Scientific Staff

Catherine Bechtoldt, MS

Science and Conservation Program Manager

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Cathy supports leadership in developing strategies and processes to enhance the Arboretum’s science and conservation programs and communicate them effectively to key audiences.

Cathy works closely with the Vice President of Science and Conservation and the Director of the Center for Tree Science to track accomplishments and metrics toward progress of the Arboretum’s strategic pursuits. She led the development of the Gateway to Tree Science, which showcases the range of tree science research conducted at the Arboretum and communicates action Arboretum audiences can take to care for and protect trees.

Cathy helps manage the Integrated Mentorship Program at the Arboretum, to inspire new leaders in tree science. She has a strong research background in avian habitat use, tropical ecology, and the influence of management strategies on wildlife populations, and has worked around the world with diverse research organizations. Her experiences give her unique insight into the mechanisms behind how ecological research is conducted and how institutions can work to facilitate research and training.

Cathy helped develop the foundational strategies for several key Arboretum conservation programs, including the Center for Tree Science, the Chicago Region Trees Initiative, and the Global Tree Conservation Program. She works with departments across the Arboretum to manage the Gateway to Tree Science exhibit and managed the recent project to modernize and expand the capacity of the genetics laboratory and Herbarium at the Arboretum.

Cathy has conducted ecological research in ecosystems around the world, including in tropical forests in Brazil, Cameroon, Hawaii, and Australia; southwestern deserts and mountains; coastal islands; and longleaf pine savannas. She has funded and led expeditions to collect data in remote locations and worked in multiple languages.


MS, Biological Sciences

Southeastern Louisiana University
Hammond, LA

BA, Environmental, Population, and Organismic Biology

University of Colorado
Boulder, CO