Olga Helmy

Science Delivery Specialist

A middle-aged woman in a plaid shirt and Hawaiian print ball cap smiles at the camera in front of an alpine meadow, against a backdrop of rocky, mountain peaks. The sky is hazy with late-summer smoke and the plants on the ground are mostly brown and dry.

Email: olga.helmy@usda.gov
Phone: (406) 542-4188
Fax: (406) 542-4196

790 E Beckwith Ave
Missoula, MT 59801

Curriculum Vitae


2008 - 2012 Post-graduate studies, University of Montana Wildlife Biology Program

1999 M.A., Entomology, University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas

1996 B.S., Zoology, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, Illinois


Olga is a science delivery outreach specialist who uses graphic design, data visualization, interpretive writing, and interpersonal skills to communicate science to diverse audiences. Building upon her background as a field biologist working with rural communities in the US and internationally, Olga strives to make science clear, concise and accessible. Recent projects include creating on-line content for conservation and education organizations, developing exhibits for STEM-focused museums, and synthesizing fire ecology literature for the Rocky Mountain Research Station’s Missoula Fire Sciences Laboratory. At the Aldo Leopold Wilderness Research Institute, Olga facilitates communication between ALWRI research staff and managers-in-the-field, ensuring the results of our research efforts are available to managers across the National Wilderness Preservation System.  

Recent Professional Experience

Science Delivery Specialist, Aldo Leopold Wilderness Research Institute, 2022 - present.

I facilitate communication between ALWRI research staff and managers-in-the-field, ensuring the results of our research efforts are available to managers across the National Wilderness Preservation System.

Writer and Technical Information Specialist, Fire Effects Information Systems, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Missoula Fire Sciences Laboratory, 2020 - 2022.

I conducted literature reviews and write species syntheses about plants and animals that are affected by fire. I combine research, writing and design skills to develop reports and interpretive materials for resource and fire managers, and the public at large.


  • FEIS species Review on Saguaro (Carnegiea gigantea) available for on-line viewing.
  • Species Reviews on Yellow Paloverde and Sugar Sumac (in prep).
  • Poster Presentation, “Fire in the Sonoran Desert”, 2021 Association of Fire Ecology Conference (November 30, 2021).
  • Consultant for in-house interpretive displays.

Founder and Director, Elucidate Science Communication, Missoula, MT, 2018 - 2020.

I created content that communicates science, with clear language and graphics, for the benefit of the public. This work included concept development, writing, graphic design, layout, fine art and photography.


Media Artist-in-Residence, spectrUM Discovery Area, Missoula MT, 2016 - 2018.                               

Duties included: Layout and graphic design for museum signage. Drafting social media outreach materials. In-house and event photography for documentation and promotional materials. Video capture and editing. I am proficient with the Adobe Creative Cloud Suite, including Photoshop, Lightroom, CameraRaw, Illustrator, In-Design and Premier Pro.

Foundational Professional Experience

University of British Columbia, 2011-2016:

  • Science Communication Trainee, Beaty Biodiversity Museum
  • Research Associate, Department of Botany
  • Research Greenhouse Technician, Department of Botany
  • Cultural Studies Contractor, Amber Ridington Heritage Consulting
  • Field Project Manager, Malaysian Borneo Wildlife Ecology, Department of Zoology            

Seasonal and Contract Experience,1999-2011:

USA Federal Agencies

  • Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, biological and data technician, intern
  • Denali National Park and Preserve, data manager and glacial invertebrate technician
  • Yellowstone National Park, water quality technician
  • Rocky Mountain Research Station:
    • Missoula Fire Sciences Laboratory, biological technician, fuels photography
    • Boise Aquatic Sciences Laboratory, biological technician, salmonids
    • Missoula Forestry Sciences Laboratory, biological technician, mustelids

Universities and NGOs    

  • The Nature Conservancy, field technician, examining effects of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami on sea turtle nesting
  • Round River Conservation Studies, Instructor, field studies course, Namibia
  • California Department of Education, Environmental Education Network coordinator
  • University of Kansas, Kansas Biological Survey, water quality technican
  • Field Museum of Natural History, entomology intern

Professional Awards

  • 2022 Individual Cash Award, Forest Service
  • 2021 Individual Cash Award, Forest Service
  • 2007 Spot Award Recipient: Forest Service
  • 2003 Star Award Recipient: Forest Service

Scientific Publications

  • Helmy, O.E. 2021. Carnegiea gigantea, Saguaro. In: Fire Effects Information System, (Online). U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Missoula Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). 
  • Khwaja, et al.. Author 26 of 67. Pangolins in global camera trap data: Implications for ecological monitoring. Global Ecology and Conservation. 2019. Global Ecology and Conservation.
  • Gardner, P. W. Sastramidjaja, L. Liew, J. Wern, H. Lim, B. Goossens, I. Sapari, E. Meijaard, A. Hearn, J. Ross, D. Macdonald, T. Bohm, P. Kretzschmar, O. Wearn, A. Granados, J.F. Brodie, O.E. Helmy, A. Giordano, and S. Cheyne. In Revision. A status update on the endangered banteng across the island of Borneo. Oryx
  • Brodie, J.F., J. Mohd-Azlan, A. Granados, H. Bernard, A. Giordano, and O.E. Helmy. 2017. Lowland biotic attrition revisited: body size and variation among climate change ‘winners’ and ‘losers’. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 284: 20162335
  • Brodie, J.F., O.E. Helmy, J. Mohd-Azlan, A. Granados, H. Bernard, A. Giordano, and E. Zipkin. 2018. Models for assessing local-scale co-abundance of animal species while accounting for differential detectability and varied responses to the environment. Biotropica 50: 5-15
  • Brodie, J.F., O.E. Helmy, M. Pangau-Adams, G. Ugiek, G. Froese, A. Granados, J. Mohd-Azlan, H. Bernard, A. Giordano, M. Agil, and A. Mustari. 2018. Crossing the (Wallace) Line: local abundance and distribution of mammals across biogeographic barriers. Biotropica 50: 116-124
  • Eby L.A., O.E. Helmy, L.M. Holsinger, and M.K. Young. 2014. Evidence of Climate- Induced Range Contractions in Bull Trout Salvelinus confluentus in a Rocky Mountain Watershed, U.S.A. PLoS ONE 9: e98812.
  • Brodie, J.F., O.E. Helmy, W. Brockelman, and J. Maron. 2009. Bushmeat poaching reduces the seed dispersal and population growth rate of a mammal-dispersed tree. Ecological Applications 19: 854-863.
  • Brodie, J.F., O.E. Helmy, W. Brockelman, and J. Maron. 2009. Functional differences within a guild of tropical mammalian frugivores. Ecology 90: 688-698.
  • Brodie, J.F., M. Sanjayan, R. Corea, O.E. Helmy, and C. Amarasiri. 2008. Effects of the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami on Sea Turtle Populations in Sri Lanka. Chelonian Conservation and Biology 7: 249-251.
  • Helmy, O.E. and R. Jander. 2003. Topochemical learning in black carpenter ants (Camponotus pennsylvanicus). Insectes Sociaux 50: 32-37.

Art, Design, and Production

  • Graphic design and scientific illustration for Silixa Engineering, “Introduction to Distributed Temperature Sensing” manual. Manual available for on-line viewing by request.
  • Video production for University of Montana, Wildlife Biology and spectrUM Discovery Area, 2016-2019. Sample video available for on-line viewing.
  • Wildlife of the Ulu Padas. A poster for environmental education and awareness- raising. Distributed to the Community Council in Long Pasia village, Sabah, Malaysian Borneo.
  • Wildlife of the Kelabit Highlands. A poster for environmental education and awareness- raising. Distributed to the Community Council in Bario village, Sarawak, MalaysianBorneo.
  • 2009, 24 March 2009. New York Times Science Section, front page photograph. Additional photographs in on-line issue of 23 March, 2009.
  • Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA (vol. 103, no. 44) Cover photograph.
  • Heredity (2006) 97, 179–191. Insulin signaling and limb-patterning: candidate pathways for the origin and evolutionary diversification of beetle 'horns'. D. J. Emlen, etal. Photographs.
  • Stereo Photo Guide for Estimating Canopy Fuel Characteristics in Conifer Stands. Joe H. Scott, Elizabeth D. Reinhardt. Photographer, photo-editor.
  • Nature's Flyers: Birds, Insects, and the Biomechanics of Flight. Alexander, D. and S. Vogel. 384 pp. Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN: 0801867568. Illustrations.
  • Three dimensional path integration in the house mouse (Mus domestica). Bardunias PM, Jander R. Naturwissenschaften. 87(12):532-4. Illustrations.
  • A new fossil conifer from the Triassic of North America: implications for models of ovulate cone scale evolution. International Journal of Plant Sciences 159: 358-366. B.J. Axsmith, T.N. Taylor, and E.L. Taylor. Illustrations.
  • Papyrus. The University Honor’s Program annual Journal, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale. Illustration.