Elizabeth Mejicano

Wilderness Research Fellow



B.S., Biological Aspects of Conservation; Spanish; Latin American, Caribbean, and Iberian Studies, 2011 – University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI. 


For the last seven years, Elizabeth has worked in wilderness positions with the Forest Service (Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness; Black Elk Wilderness; Mount Massive Wilderness), Bureau of Land Management (St. George Field Office), and Fish and Wildlife Service (Mount Massive Wilderness; Passage Key Wilderness). Since joining the Aldo Leopold Wilderness Research Institute in 2015, her work has primarily focused on interagency wilderness character monitoring. In 2016 Elizabeth started a graduate program in Natural Resources Science and Management at the University of Minnesota where she is evaluating stewardship effectiveness in collaboration with staff at the Northern Research Station. 


Forest Service Wilderness Character Monitoring Technical Guide 

The Wilderness Character Monitoring Technical Guide will provide a tested and refined methodology for monitoring trends in wilderness character based on lessons learned from 15 years of experience developing and implementing wilderness character monitoring across the National Wilderness Preservation SystemThis document will update and replace the Technical Guide for Monitoring Selected Conditions Related to Wilderness Character (Landres et al. 2009), and will provide direction for the Forest Service to implement a nationally consistent approach to wilderness character monitoring for the 445 wildernesses administered by the agency.  

Interagency Wilderness Character Monitoring Database 

The Wilderness Character Monitoring Database is an online, interagency resource for data entry, data storage, data analysis, and reporting on trend in wilderness character for every wilderness in the National Wilderness Preservation System. As an online resource, the database is relatively new; it was beta-tested in 2014 by the interagency wilderness fellows who provided feedback and suggestions for its improvement. The process of incorporating that feedback and updating the database began in 2015 and continues into 2016. The database is now fully functional for FWS and NPS users and is currently being updated with the new FS and BLM protocols.   

Interagency Wilderness Fellows Program 

The Interagency Wilderness Fellows Program was developed in 2010 to establish baseline assessments of wilderness character for wilderness areas across the country. Young professionals are hired as Wilderness Fellows and work closely with local staff to select measures, establish protocols for subsequent monitoring, and compile baseline data. From 2010 to 2015, 44 Wilderness Fellows completed baseline assessments for 112 FWS, NPS, and FS wilderness areas (including 89 designated wildernesses and 23 not-yet-designated areas). The Wilderness Fellows Program is ongoing, with 17 Fellows hired in 2016 to work at FS, FWS, and NPS wilderness areas.