Terra Virsilas

Urban Development Associate


Terra is an Urban Development Associate with WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities. She supports the Global Platform for Sustainable Cities (GPSC) and Cities4Forests, both city-based networks dedicated to capacity building, knowledge sharing and supporting cities in setting and realizing ambitious goals.

Under GPSC, Terra leads a webinar series on sustainable and integrated urban planning, coordinates capacity development planning for the 28 cities and serves as financial manager for the project.

Terra is the Cities4Forests Inner Forests Manager and the focal point for engagement with Baltimore, Honolulu, Los Angeles, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. She contributes to research products on policy, design and governance issues at the intersection of urban forestry, urban ecology and integrated urban planning.

Prior to joining WRI, Terra pursued her interest in urban watershed ecology and restoration by interning with Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) stream-monitoring division. During her time with DEP, she gained experience in field sampling including benthic macroinvertebrate, amphibian, reptile and fish collection and identification; habitat assessments; physical and chemical data analysis; and geomorphological stream surveying. She worked on compiling data for several stream restoration projects, as well as creating and updating GIS maps for public outreach events and the Maryland Amphibian and Reptile Atlas.

Terra is certified in green infrastructure construction, inspection and maintenance. She holds a B.S. in environmental management from the University of Maryland University College and an M.A. in community planning from the University of Maryland.


  • Cities4Forests

    Helping cities protect and integrate forests to combat climate change, preserve watersheds and biodiversity, and improve human well-being
  • UrbanShift

    Transforming cities for people and planet through sustainable, integrated and inclusive approaches to urban development

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