All posts by Aaron Haines

Millersville Wildlife Field Day Workshop

On April 14th, 2017, Millersville University held its first ever Wildlife Field Day Workshop just for Millersville students.  The field day event consisted of 3 workshops: fur-trapping, archery and wildlife forensics.  These workshops were put on by Professionals from the PA Game Commission and the PA Trappers Association.

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Commonwealth of University Biologists Annual Meeting

On April 2017, Millersville University was well represented at the Pennsylvania Commonwealth of University Biologists Annual Meeting.  This organization provides support for teaching and research activities of faculty in the biological sciences from the fourteen state-owned universities in the State System of Higher Education in Pennsylvania (PASSHE). Its activities have included scientific meetings, symposia and institutes for the enhancement of the professional development of its members and associates. It also provides a forum for graduate and undergraduate students for the presentation of their research.  At this forum, Millersville Students did a great job of presenting their research and won multiple awards, including first place at the Biology Quiz Bowl Event.

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Millersville University, Now A New Hawk Watch Site

The Millersville University Biology Department and Meteorology Program began a joint project of a hawk watch count on the Millersville University campus in collaboration with Dr. Laurie Goodrich, Raptor Biologist with the Hawk Mountain Observatory (http://www.hawkmountain.org/).  Hawk count sites have been collecting data on migrating hawks for years.  They use long-term migration databases to monitor changes in raptor (i.e., hawks, eagles, osprey, vultures and falcons) populations.  Monitoring raptor populations is important because raptors are sensitive bioindicators at the top of food chains, and changes in the numbers of raptors reflect changes in the health of the environment. All student count data is uploaded to a national database at, www.hawkcount.org.  In addition, results are recorded on the Trektellan international bird migration count database, http://www.trektellen.nl/?language=english&.

The real exciting news is that Millersville University students can keep track of these raptors as they fly over campus in real time.  The Millersville University Hawk Count project can be found on the Dunkadoo webpage, https://dunkadoo.org/project/millersville-hawk-count .  By following the link to this project, all students can see what birds of prey have flown over campus, up to the minute, and be able to see hawk count statistics gathered on campus.  Pictures below by Kevin Faccenda.

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Millersville Students Present at The Pennsylvania Chapter of the Wildlife Society.

On April 1st,  Millersville Biology students attended the 40th annual meeting of the Pennsylvania Chapter of the Wildlife Society (PATWS) at Lake Rayburn, PA.  Alex Sandercock, Kayli Thomas and Delaney Costante presented their research on  quantifying threats to endangered and threatened species over time, and Tyler Bridgehouse presented his work on using noninvasive dye markings to mark and identify individual small mammals for research.  In addition, Rochelle Jones and Halie Parker won travel awards through the PATWS to attend the meeting.

Dr. Haines began the morning symposium with his talk on Facing Conservation Challenges of the 21st Century.  Support for travel to this conference came from the Hummelstown Field & Stream Association.

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Rare Bird Sightings

During Millersville Ornithology Labs, we have been able to get a couple of views at some nice birds.  The bottom picture below is of an uncommon Bonaparte’s Gull spotted along the Susquehanna River and we even spotted a pair of mating Peregrine Falcons at Safe Harbor Dam.

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Millersville Endangered Species Team Meets with the College of William and Mary in Washington D.C.

On January 28th,  Millersville students Alex Sandercock, Delaney Costante and Kayli Thomas met with students from the College of William & Mary University to discuss the development of a database that outlines threats for all federally listed threatened and endangered species.  This was a productive meeting that went into the biological and political complexities of how species are determined to be in need of federal protection.  Students are now progressing forward with this project and are conducting a validation analysis of their current database.

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Millersville Squirrel Patrol Committee

For the last few winters, the Millersville squirrel patrol committee has been busy on campus helping to control the population of problem squirrels.  Thanks to their efforts, complaints about squirrels jumping out of garbage cans, entering dorm rooms and chasing students has declined.  Many are calling these efforts some of the most productive on campus.  Below are images of the committee at work.

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Conservation Biology Class with Director/Producer Sylvia Rokab

On November 21st, The Millersville Conservation Biology Class had the opportunity to attend the Premier of a brand new documentary entitled ‘Love Thy Nature’.  Click on the following URL to get more information on this excellent film http://www.lovethynature.com/.  The next day, the Director of the documentary, Sylvia Rokab, visited the Conservation Biology Class in person and lead the class in discussions about conservation issues and what students can do to make a difference.  This was a great opportunity for students to share their experiences and thoughts about conservation issues and discuss solutions for the large conservation challenges of the future.

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Sylvia Rokab with the Millersville University Conservation Biology Class

 

Millersville Biology Students Help at Elk Check Station

On November 2nd 2016, Millersville Biology students (Bernard Hopewell, Halie Parker, Maggie Wallner and Brendan Miller) helped out at the Pennsylvania Game Commission Elk Check Station in Benezette, PA.  Under the guidance of Elk Biologist Jeremy Banfield and Wildlife Veterinarian Justin Brown, students helped with weighting and aging elk. Students also learned how to take samples and check for diseases such as Tuberculosis, Meningeal worms and Chronic Wasting Disease.  This was a great learning experience provided by great Professionals at the Pennsylvania Game Commission.  Funds for Millersville student travel were provided by the Hummelstown Shooting Association and Field and Stream Association.

Millersville Students Working at Elk Check Station
Millersville Students Working at Elk Check Station