Hench, John E. (Active)
Urban Wildlife
John was born on August 4, 1956, in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. He grew up in south-central Pennsylvania and developed an early interest in wildlife and the outdoors through farm work, hunting, and fishing. He received a BA degree in biology from Shippensburg State University in 1978 and followed with a MS degree in mammalogy from the same institution in 1980. He received his PhD degree from the University of Maryland, College Park, in 1988, specializing in wildlife management and biometrics. John began his professional career in the spring of 1988 as an ecologist with the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission in Montgomery County, Maryland. His early work there focused on the development of a Natural Resources Planning and Management Program for the Montgomery County Department of Parks. The program’s objective was to balance stewardship of natural resources with the need to provide park users with a variety of high quality recreational facilities and experiences. The program was accomplished through a five-part work program of inventory, planning, management, research, and education. Over the next ten years the program grew to include work in natural resources planning, wildlife management, forest management, fisheries management, watershed restoration, pollution prevention, cartography/GIS, and education/outreach. During this period, the program’s focus changed from one that was initially park-based to one more countywide in nature. Efforts were made to integrate the program with the Park and Planning Commission’s community-based planning and park planning functions. John has published a number of research articles over the years. Topics have included: clinal variation in the eastern meadow vole (Microtus pennsylvanicus); notes on the small mammals of various natural areas in Maryland and Pennsylvania; age classification for the gray squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis) based on eruption, replacement, and wear of molariform teeth; a method for predicting the effects of land-use changes on wildlife; and observations on hydrilla (Hydrilla verticillata) and wintering waterfowl in Montgomery County, Maryland. John’s professional interests lie in two areas: integrating natural resource programs with local and regional land-use planning efforts and the development of sustainable agricultural enterprises that facilitate preservation of open space and add value to new communities on the rural/urban interface. Outside of work, John’s spare time is devoted to his family, scouting, organic gardening, and the demonstration of traditional farming practices using draft horses and mules. John was elected to membership in the Washington Biologists’ Field Club in 1990.