The Philip L Wright Memorial Research Awards are offered to encourage student-initiated research in wildlife-related subjects, and to support what might be their initial effort at field research. In 2014 the awards committee received proposals from 4 University of Montana undergraduate students and 4 graduate students for studies of birds (2), mammals (4), fish (1), and insects (1). We made the following awards:
- Sara Berk, a graduate student, $815 to study consequences of nest box placement for post-fledgling period and adult condition in Mountain Bluebirds.
- Bennett Bursick, a junior, $894 to study effects of wildfire on terrestrial subsidies to stream food web dynamics in the Bitterroot basin.
- Jason Hanlon, a junior, $900 to study how small mammals change along a gradient of grazing intensity on a Nature Conservancy ranch.
- Tyler Kelly, a senior, $540 to determine Mountain Plover corticosterone levels induced by breeding habitat characteristics.
In accordance with established tradition, the recipients will report how they used the grants and the results of their investigations at a Five Valleys Audubon meeting early in 2015.
In the 34 year history of these research grants, Five Valleys Audubon has awarded $32,541.50 to 72 recipients. Awards have averaged $452 and subjects studied have varied across the natural realm: birds (33), plants/habitat (17), mammals (10), amphibians (7), insects (6), fish (3).
by Bill Gabriel