NCWU Professor is First Appalachian Headwaters Ecologist Resident

ROCKY MOUNT, NORTH CAROLINA – Dr. Ami Thompson, Assistant Professor of Biology at NC Wesleyan University, will spend 10 weeks this summer as the very first Ecologist Resident hosted by nonprofit, Appalachian Headwaters. Based in Lewisburg, West Virginia, Appalachian Headwaters is a leader in environmental education and reforestation of mined land in central Appalachia.

Dr. Ami Thomson

The organization operates several environmental education projects including Camp Waldo (a summer camp for children), the Appalachian Pollinator Center (focused on education related to native habitat and pollinators) and the Appalachian Beekeeping Collective. During her residency, Dr. Thompson will live on-site near Lewisburg, WV and establish research and training programs that focuses on Appalachian citizen science, climate change and native pollinators. She will build a foundation for more academic resident participation in future years and use the organization’s new Appalachian Pollinator Center as a programmatic home base.

“I’m thrilled to spend my summer with the interns and staff at Appalachian Headwaters. This unique opportunity is a perfect fit for someone like me who has one foot rooted in academic ecology and the other in science education,” stated Dr. Thompson. “We will explore the relationship between native pollinators, like butterflies and bees, and the timing of local flower blooms. Changing climate conditions are altering the time of year when flowers bloom—some species are flowering earlier in the year, some later. The interns and I will explore how this change in bloom timing could impact the insects who pollinate those flowers. Can the pollinators and flowers still find each other when they need food or pollination services? Or will they become mismatched?”

Dr. Thompson studies the ecology of dragonflies and is a world expert on the common green darner. She’s been featured on PBS North Carolina for her exciting dragonfly research. In addition, Dr. Thompson has shared her dragonfly expertise on the NC Museum of Natural Sciences’ “Science Tonight” program and created a series of weekly educational videos for the U.S. Forest Service’s Wings Across the America’s program during the summer of 2021. Formerly a National Park Service ranger, Dr. Thompson has also written guidebooks and education curricula on dragonflies that have been translated into two other languages.

About North Carolina Wesleyan University

North Carolina Wesleyan University (NCWU) is a small, private Methodist-affiliated institution with a liberal arts-based core curriculum that prepares students for professional advancement, life-long learning and responsible participation in their communities. NCWU offers liberal arts, professional and graduate degree programs for traditional, transfer and working-adult students. The skills cultivated by faculty and built into the curriculum include critical thinking and reflection, communication, collaboration, and information technology. North Carolina Wesleyan University delivers education that is personal, practical and purpose-driven. Personal…through mentoring and the connections that are provided. Practical…by helping students develop lifelong skills. Purpose-driven…by helping them fulfill their purpose in life. With students from all over the United States and more than 40 different countries, the University has immense cultural diversity. To learn more, visit and follow on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, TikTok and Instagram.