disease to hit the Northeast in recorded history. For their rapid and effective response to this crisis, she and her team of colleagues in the Endangered & Nongame Mammals Section were nominated for the 2010 Governor’s Award for Excellence in recognition of “exemplary initiative, leadership and strong commitment to service.” 

In 2011, Lisa became the Game Commission Species Specialist for ruffed grouse, woodcock, mourning doves and webless waterfowl (coots, rails, snipe, moorhen, and gallinules). Her particular interest lies in the restoration and management of young forests and other early succession habitats. The loss of these habitats across Pennsylvania and throughout the East has resulted in widespread species declines. This is a conservation challenge that bridges game and nongame interests, with declines occurring in 75% of the bird species that rely on these habitats. Fortunately it is a crisis that can be solved through responsible management of our forests and shrub lands. For this reason, Lisa places a high emphasis on public outreach, education and collaboration. 

Lisa’s passion for working with wildlife began at a young age in a family of avid hunters and outdoorsmen. Moving each summer to her family’s hunting camp, she spent long hours roaming the creeks and mountainsides. Her desire to be a wildlife biologist was galvanized by an elementary school field trip. The class observed songbirds being mist-netted, and students volunteered to release each bird. Lisa still remembers the heartbeat of that goldfinch in her hand, and it still drives her to support outdoor education efforts aimed at youth. 

In her free time, Lisa continues to enjoy roaming creeks and mountainsides alone and with her family. Kayaking, hiking, cross-country skiing, and hunting both large and small game are all part of the family’s annual must-do list.