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NWF Fellows, Champions for Wildlife
Since 2000, NWF’s Fellowship Program has supported more than 170 student and young professional environmental leaders working on campus and in their community on sustainability efforts. Of the 170 Fellowships awarded, 55 have focused specifically on protecting wildlife and habitat.
Julie Perreau, 2013 Fellow
Tested the effects of nest box preference and temperate on breeding success of Eastern Bluebirds on the University of Florida campus as a means to influence nest box management in positive ways.
Julie used two popular nest box models, the Gilbertson model and a more traditional Peterson model and paired them 80 meters apart, throughout the University of Florida campus. Once full clutches were laid, she measured the temperature using Maxim Integrated iButtons which were placed as close to the nest as possible to record the temperature of the nest throughout the nesting period. Through her initial findings she has found a preference for the Gilbertson model next box. She has used the results from her Eastern Bluebird research project in education outreach targeting to local Florida youth and university students in order to increase the use of next boxes on campus. Julie will complete her Fellowship this August. Learn more about Julie in the NWF EcoLeaders Community.
Christina Rinas, 2013 NWF Fellow and graduate student at the Alaska Pacific University
Studying vegetation changes in the Chugach Mountains, located outside of Anchorage, Alaska.
Specifically, Christina is studying how shrubs are expanding in range, and growing in places where they never grew before. Changes in shrub distribution and abundance have important implications for wildlife– as shrubs expand their range certain species may benefit, but other species that rely on open, alpine areas may have less available habitat. Shrub expansion is occurring in many places in Alaska, but it is unknown how widespread shrub changes in the Chugach Mountains. Christina’s research is part of a larger natural resource monitoring project at the Alaska Pacific University. Twenty students and four faculty are involved with the project. Learn more about Christina in the NWF EcoLeaders Community.
Upcoming Fellowship Projects
This month NWF awarded 20 Fellowships to the NWF 2014 Class of Fellows. Starting in 2013, NWF’s Emerging Leaders Fellowship program expanded to support young professionals in the conservation field as well as student leaders. This year’s Fellows are planning a number of interesting projects that will benefit wildlife including the two projects outlined below:
Colleen Smiley, 2014 Fellow, is developing a mobile app to encourage individuals to become environmental stewards of the 189 acre Catawba Ecological Preserve and the 300 acre Catawba Wildlife Refuge in North Carolina. The app will allow individuals to upload photos and descriptions via a GPS flag on a map of things they encounter while in the preserve/refuge. It will allow individuals to become citizen scientists, introduce new questions and thinking and foster volunteers.
Brigid Belko, 2014 NWF Fellow, will develop “The Last Green Valley Community Raptor Watch” initiative in the Last Green Valley region of Connecticut. This area has been witnessing an influx of snowy owls, bald eagles and other keystone raptor species that have not been seen for over a decade in the area – the community is excited about this development but unprepared to aid in the protection of these birds. The community raptor watch program will collaborate with pre-established birding interest groups and will foster the protection and livelihood of these rare birds.