Julie Fagan, associate professor in the Department of Animal Sciences, turned a project she began with students in a summer “Ethics in Science” course in 2011 into an award-winning entry on behalf of a community conservation group she leads.
Fagan, team leader of the Haycock Community Wildlife Habitat group, was presented with the 2013 Land Ethics award sponsored by the Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve, a nature preserve, botanical garden, and museum in New Hope, PA. The ceremony took place on Feb. 21 at the preserve’s 13th Annual Land Ethics Symposium titled “Creative Approaches for Ecological Landscaping.”
The project is focused on wildlife habitat in Fagan’s community, Haycock Township in Bucks County, PA, and involved partnering with the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) to certify the township as a NWF Community Wildlife habitat. In Oct. 2012, the National Wildlife Federation officially recognized Haycock Township as a National Wildlife Federation Community Wildlife Habitat, the 63rd such habitat in the U.S.
According to Fagan, “the project began with the students reaching out to community residents, going door to door, to help them make their backyard more wildlife-friendly, and doing oral presentations to convince the township supervisors to move forward with the project.”
Seven academic papers were generated as a result of the research for the project as well as a video produced by the students for each of the research papers.
Members of the awards jury described the award-winning entry. “We were impressed with this project’s focus on protecting wildlife, including bees and bats, for which there is far too little public awareness and funding. The inclusion of site work to control invasive plants adds real habitat modifications to foster their goals.”
“The project is also especially worthy due to the high caliber of scientific support and the extensive use of social media for public education.”