WildPeople include our Board, Staff and Interns, Volunteers, and Scientific Consultants


Board of Directors


David Burg, President and Founder of WildMetro

David L. Burg has been working on the environmental issues of New York and other metropolitan regions for over thirty years.  A native of Southern Connecticut, he first started working as a professional naturalist in 1966, when he was a field assistant for the Department of Ornithology at Yale University.  He subsequently worked odd jobs while hitch-hiking around North America, Central America, and Europe before resuming his naturalist career in New England and Israel.  He was the first warden for the Norwalk Islands in Long Island Sound and the first naturalist for the Canoe Meadows Sanctuary in Pittsfield, Massachusetts.  

Articles written by Mr. Burg have appeared in the Chicago Tribune, Sanctuary Magazine, Urban Audubon, and online.  He has given presentations at several wildlife conferences, and his work protecting birds in New York City was featured on national television on CBS Sunday Morning.

After having a second child, Mr. Burg switched careers and worked in real estate for several years.  He and his family have lived in the Bronx since 1985.  

Betty Campbell-Adams, Secretary of Board

Ms. Campbell-Adams is a marketing executive with Time Warner’s NYC Cable Division. She also has experience in investment, money management and financial planning. Ms. Campbell-Adams was co-chair of a volunteer committee working to improve a magnet public school in Harlem, NYC.


Luis R. Cancel, Treasurer of Board

Mr. Cancel is an experienced nonprofit administrator and is the former Commissioner of the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs. He worked for 28 years as a museum professional, and was Executive Director of the Bronx Museum of the Arts. He is currently director of the Soto-Velez Community Center in lower Manhattan.



Staff and Interns


Emily Kaplan, Fern Project Coordinator


Emily Kaplan started at WildMetro in June 2005 after being recruited by David Burg’s mother. While always interested in the natural sciences, Emily had traveled to various locations to study sustainable agriculture, including Solitude Farm in Tamil Nadu, India (near Pondicherry); Nogales, Mexico; and Sirius community in Shutesbury, Massachusetts. She is currently coordinating WildMetro’s Ferns of the Five Boroughs project with Michael Sundue and taking classes at City College and Hunter College at City University of New York.

Alexandra Reitzes, 92nd Street Y Explorers Program co-teacher



Francesca Cristofaro, 92nd Street Y Explorers Program co-teacher



Seem Chan, Intern


Seem Chan is an intern from The Lighthouse, New York.


Tanya Johnston, Intern


Tanya Johnston grew up in northern California and recently graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara with a BS in Zoology.  While at UCSB,  Tanya assisted in research on barnacle populations, plant ecology, and gray whale migrations.  Tanya has worked with a variety of animals at rehabilitation and nature centers, including exotic cats and marsupials.  She enjoys traveling and studied abroad around the world with the Semester at Sea program.  Tanya is currently working as a preschool teacher in New York City, and as an intern at WildMetro.

Tiffany Shao, Intern


Tiffany Shao is a high school student at Stuyvesant High School in New York City, and has been working with WildMetro since summer 2005.  Tiffany loves animals, especially wolves, and is currently working on WildMetro's small mammal research program, identifying tracks collected in track tubes placed in New York parks.  Tiffany is a budding artist, and especially likes drawing animals and cartoons.  She has put together art for WildMetro's Kids program and will be illustrating a guide to the tracks of New York's small mammals.

Karena DiLeo


Karena DiLeo graduated from Ursinus College in Pennsylvania with a B.S in Biology in the spring of 2006. She recently moved to NYC and began volunteering at WildMetro. Karena is interested in wildlife ecology with an emphasis on conservation and plans to attend graduate school in the fall.

Elizabeth Wallace, Intern


Elizabeth Wallace is a student at NYU majoring in Environmental Studies and Africana Studies, with a special interest in sustainable development and agriculture.  She started as an intern at WildMetro in September 2006, and is currently working on our fall research projects including small mammal trapping and data analysis, and will also be starting collaborative research between WildMetro and Hawthorne Valley Farm, an organic farm devoted to sustainable agriculture.

Exley Steward, Bookkeeper





Stefan Ekernas, Photographer

Stefan Ekernas was WildMetro's research director in 2005-2006. Stefan was born in Danderyd, Sweden and moved to Greenwich, Connecticut at the age of 9. He obtained an MA in Conservation Biology from Columbia University in 2005, where his thesis research focused on dispersal behavior of blue monkeys in Kakamega Forest, Kenya. He has also conducted research on forest ecology with Dr. Chuck Peters at the New York Botanical Garden for the past 3 years. Stefan has worked at WildMetro since May 2005 and is currently teaching courses in Global Ecology and Introductory Ecology at Baruch College, City University of New York. Stefan speaks fluent Swedish and is an avid wildlife photographer (to view more of Stefan's photographs, visit sewildlife.com). Stefan is currently in India.

Kristin Phillips, Webmaster


Kristin Phillips has a PhD in Biological Anthropology from University College London. She has over 5 years of field experience following primates, both for her dissertation on female social relationships in rhesus macaques on Cayo Santiago (Puerto Rico) and with her spouse, Tony Di Fiore, at the Proyecto Primates research site (Ecuador). Laboratory experience includes genetic and nutritional analyses. Finally, she worked as an archaeologist in the Great Basin region of California (Yosemite National Park and Plumas National Forest).






WildMetro has been very fortunate to have the help of many volunteers over the years. Thanks to everyone who has contributed their time and energy to WildMetro research, education, outreach, and advocacy efforts—this work couldn’t have been done without you. Stay tuned for a list of WildMetro’s past and current volunteers.



Scientific Consultants


Dr. Catherine Burns, Research Affiliate


Dr. Catherine Burns was WildMetro’s Research Director from September 2006-07. In addition, she has served as a Scientific Consultant/Research Affiliate for WildMetro since May 2004. In general, Dr. Burns’ research interests include the conservation, ecology and behavior of terrestrial mammals, the response of wildlife to anthropogenic land-use change (such as habitat loss, fragmentation, and urbanization), and the impacts of climate change on species interactions. She obtained her Ph.D. from Yale University in 2004, investigating the impact of habitat loss on small mammals in New England forests. Her postdoctoral research studied the response of large mammals to a range of fire-management strategies in Kruger National Park, South Africa and in North American tallgrass prairie. She is currently a faculty member at the University of Maine, but continues to conduct research in the New York area.

Dr. Linda Puth

Linda Puth received her M.S. in Conservation Biology & Sustainable Development in 1997 and her Ph.D. in Botany in 2002, both from the University of Wisconsin (Madison), and subsequently completed a post-doctoral fellowship at Yale University from 2002-2004. Her research has focused on understanding the role of ecological corridors in conservation, on examining the relative contributions of the components of the invasion process, and on investigating the relationship between complexity and stability. She studies these questions primarily in aquatic systems, and uses a combination of theoretical, comparative and experimental approaches. Dr. Puth is currently working with WildMetro to conduct an assessment of the status and trends of nature in the New York metropolitan area.

Gaby de Luna, Education Consultant

Gaby de Luna created WildMetro's Y Explorers program and the Field Technologies Course and is currently researching saki and titi monkey behavior and ecology in the western Amazon (Ecuador). Gaby has a MS in Biology from Universidades de los Andes in Colombia. She has an extensive background in art and science and a special interest in education. She has been part of different ecological and behavioral research projects on dart-poison frogs, monkeys and birds in the Amazon Rainforest. On the education front she has taught numerous programs on arts and sciences for a varied audience, from preschoolers to adults, in the U.S., Spain and Colombia. She is a gifted scientific illustrator and artist.

Katherine Mertes, Research Consultant

Katherine Mertes has a BA in Biology from Middlebury College, VT, where her senior research explored the effectiveness of buffer zones in improving the conservation of protected areas. She is an enthusiastic horseback rider, and served as Captain of Middlebury College’s Equestrian Team during her senior year. During her undergraduate education she also traveled to Australia and conducted research on cassowary use of revegetated areas. She has worked at the National Zoo's Nutrition Lab, analyzing the diet of the endangered California sea otter and the feeding choice of the desert tortoise, and at Disney's Animal Kingdom, where she studied captive animal nutrition and assisted in hand-rearing an orphaned white rhinoceros. Katherine worked as a research coordinator for WildMetro in 2005-2006 and is currently working on a Masters at Stanford University.

Chanda Bennett, Research Consultant

Chanda Bennett is a PhD candidate in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Columbia University. Ms. Bennett directed WildMetro’s small mammal research program during 2004, and continues to be a valuable contributor to our research efforts. A native of Brooklyn, Ms. Bennett’s doctoral research is based out of the American Museum of Natural History, where she studies the population genetics of invasive mongoose in Jamaica. She has previously studied coyote population genetics in the Hudson Highlands in upstate New York.


Michael Sundue, Research Consultant

Michael Sundue is a PhD candidate with City University of New York, based at New York Botanical Garden’s International Plant Science Center. Michael is currently researching the systematics of the Grammitidaceae, a large, pantropical group of epiphytic ferns. His work focuses on a clade that includes the Terpsichore taxifolia group, and his initial investigations suggest that these roughly 25 species are involved in a comensal biotrophic relationship with the fungus Acrospermum maxonii. Earlier research involved surveying the 450 fern species within Amboró National Park, in Bolivia. Michael has been WildMetro’s consulting director for the Ferns of the Five Boroughs Project since its inception in 2004.