Liz Hillard helps direct and manage the study design, implementation, and analysis of our road ecology research focused on the important Pigeon River Gorge/Interstate 40 corridor within the Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina and Tennessee. In addition, she works to build partnerships and engage the public in habitat connectivity and conservation efforts throughout the Southern Appalachian region.
In 2018, Liz successfully defended her Ph.D. at Southern Illinois University, where her research focused on understanding how fragmentation, altered hydrology, and restoration in bottomland hardwood forests influence swamp rabbit (Sylvilagus aquaticus) habitat use and survival in Illinois’s Cypress Creek National Wildlife Refuge. Liz’s curiosity for the intricacies of nature led her to earn her B.S. in Zoology from Southern Illinois University and an M.S. in Biology from Western Carolina University. As a graduate research assistant at Western Carolina University, Liz worked in collaboration with the National Park Service to develop and implement a research plan and field methodology to determine elk habitat selection in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. In addition to her research experience, Liz has years of experience working in the field as a wildlife technician for several public agencies, including the U.S. Forest Service, USDA-Aphis, and universities.
Liz lives in Asheville, North Carolina with her lab mix named Hazelnut. She is an avid lover of music and enjoys backcountry camping and biking in the mountains of North Carolina.