Black Rock Forest Consortium
The Consortium

William Schuster (Bill). Executive Director since 1992. Dr. Schuster is a forest ecologist with a BA from Columbia University (biology, 1978), a MS from Pennsylvania State University (forest ecology, 1983), and a PhD from the University of Colorado (biology, 1989). He oversees strategic planning, scientific research, and education programs of the Consortium. His primary research interests are in understanding tree and forest health and growth in relation to environment, and in long-term ecological sustainability. He enjoys climbing, hiking, biking, skiing, and immersion in nature.

John Brady (John). Forest Manager since 1979. John manages the Forest and its roads, trails, and facilities.  He oversees access, safety, forest equipment, forest management, and the work of the Black Rock Forest Crew (dedicated people, both paid and volunteer, who do most of the physical labor and upkeep around the Forest). John provides research support, assists visitors in their adventures in the Forest, runs the Forest sawmill, and manages the Forest deer population through periodic census and regulation of an annual deer hunting program.  As an educator, he has developed many programs including the current brook trout project. Learning about Black Rock’s history and its plant and animal life remains his favorite pursuit.

Emily Cunningham (Emily)  Director of External Relations since 2007.  Emily has nearly 20 years of experience designing and managing fundraising programs for local, national and international nonprofit organizations. Since joining Black Rock Forest Consortium, she has helped the organization diversify its funding base, expand its annual fund, and produce several successful fundraising events including the Consortium's 20th Anniversary Celebration. She currently oversees fundraising programs and media relations.

Cunningham formerly served as the Director of Major Gifts for Human Rights Watch, in which role she helped launch the Chicago Committee, a volunteer arm whose successful fundraising led to the opening of Human Rights Watch's Chicago office. Prior to Human Rights Watch, Cunningham served as the Vice President of Development for Planned Parenthood/Chicago Area.

Cunningham graduated from Stanford University with a B.A., Honors, and an M.A. in English literature.

Jeffrey Kidder (Jeff), Director of Education since August 2011. Jeff received his Ph.D. in Zoology, with a major concentration in developmental biology and minor concentrations in reproductive physiology and animal science, from Cornell University in 1998. He also holds an M.S. in wildlife science from Cornell. Prior to pursuing his doctorate, Jeff was a high school biology teacher.  For the past decade, Jeff has focused his academic career on providing science outreach programs for secondary and elementary school audiences from university settings, first at Rutgers University’s Newark campus, where he served as an assistant professor in the Department of Urban Education and the director of science outreach, and subsequently at the University of Colorado’s Boulder campus, where he served as an assistant professor in the department of ecology and environmental biology and the executive director of Science Discovery, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to science education. In these roles, Jeff developed expertise involving science faculty and graduate and college students in K-12 education, securing $8 million in science education grants from the National Science Foundation over a 12-year period at Rutgers and the University of Colorado.

Matthew Munson (Matt). Data/Network Manager since 2000. Matt oversees the Forest’s environmental monitoring network, field sensors, radiotelemetry network, research database, and local area and wireless computer networks. He assists researchers and school groups with information requests and works as an educator with many school groups. He also runs the acid rain (National Atmospheric Deposition Program) and mercury deposition (Mercury Deposition Network) stations for the US Geologic Survey and works with the Black Rock Forest Crew. Matthew also lives on site as the caretaker.  He enjoys hunting and fishing, visits to his home state of Maine, and all things outdoors.

Jack Caldwell (Jack). Operations Manager since 2004. Jack oversees the scheduling of visits and use of facilities, particularly the 60-bed Black Rock Forest Lodge, completed in 2004. Prior to joining the Forest staff, Jack was a teacher and administrator in the Newburgh Enlarged City School District for 33 years, with emphases on outdoor and experiential education and technology for elementary school students. He avidly enjoys such pursuits as kayaking, music, and art.
  Barbara Brady (Barb). Office Manager, since 1993. Barbara is generally the first voice people hear when they call the Forest. She oversees everything related to the office, scheduling, purchasing, and billing (except for Forest Lodge use, handled by Jack Caldwell). Barbara has extensive knowledge of the Forest and its many programs, which can be of great use to visitors. She enjoys her family and her pets, travel, and supporting the work of her church.

Katherine Pavlis (Katie), Research Associate/ Environmental Educator, since 2009.  Katie graduated from University of Guelph (BS 2006) with a degree in Zoology and then from Columbia University (MA 2009) with a degree in Conservation Biology.  With Katie’s love for the natural world, it is no surprise that she has ended up at Black Rock Forest.  Here she is blessed with the opportunity to spend the majority of her days hiking and exploring the forest while collecting data for the Oak Removal project and educating visitors on a variety of topics.  Katie enjoys hiking, biking, running, photography and being outside.

  Part-Time Staff

Frances Schuster (Francie). GIS Mapper since 1995. Francie has a Masters degree in geography from the University of Utah and supports Forest staff, researchers, and educators by producing customized maps for different purposes from the Black Rock Forest’s ArcView Geographic Information System. She also does Global Positioning System (GPS) mapping of locations in the Forest. She enjoys spending time with her family, outdoor recreation, mountaineering, reading, and music.

Terry Murray (Terry). Program Consultant since 1993. Dr. Murray has a PhD in education from the State University of New York at New Paltz (2005). He has supported the Consortium in many ways over the years, including program design and teaching, and currently helps to produce the Black Rock Forest News and various informational materials. Terry likes to run, travel, and enjoy time with his family
  Jamie Kamlet (Jamie). Educator since 2003. Jamie works as a part-time educator, supporting the School in the Forest program and the educational activities of other Consortium institutions. Prior to joining the Forest staff, he was a teacher in the Cornwall Central School District for 29 years, including 7 years in its Gifted and Talented Education program. Jamie enjoys writing creative curricula, all forms of traveling through the Forest, and reading and writing science fiction.
  Chris Lee (Chris), Educator, since 2003.