Some key initiatives led by Michael Leff

conservation outreach & education

Coordinate multi-municipal workshops and regional “Resilient Communities” partnership for Franklin County (MA) Conservation District, while promoting cross-border collaboration across state lines. Lead river access research and outreach initiative designed to yield guidelines for sustainable management of popular but threatened sites on regional waterways. Connect farmers and forest owners to underutilized technical assistance in collaboration with USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.

ecological restoration

Site visit to Green River in Guilford VT, where floodwaters carved a new river channel (left), replacing the original (right), and stranding an abandoned house on an island.

Site visit to Green River in Guilford VT, where floodwaters carved a new river channel (left), replacing the original (right), and stranding an abandoned house on an island.

Guide multiple restoration projects for the Connecticut River Conservancy in Western Massachusetts and Southern Vermont, from project identification through implementation and monitoring. Examples include riparian buffer plantings, stream channel stabilization, erosion mitigation, invasives control, habitat enhancement, and easement exploration. View this 5-minute video of a groundbreaking restoration project on the Green River in Guilford VT, where historic flooding left a house stranded on an island when floodwaters carved a new river channel. See major water chestnut control efforts at Log Pond Cove on the Connecticut River in Holyoke MA.

sustainable urban forest guide

Led the development of "The Sustainable Urban Forest: A Step-by-Step Approach," one of the key goals of the USFS Vibrant Cities & Urban Forests call to action. This scalable how-to guide, now available online or by request, has been used as the basis for municipal training sessions and is designed to help all communities assess, manage, and sustain their forest resource. This August 2017 webinar for Penn State Extension provides an orientation to the handbook.

urban waters federal partnership

As Founding Ambassador, oversaw launch and direction of Greater Philadelphia Area / Delaware River Basin Urban Waters Federal Partnership. Developed vibrant and high-performing cross-sector partnership across four cities in three states. (For a 5-minute overview, watch "The Power of Partnership."

ser leadership

As President, guided the Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the Society for Ecological Restoration (SER) through regional expansion, board development, and membership outreach – including serving as lead planner on popular annual conference. As Northeast North America Regional Representative on the SER International Board, mobilized the Chapter Relations Committee to enhance global communication and collaboration. Currently serving as Vermont state rep on the SER New England board of directors.

ecosystem services assessment

Helped integrate i-Tree free-access tree assessment and management software developed by the USFS and the Davey Institute into community forestry programs of all sizes, including guiding development as an ecological restoration and green infrastructure tool.

watershed protection

As Watersheds Program Manager at the Pennsylvania Environmental Council, helped develop River Conservation Plans and led several regional watershed partnerships. Served as Interim Director to lead the multi-municipal Tookany/Tacony-Frankford Watershed Partnership through startup and incorporation as tax-exempt nonprofit. Currently working with the Green River Watershed Alliance advancing watershed protection across MA-VT state borders.

urban & community forestry

As Urban Forestry Program Manager at the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, directed the Southeast PA TreeVitalize initiative, an urban forestry program launched by the PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, and helped launch Plant One Million, a tri-state collaborative tree planting initiative. Served in leadership role with the Urban Ecology Collaborative (UEC), a multi-city partnership among forestry professionals in numerous cities across the northeastern U.S.

arboretum land manager

Directed program to restore and maintain Awbury Arboretum, a 55-acre public green space in Philadelphia, as an aesthetically pleasing, ecologically beneficial, and historically sensitive landscape – while engaging an underserved urban community. Helped guide Landscape Maintenance Job Training Program for homeless adults.

founding editor & director

Led development and oversaw operation of Consumer Reports on Health, a highly respected monthly newsletter from the publishers of Consumer Reports magazine, from initial launch to sustained profitability and growth over its first 10 years. Responsible for staff recruitment and leadership, financial management, editorial development, and administrative oversight. Began career as successful freelance writer and editor for several years.  

(For additional details, see Michael Leff's LinkedIn profile.)