DeBarros, Nelson (Active)
Fairfax County Park Authority
Flora of the Mid-Atlantic
Nelson DeBarros was born in Taunton, Massachusetts in March 1983. A child of Portuguese immigrants, his interest in plants first developed in his grandfather’s extensive ‘quintal,’ or backyard garden, where grapevines, fruit trees, and row crops replaced the standard suburban turf. Nelson received his first formal training in botany and ecology at Providence College in Providence, RI where he earned his B.S. in Biology in 2005. He later attended the Pennsylvania State University in University Park, PA where he studied under Dr. David Mortensen, a professor of weed and applied plant ecology in the Department of Agriculture and head of the Interdisciplinary Graduate Degree Program (IGDP) in Ecology. Interested in ecosystem services and plant-insect interactions, Nelson completed his thesis titled, ‘Floral Resource Provisioning for Bees in Pennsylvania and the Mid-Atlantic Region’ and earned his M.S. in Ecology in 2010. Nelson went on to serve as the staff botanist with the Connecticut Natural Diversity Data Base from 2011 to 2017 where he conducted environmental reviews, surveyed for State and Federally protected plant species, and planned mitigation and restoration activities. During this time, he also served as a member of the Regional Advisory Council of The Native Plant Trust (formerly The New England Wildflower Society), and as a director-at-large with the Connecticut Botanical Society. Since December 2018, Nelson has served as a Vegetation Ecologist with the Fairfax County Park Authority in Virginia where he has mapped natural communities over 2,000+ acres of park property. In the process, he has also documented 80+ new occurrences or sub-occurrences of plant taxa listed as S1-S3 in Virginia, collected 14 county records for Fairfax County, and 1 state record for Virginia. Nelson is married to Christopher Malapit. His personal interests include nature photography, plant propagation, and tending to his collection of orchids, bromeliads, and other houseplants.