Lab Members

Dr. Elizabeth Covelli Metcalf

Dr. Elizabeth Covelli MetcalfDr. Libby Metcalf is the Joel Meier Distinguished Professor of Wildland Management and Senior Associate Dean of the W.A. Franke College of Forestry and Conservation at the University of Montana. In 2011, Dr. Metcalf received a dual Ph.D. at the Pennsylvania State University in Recreation, Parks, and Tourism Management and the Human Dimensions of Natural Resources and the Environment. Her research interests generally center around recreation management issues, wildlife related issues, and understanding complex social-ecological systems. Dr. Metcalf’s theoretical approach is based in social-psychology and often includes the examination of attitudes, values, and beliefs. Dr. Metcalf has worked on statewide studies examining outdoor recreation, hunter recruitment and retention issues, and river management. Her more recent work has focused on larger social-ecological systems such as the social dimensions of river restoration and wildlife management. Dr. Metcalf uses structural equation modeling in social data analysis and has been working with other researchers to develop models to couple human and natural systems.  Along with her research, Dr. Metcalf is a dedicated teacher where she provides field-based opportunities for her undergraduate students including field trips and internships. At the graduate level, Dr. Metcalf offers seminar style courses and close mentoring for her advisees. Libby is also an avid runner and outdoor enthusiast, favoring activities that include sunshine and water. Her favorite place to recreate is the upper Blackfoot River where she enjoys floating and fishing with her family.

Dr. Alexander L. Metcalf

Dr. Alex Metcalf is an Associate Professor Professor of Human Dimensions in the Department of Society & Conservation in the W.A. Franke College of Forestry and Conservation at the University of Montana where he serves on the undergraduate faculties for Environmental Science & Sustainability and Wildlife Biology, and the interdisciplinary graduate faculties for Systems Ecology and the BRIDGES Food Energy and Water Nexus. In 2010 Dr. Metcalf received a dual Ph.D. from The Pennsylvania State University in Forest Resources and the Human Dimensions of Natural Resources and the Environment. His research focuses broadly on the human dimensions of natural resources using theories and methodologies from sociology- and psychology-related disciplines to address natural resource issues while advancing theory. He employs qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods in his research, including spatial (GIS) techniques, to understand relationships between humans and the environment, and the consequences of conservation behavior across scales. Dr. Metcalf is particularly interested in understanding the factors which drive conservation decisions by private landowners, including the cross boundary realities of many natural resources; using theories of social-ecological system dynamics to inform management toward desired outcomes; improving the use and measurement of attitudes, beliefs, and values in agency and NGO decisions and outreach/extension; and helping ensure people and communities are fairly and meaningfully engaged in natural resources decision-making processes. Dr. Metcalf has oriented his research toward a variety of natural resource contexts and issues including forest management and restoration, private land conservation, fire policy and management, invasive species control, regenerative agriculture, and human-wildlife interaction. Dr. Metcalf enjoys teaching at all levels, including in his freshmen intro to natural resource conservation class (NRSM 121), his Human Dimensions of Wildlife course (WILD 274), and a graduate course on theories used in human dimensions research (NRSM 574)

Tina Cummins, Ph.D. student, Forest and Conservation Sciences

Tina Cummins, Ph.D. student, Forest and Conservation Sciences Tina is a Ph.D. student in Forest and Conservation Sciences. Her broad research interest is combining social science theories with data science methods to improve resource management. In the Lab, Tina is studying how to increase the efficiency of agricultural behavior change programs in the Chesapeake Bay using data science. Tina completed an M.A. in Economics and an M.S in Business Analytics at the University of Montana in 2017. She has worked as a social and economic consultant for Ecosystem Research Group in Missoula. A couple of her notable projects were a socio-economic monitoring for the Clearwater Basin Collaborative in Idaho as part of the Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program and measuring the economic impact of proposed interim measures for Sage Grouse in Wyoming. Tina was previously a Sustainable Cities Fellow at the University of Southern California.  She is always ready for any road trip or travel experience, particularly ones that involve hiking, dragon boat paddling, tennis, running half marathons and listening to books on Audible.

Megan Moore, Ph.D. student, Forest and Conservation Sciences

Megan is a Ph.D. student in Forest and Conservation Sciences. She is interested in better understanding issues such as rural community resilience, water quality and climate change adaptation in the West through social psychology and political ecology lenses. She received a B.A. in environmental studies, political science and Spanish (she couldn’t choose just one) from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She served two terms as an AmeriCorps member in Nevada and Michigan as a land health assessment technician and watershed management specialist. She also worked for the USFS and BLM as a crew lead for stream monitoring projects throughout Idaho, Oregon, Montana, Washington and California. She enjoyed romping around in streams but felt that the projects lacked a human-nature connection. This led her to Montana State University, where she received an M.S. in geography. Her master’s work focused on the barriers and opportunities of implementing natural water storage, specifically flood irrigation and beaver mimicry, as a climate adaptation strategy for a ranching community in southwest Montana. Her non-academic interests include searching for the perfect donut and convincing staunch dog lovers that cats are cool.

Madeline Damon, Master's student, Wildlife Biology

madelinedamon.jpgMadeline officially joined the lab in the fall of 2021, and is pursuing a Master's degree in wildlife biology. She graduated with her B.S. in wildlife biology and a minor in nonprofit administration from the University of Montana in the spring of 2021, and loved the program so much she couldn't imagine leaving yet! Madeline always gravitated towards studying people, and the Human Dimensions Lab was a natural fit. Madeline is a passionate hunter and outdoor recreationist, and throughout her undergraduate experience has led both the UM Student Recreation Association and the UM Chapter of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers. Her current research utilizes natural language processing and a worldwide intellectual diversity survey to study how gender and racial biases in academic publishing affects the knowledge used to make decisions in wildlife conservation, management, and policy. Madeline loves using both data science and social science to tackle conservation issues, and strongly values using words and text data in her studies. Her love of words transfers to a hobby of reading in her free time, as well as lots of outdoor adventures with her German Short-haired Pointer, Dixie.

Dr. Max Birdsong, Postdoctoral Researcher


Max is a postdoctoral researcher in the HD lab focusing on the human dimensions of wolves in Montana. He is a human dimensions researcher specializing in using social-psychological quantitative survey work to help managers understand, predict, and influence people’s behavior in wildlife-related issues. His research interests involve addressing real-world wildlife management issues with cognitive, motivational, and satisfaction approaches. It is important to Max that his research is grounded in fundamental human dimensions concepts to extend the generalizability of his research. Max did his doctoral research in the lab of Robert Arlinghaus at Humboldt University in Berlin, Germany. His doctoral work focused on the human dimensions of recreational fisheries, with an in-depth focus on the role of angler satisfaction and diversity across anglers, situational contexts, and social-ecological contexts. Previously, he completed a master’s thesis at Auburn University under the supervision of Wayde Morse, researching hunting on public lands in Alabama. After being in Europe for the last four years, Max is excited to explore all of Montana's outdoor recreation opportunities.