Tom Gavin’s Recent Trip to Taiwan

Robin and Tom Gavin (Professor Emeritus) recently returned from a month-long visit to Taiwan.  Tom was invited by his former grad student, Hsiao-wei Yuan, to participate in the 6th annual Biodiversity, Agriculture, and Culture of Taiwan (BACT) course.  The course is for undergraduates and lasts four weeks.  Students heard numerous lectures from faculty at National Taiwan University (NTU) on campus, but spent at least half the time traveling to museums, experimental farms and forests, biodiversity institutes, volcanoes, earthquake sites, coastal zones, marine research facilities, etc. where they were guided by local experts.  This year, the course contained 25 students from Taiwan, China, and the United States.  The entire course was given in English.

Tom gave several lectures and was the resident faculty advisor to students.  Taiwan treats foreign academic visitors extremely well, so the Gavins had a fantastic experience and learned a great deal about this beautiful country and its culture.  We hope that this will become an annual event for us.  In addition, NTU’s faculty is excellent; I met several who received their Ph.D. from Cornell.

Any DNR undergrads who might be interested in this June-July course in 2013 may contact Jack Hsu at

Dan Decker to Co-chair Special Session of the78th North American in 2013

Daniel Decker, chair of the Human Dimensions Research Unit, will co-chair a Special Session at the 78th North American. He and Ann Forstchen of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission will be facilitating this session entitled Do Public Trust Responsibilities Really Matter? This conference will be held March 25-30, 2013. Visit the Wildlife Management Institute’s page to read more about this special session.

Fernow Renovation Update 6-29-12

The framing for the new classroom is up:








The framing has started on the ground floor, this picture is looking south west:








The foundation waterproofing is complete and the terracing outside the southeast offices is in place.  Each terrace will be planted.








This is the first floor entryway facing east with the main entrance (facing Tower Road) on the right and the main office on the left.  The archway on the right was one of the original features of Fernow:








This is the new Bernhard’s Parlor, in the same location as the former one.  This will only be a breakroom, the copy/mailroom will be across the hall.








This is the second floor hallway facing east:











…and the second floor hallway facing west.








A typical faculty office.











A typical conference room, there will be one on each floor (a bit smaller on the ground and third floors):








A third floor corner office (Grad offices and Associates offices):

Jennifer Shirk first Author on Ecology and Society Paper

Cornell Lab of Ornithology staff member Jennifer Shirk is the first author on a recent Ecology and Society Paper. The paper is titled Public Participation in Scientific Research: a Framework for Deliberate Design. Click here to view the whole paper.


“Members of the public participate in scientific research in many different contexts, stemming from traditions as varied as participatory action research and citizen science. Particularly in conservation and natural resource management contexts, where research often addresses complex social–ecological questions, the emphasis on and nature of this participation can significantly affect both the way that projects are designed and the outcomes that projects achieve. We review and integrate recent work in these and other fields, which has converged such that we propose the term public participation in scientific research (PPSR) to discuss initiatives from diverse fields and traditions. We describe three predominant models of PPSR and call upon case studies suggesting that—regardless of the research context—project outcomes are influenced by (1) the degree of public participation in the research process and (2) the quality of public participation as negotiated during project design. To illustrate relationships between the quality of participation and outcomes, we offer a framework that considers how scientific and public interests are negotiated for project design toward multiple, integrated goals. We suggest that this framework and models, used in tandem, can support deliberate design of PPSR efforts that will enhance their outcomes for scientific research, individual participants, and social–ecological systems.”