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Environmental Professionals Network

School of Environment and Natural Resources


Yellowstone to Yukon: Enhancing Rocky Mountain animal migration through remote sensing and international collaboration

Feb 13, 2024, 7:15am - 12:00pm

Photo button from a collection of different images from the EPN Jan Breakfast

Program Overview

Caribou, grizzly bears, bison, and many more megafauna and countless bird species rely upon a major migration corridor of western North America spanning the Yellowstone-to-Yukon (Y2Y) region. Y2Y extends more than 3,400 kilometers from the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem in the western United States to the Arctic Circle in the Yukon Territory of Canada.  These species are impacted by roads and other human infrastructure developed throughout the corridor.

Enter the Room to Roam: Y2Y Wildlife Movements (Room2Roam) project. Room2Roam is funded through the NASA Ecological Forecasting Program and is accelerating data analysis and coordination to improve wildlife management efforts across borders. With coordination from Ohio State’s Dr. Gil Bohrer and representatives of seven agencies and conservation groups from First Nations, Canadian provinces and territories, and American states, launched this project from Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, in 2022.

This project utilizes a new interactive platform to allow groups to design and share methods to process and assess wildlife monitoring data. Managers are utilizing this project’s emergent tools and receiving automated analysis for, near-real-time alerts to identify and respond to potential threats, and connections to information about the conditions experienced by wildlife, such as weather and land use.

This project links communities across this diverse geographic range with wildlife managers, statisticians and modelers and the data resources of NASA to improve wildlife management in the Rocky Mountains. Collaborative conservation work in this region can lead to increases in protected land and public support for maintaining migration corridors in the region.

With support from Ohio State's Translational Data Analytics Institute (TDAI), join this EPN event to learn more about this incredible research and partnership endeavor, and its implications for land and resource managers in Ohio and beyond.


7:15 a.m. Doors open at Ohio State 4-H Center; Coffee served for in-person attendees. 

7:40 a.m. Breakfast buffet served for in-person attendees. 

8:00 a.m. Livestreaming service begins for virtual attendees.  

8:10 a.m. Tim Haab, PhD, interim director, Ohio State’s School of Environment and Natural Resources (SENR) and Gil Bohrer, PhD, professor, Ohio State’s Department of Civil, Environmental & Geodetic Engineering provide welcome remarks.

8:25 a.m. Enhancing Rocky Mountain animal migration through remote sensing and international collaboration from Yellowstone to Yukon, featuring:

Sarah Davidson, data curator, Movebank; coordinator, Room2Roam project.

Roland Kays, PhD, research professor, North Carolina State University’s Department of Forestry & Environmental Resources; lab head, North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences.

Jodi Hilty, PhD, president and chief scientist, Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative (virtual remarks).

9:10 a.m. Audience in-person and virtual question and answer session.

9:30 a.m. Dr. Haab concludes the EPN Breakfast program component. Livestreaming service concludes for virtual attendees. Networking session for in-person guests.

9:45 a.m. Love Your Wild Data! extended educational session begins for in-person guests only.  

This two-hour program will explore tools and strategies for utilizing advanced computer technology, remote sensing, and artificial intelligence to enhance animal conservation in Ohio and beyond. This extended educational session is open to all, including conservation researchers, wildlife enthusiasts, and students seeking tools for utilizing advanced computer technology for animal conservation. 

Session 1: Computer vision, camera traps and animal identification, featuring Sara Beery, PhD, assistant professor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Computer Science & Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (MIT CSAIL).  

10:45 a.m. 10-minute break and networking session. Food and beverage catering provided in hallway.  

Session 2: Tracking animal migrations using citizen science data with applications from eBird, featuring Sarah Supp, PhD, associate professor of data analytics, Denison University.  

12:00 p.m. Program concludes.  


GilGil Bohrer, PhD, professor, Civil Environmental and Geodetic Engineering, Ohio State's College of Engineering

Gil Bohrer is an atmospheric physicist who focuses on atmosphere-biosphere-hydrosphere interactions. His research studies ecosystem-atmosphere exchange of greenhouse gases (GHG) and water vapor. He combines observations (using the eddy-covariance method and other point measurements of GHG fluxes) and modeling to understand how small-scale ecosystem heterogeneity and diversity affect the magnitude and resilience of ecosystem fluxes. His recent research projects include observational sites in freshwater and coastal wetlands in Ohio and Louisiana, forests in Michigan, and agricultural orchards. His research was supported by DOE, the National Science Foundation (NSF), NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. Gil also works on developing data analysis tools for interpreting remote-sensing observations of ecosystem heterogeneity, particularly for wildlife management. He completed a master’s degree in ecology at Ben Gurion University in Israel and a PhD in civil and environmental engineering at Duke University and held a postdoctoral position at The Harvard University Center for the Environment.


Cathann KressSarah Davidson, data curator, Movebank; coordinator, Room2Roam project

Sarah is an environmental scientist with expertise in earth sciences, geographic information systems, and bio-logging data management. Sarah is the data curator for Movebank, a global research platform for animal tracking and bio-logging data. As part of ongoing collaborations, she works to develop a technical and governance framework for bio-logging data standards and to leverage the discovery and use of research and wildlife monitoring data during fieldwork and collection. For her doctoral studies, she is further exploring the long-term impacts of this work.  Sarah aims for her doctoral research to result in (1) discovery of ecological patterns through collaborative synthesis analyses, (2) development of policies and tools to support data preservation and beneficial re-use, (3) contributions to the establishment of community standards for animal-borne sensor data.


Cathann KressJodi Hilty, PhD, president and chief scientist, Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative

An expert on wildlife corridors, Dr. Jodi A. Hilty is the president and chief scientist of the Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative.  For over 20 years she has worked to advance conservation leading science, community-based conservation and policy and management changes. In the last 15 years she focused her work in North America; among other accomplishments her team successfully established the first federally designated wildlife corridor in the United States, the Path of the Pronghorn in Wyoming, and led the science that served as to inform Nahanni National Park Reserve in the Northwest Territories to more than 6.5 times its former size. Dr. Hilty also has been coeditor or lead author on three books, including Climate and Conservation: Landscape and Seascape Science, Planning, and Action (2012).   She provides a range of advisory roles and is Vice Chair for North America of the IUCN connectivity committee.


Cathann KressRoland Kays, PhD, research professor, North Carolina State University's Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources; lab head, North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences

Roland Kays is a zoologist with a broad interest in ecology and conservation, especially of mammals. He seeks out questions that are scientifically interesting but also have real-world relevance through educational or conservation value. He is an expert in using new technologies to study free-ranging animals, especially to track their movement with telemetry, GPS, and remote camera traps. He combines this high-tech work with traditional methods, collecting data through new field work and studies of museum collections. Roland received a PhD in Zoology from University of Tennessee and BS in Biology from Cornell University. 


Cathann KressSara Beery, PhD, assistant professor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Computer Science & Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (MIT CSAIL)

Sara Beery is an assistant professor at MIT EECS' Faculty of AI and Decision Making and CSAIL. Her research focuses on building computer vision methods that enable global-scale environmental and biodiversity monitoring across data modalities, tackling real-world challenges including strong spatiotemporal correlations that lead to domain shift, imperfect data quality, fine-grained categories, and long-tailed distributions. Beery received her PhD in Computing and Mathematical Sciences (CMS) at Caltech, advised by Pietro Perona, where she received the Amori Doctoral Prize for my dissertation. Beery founded the successful AI for Conservation slack community (with over 1000 members), is the Biodiversity Community Lead for Climate Change AI, and the founding director of the Caltech Summer School on Computer Vision Methods for Ecology

Cathann KressSarah Supp, PhD, associate professor of data analytics, Denison University

Sarah Supp is an Associate Professor of Data Analytics at Denison University, a growing interdisciplinary major taught from a liberal arts perspective. Data Analytics combines data wrangling, statistical analytical approaches, and programming skills with foundations in ethics, communication, and creative problem solving. Her research analyzes biodiversity change and animal movement across space and through time. Supp's research generally addresses unifying theories, community ecology, natural history, and how data education can be improved for biology undergraduates.Her current research focuses on biodiversity change across the planet, the range expansion of eastern red cedar, and introducing data science concepts in undergraduate biology classrooms. Supp has been fortunate to conduct field research in beautiful locations in the southwest, to research hummingbird diversity and migration, and to evaluate long-term trends in small mammal and plant communities.

Additional Information

This event’s menu features sausage patties, scrambled eggs, potato hash, and fresh fruit salad, Coffee, hot tea, fruit juices and water will be served. There will be plates, cups, woodware, and napkins.  

We strive to host events that are inclusive and accessible to everyone. If you have a disability and require accommodations to fully participate in this activity, please reach out to Callia Téllez ( Requests made five business days in advance will generally allow us to provide seamless access. However, we will make every effort to meet requests made after this time frame. You will be contacted by someone from our staff to discuss your specific needs. For the virtual audience, a closed captioning option via EPN’s YouTube live stream will be available, as well as other accommodations as requested on the registration.

Masks are optional for all event attendees at this event, in accordance with Ohio State’s Safe and Healthy Protocols as of this date. In-person attendees will be expected to follow Ohio State protocols regarding the prevention of COVID-19 transmission. More health and safety information available on this Personal Safety Practices page

This program will be livestreamed on the  EPN YouTube page. Additional information on livestream connections are available to those who register as a virtual participant for this event. 

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EPN Breakfast Series

The Environmental Professionals Network hosts a monthly breakfast series with compelling speakers on important innovative topics at the Nationwide and Ohio Farm Bureau 4-H Center on Ohio State’s campus - open to all!