Audubon International is very excited to announce that Laura Karosic has been hired as the organization’s Special Projects Coordinator, a newly created interdisciplinary position. Laura reported for duty on December 3, 2012.
As Special Projects Coordinator, Laura will coordinate the development and implementation of a new individual professional certificate program in sustainable natural resource management (which will primarily target professional property managers, such as golf course superintendents and resort managers), play a leading role in establishing and managing important partnerships between Audubon International and other entities, and support the implementation of the organization’s long-standing environmental education and certification programs. Laura will also lead the development and implementation of a comprehensive natural resource management strategy to help Audubon International effectively use its existing landholdings to further the organization’s core mission functions.
“Audubon International is very fortunate to have Laura join our team, and I am very excited that she’ll be playing a leading role in a number of important areas, including the establishment of an individual professional certificate program that our industry partners strongly demand,” said Ryan Aylesworth, Audubon International’s Executive Director. “Laura’s academic training in sustainable natural resource management and her professional background in community engagement make her uniquely suited for this position, which will involve interfacing with a wide range of property managers, environmental professionals, industry representatives, educational institutions, and other important stakeholder groups.”
Prior to joining Audubon International, Laura was a Graduate Research Assistant in the Department of Geography, Geology, and the Environment at Slippery Rock University, where she led a research team in identifying the origins of sustainability within the National Park Service. Her responsibilities in this capacity included identifying a national park that was implementing exemplary sustainable practices and developing a research plan to assess park visitor perception of these practices within the park. Her plan consisted of compiling historical research, the development of original surveys to be distributed to park visitors at Denali National Park, data synthesis and analysis, and the publication of research findings in a professional journal (expected to be completed in early 2013).
Before completing her master’s work at Slippery Rock University, Laura was involved in numerous environmental restoration projects and volunteer management programs. While a student at Merritt College in Oakland, California, she recruited and trained fellow students and community members to restore an ecologically sensitive public nature area near Merritt College’s campus. Working with community stakeholders and student volunteers, Laura developed a comprehensive site assessment and restoration plan, collected native plant donations, implemented restoration techniques, and monitored site progress. During this time, Laura served as a volunteer with California watershed and creek groups, and was charged with using GIS and GPS to monitor invasive species, restore native wildlife populations, and assess water quality. This experience fueled her interest in how community members can be trained to utilize these tools in obtaining scientific data. Prior to this volunteer experience, Laura worked in the field of education, first as a Community Outreach Specialist for an afterschool program in Oakland, and then as a Project Manager for an afterschool consulting firm, also in Oakland, where she wrote numerous articles, reports, case studies, and grant proposals in the interest of advancing opportunities for low-income young people.
Laura holds a Master of Science in Sustainable Systems from Slippery Rock University and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from West Chester University. She resides in Albany with her dog, Timber, and enjoys spending her free time cooking, hiking with Timber, traveling, and sewing.