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Difference Maker: Erin Copeland
Restoration Ecologist, Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy
Erin is a restoration ecologist who works with the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy (PPC). She works with volunteers and City of Pittsburgh to assess, restore, and manage the parks’ natural areas, and is also building partnerships with local universities. She wants scientists to use the parks as backyard laboratories, which in turn can provide the PPC with data to guide future restoration efforts.
Erin is an expert in riparian forest ecology, which means she studies the interface between land and a flowing surface water body, such as a river. She has worked with the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, the Student Conservation Association in Bear Mountain State Park, and an AmeriCorps Restoration Team in the New York City park system. Most recently she was a research assistant on an EPA watershed grant. Erin also performs volunteer work, and recently returned from a two-month trip to Peru where she taught children who were unable to afford school, conducted research in the Amazon, and traveled.