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Scientists & Staff

Collecting weather station data in southeast Chicago

Cherie LeBlanc Fisher

Social Scientist
People and Their Environments: Social Science Supporting Natural Resource Management and Policy
1033 University Place, Suite 360
Evanston, Illinois 60201-3172
Phone: 847-866-9311 x14

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Current Research

I have diverse interests and this is reflected in the range of projects that I work on. For the Chicago region STEW-MAP (Stewardship Mapping and Assessment Project,, I am analyzing survey data from over 400 environmental stewardship groups that do ecological monitoring, environmental education, and conservation and restoration work. This includes information about how the groups are structured, where they work, what they do, and how they network with each other. In 2014, along with other members of the research team, I will be talking with environmental stewardship leaders from across the region about how we can make the project maps and other data more useful to them.

I am actively involved in the northwest Indiana Urban Waters partnership (, an alliance of federal, state, and local government agencies, nonprofits, and other stakeholders that work together to identify priorities and projects for local waterways. Through Urban Waters, I have been helping the National Park Service conduct an environmental assessment of the Little Calumet River within the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore park. I also work with the northwest Indiana Septic System Awareness Work Group to develop strategies for encouraging homeowners to properly maintain their septic systems in order to protect local waterways from contamination.

I provide research support to other Forest Service social scientists as needed, including helping with study design, paperwork, data analysis, and writing up research summaries for our website. I serve in an advisory capacity for the Regional Trees Initiative (Tree Planting and Stewardship Team) and the Chicago Wilderness Green Infrastructure Vision Task Force.

Research Interests

I am fascinated by the complex relationship between urban people and urban nature (including trees). I also have longstanding interests in urban ecology (how natural systems function in urban and suburban areas) and green infrastructure (using trees and other plants strategically to help with stormwater management, air pollution removal, soil erosion control, etc.).

Why This Research is Important

Natural areas in cities may not qualify as perfect, pristine Nature but trees and small patches of park or prairie or water can be enormously important to urban people and urban wildlife. This is especially true in places like the Calumet region of southeast Chicago and northwest Indiana where industry has historically dominated the landscape. I am pleased to be able to contribute to research that deepens our understanding of how people use urban parks and natural areas and how urban green spaces contribute to our health and well-being.


  • Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, M.E.M. (Master Of Environmental Management) Urban Ecology concentration,
  • Mount Holyoke College, B.A. Politics & Women's Studies,

Featured Publications & Products

Publications & Products

National Research Highlights

Street-Level Views of Climate Change (2011)
Forest Service researchers and partners interviewed residents of two Chicago neighborhoods about their awareness of climate change and their own climate-friendly behaviors. They found that residents have varying levels of knowledge about climate change and identified many opportunities to simultaneously meet neighborhood goals and mitigate the impacts of climate change. The findings will help the City of Chicago shape its Climate Action Plan outreach to residents and the lessons learned are applicable in other places as well.

Last updated on : 24-Aug-2016