About Us

The people who make up CPI are D. Bruce Means, President and Executive Director; Ryan C. Means, Director and Ecologist; Rebecca P. M. Means, Ecologist and Science Educator; Kathy Steinheimer, Administrator; a Board of Trustees (Ellie Whitney, Tom Ostertag, W. Wilson Baker); and our ever-growing, contributing members base.


D. Bruce Means, Ph.D., is CPI’s President and Executive Director.  He also is a research ecologist, author, consultant, world traveler, and Adjunct Professor Biological Science at Florida State University.  His research includes a wide variety of topics ranging from ecosystems of the southeastern U. S. to fire ecology, the natural history of South American tepuis, biogeography, conservation, endangered species, and the evolution and natural history of amphibians and reptiles.  Click here for more about D. Bruce Means’ website, which includes information about his latest books and publications, documentaries, lecture topics, photos, and more.



Ryan Means is Director of the Coastal Plains Institute.  He holds a B.S. in zoology and a M.S. degree in Wildlife Ecology and Conservation, both from the University of Florida.   His scientific research has focused primarily on Southeast U.S. herpetofauna, ephemeral wetland ecology, as well as human-related impacts on both.  Currently Ryan is the principal investigator of a study entitled: “A Conservation Strategy for the Imperiled Striped Newt.”  This study is a unique salamander conservation effort that includes may partners united in a common goal to investigate cause of decline, develop effective conservation strategies, and repatriate an extirpated species back into its former geographic stronghold.  Ryan also works nationwide on Project Remote–the first effort to quantify remoteness scientifically, calculate the remotest location in each of the 50 United States, and mount documentary expeditions into each state’s ‘Remote Spot.’  Project Remote is generating new knowledge about ecological and physical conditions in these special, previously unknown, places.  Using Project Remote as a platform, Ryan works tirelessly to increase nationwide awareness about the importance of preserving our remaining roadless wildlands–forever. See Ryan’s CV for more information.


THG 2015 (20)Rebecca Means is CPI’s Ecologist and Science Educator. She has a B.S. degree in both Wildlife Ecology and in Biology from Virginia Tech and an M.S. degree in Forestry from Texas A&M. She began working with CPI in August of 2001. Since that time she has been the principle or co-principle investigator on seven projects relating to ephemeral wetlands, amphibians, and science education.  Her current focus is on a program she developed entitled Building Communities that Conserve Wetlands.  This program combines state standards-aligned activities and citizen scientist training to conserve the biodiversity of temporary wetlands of Northern Florida.  The two main components of this program are: What Lives in the Wetland, which builds an environmental education component onto our striped newt conservation project and Adopt an Ephemeral Wetland, which trains local citizens to monitor ephemeral wetlands in the Apalachicola National Forest. Rebecca also is assisting with the striped newt repatriation project. See Rebecca’s CV for more information.