Brennan Wilkins '22 is a Conservation Ambassador!

Congratulations to Brennen Wilkins '22 who has been accepted to join the 2020-2021 Conservation Ambassador Program!

Brennan will be working virtually with teens from around the state. The traditional CAP is being replaced this year with a modified, non-residential program, which will include virtual field studies led by UConn faculty and graduate students during the week of July 20-24, facilitated online group and individual activities, at-home outdoor and online investigations, and a local community conservation project. 

The Conservation Ambassador Program is part of the University of Connecticut's Natural Resources Conservation Academy (NRCA), an innovative program in conservation and land use planning that engages Connecticut high school students, adult conservation volunteers, and teachers with conservation efforts at the community level.  NRCA sponsors three interconnected efforts: Conservation Ambassador Program, Conservation Training Partnerships, and Teacher Professional Learning.  The programs benefit students and adults by conducting education on natural resource management and geospatial technology and facilitating the use of these new skills in the implementation of local conservation projects that benefit the community.

Brennan is a sophomore day student from Kent. An avid birder for many years, he is an active member of the Marvelwood ornithology program.  Last summer, he assisted Science Department Chair Laurie Doss in maintaining and monitoring Purple Martin colonies throughout the area. 

Marvelwood students have participated in NRCA programs for over a decade.  In 2018, Maddie Malinowski '21 partnered with Science Department Chair Laurie Doss in the Conservation Training Partnerships. For their project, they worked with the Kent Land Trust to create an ESRI Story Map of the Land Trust's Audrey and Robert Tobin Preserve: Birding the Audrey and Robert Tobin Preserve.  Maddie's Story Map went on to win first place in the High School Division in the CT Maps Competition!  Read more.

In 2019, Aiden Cherniske '23 began an independent study project to help raise awareness about bats in the northwest corner of Connecticut.  As part of UConn’s Conservation Training Partnership (CTP), Aiden also partnered with Science Department Chair Laurie Doss as his mentor, working in conjunction with the Kent Land Trust.  Aiden and Ms. Doss surveryed bat species found in six locations representing different habitats and elevations within the town of Kent and on Kent Land Trust Properties.  Bat species were recorded using a Wildlife Acoustics Echo Meter Touch 2 PRO Handheld Bat Detector.  The CTP project took an interesting detour, however, when state wildlife rehabilitators asked for help photographing a bat to confirm species identification.  Using macro-photography techniques, Aiden was able to help federal wildlife officials confirm that the bat in rehabilitation was indeed a federally threatened Northern Long-Eared Bat (Myotis septentrionalis).  It was the first time in almost ten years that biologists have confirmed breeding in the state.  Read more