Bill Hilgartner, Adjunct Faculty

Bill Hilgartner is a paleoecologist, naturalist and educator who grew up in Baltimore County, MD. His interest in birds, plants, geology and fossils lead him into research at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC and Johns Hopkins University. He applies the fossil record to understanding and addressing modern ecological and environmental problems. He uses analysis of macrofossils (seeds & leaves) from sediment cores to reconstruct past wetland vegetation, sedimentation rates and disturbance. Results from this work show that Piedmont river valley wetlands in the central Maryland and southeastern Pennsylvania region were essentially sedge meadows before European settlement, not the meandering river channels we see today. This has led to involvement in wetland restoration projects. Earlier research included bird extinction and biogeography in the Bahamas and the Caribbean.

Bill became an adjunct faculty member at Johns Hopkins after obtaining his Ph.D. from the Department of Geography and Environmental Engineering at Johns Hopkins in 1995. He began teaching Ecology in the Engineering for Professionals Program (EP), and later has developed Ecology as an on-line course since 2004. He also teaches the Field Methods in Habitat Analysis and Wetland Delineation course in summers in EP. Bill joined the faculty in AAP in 2006 teaching a course in Ecology. In addition to Johns Hopkins, he teaches geology, ecology, evolution and biology at Friends School in Baltimore, and Biodiversity at the Maryland Institute College of Art.

Prof. Hilgartner’s JHU email is He teaches Environmental Restoration: Guidelines from Paleoecology and Land Use History.