During the early part of July 2017, through the Chincoteague Bay Field Station, Millersville Conservation Biology students conducted a remote camera survey on the Nature Conservancy Brownville Preserve in Nassawadox, Virginia. Students set up cameras along wildlife trails and roads and documented the movements of a number of white-tailed deer, red fox, northern raccoon, Virginia opossum, gray squirrel and wild turkey. Below is a link to a compilation of video footage taken during the survey.
First week down at the Chincoteague Bay Field Station. My Conservation Biology class and I have been seeing a lot of wildlife, especially birds and herps or herptiles (i.e., reptiles and amphibians). We have seen gray and green tree frogs, eastern narrow-mouthed and Fowler’s toads, an eastern hog-nosed snake, Forester’s and royal terns, black skimmers and red-headed woodpeckers. Check out the great pictures taken by Kevin Faccenda of some of these animals. Looking forward to next week.
During her time at Millersville University, Gabrielle Berry (’15) was involved in lab technician work, volunteering for field activities and conducting Field Internships while completing her Environmental Biology degree. In addition, Gabbie was on the Women’s Softball team while focusing on academics. After a number of seasonal positions, Gabbie began graduate school at the University of Southern Mississippi where she is conducting research on turtles. We wish her all the best. Looks like she is enjoying her time with alligators and alligator snapping turtles. Good Luck Gabie!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.