|Myself and a male black bear in Addison, NY |
February 2012. Photo credit: John Van Niel
But since participating in this class, I've grown to love them for what's inside. And what they do. And how they do it! Black bears are relatively common in NY. They are not found at an even dispersement across the state, and you are not able to hunt them just everywhere yet. But, they are conspicuous and pretty darn cool. So when they ARE around, you know it.
The one part of BBM that I want to share briefly is this project of studying a particular marking behavior that black bears do. If you'd like more information on the specifics, see here and here.
Through a grant that jim Hewlett, a faculty member at FLCC wrote, the Community College Undergraduate Research Initiative through the National Science Foundation was born. CCURI has been influencing undergrads across the nation for the past 2 years, and I was lucky enough to attend the homebase college. CCURI funded not only the class, but funded a trip for my class to attend an area in Massachusetts where these marking behaviors were being documented by a couple of researchers. After that trip, the professor of the course, John, was so excited about what we were learning that he urged us to put a presentation together to share it with others. I ended up being the only student left that following semester (Fall 2011) because everyone else had graduated. That's the problem with community colleges...high rate of turnover! Since that summer, I've presented at the:
From left to right: Barb Dagata, the SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher,
Courtney Stein, and myself at the SUNY Undergraduate Research Syposium.
February 2012 - Photo credit: Beth Van Winkle
Also, back in November, I applied for the National Conference of Undergraduate Research (NCUR) which is being held in La Crosse, WI. I, along with 2 other FLCC students have been accepted to present our work. Melissa is presenting on work she's done in the caribbean monitoring coral reef degradation, and Michael is presenting on methods of river otter scat preservation for future DNA testing. We are all honored and excited to rub elbows with other undergraduates at this prestigous event!