Advisory Board

Steve John
Agricultural Watershed Institute
AWI phone: (217) 877-5640

Steve John is the co-founder and executive director of the Agricultural Watershed Institute, a nonprofit research and educational organization based in Decatur, Illinois. AWI’s mission is to conduct research and educational programs on practices and policies to improve water quality, maintain or restore ecosystem health, and conserve and manage land and water resources in agricultural watersheds. A major focus of AWI’s work is on multifunctional cropping systems that include perennial and cover crops as well as annual row crops. Prior to AWI’s formation in 2003, Mr. John was an environmental planning consultant specializing in watershed management, decentralized wastewater systems, and the links between land use and water quality. From 1987 to 1995, he served on the Decatur City Council where he first became involved in watershed approaches to reduce nonpoint source pollution in Lake Decatur. As a council member, he helped to form the Lake Decatur Watershed Committee and served as co-chairman. He serves on the steering committees of the Green Land Blue Waters Consortium and the Illinois Biomass Working Group. He has a B.A. in Sociology from the University of Notre Dame.

James R. Miller
(217) 244-3896

James Miller is a Professor of Landscape Ecology and Wildlife Biology in NRES whose work explores human land use and conservation of biodiversity.  He studies how native species are affected by human activities, the habitat requirements of these species, and ways to accommodate their requirements in landscapes dominated by people.  His work is conducted across a wide range of ecological contexts including forested and agricultural landscapes, and suburban and urban environments.   He collaborates with social and natural scientists at several universities, as well as land managers in the private and public sectors to address this crucial issue.

Dr. Miller came to NRES in 2008 from a faculty position at Iowa State University. He received his Ph.D. in Ecology and a Master’s of Science and B.S. in Fishery and Wildlife Biology from Colorado State University.  He currently serves as NRES Graduate Student Coordinator and maintains and active teaching and research program.

Bryan Endres
(217) 333-1828

Bryan Endres is a Professor of Food and Agricultural Law, August 2016-Present College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences.  Dr. Endres studies the impact of law throughout food and bio-products supply chains and develops solutions to improve regulatory outcomes. He explores a range of issues, including legal structures to support farms engaged in direct marketing, small farm regulatory compliance, liability issues relating to use of genetically engineered seed, and developing cooperative legal structures to better manage invasive plants.  He teaches courses on food law, bioenergy, biotechnology, and sustainability.  His outreach activities include contributions to Direct Farm Business, which provides legal advice to address the unique legal concerns of Community Supported Agriculture (“CSA”) farms. Check out a 2014 presentation to iSEE.

Dr. Endres received his J.D. at the University of Illinois, an M.A. from Bowie State university and his B.S. at the U.S. Military Academy.

Leslie Duram
(618) 453-6084

Leslie Duram is a Professor of Geography at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale and Director of the Environmental Studies Program since 2012. She was a Fulbright Scholar to the National University of Ireland at Galway. An accomplished researcher, she’s explored organic farming systems and environmental sustainability in her academic and professional life. With more than 40 journal articles and peer-reviewed publications to her credit, her academic range encompasses local food, alternative agriculture, environmental education, sustainability, water quality, and grassroots participation in environmental management. A frequent lecturer, writer, and speaker, Duram shares her commitment to sustainable food systems development with students, researchers and farmers across the planet. She is the author of Good Growing: Why Organic Farming Works (2005) and editor books on sustainability: America Goes Green: An Encyclopedia of Eco-Friendly Culture in the United States (2013),  Encyclopedia of Organic, Sustainable and Local Food (2010) and Environmental Geography: People and the Environment (2018).

She received her Ph.D. in Geography from University of Colorado, her MA in Geography from Kansas State University and B.A. in International Studies from Wichita State University.

Carmen Ugarte

Dr. Ugarte’s research focuses on understanding the effects of soil management practices on soil quality and function. She is especially interested in studying the dynamics of soil food webs and their influence on soil ecosystem services such as nutrient cycling, carbon storage, and the regulation of population densities of deleterious soil organisms. Our ability to gain insight on these relationships and processes is fundamental to improving soil management and ensuring sustainability of our natural resources. Her work includes basic and applied research at different scales (e.g., experimental and replicated trials, on-farm research) at the regional and national levels in agronomic and natural systems.