Scientific Staff

Michelle N. Catania, MS

Research Coordinator, Gateway to Tree Science

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Michelle supports the Arboretum’s mission by promoting healthy, long-lived urban trees. She is devoted to disseminating peer-reviewed scientific research aimed at improving tree and soil health in urban environments.

Michelle’s initial years at the Arboretum were spent in Bryant Scharenbroch’s lab, studying urban street trees growing in less than optimal conditions. Street trees have to overcome many obstacles, and studying them helped Michelle develop models aimed at guiding the tree care industry to improve tree selection and site conditions to advance urban tree health.

Michelle’s current research, as part of Meghan Midgley’s lab, focuses on biogeochemical cycling in urban natural areas. She is interested in studying the impacts of anthropogenic changes on urban forests and providing data to guide the tree care industry to promote healthy, long-lived street trees.

Michelle delivers scientific research aimed at inspiring the green industry to effectively integrate these science-based solutions into their work routines. She also manages data collection and contributes to future installations for the Arboretum’s Gateway to Tree Science.

Michelle is frequently called upon by the green industry for her expertise in urban environmental issues. While earning her degrees from Northern Illinois Univerity, she worked seasonally for the landscape supply industry. After joining the Arboretum’s soil science lab in 2009, she built upon her education and work experience to cultivate a relationship with the green industry.

Michelle has co-published several journal articles geared toward improving urban soil conditions to promote healthy urban trees. Over the last several years, she has become a recognized leader in repackaging science and delivering it to the green industry through lectures, conference speaking engagements, and hands-on workshops. She is committed to helping urban trees succeed through educational outreach programs.

Education

MS, Geography

Northern Illinois University
DeKalb, IL

BS, Biological Sciences

Northern Illinois University
DeKalb, IL

Lecturer, Associated Colleges of Chicago Area (ACCA) program