Gary Slater
Executive Director and Director of Avian Conservation

Gary founded Ecostudies Institute in 2001 and has worked to identify situations where Ecostudies’ knowledge, experience, and skills can be most effective towards advancing the conservation of birds, other wildlife, and their habitats. In 2020, he returned full time to Ecostudies as part of a transition team broadening the vision and conservation capacity of the organization.

Gary has nearly 30 years of experience in nonprofit administration, avian research, and conservation, including work in the Pacific Northwest, south Florida, Venezuela, and the Bahamas. Most recently, his work has focused on conserving imperiled birds in prairie-oak habitats. His research interests span a wide variety of applied conservation issues, including the re-introduction ecology of passerine bird species, impacts of management on avian populations, and demographic factors limiting small populations.

Gary’s passion for birds began as a child watching chickadees at the family bird feeder. He received a B.S. in Wildlife Science from Purdue University and a M.S. in Wildlife Ecology from the University of Florida. Outside of the office, Gary enjoys spending time gardening, brewing beer, and hiking.

Sarah Hamman, Ph.D.
Director of Science

Sarah was part of the transition team that joined Ecostudies in 2020, after working on the South Sound Prairies since 2008. Her work is aimed at researching and restoring rare species habitat in Pacific Northwest prairies and oak woodlands using rigorous science and collaborative conservation principles.

Sarah’s research has focused on evaluating fire effects on soils and plant community dynamics, biogeochemical and microbial legacies of invasive species, conservation grazing impacts on plant communities and restoration strategies for native plant establishment, including seed stratification, mycorrhizal fungi inoculation, seeding rates and herbicide application. She has worked in the tallgrass prairies of Minnesota, the wintery wonderland of Yellowstone National Park, ponderosa pine forests of the Colorado front range, giant sequoia forests in the Sierra Nevadas, and the rare rosemary scrub of central Florida’s Lake Wales Ridge.

Sarah is also an adjunct professor at The Evergreen State College and she serves on the boards of the Olympia Coalition for Ecosystems Preservation and the Washington Native Plant Society. She is a co-founder of the Camas Collaborative, a transdisciplinary group dedicated to advancing Indigenous priorities in PNW prairies and oak woodlands. When she’s not working, Sarah enjoys baking, knitting, and adventuring in the mountains. Sarah earned her B.A. in Biology from Wittenberg University and a Ph.D. in Ecology from Colorado State University.