Gregory Kearns
Upper Marlboro, Maryland

Gregory Kearns is a Naturalist for the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission. For over 34 years he has worked for the Patuxent River Park and Jug Bay Natural Area where he has made a recognized impact in habitat restoration and avian research. Beginning in the 1980s, he spearheaded an intensive study of the Sora rail, a migratory marsh bird, and connected the decline of the Sora to the loss of the Wild Rice and its link to the exponential population growth of resident Canada Geese that decimated the rice. In 2000, he launched a restoration project in Jug Bay which led to the full recovery of Wild Rice wetlands in the area and has benefitted the Sora as well as many other species. Apart from this, he has worked tirelessly as an educator, incorporating citizen science into his programs and advocating wetland conservation through presentations at schools, senior centers, and environmental organizations throughout the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.