Joe Guthrie is the survey coordinator for the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute's Virginia Working Landscapes program based in Front Royal, Virginia. Guthrie leads Virginia Working Landscape's fieldwork, which is designed to collect data on native biodiversity throughout the program’s 16-county study area.
VWL’s monitoring and research efforts are central to its mission to promote conservation through community engagement and education. As survey coordinator, Guthrie functions as a liaison between SCBI, citizen scientists, landowners, research collaborators and agency/NGO partners. Through VWL, Guthrie is pursuing new research projects on the ecology of Virginia’s native orchids and on the movement ecology of native carnivores.
Beginning with his master's research, Guthrie has devoted his attention to understanding the role private, working farms and ranches play in protecting biodiversity across the Southeastern United States. He completed a thesis at the University of Kentucky based on his work GPS-tracking the Florida black bear across the ranchlands and swamp forests of South-Central Florida. Guthrie's research has influenced the design and location of a series of wildlife underpasses on Florida highways, in an effort to improve road safety and to facilitate large-animal movement and ecological connectivity.
The black bear conservation work completed by Guthrie and colleagues inspired a series of documentary films based on their efforts to promote conservation to restore and protect a 16-million-acre ecological corridor in Florida. The most recent of these films, "The Last Green Thread," was selected to be featured at the 2019 D.C. Environmental Film Festival.
Guthrie is a native of Henry County, Kentucky, and now lives in Washington, Virginia.
Murphy, S.M., W.A. Ulrey, J.M. Guthrie, D.S. Maehr, W.G. Abrahamson, S.C. Maehr, J.J. Cox. 2017. Food habits of a small Florida black bear population in an endangered ecosystem. Ursus 28(1). 92-104.