RIO GRANDE – Students from the University of Rio Grande’s School of Mathematics and Natural Sciences presented posters detailing their work in the field at conservation conferences this semester.
Ten wildlife conservation majors attended the annual Ohio Natural History Conference sponsored by the Ohio Biological Survey, and one attended the Midwest Great Lakes Ecological Restoration Conference in Bloomington, Ind. The poster session included four research projects involving the work of Rio students.
Associate Professor of Wildlife Conservation, Dr. Don Althoff, said their participation in these directed studies as part of the Rio EcoMonitoring Project demonstrates opportunities available to students to expand hands-on learning.
“These wildlife conservation majors have now experienced up close the challenges associated with designing and conducting research and the satisfaction of presenting their findings in a scholarly way through the poster sessions at these conferences,” Althoff said. “I applaud each of them for recognizing the value of going above and beyond to further their understanding of the natural world.
Kelcie Severs, a senior from Dayton, took part in using acoustic monitoring data to determine activity patterns of hoary bats in southeast Ohio.
“It was really exciting to be able to present my work to my peers from around the state. I think anyone who has the chance to attend a conference for their field of study should definitely take the opportunity because you can learn so much from each other at these events,” Severs said.
Andy Merkle, a 2015 graduate from Chardon, and senior Jordan Maxwell, of Beavercreek, worked to detect a bat species in different areas in southeast Ohio and determine if they used the locations as habitats or foraging areas.
“It’s interesting to see all of the other studies and projects going on that you wouldn’t get to see unless it’s been published,” Maxwell said. “This was a great way for everyone to talk with the researchers working on the project and ask questions first hand.”
Seniors Brad Cordle, of Logan, and Katelyn Dearth, of Ravenna, also participated in the Ohio Natural History Conference. Cordle helped document arthropod diversity last summer on Baby Moose Hill on campus. Dearth assisted in a project to evaluate a traditional device for measuring canopy cover compared to using iPhone generated images.
Jacob Manning, a senior from Huber Heights, presented his work at the Midwest Great Lakes Ecological Restoration Conference in Indiana. He took part in a study to test new ways of reforesting.
“It was a great experience to go to Indiana to show my work and network with other students and professionals in the field from across the country,” Manning said. “My classes have been very hands-on, which has helped me prepare to take on projects like this one.”
Althoff said he is proud of his seniors and their accomplishments through the Wildlife Conservation Program.
Jessica Patterson is a communication specialist for the University of Rio Grande and Rio Grande Community College.