Research Biologist for the USDA Forest Service
Michelle Baumflek is a Research Biologist for the USDA Forest Service. Her prior Post-Doctoral research in the Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation at Virginia Tech focused on combining traditional and academic ecological knowledges to promote the sustainable use and stewardship of culturally important plants and fungi. Specifically, Michelle’s post-doc research concentrates on sustainable harvesting of the iconic edible spring green, ramps (Allium tricoccum), and is conducted partnership with the Eastern Band of Cherokees, the U.S. Forest Service Southern Research Station and the North Carolina Arboretum. Michelle received her PhD in Natural Resources and American Indian Studies from Cornell University in 2015. Her research focused on use of gathered plants and fungi, as it relates to choices about health, food and cultural expression in indigenous communities of Maine and New Brunswick. This interdisciplinary work explored current plant use and stewardship techniques; cultural norms related to gathering and health; and social and ecological strategies to increase access to culturally-important plants. Prior to that, Michelle was the Non-timber Forest Products Research Specialist at the University of Vermont where she worked on a two-year study of the culturally and economically important plants of northern Maine. She holds an M.S. in Community Based Resource Management from the University of Vermont, and a B.S. in Environmental Biology from the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry. Michelle loves to garden, fish, and forage for edible plants, and can often be found looking for something good to eat in the woods around her house.