Environmental groups help increase lake sturgeon population in upstate waters

Cornell’s own Department of Natural Resources recently collaborated with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) in order to help restore and increase the population of lake sturgeon, specifically in upstate areas. The collaborative effort has already seen results, with there being sturgeon caught that were too young to have been stocked, implying that the sturgeon are successfully reproducing. While there is still a long way to go, it’s good to see that progress is indeed being made. Read more about this project here!


Also, check out some pictures of the sturgeon below!

Tom Brooking with a naturally reproduced lake sturgeon caught in Oneida Lake during standard fish sampling by the Cornell Biological Field Station personnel

Tony VanDeValk and Kathy Gumtow holding a mature sturgeon from Oneida Lake. The fish was released unharmed.

Dr. Karim-Aly S. Kassam co-curates an exhibit with Johnson Museum of Art

The Johnson Museum of Art recently showed an exhibit entitled “We All Live Together” from October 21st to the 27th. It was co-curated by Andrew Weislogel and Dr. Karim-Aly Kassam as a part of Dr. Kassam’s class “Ways of Knowing: Indigenous and Local Ecological Knowledge (NTRES-AIS-AMST 3330/6330).”

Dr. Kassam co-curates an exhibit each year with the Museum, and every year it is based on a specific, unique, in-class theme. This exhibit was the fifth collaboration between Dr. Kassam and the Museum.

Students explore the “We All Live Together” exhibit at the Johnson Museum:

Dr. Amanda Rodewald to chair EPA Science Advisory Board Panel

Dr. Amanda D. Rodewald who is the Director of Conservation Science at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology as well as an Associate Professor for the Department of Natural Resources will be chairing an Environmental Protection Agency Science Advisory Board (EPA SAB) Panel. The EPA SAB panel is for the review of the EPA draft report Connectivity of Streams and Wetlands to Downstream Waters: A Review and Synthesis of the Scientific Evidence. The outcome of the review will have critical effects, as it relates the jurisdiction of both the EPA and the Clean Water Act. Since the report has such important regulatory and economic impacts, it is already gaining the attention of Congress, the White House, and the public.

More information can be learned about this specific EPA SAB Panel here.

Saving Hemlocks from the Woolly Adelgid

The woolly adelgid, an invasive insect that kills native hemlock trees, has been plaguing the area around Cayuga Lake for years. In an effort to stop the woolly adelgid, the beetle Laricobius nigrinus is being used as a biocontrol method. Recently, Mark Whitmore, a member of the Cornell Department of Natural Resources and entomologist, released 800 of these beetles into the VanRiper Conservation Area in the hopes of reducing the woolly adelgid population there. Along with this biocontrol method, the Cornell Plantations are working with the Finger Lakes Land Trust to apply insecticides to the hemlocks until the introduced beetle population develops fully.

The full article can be read here through the Finger Lakes Land Trust website.

Master Naturalist Volunteers Participate in Hurricane Sandy Restoration and Monitoring Project

With support of an Engaged Learning Faculty Fellowship, Kristi Sullivan, Director of the New York Master Naturalist Volunteer Program, along with Meghan Hilbert (CALS ’13), led a group of Master Naturalists on a 3-day engaged learning trip to Long Island, NY. Working alongside Fire Island Seashore’s National Park Service scientists, Kristi, Meg, and volunteers used GPS techniques to map and monitor shoreline breaches from hurricane waters and to inventory the area’s recovering vegetation. Michael Bilecki, Chief of Resources Management at the NPS Fire Island Seashore, said, “the work completed was work we could not have expected to ever get accomplished without the help provided.” The weekend also included marine restoration activities, with the planting of eelgrass in collaboration with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County’s Marine Meadows program. Together, the Master Naturalist volunteers and Marine Meadows representatives constructed over 350 planting units, which will add over 3,500 eelgrass plants to the coastal waters of the Peconic Estuary.

The New York Master Naturalist Volunteer Program develops natural resource stewards and empowers them to educate others in their communities, monitor for environmental change, and participate in on-the-ground conservation projects. Each year, volunteers contribute over 800 hours to vital projects such as wildlife monitoring, invasive species control, and habitat restoration. The service-learning weekend on Fire Island resulted in significant improvements to local habitat restoration and monitoring efforts, and volunteers were exposed to a myriad of different learning opportunities and hands-on management techniques. While building skills in various conservation field methods, Master Naturalist volunteers learned about the impact of the storm on local biodiversity, the importance of coastal resilience, especially in a new era of higher magnitude weather events, and the dangers of invasive species. One volunteer summed up the weekend’s expedition, saying “it was great to be part of team of volunteers and accomplish large tasks. The experience exceeded expectations – I did not expect to learn so much and have so much fun doing it.”

Cornell’s Environmentalists Take DC!

Last week, some of Cornell’s PhD and graduate students attended the North American Association for Environmental Education meetings in Baltimore, Maryland. A picture of those in the Department of Natural Resources who attended and presented can be seen below!

Names and presentations from left: Santi Saypanya (social marketing campaign for tiger conservation in Laos); Eunju Lee (village grove restoration in South Korea); Zahra Golshani (U IL, Nature Cleaners civic ecology practice in Iran); Olivia Aguilar (Dennison University, community environmental education); Kendra Liddicoat (U WI-Stevens Point); Marianne Krasny (DNR faculty, practice theory and civic ecology, EPA’s national environmental education program), Yue Li (social network analysis in environmental education); Alex Kudryavtsev (accessing environmental education research for practitioners). Missing from photo DNR PhD student Phil Silva (DIY science for public-access monitoring).

New Book: Citizen Science: 15 Lessons That Bring Biology to Life, 6-12

In an effort to bring accessible scientific learning and research opportunities to the general public a form of “citizen science” has been developed. Dr. Nancy Trautmann, the Director of Education at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, worked with Jennifer Fee, Terry Tomasek, and NancyLee Bergey as an editor for Citizen Science: 15 Lessons That Bring Biology to Life, 6-12. Citizen Science is geared towards middle school and high school teachers. The book includes 15 case studies that present specific ways to build citizen science data collection and analysis into your science teaching.

Read the full article here!
Purchase the book here!

NTRES Awards!

Congratulations are in order for both Patrick J. Sullivan and Daniel Joseph Decker!

Dr. Sullivan was recently awarded the 2013 College of Agriculture and Life Sciences’ Research and Extension Award for Outstanding Accomplishments in Science and Public Policy, which honors an individual who is able to implement scientific research into the fields of public policy and or management. Dr. Decker was honored with the 2013 College of Agriculture and Life Sciences’ Research and Extension Award for Outstanding Service to the CALS Community, which recognizes an individual who has exhibited leadership in a specific role such as a chair or leader of a task force or program.

Both will be presented with their awards at a reception that will be held on Monday, November 4, from 4-6 PM in Biotech G10.