ANGELA K. FULLER received the Award of Professional Excellence from the University of Maine, Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Conservation Biology. The award is in recognition of outstanding and long-term contributions to the wildlife profession and the conservation and management of natural resources.
On May 12th, Paul Curtis received thanks from Jessica Williams, 6th Grade Teacher at Newark Valley Central School, for his collaboration with three 6th grade boys and recognition in the following article she submitted to the local Newark Valley newspaper:
Congratulations to 6th graders Collin Creeley, Riley Malone and Joshua Post! The boys placed 1st at the State level in a National science competition’s 6th grade division. eCYBERMISSION is a web-based Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics competition for 6th, 7th, 8th and 9th grade teams. Each team proposes a solution to a real problem in their community and then competes for State, Regional and National Awards. This type of ‘real world’ problem solving challenges students to explore how Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics work in the world.
Collin, Riley and Josh chose to explore the deliberate extermination of coyotes as these animals move into suburban and even urban areas of New York. The boys hypothesized that the killing of these animals was done out of ignorance and fear. They designed an experiment in which they measured children’s feelings of fear and tendency toward acts of violence against coyotes and then educated these same children about the animals in general. After the intervention (the education about coyotes) they found that students’ feels of fear and tendency toward aggressive behavior against the animals significantly dropped. This has interesting implications for wildlife management but also has broader reaching implications for human behavior in general.
In addition to a tremendous amount of reading related to the coyote population and what impact their deliberate extermination has on the eco-system, the boys also collaborated with internationally renowned coyote expert, Paul D. Curtis. Dr. Curtis serves as Extension Wildlife Specialist in the Department of Natural Resources at Cornell University. His applied research and extension programs have focused on reducing human-wildlife conflicts in agricultural and suburban landscapes. His work includes community-based wildlife management issues and public policy education. Dr. Curtis was a tremendous asset to our students and was a wonderfully supportive and encouraging guide and the students were so grateful for his input. The boys engaged in skype meetings with Dr. Curtis and communicated with him via email.
All three boys have received college scholarships for their 1st place win and are thrilled with their accomplishment.