Abigail Derby Lewis
Chicago Region Senior Program Manager
Keller Science Action Center
I began my professional career as a biological anthropologist studying primate behavior and comparative ecology. This path allowed me to live and work in some of the most biodiverse and threatened regions in the world, and fostered a profound and personal interest to become involved in applied research initiatives that contribute to sustainable management and environmental policy in a meaningful way. The transition to working on climate change impacts to biodiversity in the Chicago Wilderness region was a natural progression that grew from my graduate work on human-wildlife interactions. A main goal of my current work is to help build and renew positive relationships between people and the environment as sustainable partnerships that communities are empowered to create and continue.
Recent Blog Posts
Ph.D. Stony Brook University, New York, Biological Anthropology, Ecology
M.S. Stony Brook University, New York, Biological Anthropology
B.A. University of Wisconsin, Madison, Anthropology, Environmental Studies
Professional: Past and present climate change; Historical and current interactions between humans and the environment; Climate change impacts to biodiversity; Landscape and ecosystem-based approaches to mitigation and adaptation; Comparative ecology; Climate science education.
Personal: Being outdoors in any capacity (hiking, biking, kayaking, camping); Gardening and native landscaping; Supporting the local live music scene; Creative cooking; Travel, travel, travel.
Selected recent publications:
Hirsch, J. Derby Lewis, A. Lugalia-Hollen, R., Kim,L.S., Sommers, S. and Winter, A. (submitted) Our climate, our change: using visual and interactive practices to expand participation and leadership in climate action. In: (Eds. P.C. Godfrey, R. Hallum-Montes, S. Joshi and M.P. Bhandari) New Perspectives on Race, Class, Gender, and Global Climate Change.
Derby Lewis, A., Moseley, R.K., Hall, K.R., and Hellmann, J.J. (2015) Conservation of urban biodiversity under climate change: climate-smart management for Chicago green spaces. In: (Ed. W. F. Leal) Handbook of Climate Change Adaptation. Springer.
Derby Lewis, A., Fahey, R., Scott, L., Kerber, A., Miesbauer, J. and Darling, L. (2015) Adapting urban forests to a changing climate. In: (Eds. C. Swanston and M. Janowiak) Forest Adaptation Resources: Climate Change Tools and Approaches for Land Managers. Northern Institute for Applied Climate Science, General Technical Report, NRS.
Larsen, A., Derby Lewis, A, Lyandres, O. Chen, T., Frank, K. (2014) Developing a Community of Climate-Informed Conservation Practitioners to Protect a Priority Coastal Landscape in Illinois and Wisconsin. Great Lakes Integrated Science and Assessments, Final Report.
Herman, B., Packard, S., Pollack, C., Houseal, G., Sinn, S., O’Leary, C., Fant, J., Derby Lewis, A., Wagenius, S., Gustafson, D., Hufford,K., Allison, B., Shaw, K., Haines, S. and Daniels, C. (2014) Decisions, decisions, how to source plant material for native plant restoration projects. Ecological Rest. 32(3): 236-238.
Derby Lewis, A., Hall, K.R., Hellmann, J.J. 2012. Advancing Adaptation in the City of Chicago: Climate Considerations for Management of Natural Areas. https://adapt.nd.edu/resources/1019
Conservation Ecologist, Keller Science Action Center, Division of Science and Education, The Field Museum, March 2010-present
Contractor, Department of Environment, Culture and Conservation, The Field Museum, August 2009-February 2010
Editor of Chicago Wilderness Climate Change Newsletter, 2010-present
Field Course Instructor, Primate Behavioral Ecology and Conservation, Ometepe Biological Station, Nicaragua, May-June 2009
Undergrad Research Adviser, Student Summer Research Program, Benedictine University, Lisle, IL, 2009
Adjunct Professor, Benedictine University, Lisle, IL Biological Science Department, 2008-2009
Adjunct Professor, St. Francis University, Joliet, IL Biology Department, 2009
Adjunct Professor, Kendall College, Environmental Sciences, Chicago, IL, 2008-2009
Adjunct Professor, Northeastern Illinois University, Chicago, IL June-August 2006
Project leader and student advisor: School for International Training Ecuador, Comparative Ecology and Conservation course, 2005
Project leader: Lemur Survey of Marojejy National Park, Madagascar
Researcher, University of Hamburg Plant Nutritional Analysis Lab, Germany, 2006
Researcher, New York Consortium for Evolutionary Anthropology Genetics Lab, 2006
Researcher, Yasuní National Park, Ecuador. Dissertation title: How ecology and demography affect primate folivore biomass in Yasuní National Park, Ecuador, 2003-2005
Director, Mondika Research Site, Central African Republic, Africa, 2002
Researcher, Primate population census, Phu Khieo Wildlife Sanctuary Thailand, Asia, 2001
Researcher, Jozani-Pete Forest, Zanzibar, Africa, 1997.
- Urban tree canopy climate vulnerability assessment in the Chicago Wilderness Region
- Implementation of a coastal vulnerability assessment, adaptation strategies, and adaptive risk management metrics for coastal ravines in Illinois and Wisconsin
- Integration of climate change and green infrastructure in urban areas
- Climate Considerations Guidebook for urban resource managers
- Chicago Community Climate Action Toolkit
- Climate Change and Biodiversity Adaptation: Update to the Chicago Wilderness Biodiversity Recovery Plan
- American Society of Adaptation Professionals
- Chicago Wilderness Alliance Climate Committee (Co-Chair)
- Collaboratory for Climate Adaptation Advisory Board, University of Notre Dame
- Field Museum Women in Science Steering Committee
- Field Museum Parents in the Workplace Working Group (Co-Chair)
- Field Museum Science and Education Advisory Group (Chair)
- Glenview Environmental Review Committee
- Illinois Nature Preserves Commissioner
- Illinois and Indiana Sea Grant Advisory Committee
- Illinois Wildlife Action Team Board
- Scientists Concerned for Yasuní National Park Committee
- Wisconsin Initiative on Climate Change Impacts Science Advisory Board