Dr. Jim Graves joined the faculty at Green Mountain College in fall 1996 when the first freshman class of Environmental Studies majors arrived. Following the establishment of Environmental Studies at Green Mountain, the science faculty launched the Biology major in 1999. Jim has enjoyed the challenges and rewards of building these programs with other faculty, and the pleasure of seeing the first graduates enter careers and graduate schools. He has focused on designing rigorous courses in general biology, ecology, and botany, with field-oriented labs. Working with other faculty and students, he has built the college’s inventory of field equipment, reorganized equipment storage, improved lab computing facilities, established a live plant collection, and expanded the college herbarium. Jim’s students participate in research and ecological applications through work experience, independent undergraduate research, self-designed research projects, and long-term field studies required as part of a lab course.Campus lands represent one of the college’s finest resources for field studies and other college programs. Jim works with students to inventory and map natural resources on campus, and plan appropriate land uses. Based on work by his Undergraduate Research Assistants, his Forest Ecology and Management class proposed and implemented a management plan for Garlic Mustard, an invasive species on campus. Simultaneously, students helped draft an invasive species policy for campus. As chair of the Land Use Committee on campus, Jim led efforts to integrate sound conservation biology with campus policy and planning through these student initiatives. The college adopted its Invasive Species Policy, and Natural Areas Policy in 2006, and today a student Natural Areas Crew monitors invasions and control efforts, writes plans, manages species, and plans restorations. On the landscaped portions of campus, Jim’s students in Botany complement natural areas management with Native Species Gardens to introduce students and visitors to the local flora and educate them about threats to natural ecosystems.
Jim grew up in East Tennessee, and from an early age took to the woods and natural history in the species-rich forests near home. Among other important events in his youth, Jim’s decision to study plant ecology was inspired by a Field Biology trip in college to the diverse environments of the American Southwest, by two summers immersed in the biological diversity of the Great Smoky Mountains while working at a hiking lodge on Mount LeConte, and by his first job as a field technician at Uplands Research Lab in the Smokies, assisting a study of the origins and history of grassy balds. He completed his B.S. in Biology at Rhodes College, and developed his interest in plant-soil relations during his Master’s thesis study of differences in forest floor vegetation over marble and schist parent rock at the University of Georgia (with Carl Monk). For his dissertation at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (with Robert Peet and Peter White), Jim tested new theory to predict the relative abundance of herbaceous and woody plants in forest floors.
At Green Mountain College, Jim’s basic research focus in plant ecology remains the influence of soil conditions on plant distribution. Recently, his applied interests have led him to study factors that alter plant succession in Riparian and Clay Plain soils, to test the efficacy of restoration planting methods, to study the response of vegetation to ice storm damage, and to investigate ecological applications in campus land management. His other interests are broad, and include the biochemistry of secondary plant compounds, effects of disturbance and species invasions on nutrient cycling, the coevolution of fruits and avian frugivores, relationships between plant morphology and the environment, plant geography, the influence of land use patterns on ecosystem processes, plant propagation, and understory restoration in forest communities.
Back to top
1995 Ph.D. University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, Biology
1985 M.L.S. University of Illinois, Urbana, Library Science
1979 M.S. University of Georgia, Botany
1977 B.S. Rhodes College, Biology
Teaching and Mentoring
Undergraduate courses taught in the general education program at Green Mountain College
Images of Nature, ELA 1000
Environmental Science, ELA 1013
Dimensions of Nature, ELA 2000
Undergraduate courses taught in biology and environmental studies at the college
Biology II: the Structure of Life, BIO 1022
Local Flora, BIO 1110/ELA 1110
Ecology, BIO 2025
Independent Study in Environmental Studies, ENV 2090
Botany, BIO 3013
Conservation Biology, BIO 3021
Forest Ecology and Management, BIO 3025
Biology Field Trip, BIO 3072
Environmental Studies Internship, ENV 4090
Undergraduate research supervised
Adorisio, Adam. Spring 2005. Deane Nature Preserve: Wildlife Inventory Assessment. Independent Study.
Adorisio, Adam. Fall 2006. Endless Brook Preserve Management Plan. Senior Thesis for the Progressive Program.
Betts, Josh. Spring 1997. Environmental consciousness is a guiding factor in golf course design and management today. Thesis for the B.A. in Liberal Studies.
Bonney, Shannon. Fall 2006, Spring 2007, Summer 2007. Literature reviews on invasive species on campus, management plan writing. Natural Areas Crew.
Bullard, Jennifer. Fall 1997. A floristic comparison of five habitats in the vicinity of Poultney, Vermont. Independent Study.
Chandler, Lily. Fall 2001. Invasive exotic species survey. Undergraduate Research Assistantship.
Dritschilo, Christina. Fall 1999. Trees of the Poultney River Environs. Independent Study.
Flaherty, Jed. Fall 1998. Flora of Newport Rhode Island. Independent Study.
Fowler, Sheila. Spring 2002-Spring 2003. Native woody plants of Vermont. Undergraduate Research Assistantship.
George, Adam. Spring 2005. Deane Nature Preserve: Forest Inventory. I ndependent Study.
Nugent, Megan. Fall 2006. Morphology and Ecology of Pteridophytes at Deane Nature Preserve. Independent Study.
Nugent, Megan. Summer 2007. Pteridophyte Distribution and Conservation. Independent Study.
Rodriquez, Jessyloo. Fall 2006. Revitalizing Rare Native Medicinals. Independent Study.
Schultz, Liz. Fall 2000, Spring 2001. Plant Inventory of Green Mountain College Campus. Undergraduate Research Assistantship.
Wetherall, Pearl. Fall 2004 – Fall 2006. Invasive species mapping, Garlic Mustard review and management plan. Undergraduate Research Assistantship.
Undergraduate work study, service learning, and mentoring projects supervised
Bakelaar, Josh. Fall 2002 – Spring 2004. Herbarium database and native plant gardens management, vegetation analysis for the Poultney River Project.
Blodgett, Elaine. Summer 2007. Invasive species management. Natural Areas Crew.
Bonney, Shannon. Fall 2006, Spring 2007, Summer 2007. Invasive species management. Natural Areas Crew.
Bullock, Carl. Spring 2001. Data entry for the herbarium database, herbarium specimen preparation, assistance with the plant inventory of campus and with establishment of a native woody plant nursery on campus.
Case, Ashley. Summer 2006. Invasive species management. Natural Areas Crew.
Condino, Jen. Fall 1996. Database of Vermont native woody plant species.
Fisher, Katie. Fall 1998. Herbarium specimen preparation.
Gaser, Megan. Fall 1997. Data entry for the herbarium database.
Harrison, Chris. Spring and Fall 2000. Weekly inventory of birds by cover type on campus, bluebird box maintenance, stockroom reorganization, maintenance of the live plant collection, herbarium management, plant identification, garden maintenance.
Kane, Matt. Fall 2004, Spring 2004. Invasive species mapping project. Herbarium and native plant gardens management.
Karam, Rick. Fall 1999, Spring 2000. Establishment of a buffer zone by the Poultney River, preparation of a woody plant propagation bed, garden maintenance, removal of exotic honeysuckle, preparation of sugar maple stem cross-section for display.
Naughton, Andrea. Spring and Fall 1998, Spring and Fall 1999. Herbarium specimen preparation, maintenance of campus gardens.
Nugent, Megan. Summer 2006. Invasive species management. Natural Areas Crew.
Roma, Elizabeth. Summer 2007. Invasive species management. Natural Areas Crew.
Shannon, Matthew. Fall 2005 – Spring 2006, Spring 2007. Specimen preparation and data entry for complete backlog of student collections (1996-2006) for the college herbarium.
Sheltmire, Elisebeth. Fall 1996 – Spring 1998. Herbarium specimen preparation, preparation of the herbarium database, preparation of map displays.
Spitze, Mike. Fall 1996 – Spring 1998. Design and construction of cold frames for season extension, preparation of the herbarium database, preparation of map displays.
Tonkin, Charles. Fall 2001 – Spring 2002. Buffer zone markers, native species garden installation and management.
Valliere, Justin. Summer 2006, Summer 2007. Invasive species management. Natural Areas Crew.
Wassell, Kelly. Fall 2006. Herbarium database management.
Publications and Presentations
Selected publications and professional reports
Bonney, Shannon, and James H. Graves. 2007. Management plan for invasive species at Green Mountain College: Japanese Knotweed. Management plan for Green Mountain College.
Wetherall, Pearl, Shannon Bonney, and James H. Graves. 2007. Management plan for invasive species at Green Mountain College: Garlic Mustard. Management plan for Green Mountain College.
Graves, James H., Robert K. Peet, and Peter S. White. 2006. The influence of carbon – nutrient balance on herb and woody plant abundance in temperate forest understories. Journal of Vegetation Science 17:217-226.
Graves, James H. 2004. Ex Situ conservation on the college campus. Public Garden 19(3):32-34.
Lapin, Marc, Kathleen Doyle, Jim Graves, and Mary Droege. 2004. Clayplain and floodplain forest restoration plan, Hubbardton River and Lower Poultney River Watershed, Vermont and New York. Report for Southern Lake Champlain Valley office of The Nature Conservancy, West Haven, Vermont.
Graves, James H. 2002. Vegetation Response to the 1998 Ice Storm on Shaw Mountain, Town of Benson, Rutland County, Vermont: Five-year trends in the status of ice-damaged canopy and understory trees, richness and relative abundance of herb layer species, response of woody advance regeneration, and establishment of tree seedlings. Report to the Vermont Nature Conservancy, with data analysis.
Graves, James H. August 2001. Clayplain forests on the middle Hubbardton River: assessment of mature and successional vegetation on clay soils. Report to The Southern Lake Champlain Region of The Nature Conservancy of Vermont and its project partners.
Field, John, Jim Graves, and Kathy Doyle. July 2001. A wetland and riparian habitat assessment of the Poultney River watershed in NY and VT. Final report to The Southern Lake Champlain Region of The Nature Conservancy of Vermont and its project partners.
Lapin, Marc, Kathleen Doyle, and James Graves. May 2001. A Rapid Ecological Inventory of Forestlands of the Peters Trust, Tinmouth and Wells, Vermont, with recommendations pertaining to forest management and conservation. Report to the Vermont Land Trust.
Allard, Dorothy J., Kathleen M. Doyle, and James H. Graves. 1998. Long-term monitoring of ice storm damage at Shaw Mountain Preserve: sampling design, data collection methods, and data analysis methods. Report to The Nature Conservancy of Vermont.
Barnett-Lawrence, Mathew S., Anthony V. Keeler, James H. Graves, and Peter S. White. 1994. Vegetation survey and permanent monitoring at Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Parks, Summer 1994. National Park Service Report (with 4 similar reports for Shiloh National Military Park, King’s Mountain National Military Park, Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park, and Russell Cave National Monument).
Graves, James H., and Carl D. Monk. 1985. A comparison of soils and vegetation over marble and schist along tributaries to Panther Creek, Stephens County, GA. Castanea 50(3):146-163.
Graves, James H., and Carl D. Monk. 1982. Herb-soil relationships on a lower north slope over marble. Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club 109(4):500-507.
Bratton, Susan Power, Matthew G. Hickler, and James H. Graves. 1978. Visitor impact on back country campsites in Great Smoky Mountains. Environmental Management 2(5):431-442.
Schreiber, R. Kent, and James H. Graves. 1977. Powerline corridors as possible barriers to the movements of small mammals. American Midland Naturalist 97(2):504-508.
Selected professional presentations
Graves, J.H. 2007. Shaw Mountain Spring Wildflowers. Field trip leader for The Nature Conservancy’s wildflower walk at Shaw Mountain. May 5, 2007, 9:30-1:30, 19 people attending.
Graves, J.H. 2006. Non-Native Species Management: Floodplain Restoration at Green Mountain College 1995-2006. Paper, Clayplain Forest Restoration Meeting, March 22, 2006, Green Mountain College, Poultney, VT.
Graves, J.H. 2005. Plant conservation on campus: implementing the International A genda for Botanic Gardens in Conservation. Poster presented at joint meetings of the Ecological Society of America and International Ecological Congress, Montreal, Canada, August 7-12, 2005.
Graves, J.H. 2005. Plant Conservation at Home: Landscaping and land management to celebrate local flora. Presentation to the Vermont Botanical and Bird Club Meeting, Quimby Resort, Averill (Essex County), VT, June 10, 2005.
Graves, J.H. 2003. Native species landscaping and plant conservation on campus. Vermont Campus Greening Conference, University of Vermont, October 23-24, 2003.
Graves, J., John Field, Kathy Doyle, and Mary Droege. 2001. The Poultney River Project and clayplain forest restoration. Paper, November 2, Northern Taconics Research Consortium, Equinox Hotel, Manchester, VT.
Graves, J., John Field, and Mary Droege. 2001. Integrating baseline assessments of vegetation and geomorphology to establish priorities for wetland restoration: the Poultney River in Vermont and New York. Paper, October 6, Society for Ecological Restoration, Niagara Falls, Ontario.
Graves, J.H. 1998. First summer conditions following January 1998 ice damage at Shaw Mountain. Paper presented at the fall meeting of the Northern Taconics Research Consortium, Green Mountain College, Poultney, VT.
Graves, J.H. 1995. Resource availability and the importance of herbs in forest dynamics. Botany Department Seminar, University of Wyoming, Laramie, WY.
Graves, J.H. 1995. The tradeoff in relative abundance of herbs and woody plants in temperate deciduous forests. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Ecological Society of America, Snowbird, UT.
Graves, J.H., Robert K. Peet, and Peter S. White. 1993. Resource/light ratios influence the competition effect of herbs on tree regeneration. Poster presented at the annual meeting of the Ecological Society of America, Madison, WI.
Jim Graves’; current research addresses soil factors that influence the distribution of forest floor plants, restoration needs in early successional plant communities, evaluation of restoration methods, and applications of ecology to landscape design.
Recent Grant Support
- Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program contract for Green Mountain College, 2007-2011, with the United States Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service. Funding is provided to help the college remove populations of Honeysuckle and Japanese Knotweed from riparian forests on campus.
- Undergraduate Research Assistantships in plant ecology. 2000, 2001, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007. These grants from Green Mountain College support student research with a faculty member. With this support, Jim’s students have completed two map inventories of invasive species on campus, reviewed literature on species of concern, and written invasive species management plans.
- Hubbardton and Lower Poultney Rivers Restoration Project. 2003-2004. Contract with The Nature Conservancy of Vermont, with Marc Lapin and Kathleen Doyle, for vegetation analysis along the lower Poultney and Hubbardton Rivers, to determine the likely course of early succession, identify stressors to natural succession, and estimate the need for restoration.
- Wetland and riparian habitat assessment of the Poultney River Watershed. 2000-2001. Grant from The Nature Conservancy of Vermont, with funds provided by the U.S. EPA. With John Field and Kathleen Doyle, including support for five Green Mountain College students for a portion of the summer. Students Chris Harrison and Joseph Markowski were field assistants for the vegetation assessment. Funding to prioritize restoration needs in wetlands of the Poultney River watershed.
- Long-term monitoring of ice storm damage at Shaw Mountain preserve. 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002. Grants from The Nature Conservancy of Vermont. Funding for fieldwork and data analysis for years 1-5 of long-term monitoring of vegetation response following the ice storm of January 1998 at Shaw Mountain, Rutland County, VT.
- Methods for long-term monitoring of ice storm damage at Shaw Mountain preserve. 1998. Grant from The Nature Conservancy of Vermont. With Dorothy Allard and Kathleen Doyle. Funding to develop methods of field study and data analysis to be used in a long-term study of changes in vegetation following the ice storm of January 1998, Shaw Mountain, Rutland County, VT.
Membership, Activities, and Awards
Ecological Society of America, member
International Association of Vegetation Scientists, member
Northern Taconics Research Consortium (occasional gathering), organizer for the fall 1998 meeting at Green Mountain College
Southern Appalachian Botanical Society, member
Tennessee Ornithological Society, member
Vermont Botanical and Bird Club, member
Important Bird Areas in Vermont Technical Committee 1998-99
Rutland County Audubon. Member of the board of directors 1997-1999
W. C. Coker Fellow, University of North Carolina, 1993-94
Coker Fellowship, Graduate School, University of North Carolina, 1989-92 National Science Foundation Dissertation Improvement Grant, 1992-94
Francis B. Jenkins Award, Graduate School, Library and Information Science, U. of Illinois, 1985
Phi Kappa Phi, University of Georgia, 1979
Phi Beta Kappa, Rhodes College, 1977
Jim has led wildflower walks, and made presentations on natural history to local civic groups. He enjoys observing nature first-hand, and he and his wife Kathy often plan hiking, camping, or car trips around areas of interest for bird study and field botany. Jim loves to explore familiar and unfamiliar places off-trail. At home, Jim enjoys instrumental and vocal music with friends, gardening, and woodworking. Favorite pastimes with wood include whittling spoons and weaving white oak split baskets.