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Citizen Science Program Staff

The citizen science staff is a team of professionals whose fantastic strengths in science, education, evaluation, administration, programming, technology, Web design, and science communication create synergies that allow us to deliver an exciting array of citizen science projects at a continental scale.

Robyn Bailey , Project Leader, NestWatch

Robyn Bailey

Robyn Bailey is currently the Project Leader for NestWatch. Previously, she worked in the citizen science department at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology supporting both NestWatch and YardMap. Robyn earned an M.S. in Fisheries and Wildlife (Michigan State University, 2010) while studying the demographics and habitat relationships of the threatened Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake. Robyn has also worked as a field technician for various conservation research projects led by Point Blue Conservation Science, the University of Minnesota, and Mississippi State University. She first started birding while working on her B.A. in Field Biology (Huntingdon College, 2007) in her home state of Alabama.

Chelsea Benson , Project Assistant, NestWatch and FeederWatch

Chelsea Benson

Chelsea Benson joined the Citizen Science Program in 2015 as the Project Assistant for NestWatch and Project FeederWatch. Chelsea has a background in environmental education and conservation. She has worked with schools, community organizations, and local governments in her previous positions, and has taught a wide variety of environmental topics. She has incorporated citizen science into regional events like the Day in the Life of the Hudson River and programming for Columbia County Soil and Water Conservation District. Chelsea holds a dual B.A. in psychology and English (Allegheny College), and a M.A. in Social Science, Environment and Community studies (Humboldt State University).

Dr. David Bonter, Assistant Director of Citizen Science  

David Bonter

David Bonter on Appledore

David Bonter (Ph.D., University of Vermont, 2003) is an ornithologist interested in bird migration and survival. He’s currently the Assistant Director of Citizen Science after nearly 10 years as Project Leader for Project FeederWatch, a long-term project designed to monitor the winter distributions and abundance of birds in the United States and Canada. David is also a board member at Braddock Bay Bird Observatory (BBBO) on the south shore of Lake Ontario near Rochester, New York, teaches a spring course on ornithological field methods in the Department of Natural Resources at Cornell, and teaches a summer course in Ornithology at Shoals Marine Lab.


Dr. Rhiannon Crain , Project Leader, YardMap


Rhiannon Crain

Rhiannon earned a B.S. in Evolutionary Biology from the University of Arizona and a Ph.D. in Informal Science Education from UC Santa Cruz's Center for Informal Learning in Science. She became project leader of YardMap in January 2010 and has shepherded the development of the YardMap application, our socially networked habitat mapping project designed to promote and study the potential impacts of crowd-sourcing conservation practices in backyards, on farms, in parks, and on lands set aside for conservation. YardMap is the first citizen science project to fully integrate data collection with social networking, rendering it a compelling tool for studying and supporting environmental discourse and behavior. Rhiannon is an extension associate at Cornell and co-PI of the NSF Cyberlearning grant for YardMap research funded in 2014.

Dr. Marta Luisa del Campo , Project Assistant, Celebrate Urban Birds

Marta del Campo

Marta (Ph.D. Cornell University) is the project assistant for CUBs and has an independent research program focused on plant-insect interactions, primarily with the tobacco hornworm moth Manduca sexta. In addition to her expertise in chemical ecology Marta has also developed expertise in creating methods and programs for bringing underserved audiences into science.

Miika Grady , Web Designer, Citizen Science

Miika Grady

Coming soon!

Dr. Emma Greig , Project Leader, FeederWatch


Emma Greig

Emma Greig (Ph.D., University of Chicago), joined the Citizen Science program at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in 2013 as the project leader of Feederwatch. Prior to joining the Citizen Science team, Emma was a postdoc in the Macaulay Library working with Mike Webster (2010-2013), and now continues to collaborate with the "Weblab" on questional related to behavioral ecology and evolution in birds. Emma’s dissertation looked at the function of splendid fairy-wren vocalizations, including the enigmatic “Type II” song that is given in association with predator vocalizations. In the Webster lab she examined the evolutionary history and origin of these predator-associated songs, and also the causes and consequences of geographic variation in the songs and plumage of red-backed fairy-wrens. You can read more about Emma’s research and interests at her website.

Anne Marie Johnson, Project Assistant, FeederWatch

Anne Marie Johnson

As a Project Assistant for Project FeederWatch, Anne Marie coordinates development of printed materials for project participants, helps maintain the project's web site, and provides participant support. Anne Marie began working with Project FeederWatch in 1999 after moving to Ithaca from western Massachusetts where she was a middle school counselor. She is an avid birder and is active in the local bird club, serving as editor for the club's newsletter.

Jacob Johnston, Project Assistant, YardMap

Jacob Johnston

Jacob provides participant support and creates content for the collaboration of YardMap with The Nature Conservancy. He has a B.S. from Cornell in Natural Resources and is interested in how we can foster more "eco-logical" decision-making in residential landscapes.

Lisa Larson , Lead Application Programmer

Lisa Larson

Lisa came to the lab in 2011 with 10 years of experience in application development. She is lead designer with oversight of FeederWatch, NestWatch, and Celebrate Urban Birds.

Chris Marx , GIS Specialist and Application Programmer

Chris Marx

Chris earned a B.S. in Natural Resources at Cornell in 2006 and joined the Cornell Lab shortly afterwards, bringing strong GIS and programming skills to Citizen Science. Chris has worked on several projects, including creating FeederWatch interactive Maps, and has developed several new techniques for gathering geometric data and presenting data visually on maps. His current work is as lead designer of YardMap, a socially networked ecological mapping project.

Becca Rodomsky-Bish , Project Assistant, YardMap

Becca Rodomsky-Bish

Becca Rodomsky-Bish has a passion for environmental science education and joined YardMap as project assistant in 2014. With a Masters in Environmental Studies, and an emphasis in education, from Antioch University New England, she's taught all ages for over 14 years in formal and informal education centers in California, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and New York. She sees Citizen-Science as an important part of science education and key in shifting the way people relate to and interact with the natural world. The Citizen Science Projects at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology are exemplary programs that engage individuals and communities in becoming contributors to scientific data, while at the same time learning and growing in their own science literacy. She is honored to be apart of this exemplary work.

Karen Purcell, Project Leader, Urban Bird Studies

Karen Purcell

Karen Purcell (Left)

Karen Purcell is Project Leader for Celebrate Urban Birds (CUBS) at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.  Karen was raised in Chile, South America and has a background in biology and education. She was formerly a public school teacher in the Ithaca City School District and worked with teens in foster care. At the Lab she has concentrated much of her efforts in trying to engage and support under-served audiences in the sciences in the USA and Latin America and in 2014 took the lead in conceiving and co-writing a successful NSF AISL proposal focused on measuring the impacts citizen science participation on underserved audiences through CUBs.

Mark Zifchock, Application porgrammer, YardMap

Karen Purcell

Mark Zifchock

Mark is a java programmer working on YardMap's development needs towards creation of Habitat Network in collaboration with The Nature Conservancy.