PSU and HBRF Providing Hands On Ecology Training At Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest

July 23rd, 2009 by Adam

PLYMOUTH, N.H.-Students from across the nation are learning about ecology in New Hampshire’s Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest through a program developed by PSU’s Center for the Environment and the Hubbard Brook Research Foundation (HBRF.)

The Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) at Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest in Woodstock, N.H., is run in cooperation with the scientists of the Hubbard Brook Ecosystem Study and the U.S. Forest Service’s Northern Research Station and is funded by the National Science Foundation.

The REU program offers a unique undergraduate summer research experience based at the Hubbard Brook Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) site in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. The program emphasizes ecology and ecosystem science through both a research mentorship and an outreach partnership with an outside organization engaged in communicating ecosystem information.

Twelve students from across the country are spending the summer at the Hubbard Brook LTER site in Woodstock. Students work with a research mentor participating in research projects in animal ecology, biogeochemistry, hydrology and soils, and forest vegetation. In addition, students partner with an organization to create a product needed by the organization to communicate ecosystem concepts to a broad audience. Each week the REU program includes evening events related to science projects and science communication.

student research
REU student Kaitlin Friedman studies salamander habitat at the Hubbard Brook Ecological Research site

REU student Audrey Reid said, “I feel so fortunate to have the opportunity to work on a research project in an environment like this. I’m surrounded by top scientists, and get to bounce ideas off of peers who are just as excited about ecology as I am.”

“The program provides a great opportunity to gain first-hand experience in scientific research, as well as emphasizing the importance of scientific policy and communication,” Jordan Jessop, another REU student said. “Without the ability to communicate the importance of the science and form effective public policy, the research is almost meaningless to the public.”

Mary Ann McGarry, Associate Professor of Science Education with the Center for the Environment and HBRF Education Director and one of the coordinators of the REU.
“The bright and motivated students in the program keep everyone on their toes,” said McGarry. “It is a privilege to interact with such engaging young scientists and inquisitive minds.”

“It’s incredibly rewarding to facilitate a program that brings such excellent students together with both a great group of scientists and a number of the non-profits and management agencies active in the stewardship of our region,” said Geoff Wilson, PSU Adjunct Faculty and Undergraduate Research Coordinator for HBRF.

Reid has developed a blog as part of her science communication project,” said Reid. “I’m having a lot of fun putting this blog together. It’s a great chance for me to learn how to communicate science to the public as a whole, while still trying to get across the intricacies of our research projects. It’s a skill I’ll definitely need in the future as a research scientist.”

To follow the activities of the REU students, visit Hubbard Brook blogs . A culminating conference where students will present their work will be held on August 10 at Hubbard Brook and the event is open to the public.

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