Introducing Erika Rowland on Guild staff

Photo of Erika RowlandWritten by Erika Rowland

The Guild’s newest employee, Erika Rowland, brings a fresh perspective to the organization’s mission and work, having long viewed the world through the lens of changing climate and vegetation.  

Growing up in central Maine in an old farmhouse with a wood-fired furnace and a sugar house, Erika had plenty of early exposure to the region’s mixed northern hardwoods forests. Maple syrup is a wonderful gateway to the forest products industry. Despite this, archaeology was initially her chosen career…until she stumbled onto paleoecology. The concept that the environment is ever-changing in in response to climate—present, past, and future—triggered a major course-correction.  

Erika now holds an M.S. from the University of Alaska in Quaternary Studies, where she studied spruce stand dynamics in response to 20th century climate warming at tree line in northern Alaska. Hooked on forest ecology across multiple timescales, she followed up with a PhD in Forest Resources at the University of Maine, reconstructing natural disturbance regimes in TNC’s Big Reed Preserve. A long ago “brown bag” lunch at the university introduced her to the Forest Stewards Guild and its unique forest-first mission.  

Since then, Erika has worked in regions across North America in applied conservation, resource management, and the then-emerging field of climate change adaptation. Jobs have taken her (and her now travel-weary family) from Maine to Arizona, and to the Northern Rockies and back again. Work with the Wildlife Conservation Society’s North America Program, specifically on applying multiple tools and approaches to bringing the lens of climate change into natural resource planning and practice, strongly influenced her interest in joining Guild staff on their work toward building resilience in forest systems across the U.S. Even in her most recent position as a land trust executive director, Erika made time and secured funds so that a group of neighboring land trusts could reconsider their regional land protection priorities and forest management strategies with climate change in mind.  

Erika is thrilled with the opportunity to return to her roots in climate change and to support managers in effective response to its impacts in her new role as Eastern Director with the Forest Stewards Guild. She comes to her new position with a suite of project management, organizational leadership, grant-writing skills, which she is immediately applying in her work with the Northeast and Southeast programs. 

Away from her home office in Maine, Erika enjoys exploring the natural world with her new pup, Fern, a well-written novel, a delicious meal cooked by her son, and, even after several decades, splitting wood to heat the family home. 

 “We are thrilled to have Erika on the team! Her varied background and experience across the US show through in her creativity and ecological understanding. Her time leading a land trust will help the Guild in our efforts to better serve the land conservation community.” – Zander Evans