About Me

Hi, I'm Tandena Wagner

Ecology Interventions is a place for me to chart out my perspective on environmentalism. By challenging conventional ideas I hope to figure out new ways to better preserve Earth's natural heritage.

I’m currently a graduate student at San Jose State University, where I've been studying R programming, ecological modeling, and statistics. I’m looking for a place where I can put these skills into practice answering multidisciplinary conservation management questions.

My thesis project shares the goal of this blog: help maximize the impact of limited conservation resources through analysis. I am building a tool using R and Maxent that can map the highest-value regions for biodiversity protection. I include many factors in the anaylsis -- from the evolutionary distinctiveness of each species, to the economic value of the lands they inhabit. It's been a lot of fun to work on this, and I've been learning how to improve models and process large GIS datasets in R. The first purpose of the project is to practice methods of measuring and weighing complex ecological decisions, and illustrate the principles I describe here on Ecology Interventions. Later on, a more developed version of the program will be usable by land managers to inform their biodiversity conservation plans.

My Background

Before graduate school, I cultivated my programming and data-management skills while working for a pair of Washington, D.C. area environmental charities. At Conservation International, I compared the Trends.Earth QGIS plugin with Collect Earth on their relative strengths when quantifying vegetation cover for SDG 15.3.1. At Natureserve, I reviewed the literature for distribution models of endangered species in the southeastern USA. I also helped produce localized versions of their Map of Biodiversity Importance (MOBI) for several states, which provided inspiration for my thesis project.

I also have many fond memories from several years of ecological fieldwork all over the USA. I studied botany at the CSU Rocky Mountain Campus as part of getting my bachelors in conservation biology. Then I moved to work for the BLM's AIM program in the sagebrush steppe south of Twin Falls, Idaho. After that I traveled east and collected plant inventories in almost every national park of the northeastern region from Maine to Virginia. I have worked both in academic long-term field research, as well as management application of conservation policies.

Besides all that stuff above, I also wrote this website! It's built on Hugo, using html, markdown & css, uploaded with git, and hosted on netlify.


This is a rather niche subject, and I am eager to hear from anyone who shares my interests. Drop me a line - on email, Twitter, LinkedIn, Reddit, or elsewhere. Whether you want to discuss something I overlooked, or just talk with a like-minded soul, I welcome a little connection!