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September 27, 2023

RESTON, VA. — The U.S. Geological Survey has hired five experts from academic, non-profit and federal organizations to lead the Southwest, Northeast, South Central, Midwest, and North Central Climate Adaptation Science Centers (CASCs) as regional administrators.

Each new regional administrator has strong connections to the region they will serve and brings their own unique experiences as scientists and leaders who cross boundaries to connect scientists and managers.

“The CASC network is extremely lucky to have hired such talented individuals,” says Doug Beard, USGS senior administrator of the National CASC. “They are true leaders in the fields of climate adaptation and actionable science, and they bring a wealth of valuable experience to the network.”

Regional CASCS are federal-university partnerships made up of consortiums of academic, Tribal and non-profit institutions. CASC staff and scientists work closely with natural and cultural resource managers and conservation practitioners to develop science to meet on-the-ground needs in a changing climate.

Regional administrators, which were formerly known as “directors”, help set and execute science priorities, build partnerships with diverse science user communities and supervise federal staff. They also work closely with leaders from the host and consortium institutions to ensure the centers produce actionable science to inform conservation and management in their region.

The new regional administrators have extensive backgrounds in communicating climate change science to diverse groups:

  • Olivia LeDee (Midwest CASC) joined the CASC network in 2016 as deputy director of the Northeast CASC and has been acting director of the Midwest CASC since its inception in 2021. Olivia is excited to lead the network’s newest center as they continue to develop climate adaptation science and partnerships in the Midwest region.
  • Molly Cross (North Central CASC) joins the CASC network from the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), where she served as the climate adaptation and resilience lead for their Global Forests and Climate Change Program. A longtime consortium partner and principal investigator with the North Central CASC, she is excited to bring her unique, on-the-ground management experience to the center.
  • Carrie Brown-Lima (Northeast CASC) joins the CASC network from the New York Invasive Species Research Institute based at Cornell University, where she served as the director for the past 9 years. A boundary-spanning professional and co-founder of the CASC’s Northeast Regional Invasive Species and Climate Change (RISCC) Network, Carrie is looking forward to connecting managers and decision makers with science in the Northeast region.
  • Suzanne Van Cooten (South Central CASC) joins the CASC network from the National Weather Service Office of Organizational Excellence. An enrolled member of the Chickasaw Nation, she is looking forward to working with Tribal Nations and climate experts in the South Central region to make climate adaptation science accessible to all.
  • Stephanie McAfee (Southwest CASC) joins the CASC network from the University of Nevada Reno, where she served as an associate professor and state climatologist for the Nevada State Climate Office. Another longtime CASC collaborator and boundary spanner, Stephanie is excited to engage with a broad variety of climate adaptation issues across the Southwest, from “coasts to the high mountains to the dry Great Basin.”


Learn more about the CASC Network >>

Map showing the states in the footprint of each regional CASC
Climate Adaptation Science Center (CASC) Network Map, showing the footprint of the nine regional centers in the CASC network. Click on the image for a full list of states and territories in each region.

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