Sarah Sanford

Sarah Sanford

Skilled communicator and people person with extensive experience in natural resource management and environmental education. Technical skills in GIS and science writing and synthesizing.

Career Interests

land and water conservation, community-based environmental management

Employment Sought:
Permanent Position


Master of Environmental Management, May 2018
Nicholas School of the Environment
Duke University, Durham, NC  
Concentration: Ecosystem Science and Conservation
Relevant coursework: Landscape Ecology, Fundamentals of Geospatial Analysis (ArcGIS 10.4), Applied Data Analysis using R, Geospatial Analysis for Conservation and Land Management (ArcGIS 10.4), Social Science Surveys, Wildlife Surveys, Wetland Ecology and Management, Dendrology
Master’s Project: community engagement, trail design, and forest inventory for the Forest History Society in Durham, NC
Communications Studio Consultant: work with Nicholas School students in one-on-one sessions to improve writing and other communication techniques
Community-Based Environmental Management Certificate
Practicum in Community-Based Environmental Management, Spring 2017: Served as a student partner for Ellerbe Creek Watershed Association; developed and implemented landowner outreach plan and created a land parcel suitability GIS analysis for a local nature preserve.
Bachelor of Science, May 2012
College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, VA
Major in Environmental Science and Ethnoecology (self-designed major)
School for International Training, Spring 2011: semester-long field studies program in Madagascar on biodiversity and natural resource management

Professional Experience

Stanback Internship Program, Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy: Asheville, NC
Created an ArcGIS geodatabase of 30+ years of habitat management data. Created a Story Map illustrating work process for creating the geodatabase and presented it to 55 people. Conducted several weeks of field work ground-truthing hand drawn habitat management maps from the 1980s-1990s. Organized, reprojected, and catalogued hundreds of GIS shapefiles for use in the geodatabase. Conducted habitat management activities, primarily mowing with a weedeater. Led adult volunteer groups in habitat management activities on the Roan Highlands. May 2017 – August 2017
Intern (November 2013 – May 2014), Research Assistant (May 2014 – June 2016), Environmental Stewardship Concepts, LLC: Richmond, VA
Provided technical consultation and assistance to help communities affected by Superfund hazardous waste sites understand the cleanup process and advocate for cleanups. Wrote and edited technical reports for clients and the EPA; collected and reviewed scientific literature. Communicated daily with clients via phone and email, created monthly newsletter to communicate to public, managed company website and Facebook. Project Lead for $30,000 contract creating a watershed risk analysis for the James River to analyze ecological risks from toxic pollution. November 2013 – June 2016
Sage-Grouse Field Technician, Colorado Parks and Wildlife: Northwestern CO
Conducted field surveys for greater sage-grouse on public and private lands in northwestern Colorado. Data used to estimate population densities of sage-grouse on lands at risk of being developed for oil and gas projects. Gained orienteering skills using compass navigation and handheld GPS unit, drove four-wheel drive state trucks on and off road. July 2015 – August 2015
Lakes of the Clouds Hut Naturalist, Appalachian Mountain Club: White Mountains, NH
Led ecology-themed evening programs for audiences of up to 40 people, including children and adults, to communicate the importance of conserving alpine landscapes. Monitored local alpine plants for a study on plant phenology and climate change. Provided lodging, trail advice, and general mountain hospitality to guests of and visitors to the hut. May 2013 – August 2013 
Student Conservation Association/AmeriCorps Intern: Natural Resource Management, Valley Forge National Historical Park: Valley Forge, PA
White-tailed deer lethal reduction program: analyzed and recorded data on deer health and physiological development, removed and examined tissues, collected body measurements. Managed invasive plants via spray application and monitored water quality using a YSI Sonde and HOBO data loggers. Led volunteer sessions for public (adults and children) in invasive plant and invasive crayfish removal, educated public on the impact of invasive species. September 2012 – March 2013
Counselor & Instructor, Nature Camp: Vesuvius, VA, George Washington National Forest
Leavells Award Recipient, 2012: voted by fellow staff to have performed in the top five as counselor and instructor. Taught conservation and natural science classes to groups of 8 to 12 children twice a day, ages 5th-12th grade. Classes taught: Limnology, Human Geography, Ecology. Created syllabi and tests, assigned age-appropriate reports and graded 80 reports per session. Led outdoor activities including day-long hikes, sports games, and explorations of surrounding ecosystem for particular flora and fauna. Assisted with daily cooking, cleaning, and provided basic First Aid for camp of approximately 80 campers. Summer 2010, 2011, 2012

Additional Information

Peter L. deFur, Laura E. Williams, and Sarah D. Sanford, Emerging Contaminants in Virginia, William and Mary Environmental Law & Policy Review. Vol. 40:519 (2016).

P.L. deFur, L. Williams, S. Sanford and M. Cronemeyer. “James River Watershed Risk Analysis.” July 2015. Environmental Stewardship Concepts, LLC for the James River Association.

•    Technical Skills: ArcGIS 10.5, R statistical software, Qualtrics survey software, Trimble, Garmin handheld GPS units, HOBO data loggers, YSI water quality monitoring equipment
•    Volunteer Roles:  Colonial National Historical Park (March-May 2013): led Master Naturalist volunteer sessions and conducted invasive plant management
•    Language: conversational French
•    Conferences: ComSciCon Triangle, March 2017 (science communication workshop for graduate students); Land Trust Alliance Rally, October 2017


community-based management
stakeholder engagement
volunteer management

Graduation Date

May 2018

Additional Resources



Preferred Location


Preferred Sector

Federal Government
Non-profit / NGO
State / Local Government