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Amy E.M. Johnson

Program Director, Virginia Working Landscapes
B.S., University of Guelph; M.S. and Ph.D., George Mason University

Amy Johnson is the program director for Virginia Working Landscapes, a Smithsonian-led research initiative that promotes the conservation of native biodiversity and sustainable land-use through research, education and community engagement. In this role, Johnson cultivates a network of private landowners, citizen scientists, NGO’s, state agencies and research scientists to collectively investigate the impacts of conservation management and land use on biodiversity. In addition to research, VWL has a strong outreach program that communicates research findings and best management practices through landowner meetings, lectures, workshops and farm tours.

A former Smithsonian-Mason Research Fellow, Johnson’s Ph.D. research focused on the impacts of conservation and land management on breeding and over-wintering bird communities in Virginia. Specifically, her research is raising awareness on the importance of bobwhite quail conservation initiatives for conserving habitat for a suite of steeply declining species and is also providing insight into the benefits of native warm-season grasses for over-wintering bird communities. An active member of the loggerhead shrike working group, Johnson also used citizen science data to develop an occupancy model for loggerhead shrikes in the southeastern United States. Results of this research are now being used to facilitate state-level population monitoring through citizen-science initiatives.
Prior to being awarded the Smithsonian-Mason Ph.D. Fellowship in Conservation Science, Johnson received her bachelor of science in agriculture from the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada, and a master’s degree from George Mason University, focusing her research on developing assisted reproductive techniques in wolves.
Johnson currently resides with her husband Eric on a farm in Virginia, immersed in grassland bird habitat.