Lyceum at Silo City

Instructor Bios

Wayne Gall

Wayne Gall has more than 35 years of experience as a naturalist and entomologist, including the Buffalo Museum of Science's first Administrator of Tifft Nature Preserve (1983-87), Research Fellow (1987-89), and Curator of Entomology (1989-2001); Regional Entomologist for the NYS Department of Health (2001-2016); and Entomologist/Identifier with USDA/APHIS (2016-present). He has led bugs by nightlight and pond/stream programs at the Allegany Nature Pilgrimage for 35 years, as well as for WNY organizations such as Tifft, Reinstein Woods, Beaver Meadow, UB's ERIE-IGERT Program, and Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper. Wayne has led or co-led natural history tours from the Canadian Rockies, Churchill/Hudson Bay and Acadia National Park to the Smokies, Florida Keys and Upper Gulf Coast of Texas. Wayne earned his BA in Biology at UB, MS in Entomology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and PhD in Zoology at the University of Toronto.


Priscilla Titus

Priscilla Titus is an ecologist with experience throughout much of the United States. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in Biology at Augusta State University and began her career at University of Georgia’s Savannah River Ecology Laboratory. With each new experience, Priscilla noticed the importance of the integrity of the plant communities in ecosystem function and wildlife support. This has kindled a lifelong interest in the restoration of damaged landscapes by returning local native plant communities to the landscape. Priscilla spends much of her time collecting seeds from native plants locally for use in the Western New York Land Conservancy’s restoration projects. She is an active volunteer for numerous non-profit organizations and raises native plants in her garden, which she donates to restoration efforts and native gardening groups.


Paul Fuhrmann

Paul Fuhrmann brings 30+ years of specialized expertise in botanical surveys, surveys of threatened and endangered (T/E) species, habitat assessments, plant community identification, soil and hydrological assessments, pest and disease control, management planning for invasive plant species, sustainable management planning, and community stewardship and public relations.  He has designed and managed local native plant community restoration projects on created and treatment wetlands, urban parkland and watersheds, brownfield sites, and streamside and riparian corridors. Paul is an esteemed expert of our local ecology and we are lucky to have him sharing his skills at our training. When not knee deep in a planting, Paul can be found traveling and sharing treats with dogs across the US.


Jon Titus

Jonathan Titus is a Professor of Biology at SUNY Fredonia where he teaches introductory courses in biology and advanced courses in botany and ecology.  His research focus is in the field of plant ecology, and he conducts research in local wetlands and at Fredonia’s College Lodge Nature Preserve on forest change.  This involves long term study plots tracking tree, shrub and herb species over time and how they change with beech bark disease, emerald ash borer and hemlock woolly adelgid impacts, and climate change.  White-tail deer effects on the vegetation are also assessed through the use of deer exclosures. He has been conducting research on non-native species impacts on plant communities, particularly garlic mustard and Japanese knotweed.  Previously he worked on Mount St. Helens studying primary succession and in southern Arizona on the endangered species Huachuca water umbel. Titus is on the Board of Directors of the Nature Sanctuary Society of Western New York and the Research Science Consortium at Presque Isle.


SCOTT LEMBITZ

Scott Lembitz is a naturalist and co-director of Earth Spirit Educational Services, an environmental education organization bringing experiential nature programming to Western New York.  Since a young age, Scott has felt most at home in the outdoors.  After earning his BA in Environmental Studies from SUNY Buffalo he made this outdoor home his career, through teaching.  Using the living world as a classroom, Scott brings 20+ years of experience educating others in everything from regional geology and ecology to local history and wilderness skills.  Scott strives to inspire folks to live and understand the natural world in personal ways.  He brings exceptional field skills to our instructor collective, and we are lucky to have his experience shared at the UER training.


MARIS GRUNDY

Maris Grundy is interested in all elements of the botanical world, especially the intersections of human plant-use in urban ecological restoration efforts and sustainability.  Merging these dynamics, Maris’ research interests include shared community and ecological resilience in the face of climate change.  In her role with the Lyceum at Silo City, Maris collaborates with various governmental representatives, private entities, non-profit organizations, educational institutions and local communities to achieve the shared goal of championing a vibrant Western New York.  As an adjunct instructor at SUNY Buffalo, she engages students in experiential sustainability work with local organizations.  Maris earned her BS in Communication from Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) and her MES in Ethnobotany at York University in Toronto.  In her free time Maris enjoys a good plant identification mystery, petting dogs and hiking with her family


Joshua Smith

Joshua Smith is the Director of Ecology for Rigidized Metals Corporation. He serves as the ecological steward of the 20+ acre RMC/Silo City campus, located on the shores of Buffalo River. Josh works to engage the community in guiding the succession of the site from its industrial past toward its highest potential, modeled on the fine work that nature has already done. Josh has 20 years experience in organic agriculture and horticulture. He spent the last 8 years engaging low income communities and city officials in developing vacant urban land into productive community gardens, stormwater infiltration, and myriad other forms of Green Infrastructure. Josh believes in seeing nature at work everywhere.