Matt Simonelli

Co-Director, Terrestrial Invasive Species Specialist

Matt’s dynamic leadership has been essential in restoring the Restore Native Plants’ restoration sites into thriving wildlife sanctuaries. He has directed the removal of 738,797 invasive plants, allowing the introduction of native plants with high wildlife value. His efforts have also saved over 1,497 native trees. One of Matt’s most impressive accomplishments is the transformation of a 3-acre infestation of Chinese wisteria into a biodiverse native plant reserve.

Matt is a public champion of the critical need to remove invasive species due to the threats they pose to our environment. Since joining Restore Native Plants in 2017 as the invasive species program director, he has shared his passion and knowledge with interns and volunteers of all ages.

Matt continuously sharpens his skills and knowledge in invasive species management and biocontrol, ensuring full compliance with state-level best management practices. He earned a Terrestrial Invasive Plant Management Certificate from the North American Invasive Species Management Association, and he holds a Commercial Pesticide Applicator’s license with the NJDEP.

Before joining the Restore Native Plants team, Matt worked at the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference, gaining a solid foundation in invasive species management techniques through fieldwork and hands-on experience. He graduated cum laude from William Paterson University.

Matt enjoys working outdoors, traveling, hiking tall mountains, rock climbing, and other outdoor activities. He is always excited to learn more about the natural world and enjoys inspiring others to restore their properties with native plants.