Jamie Sydoriak, a Plymouth State University/Center for the Environment graduate student studying grassland bird communities, has been awarded the Joe and Gail White Fellowship for 2012-13. The White Fellowship was created by two Plymouth State graduates who care deeply about protecting New Hampshire’s natural resources and fostering PSU’s ongoing efforts in educating the public about this goal. Joe ’68 and Gail White ’66 were both teachers who eventually started a successful organic farm in southern New Hampshire. The White Fellowship helps pay a graduate student’s tuition, stipend, or research expenses.
“I am incredibly grateful and honored to be awarded this gift from Joe and Gail White,” Sydoriak said. “I truly believe in the mission of open space conservation and the goals of the Center for the Environment here at PSU, and it’s great to know there are people who feel the same way. Support from the Center for the Environment and the Whites’ foster these values into the minds of future conservationists like myself.”
Sydoriak, a student in the Master of Science in Environmental Science and Policy program in PSU’s Center for the Environment (CFE), will use the White Fellowship Award to assist her thesis research on grassland bird conservation. Her project is interested in maintaining or improving privately-owned grasslands with the goal of stabilizing bird populations that use them. She will conduct rapid assessment surveys in New Hampshire grasslands to determine the state of the bird populations and habitat quality. From that she will focus on developing landowner outreach materials about the background, science and management of maintaining grasslands for birds.
“The award is enabling me to put my best foot forward in our grassland conservation project,” noted Sydoriak. “Any and all data will help us in teaching people to think differently about managing their land, and ultimately help improve habitat for grassland birds.”
“Jamie’s work on grassland bird conservation with the Vermont Center for Ecostudies represents an excellent melding of science and policy,” said Reitsma. “Her project is also the type of linkage with regional environmental organizations that has typified the work of the Center for the Environment. Receiving the Joe and Gail White Fellowship will enhance the quality of this collaboration.”
Jamie received a bachelor of science in Biology with a minor in Environmental Earth Science from Eastern Connecticut State University in 2011 and has previous field experience working with bird ecology.