Scientists & Staff

Barbara McGuinness

Barbara McGuinness

Forester/Environmental Literacy Coordinator
335 National Forge Road
Irvine, PA, 16329-0267
Phone: 814-563-1059

Contact Barbara McGuinness

Current Research

As the Environmental Literacy Coordinator for the Northern Research Station, my focus is on working with scientists, staff, educators, and educational organizations to integrate research results into educational materials and programs. Much of this work is accomplished through partnerships with other federal and state agencies, and public and private organizations.

Research Interests

One of my greatest interests is working across agency and organizational boundaries to provide high quality science education. Since 2012, we've worked internally with Region 9, State and Private Forestry, and the Washington Office Conservation Education staff to better coordiate our efforts across the 20-state region that we serve. These efforts allow us to provide better service to our partners and expose us to a much broader variety of environmental education programs and partners. I am also particularly interested in developing long-term relationships with schools and school districts local to our Research Labs, not just to share information, but also to expose students to green careers in their own communities.

Why This Research is Important

Environmental literacy matters because people's attitudes and values about nature affect the daily decisions they make with regards to conservation and sustainability. Nationwide, efforts like the Children and Nature Network and No Child Left Inside® are reaching out to students, educators, families and communities to reconnect people to the environment in which they live. Research's participation is critical because sound, reliable scientific information is key to making well-informed choices. Our work can also support redesigned academic standards, such as the Next Generation Science Standards, which focus on a developmental progression of core ideas (K-12) and working both within and across disciplines in science and engineering.


  • University of South Florida, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the Workplace Certificate Diversity, equity, and inclusion, 2021
  • The Pennsylvania State University, M.S. Ecology, Conservation Biology minor My thesis focused on consensus building for biodiversity conservation on state lands., 1994
  • SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, B.S. Dual Major Environmental & Forest Biology and Natural Resource Management Forestry, wildlife biology, and related subjects, 1991

Professional Experience

  • Forester/Environmental Literacy Coordinator, USDA Forest Service, Northern Research Station 2005 - Current
  • Natural Resource Manager Detail (3 months), USDA Forest Service, Allegheny National Forest 2021 - 2021
  • Natural Resource Manager/Volunteer Coordinator Detail (7 months), USDA Forest Service, WO RHVR Volunteers and Service 2020 - 2020
  • Writer/Editor, USDA Forest Service, Northern Research Station 2000 - 2005
  • Technology Transfer Specialist, The Research Foundation at SUNY 1994 - 1999

Awards & Recognition

  • Connie G. Myers Award for Leadership in Wilderness Education, 2022 Group award for Urban Connections Wilderness Youth Engagement Team
  • USDA Certificate of Merit for Extraordinary Efforts in Partnerships, 2018
  • Inspiring Women Award, Outstanding Outreach/Volunteerism/Partnership, 2017
  • Chief's Award, Volunteerism and Service, 2016 Group award for the national Every Kid in a Park team
  • Rise to the Future Collaborative/Integrated Aquatic Stewardship Award, 2013 Group award for the Allegheny Watershed Improvement Needs (WINS) Coalition
  • Research nominee, Gifford Pinchot Excellence in Interpretation and Environmental Education Award, 2012

Featured Publications & Products

National Research Highlights

Baltimore Field Station's Quin Holifield talks to students about soils on the Gwynns Falls Trail. Mary Hardcastle, Baltimore City Department of Recreation and Parks.

Every Kid in a Park is Urban, Too

Year: 2016

President Obama’s Every Kid in a Park initiative strives to get every fourth-grader (and his or her family) out on to public lands and waters to connect to nature, play, and learn. The Forest Service’s Northern Research Station teamed up with Northeastern Area State and Private Forestry and Region 9 of the National Forest System to provide a coordinated approach to Every Kid in a Park in the eastern and midwestern states, including events in 10 of our largest urban centers.

Threebe in Baltimore, looking regal after being fitted with his transmitter. The harnesses expand as the bird grows, and the transmitters are very lightweight (measured in 10’s of grams). Harriet Van Kleeck.

1,000 Herons

Year: 2016

School becomes a little more interesting when students are working with real-life herons and egrets and integrating data about birds into their curriculum. Real-time tracking data is available for integration into diverse curricular areas, including science, math, English, arts, and social studies.

Students get outdoor instruction as part of the Go Green Club. Nikka Labella, Bradford Area School District

Go Green Club Introduces Students to the Forest

Year: 2014

The Forest Service's Northern Research Station and Allegheny National Forest are key partners in establishing the "Go Green Club," an after-school science club that takes students in grades 5-12 outside for a weekly environmental education program. Forest Service personnel contributed to programming, providing outdoor presentations and activities on tree species identification, forest health and diversity, wildlife, forest recreation, sustainable management, winter safety and survival, wildflowers, and careers in natural resources.

Cover image for Natural Inquirer issue

Forest Service Research on Morel Mushrooms Featured in Natural Inquirer

Year: 2014

The Natural Inquirer's monograph series for middle school students and educators showcased a Forest Service researcher's work on local knowledge of morel mushroom types, habitat, and disturbance.

Eighteeen educators, administrators and community members participated in Wisconsin's first replication of Forest For Every Classroom. Barbara McGuinness, Forest Service

Forest For Every Classroom Engages Students in Environmental Topics

Year: 2012

Building a network for place-based environmental education in Wisconsin

Educators can now use Hubbard Brooks long-term data sets to teach inquiry in their classrooms. J. Wilson, Hubbard Brook Research Foundation

Hubbard Brook Environmental Literacy Program

Year: 2011

One of the Northern Research Station's primary partnerships supporting environmental literacy is with the Hubbard Brook Research Foundation, which has the mission of promoting understanding and stewardship of ecosystems through scientific research, long-term monitoring and education.

Dr. Mark Twery of the NRS describing the structure of a dandelion stem to participants in the Moving Field Guide workshop at Patterson Park in Baltimore. Steward Pickett, Baltimore Ecosystem Study LTER, Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies

Moving Field Guides: Learning ecology through dance

Year: 2011

Children in Baltimore, MD, are working with Forest Service researchers and the Dance Exchange, a professional dance company, to turn their observations into movements as they learn about the environment. The result, a Moving Field Guide, is a dance representing natural events, such as bark sloughing off a tree and ducks migrating, that links students to their local environments in personal and enduring ways.

Last modified: Thursday, December 15, 2022