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 2015 the awards committee received proposals from ten University of Montana undergraduate students, mostly juniors, for studies of birds (3), mammals (1), amphibians (1), fish (1), insects (1), and habitat (3). We made the following awards:
- Ian Anderson, a junior, $1,000 to study the relative suitability of substrate used by spawning arctic grayling in the Red Rocks Lakes drainage.
- Jennifer Nelson, a senior, $1,000 to study nest boxes as a potential ecological trap for Mountain Bluebirds.
- Stefan Nickells, a senior, $383 to study mutualistic interactions within a pollinator-plant community in the Missoula valley.
- Kaitlyn Reintsma, a junior, $500 to test the effectiveness of a novel approach to estimate nest density of Brewer’s Sparrows.
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 2016.
In the 35 year history of these research grants, Five Valleys Audubon has awarded $35,424.50 to 76 recipients. Awards have averaged $466 and subjects studied have varied across the natural realm: birds (35), plants/habitat (17), mammals (10), amphibians (7), insects (7), fish (4).
by Bill Gabriel