The CCC team

Joshua Lawler

Co-director & Associate Professor
School of Environmental and Forest Sciences

Josh is a landscape ecologist and conservation biologist focused on applied conservation questions and their real-world applications. He is most interested in how anthropogenic factors affect species distributions, population dynamics, and community composition at regional and continental scales. His research involves investigating the effects of climate change on species distributions and populations, exploring the influence of landscape pattern on animal populations and communities, and climate-change adaptation for natural and human systems. Some of his current work has begun to involve the field of conservation psychology—exploring how people make environmental decisions and what psychological benefits people gain from nature.

Current highlights

  • Collaborating with Katie Davis in the iSchool to develop and test NatureCollections, an app to help kids connect with nature
  • Working with the National Park Service to prioritize parks across the US for climate change vulnerability assessments
  • Assessing the relative impact of land-use regulations and land acquisitions on wildlife habitat in Washington State

Julian Olden

Co-director & Associate Professor
School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences

Julian is a conservation ecologist motivated by a future where people recognize and respect the diverse values provided by functioning ecosystems. He seeks to integrate science-based approaches with on-the-ground management and conservation decisions, and actively engages in generating and communicating science. Julian believes that active and uncensored discussions are essential to meet the environmental challenges of the future and to strengthen the modern conservation movement. When not squeezing fish for work or recreation, Julian can be found enjoying beverages at a local brewery or beanery.

Current highlights

  • Just returned from a SESYNC Workshop where natural and social scientists worked together to establish a common approach for understanding the interdependencies of rivers and human communities, and advance an integrated science and policy of environmental flows
  • With a group of international scientists, recently published a comment in Nature Ecology and Evolution that discussed the policy challenges of large-scale invasive species control initiatives
  • Discusses in a New Scientist article the importance of designer flows below dams to save rivers

Sara Breslow

Program Manager & Research Scientist

Sara is an interdisciplinarian working at the intersections of sustainability and social justice, with special interest in transdisciplinary, participatory, and arts-based practices. The bulk of her research has focused on the social and cultural aspects of environmental conflict and ecosystem recovery in the Puget Sound region. In the spirit of participatory and public scholarship, she worked with a theatre artist to turn her ethnographic interviews into a play. More recently, Sara worked on the Western Governors’ Association’s Get Out West! initiative to promote outdoor recreation, conservation, and health, and led the development of human well-being indicators at NOAA’s Northwest Fisheries Science Center. Sara holds a PhD in environmental anthropology from the University of Washington and a BA in biology from Swarthmore College.

Current highlights

  • Gave the opening keynote address at the European Society for Ecological Economics in Budapest, Hungary, on “Collaborative Practices at the Science-Society Interface”
  • Completed a Theatre of the Oppressed facilitators’ training at the Mandala Center in Port Townsend, Washington
  • Participating in the State of Alaska’s Salmon and People working group on Well-Being and Alaska Salmon Systems
  • Helped develop an approach for valuing nature’s contributions to people, and helped assess the values of pollination and pollinators to people, as a participant in the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES)

Spencer Wood

Senior Research Scientist

Spencer does interdisciplinary research on people’s connections with nature, and works directly with partner organizations who use this information to make conservation decisions that benefit people. Spencer’s science often combines empirical and mathematical approaches to understanding socio-ecological systems. Recent research has included studies on how nature influences tourism, whether urban parks improve visitors’ moods, and how ancient hunting practices altered marine food webs around the Aleutian Islands. While away from the Center for Creative Conservation, Spencer also works as a Senior Scientist with the Natural Capital Project and as a Naturalist with OuterShores Expeditions. He earned his PhD from the University of British Columbia and lives in a thick forest on Vashon Island, Washington.

Steering Committee