Two Students win EPA STAR Fellowships

Department of Natural Resources graduate students Darrick Nighthawk Evensen (Cornell DNR M.S. 2011) and Christine Moskell (Cornell DNR M.S. 2012) were each awarded an EPA Science to Achieve Results (STAR) Graduate Fellowship in the Social Sciences program area. According to the EPA, the goal of this fellowship is “to encourage promising students to obtain advanced degrees and pursue careers in an environmental field. This goal is consistent with the mission of EPA, which is to provide leadership in the nation’s environmental science, research, education, assessment, restoration, preservation, pollution prevention and sustainability efforts.” In 2012, over 1500 graduate students applied for 80 fellowships across 19 program areas

Christine (advisor: Dr. Shorna Allred) and Darrick (advisor: Dr. Richard Stedman) are both PhD students in the Human Dimensions Research Unit.

Here is a summary of Darrick’s research project, titled “Linking social representations of natural gas development to community sustainability in the USA and Canada“:

While unconventional natural gas development presents a potentially lucrative opportunity to bolster the US economy, support energy independence, and revitalize depressed regions, it also threatens community sustainability. Darrick will examine the influence of individual and community-level factors on actions that support sustainable development, thereby facilitating identification and assessment of actions communities can take to promote sustainability.

Here is a summary of Christine’s research project, titled “An Examination of Citizen Participation and Procedural Fairness in Large-Scale Urban Tree Planting Initiatives in the United States.”:

“Cities across the U.S. are planting millions of trees, and local governments are relying on residents to help maintain the trees. However, residents are not always consulted before trees are planted and thus, they may view the plantings as unfair due to the financial cost and physical burden related to tree maintenance. This research examines the relationship between residents’ perceptions of the procedural fairness of urban tree planting initiatives and their attitudes toward, and intention to steward, newly planted trees.”


Check out the article in the Online Cornell Chronicle at

Surf clam population in Long Island Sound

Associate professor in DNR, Matt Hare, has been studying the surf clam population in the Long Island Sound. The results were unexpected.

The well-known northern variety (S.s. solidissima) can be found in the Sound, which is a major harvesting area. The lesser-known southern variety (S.s. similis) can also be found there. This discovery was made last year and could potentially impact the clamming industry’s yields.

Research is now being done to try to figure out how and when the southern variety came to the Sound, since it prefers warm-weather. Hare is also seeing whether hybridization is happening between the two subspecies and whether there are other populations of the southern variety (S.s. similis) in the area.


Associate professor in DNR, Shorna Broussard Allred,  extension associate Gretchen Ferenz, and extension specialist Keith Tidball are also working on projects in New York City.

Tidball is helping to lead research of the MillionTreesNYC project. This initiative is focusing on planting a million trees across the five boroughs of New York City in 10 years. The project involves 100 researchers and practitioners, partnering with the David R. Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future.

Broussard Allred and Ferenz are a part of the Urban Forestry Community Engagement project, which focuses on education residents in areas of Brooklyn about the importance of trees.


Read more about projects in NYC  in CALS News.