Joshua Ellsworth


Joshua  Ellsworth's photo


Office: Heller-Brown Building 155
Phone: 781-736-3885
Brandeis Directory


Project Planning and Implementation
Theory of Change
Payment for Environmental Services (PES) and other Environmental Economic Incentive Programs
Sustainable Agriculture
Dynamics of Forest Disturbance
Forest and Watershed Management and Restoration
Invasive Species Prevention and Control


  • HS 206f - Sustainable Agriculture and Watersheds
  • HS 277f - Introduction to Planning and Implementation
  • HS 279a - Planning and Implementation
  • HS 318f - Practices and Economic Tools for Sustainable Forestry


  • Brandeis University
  • University of Massachusetts, Amherst
  • Montana State University

Joshua Ellsworth



Mr. Ellsworth teaches courses in project planning and implementation, sustainable agriculture and watershed management, and forestry. His fieldwork focuses on restoring ecosystems through strengthening watershed management institutions and improving forestry, grazing and agricultural systems. He has over 20 years of experience in the fields of sustainable development, environmental education and ecological restoration. He currently works on rural development, watershed planning and Payment for Watershed Services (PWS) in Mexico and is a member of the planning team on the Rio Laja-Willamette River watershed twinning project with funding from the Thiess International Riverprize. As a component of that initiative, he is working to link Mexican immigrant communities in the Willamette watershed with rural communities in the Laja basin in order to build cross-border capacity around watershed restoration and rural development, while simultaneously providing a space for cultural re-connection and empowerment across the Mexican diaspora.

Mr. Ellsworth also leads multi-day workshops on project planning at the Hartford Seminary International Peacemaking Program and co-teaches the “Innovation for Impact” series at MIT which examines theories and tools for identifying problems, exploring the context of an innovation and how to work with clients and communities through co-design. He is a team member and instructor on the MIT D-Lab Ethical Community Engagement workshop series. He has an MA from the Heller SID Program (‘07), an MS in Forestry from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and holds a BS in Wildlife Biology from Montana State University.

Awards and Honors

  • Invited Judge-- 2017 MIT IDEAS Global Challenge (2017)
  • Invited Judge-- 2016 MIT IDEAS Global Challenge (2016)
  • Invited Judge-- 2016 Tufts $100k New Ventures Competition (2016)
  • Mentor-- 2016 MIT IDEAS Global Challenge Winners’ Retreat (2016)
  • Steering Committee Member-- Willamette River - Río Laja Twinning Project, Funded by the 2012 Thiess International Riverprize (2016)


  • J. Ellsworth. "Pagos por Servicios Hidrológicos: Una Institución Potencial para San Miguel de Allende." Cuidando a San Miguel de Allende: Hacia la equidad entre el desarrollo, el capital humano y el medio ambiente. Ed. Raúl Francisco Pineda López y Don Patterson. Querétaro, México: Programa Nacional de Microcuencas, 2011 (forthcoming)
  • J. Ellsworth and A. Madrigal Bulnes. "Estudio de Caso: Experiencias en el Manejo Integrado de Microcuencas Prioritarias en San Miguel de Allende." La Biodiversidad en Guanajuato: Estudio de Estado. vol. I Ed. Andrea Cruz Angón et al. México, D.F: Comisión Nacional para el Conocimiento y Uso de la Biodiversidad, 2012. 446.
  • J. Ellsworth, R. Harrington, and J. Fownes. "Seedling emergence, growth, and allocation of Oriental bittersweet: Effects of seed input, seed bank, and forest floor litter." Forest Ecology and Management 190. (2004): 255-264.
  • J. Ellsworth, R. Harrington, and J. Fownes. "Survival, growth and gas exchange of Celastrus orbiculatus seedlings in sun and shade." American Midland Naturalist 151. (2004): 233-240.
  • J. Ellsworth and B. McComb. "The potential effects of Passenger Pigeon flocks on the structure and composition of presettlement forests of eastern North America." Conservation Biology 17. 6 (2003): 1548–1558.