Center for the Environment Awarded Grant for Summer Research

July 8th, 2008 by Adam

PLYMOUTH, N.H.-Student researchers will study ecology and ecosystem science in the White Mountain National Forest thanks to a grant received by Plymouth State University’s Center for the Environment (CFE).

The CFE was recently awarded a Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF). For the next three years, eight undergraduate students from colleges and universities around the United States will compete to spend the summer at the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest in the White Mountain National Forest working on projects in the major areas of ecosystem research at Hubbard Brook—animal ecology, biogeochemistry, hydrology and soils and forest vegetation. Students will also participate in a science communication project to communicate ecosystem concepts to a broad audience.

Associate Professor of Science Education Mary Ann McGarry is overseeing the science communication components.

“In addition to working with a team of research mentors, students will partner with regional natural resource agencies to develop meaningful outreach activities or products to disseminate the implications of the students’ science investigations,” McGarry said.

CFE’s Assistant Professor of Hydrology Kevin McGuire said the research and communication aspects of the grant are unique.

“This project is novel in that its focus is on communicating science, which is typically not an explicit objective in most undergraduate or graduate science programs. These students will be better equipped to bridge the gap between science and public policy and increase science literacy on issues related to environmental change and sustainability.”

The Hubbard Brook REU will operate in partnership with the Hubbard Brook Research Foundation (HBRF), the Hubbard Brook Ecosystem Study, and the U.S. Forest Service. Geoff Wilson, educator for HBRF and adjunct faculty with PSU’s Center for the Environment and Geography programs, will coordinate the activities and oversee the daily aspects of the REU. HBES scientists from eight institutions in addition to PSU are serving as mentors.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for the students,” said Wilson. “Hubbard Brook is a dynamic, interesting place to spend the summer and the work the CFE and HBRF are doing to tie the research interests of the students to real needs in the region will enhance the value of the students’ experience and should benefit everyone involved.”

For more information about this release, contact Bruce Lyndes, PSU Media Relations Mgr., (603) 535-2775 or Bruce Lyndes