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Stephen I. Apfelbaum, MS | Senior Ecologist, Founder, Board Chairman

Stephen I. Apfelbaum, MS
Steve Apfelbaum has conducted ecological research, designed award-winning projects and contributed his uniquely creative scientific expertise and enthusiasm to over 9,000 projects throughout North America and beyond.


Since the late 1970s, Steve Apfelbaum has conducted ecological research, designed award-winning projects and contributed his uniquely creative scientific expertise and enthusiasm to over 9,000 projects throughout North America and beyond. Apfelbaum received his Master's degree in Ecology under Dr. Alan Haney at the University of Illinois in 1978. His early work involved research conducted in many different regions including the boreal forests of Canada, the prairies of Kansas and North Dakota, the deserts of Utah and the tropical rain forests of Central America. He returned the Midwest in the late 70s and founded Applied Ecological Services (AES) in rural Wisconsin in 1978.

He has been instrumental in advancing the concepts and philosophies behind ecological restoration through his direct connection to mentors and pioneers in the environmental movement including Sigurd Olson, Luna Leopold and many other key scientists, conservationists and policy makers. As AES has grown, Apfelbaum has played an increasing role in educating and mentoring the next generation of ecological professionals. Apfelbaum has been the ecological leader in many pioneering projects. His work on conservation communities established Low Impact Development as a marketplace and regulatory precedent. His work on alternative stormwater management and in developing the Stormwater Treatment Train™ has contributed to changing the stormwater management industry nationwide. And his ecological restoration approaches on mining projects and brownfield reclamation and remediation have set new industry standards and win-win outcomes for all involved parties.

Apfelbaum has also been a leader in the developing marketplace for ecosystem services concepts. Beginning in the early 1990s, he helped develop regulatory frameworks for the first private wetland mitigation bank in the Midwest. More recently, he has led the development of a methodology to quantify carbon in soils and he has helped develop a framework for conservation biomass.

He has authored and peer-reviewed hundreds of technical studies, papers, books and reports, including ecological restoration plans and regulatory monitoring and compliance reports. His book, Nature's Second Chance (Beacon Press), won accolades from the New York Times, and was listed as one of the "Top 10 Environmental Books of 2009." Apfelbaum's recent book, Restoring Ecological Health to Your Land - co-authored with Dr. Alan Haney as part of a two-volume series - has won praise as the first comprehensive "how-to" restoration book for landowners.

Apfelbaum is also a much sought-after speaker at educational events focusing on ecological restoration, ecosystem assessment, alternative stormwater management and conservation development. He currently lectures at Harvard University, University of Illinois, University of Wisconsin, and over the years has taught in dozens of other educational and research institutions through the U.S., University of Paris at Madam Curie Institute and elsewhere.

Apfelbaum has won the John T. Curtis lifetime achieve award from the Aldo Leopold Foundation for Ecosystem Restoration, and was honored with the Ryerson Lifetime Conservation Award. Prior shared recipients of this award include Wes Jackson of The Land Institute in Salina, Kansas, and famed ornithologist Roger Tory Peterson.


M.S., Biology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1978
B.S. (LAS.) in Zoology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1976

Cemed Senior Ecologist, Ecological Society of America, 1991-Present
Appointed to Editorial Advisory Board, Ecological Restoration Journal, 2015-Present
Qualified Wildlife Biobgist Cefification, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, 2014
Airport Wildlife Hazard Management Specialist Certification, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, 2010
Recipient of John T. Curtis Award for Career ExæDenæ in Ecological Restoration, 2010
Recipient of Bill Clinton Global Sustainable Cities Initiative Award for Don River Project (Toronto), 2007
Recipient of Friends of Ryerson VAIoods Award for Dismguished Leadership in the World of Nature. 2012
Appointed to U.S. Forest Service Scientific Roundtable on Biological Diversity