Nancy O’Hare’s memorable moments are rooted in nature: hiking mountain trails in Romania, gently drifting in a kayak in Florida Bay with a manatee for company, or a picnic along the Big Sur coast cheering on the crashing waves. Her deep connection with nature was forged by growing up in rural Michigan where she spent countless hours wandering in the woods, flipping over rocks and logs, dangling her toes in the creek or looking for wildflowers. Time in nature teaches those willing to learn lessons of adaptability, adversity, and the paradox of change and timelessness.
After completing her Bachelor’s degree at Northern Arizona University, she moved to Miami, Florida and earned her Master’s degree from Florida International University. After completing her Master’s degree, she co-founded a biological consulting specializing in wetland restoration issues in the Everglades, working with both plants and wildlife. She spent 12 years as co-leader studying one of the largest wetland mitigation/restoration projects in the USA.
It was on this project that she started merging her interests of the natural world with maps and GIS. In the Everglades, subtle differences in elevation (less 3 feet) defined upland versus wetland habitat, each with their own distinctive flora and fauna. She came to appreciate the effect of between yearly differences in weather (wet versus dry years) and short-duration but highly intense single events (hurricanes) on individual species. More importantly, she began to understand relationships between past and current conditions. Her current interest is melding the viewpoints of individual species with the larger geographic context and chance events that shape the current patterns that we see.