Jesse Lewis, M.S.


Resident Lecturer in Land Use, Natural Resources, and Conservation


MS in Conservation Biology
University of Michigan (Michigan, USA)

Graduate Certificate in Latin American & Caribbean Studies
University of Michigan (Michigan, USA)

BA in Interdisciplinary Studies (with honors)
Virginia Tech (Virginia, USA)


SFS 3050 Land Use, Natural Resources, and Conservation
(The School for Field Studies)

SFS 4910 Directed Research
(The School for Field Studies)

SFS 3580 Eastern Himalayan Forests and Rural Livelihoods
(The School for Field Studies)

Ecology & Evolution
(Operation Wallacea, Galapagos Islands)

Community & Conservation
(Where There Be Dragons, Indonesia)

Tropical Ecology & Conservation
(Wildlands Studies, Australia)

Conservation Biology, Community-Based Conservation, Traditional Ecological Knowledge
(Wild Rockies Field Institute, US & Canada)

Conservation Biology, Field Research Methods, Natural History & Creative Writing
(Round River Conservation Studies, Ecuador)

Field Ecology
(University of Michigan Biological Station)

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Faculty Profile

I grew up in Virginia, spending my summers exploring the forests of the Blue Ridge Mountains and marshy isles of the Chesapeake Bay. When I was a teenager I had the opportunity to study abroad in New Zealand, and later in South Africa. The experiences whet my appetite for exploration, and inspired me to do my bit to protect these wild places teeming with life.

I went on to study biology and after stints working as a naturalist and field researcher I knew I wanted to be a conservation biologist. My graduate research focused on community-based conservation in the coffee lands of eastern Jamaica. The research examined community participation in conservation management by assessing the impacts of land use on biodiversity in the buffer forests surrounding the Blue & John Crow Mountains National Park. Working with local farmers and a variety of stakeholders the recommendations from the study were incorporated into the countries park management plan.

Since then my interests have expanded from the natural sciences into the many social dimensions of biodiversity conservation. In recent years I’ve really fallen in love with teaching and have crafted a career as an experiential educator for field studies organizations worldwide. Prior to joining SFS I’ve led programs for Where There Be Dragons in Indonesia, Round River Conservation Studies in highland Ecuador, the Wild Rockies Field Institute in the Northern Rockies and many more. I’ve also worked in the communications world, where for almost two years I served as the education coordinator and science writer for Rainforest Trust, a conservation nonprofit based in Washington D.C. So far my conservation work and passion for field study have taken me to over 40 countries on 6 continents around the world.

When not teaching, I enjoy storytelling and frequently moonlight as a photographer and writer for various popular science and travel publications. I love the immersive nature and transformative potential of study abroad education and am thrilled to be part of the SFS program in Bhutan.

Areas of Expertise

  • Biodiversity
  • Conservation biology
  • Ecology & evolution
  • Environmental education
  • Science communication