Session 3 Bios: Climate Change, Cultural Resources, & Historic Preservation: Mapping & Mitigating the Effects

Friday October 16, 3:00pm - 4:30pm 


Chair/Moderator: Wade Catts, Preservation Delaware Officer

Wade P. Catts is a Registered Professional Archaeologist and the President/Principal of South River Heritage Consulting, a Newark-based cultural resources firm. A current Trustee of Preservation Delaware, he is an historical archaeologist with nearly four decades of experience in the history, archaeology, and historic preservation of the Middle Atlantic region. His research interests include the history of farmsteads and agricultural landscapes, military history and archaeology, environmental history, African-American studies, Middle Atlantic regional history and historic preservation. In 2016 Mr. Catts was the recipient of the Archibald Crozier Award for Distinguished Achievement in and Contributions to Archeology from the Archeological Society of Delaware.


Jennifer de Mooy

Jennifer de Mooy is a Principal Planner with the Division of Climate, Coastal, and Energy in Delaware's Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control. She is currently part of the state team developing Delaware's Climate Action Plan, which will provide a road map for the state's efforts to minimize greenhouse gas emissions and maximize resiliency to the impacts of climate change. Jennifer has previously led development of Delaware's Climate Change Impact Assessment and the Climate Framework for Delaware. She managed the Strategic Opportunity Fund for Adaptation, which provided grants to state agencies for implementation of climate adaptation projects. 

Kara Briggs

Kara Briggs joined the staff of the Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs’ State Historic Preservation Office as an architectural historian. She is based at the division’s main office located at 21 The Green in Dover.

Briggs’ responsibilities at the division include managing the State’s Historic Preservation Tax Credit program, conducting cultural-resource reviews of federally funded or permitted projects for Section 106 compliance with the National Historic Preservation Act for historical and architectural properties; providing coordination services with state designated certified local governments; and oversight of division-held historic-preservation easements including monitoring and enforcement of easement provisions, technical assistance to property owners and negotiation and completion of new easements.

Briggs holds a master’s degree in urban affairs and public policy with a concentration in historic preservation from the University of Delaware where she also earned certificates in museum studies and human-subjects training. She holds a bachelor’s degree in interior design from the Savannah College of Art and Design.  In 2018, she successfully completed the ARCUS Professional Fellowship program which offers online leadership-development courses and networking opportunities that strengthen the skills of emerging leaders in the cultural heritage and historic preservation movement. Courses included training to develop plans and tactics to craft effective (preservation) advocacy strategies, and to utilize the collective impact framework to solve preservation challenges, practice risk mitigation and develop evaluation techniques..

Her varied work experience includes service as a consulting architectural historian and projects manager for several private companies; as collections manager and research assistant for the University of Delaware’s Center for Historic Architecture and Design; as an exhibit designer and curator of collections for the Historical Society of Delaware; as collections-management curator for the Andrew Low House in Savannah, Ga.; and as site supervisor for the division’s John Dickinson Plantation where she worked from 2001 to 2002. Briggs is the author of “Images of America: Forty Acres” about the Wilmington neighborhood where she lives.

Heather Wholey

Heather Wholey is an archaeologist and a Professor of Anthropology and Chair of the Department of Anthropology and Sociology at the West Chester University of Pennsylvania.  She earned her undergraduate degrees in Anthropology and in Geography at the State University of New York - Albany and her master's and Doctoral degrees in Anthropology at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.  Her areas of expertise are cultural ecology, environmental and landscape archaeology, and the pre-colonial Native American archaeology of the North American Eastern Woodlands.  She recently published a co-edited volume Middle Atlantic Prehistory: Foundations and Practice through Roman-Littlefield Press.  She teaches courses at the university in her specialty areas and engages her students in hands on learning through archaeology field school training programs and through community engagement projects.

Daria Nikitina

Daria Nikitina has a PhD in geology with specialization in coastal geomorphology. Dr. Nikitina’s research concerns sea-level and environmental changes along the coast over timescales from minutes to millennia. Daria is studying sediments that accumulated in the coastal environments in order to reconstruct how and why the landscape changed through time. She particularly focuses on the salt marshes around the Delaware Bay. Analyzing ten-feet deep core samples of the salt marsh sediments allows her to document position of the sea level as far back as 2,000 years ago. Understanding the mechanisms that determined coastal changes in the past is the key to predict the changes in the future. Daria is the author and co-authors of 25 peer-review articles related to past sea level change, impact of tsunamis and tropical cyclones on coastal environments around the world.

Daria is a member of Delaware Sea-Level Technical Committee, commissioned by the Governor of Delaware and a contributor to “Holocene Sea Level Rise in the Delaware Bay” technical report 2018.

Her other research interests include long-term carbon sequestration in coastal wetlands and its role in local and global carbon cycle, salt marsh resilience to severe storms, use of sediments archives for assessment of anthropogenic impacts on coastal wetlands, impact of sea level rise on archeological sites in the Delaware Bay.

Daria received her Master Degree in Physical Geography with concentration in Geomorphology (the study of the Earth’s landscapes) from Lomonosov Moscow State University, Russia.

In 1988 Daria Nikitina began her career as a Research Fellow at the Institute of Physics of Earth, Russian Academy of Science in Moscow, Russia. During her employment at this prestigious Institution, Daria’s research interests focused on study of past sea level changes, paleo-environmental reconstructions, paleo-seismology and Quaternary climate changes.  

Daria received her PhD in Geology from University of Delaware in 2001 and continues her coastal research as an Associate Professor of Geology at the Department of Earth and Space Scientists at West Chester University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Nikitina has been providing undergraduate research experience for at least 20 students by involving them into her current research projects or supervising independent studies. Dr. Nikitina is supervising graduate students and served as a thesis advisor for Master in Geoscience program. 

Dr. Nikitina has been an active member of the International Geologic Correlation Project 639 – Sea Level Change from Minutes to Millennia, contributing publications in international journals, special issues, leading the focus group on coastal changes and presenting at the project annual meetings and other professional conventions.

Daria is a member of the Geological Society of America, American Geophysical Union, European Geophysical Union and Society for Sedimentary Geology.

Daria’s other research interests are related to landscape evolution in different climates, from the Russian sub-Arctic, to Antarctica, to tropical environments of the Amazon and Costa Rica.

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