Steven Handel studies the potential to restore native plant and animal communities, adding sustainable ecological services, biodiversity, and amenities to the landscape. He has explored pollination, seed dispersal, plant population growth, ecological genetics, and most recently, ecological solutions for urban and heavily degraded lands. In addition to his GSD appointment, he is a Distinguished Professor of Ecology and Evolution at Rutgers University. Previously, he was a biology professor and director of the Marsh Botanic Garden at Yale University, Visiting Professor at Stockholm University, and Research Scholar at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia.
Dr. Handel is an Aldo Leopold Leadership Fellow and Certified Senior Ecologist of the Ecological Society of America, and is the Editor of the professional journal Ecological Restoration. In 2007, he was elected an Honorary Member of the American Society of Landscape Architects. He received the Society for Ecological Restoration’s highest research honor, the Theodore M. Sperry Award, “…for pioneering work in the restoration of urban areas.”
He has been on design teams doing ecological restoration in urban areas, such as the “Rebuild By Design” U.S. HUD competition, Gateway National Park in New York City, Fernbank Forest in Atlanta, Georgia, the Great Falls National Historical Park in NJ, and the Orange County Great Park in California. Recognition for this work includes ASLA Honor Awards for Analysis & Planning (2008 and 2009), for Research (2009 and 2015), and for Communications (2015). Also, the AIA National Honor Award in Regional & Urban Design, and the APA National Planning Excellence Award for Innovation in Regional Planning. His research has been sponsored by the National Science Foundation, the National Park Service, and private foundations. He has published widely in ecological and botanical scientific journals.
Handel received his B.A. from Columbia College in Biology and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from Cornell University in the Field of Ecology and Evolution.