Benjamin A. Spaier

Personal Bio:

Although originally from Oxford, Ohio, I have lived in Madison since 1995 and am a proud, fully assimilated Wisconsinite.  Staying close to home, I graduated from the UW-Madison with a bachelor’s degree in Geography and certificate in American Indian studies.  In 2010 I started volunteering in Professor Townsend’s Lab, and have worked here part-time as a technician since 2011.  Besides remote sensing and now forestry, I have quirky but passionate interests in dragonflies and geography trivia, but the true complement of my part-time work has been extensive volunteering in outreach with science and geography education, predominantly through the Science Olympiad program. As a result I have dozens of kids running around town, but I am nevertheless not remiss to leave them all to their different mothers – and fathers – when I go home at day’s end.

Research Bio:

My interest in remote sensing – which stems from my first introduction to it through Science Olympiad in high school – has grown through my undergrad college years all the way to the present, and I now work with many aspects of this awesome science on a daily basis.  I collect field data in support of many projects, and this includes taking forest biometry measurements, collecting and (later) differentially correcting GPS points, and also operating FERST’s high-end portable spectrometers, both in the lab and in the field, to acquire spectra of vegetation from across the country.  Outside of assisting with research, I often help Professor Townsend in the classroom with the courses he teaches during the fall
semester – which is one of my favorite jobs at FERST.  My work with students was recognized in 2013 when I won the outstanding service award given to a UW-Madison staff person by our campus’s office of International Student Services, after initially being nominated for consideration by a student who took Professor Townsend’s course in the fall of 2012.