ConBio members get a back stage tour at the Peabody Museum of Natural History.

Conservation Science is a Hot Topic at F&ES

A new scholarship for conservation science leadership has reenergized the community at F&ES. Margaret McCarthy ’82 B.A. and Robert Worth, with their joint passion for the preservation of all things wild, contributed to a fantastic new opportunity for students. The MK McCarthy-RW Worth Scholarship honors two individuals with demonstrated dedication to problem solving and leadership in the conservation realm.

Two 2015 F&ES graduates, Tara Meyer and Danielle Lehle, were key in the creation of this scholarship opportunity. They are also avid conservationists themselves.

Tara is a wildlife biologist with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, where she manages regional wildlife conflict and private lands programs. During her summer at F&ES, she studied snow leopards in the Hissar Mountains of Tajikistan using camera traps and DNA analyses. Tara and her team of local scientists were the first to document snow leopards in the area, and their data contributed key evidence towards the need to protect the region as a vital wildlife connectivity corridor.

Danielle focuses on wildlife and ecosystems in the western US. Over her summer at F&ES, she was a landscape conservation intern with the National Parks Conservation Association. She analyzed easements and land ownership in Yellowstone, plus supported pronghorn migration through the development of a volunteer-based camera-trap study and a fence alteration project.

Conservation science is a broad field that spans multiple disciplines. We, Meredith and Nicole, were humbled and grateful to be the first recipients of this scholarship. Though our individual projects are very different, we are both passionate about improving the future of conservation. Meredith works to resolve the impacts of changing land use on amphibian disease ecology. Nicole works in land conservation and stewardship, particularly with long-distance hiking trails and connectivity corridors.

Together, we help lead Yale’s chapter of the Society for Conservation Biology student interest group (known as “ConBio”). This spring, we have many great opportunities to engage with conservation in its different forms, including: a camera-trapping workshop; a meet & greet with experts at the Wildlife Conservation Society; a series of seminars, called “Talks on the Wild Side”; opportunities to see bears and whales; and a career panel of government, nonprofit, and private sector practitioners.

If any of these events pique your interest, or if you’re an F&ES student who is already working in the conservation field, look out for MK McCarthy-RW Worth Scholarship next year. The application will open in the fall for interested second-year masters students. These events and the scholarship will be posted on the ConBio listserv, which anyone is open to join by emailing meredith.vanacker@yale.edu.

This post was written by Meredith VanAcker and Nicole Wooten