Research Team



Lead Field Research Biologist

VINS Lead Field Research Biologist Jim Armbruster began working at VINS as a camp instructor during the summers of 2014 and 2015. He then worked for three seasons as a VINS Environmental Educator and a season as a Wildlife Rehabber in Center for Wild Bird Rehabilitation. In April of 2020, Jim took on the newly created role of Research Coordinator. This position allows him to use the training he received as a Wildlife Biology major at the University of Vermont, and his experiences in camp, education, and rehabilitation, to lead our research efforts on campus and with partnering organizations. Outside of VINS, Jim has volunteered as an Advanced EMT for the last five years with Woodstock Ambulance and has recently started on Hartland Rescue Squad. He is also the current animal control officer for the town of Hartland, Vermont.

Emily Blaikie


Research Biologist

Emily began working with VINS in the summer of 2019 when she was asked to create illustrations for the Forest Canopy Walk. The following year, Emily became an Avian Care Intern at the Center for Wild Bird Rehabilitation and served two additional terms. She is currently a Research Biologist at VINS, engaging in a variety of different projects. Emily graduated from Plymouth State University with a degree in Conservation Ecology.


Biz Austin

Research Specialist

Biz has joined the VINS research team as a Field Research Specialist with the Vermont Housing & Conservation Board (VHCB).

Biz grew up in Vermont and has always had a deep passion for birds. VINS has always been one of her go to spots to bring friends and family. Before coming on board the VINS research team, she held many different jobs such as being a case manager, a tour guide in Nicaragua, a USPS carrier, and an intern for a few national parks. Biz also volunteered at a local non-profit called Friends for Change in southern Vermont which provides a safe space for youth who primarily struggle with life hardships. Biz is currently pursuing a degree in ornithology which started at Prescott College and she hopes to become a full time researcher or professor in the ornithology field.