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Ducks fly over rough water on the Bay of Green Bay.

Students

The Cofrin Center for Biodiversity employs undergraduate and graduate students as research technicians on a variety of projects each year. This year students are working in the field on several projects including the installation and monitoring of dendrology bands on trees in Mahon Woods on campus and at the Wabikon Forest Plot in the Nicolet National Forest, bird banding and surveying bird populations at Point au Sable, battling invasive plant control in the Cofrin Arboretum and at Toft Point, and conducting preliminary surveys for a restoration effort at Point au Sable. Students are also helping to curate museum specimens and to process and catalog herbarium vouchers.

Interested in joining the team? Projects vary from year to year, but most positions require advanced skills. We especially need students that have good field plant or bird identification skills. Students interested in applying should have taken ecology and at least one advanced field course. Another great way to get learn more about field research and gain experience, especially if you haven't taken any advanced courses, is to become a volunteer.

Stephanie Beilke
Stephanie BelkeI am a new graduate student in the Environmental Science & Policy Master's program at UW-Green Bay. I will be helping the Coastal Wetland Monitoring Crew and the Wabikon Forest Crew this summer. I love birds and I love field work. After graduating from the University of Wisconsin – Madison (B.S., 2007), I worked a variety of field research jobs. I assisted graduate students Wisconsin and Ohio and volunteered with bird banding projects in Wisconsin, Texas, Peru, and Ecuador. My goal is to continue learning about birds and other wildlife and the unique habitats they occupy. I would also like to help educate others about wildlife and spread awareness of environmental and conservation issues.

Lindsey BenderLindsey Bender.
I am a Graduate Student studying Environmental Science & Policy – Ecosystem Studies. I am privileged to be working on several projects through the Cofrin Center for Biodiversity right now. Each of these opportunities has assisted me in learning important skills and building my resume for future employment.  I intend to pursue a doctorate after my time at UWGB, and I know the experience that I gained and the people I met will assist me in continuing toward a successful future. I am a Field Assistant for the Great Lakes Coastal Wetland Monitoring Project under the direction of Dr. Bob Howe. I travel with other crew members to locations around Lake Michigan and Lake Superior doing amphibian and bird surveys in coastal wetlands.  I helped with this project in 2011 and I am helping again in 2012.  It is an excellent opportunity to explore natural areas, gain experience doing field research, and work outdoors with friends. This opportunity allows me to use and develop the skills I learned in many of my field courses at UWGB including wetland ecology, invertebrate biology, entomology, mammalogy, and ornithology. I am continuing research started in 2009 on native snake populations on the UW-Green Bay Arboretum.  I work with fellow graduate student Gary Wauters, and with UW-Green Bay evolutionary biologist Dr. Dan Meinhardt to capture and mark snakes in order to determine habitat usage, population dynamics, and seasonal movement patterns of the three snake species. I am also conducting thesis research on the Wabikon Forest Dynamics Plot examining the relative effects of the herbaceous understory on soil microbial activity.

Cindy BurtleyCindy Burtley.
I am a graduate student in the Environmental Science & Policy program at UW-Green Bay. I will be conducting research in the Wabikon Lake Forest dynamics plot, which is located in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest in northern Wisconsin. I have worked for the US Forest Service, Central Wisconsin Environmental Station, Missouri Ozark Forest Ecosystem Project, leading backpacking and canoeing trips in the upper Midwest. I have five years of ecological consulting work experience focusing on botanical and avian surveys throughout the country. In the future I hope to be doing forest ecology research and restoration.

Chelsea GuntherChelsea Gunther.
I am an undergraduate at UWGB majoring in Biology (Animal Biology emphasis) and minoring in Environmental Science. I am working with a group that will be re-surveying the Mahon Forest Dynamics Plot in the Cofrin Arboretum. We will be measuring all of the trees in a one-hectare area in Mahon Woods. I will also assist researchers at the Wabikon Forest Dynamics Plot in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest in northern Wisconsin this summer. In the office I work with environmental resources specialist Patrick Robinson helping him to organize workshops related to climate change preparedness. I am a contributor to the Cofrin Center for Biodiversity blog and website where I have been writing features on the many of the Center’s projects. I chose this job because I knew I would gain vital work experience and meet many new people. This job has really helped me in directing where I want to go with my career. I'm planning on continuing on with graduate work that will allow me to have a career in science communications and wildlife conservation. I hope to do research in animal behavior and work specifically with dogs.

Dave Lawrence.Dave Lawrence
I received my B.S. from UW-Green Bay in Spring 2012, with a double major in Field Biology and Environmental Science. I am now a graduate student In the Environmental Science and Policy Program at UW-Green Bay and currently hold the Barbara Hauxhurst Graduate assistant ship.  I will be studying larval lake sturgeon in Northeast Wisconsin under the guidance of assistant professor of biology Patrick Forsythe. I served active duty in the Marine Corps, where I was a precision approach RADAR repairman (5953).  I have been a curatorial technician in the Richter Museum of Natural History at UW-Green Bay since 2009. I help prepare and maintain scientific specimens, provide tours of the museum, and help prepare teaching specimens used in field ecology labs for classes like Ornithology and Mammalogy.  
For the last three years I have been working as a field assistant with Richter Museum curator Tom Erdman monitoring bird populations on Cat, Willow, and Lonetree Islands in the Bay of Green Bay and surveying northern goshawks in northeastern Wisconsin. I also assisted in amphibian and avian surveys for the Great Lakes Coastal Wetland Monitoring Project (GLCWMP) in 2011 and 2012. I have taken three travel classes at UW-Green Bay including Costa Rica, Panama, and Ecuador. I have an ongoing independent research project surveying fish assemblages in the Wequiock Creek Estuary at Point Au Sable natural area that is has been funded by Cofrin research grants.  In the first two years I caught over 19,000 fish represented by 36 species, some 16,000 of them were young of the year yellow perch.  I am also doing larval lake sturgeon sampling on the Menominee River, where I am recording the number, size, timing, and location of lake sturgeon drift below the first dam on the river.  I plan on pursuing a PhD in fisheries biology after I complete my Master’s degree, and would like to someday become a college professor, where I can use my knowledge and perspective to mentor future ecologists.

Tom PrestbyTom Prestby.
I am a new Graduate Student working on bird research under Bob Howe. Bird watching has been a major hobby of mine since I was a little boy and throughout my life, I have escalated that hobby into a career. I received my undergraduate degree in Forest and Wildlife Ecology from UW-Madison in 2009 and worked as a bird research technician for the Wisconsin DNR after graduating. Projects included breeding bird surveys in the north woods of Wisconsin, marshbird surveys in wetlands throughout the state, Wisconsin boreal bird surveys including trapping and telemetry with Spruce Grouse, grassland bird nest searching, and grassland bird habitat mapping. I also spent a fall at Whitefish Point Bird Observatory as the fall waterbird migration counter. I look forward to my time at UWGB over the next couple years and would like to work in bird conservation and research upon receiving my Master’s degree.

Nick Walton.Nick Walton
I am a graduate student in the Environmental Science and Policy program at UW-Green Bay. I am currently conducting amphibian and avian surveys for the Great Lakes Coastal Wetland Monitoring Project (GLCWMP), identifying birds in audio recordings for the Birder Certification Online program. I am also conducting bird surveys at Point au Sable Nature Preserve for the Cofrin Center for Biodiversity. My thesis project involves modeling breeding bird species distributions and community habitat associations in the western Great Lakes region.

Jesse Weinzinger.Jesse Weinzinger
I am an undergraduate at UW-Green Bay Biology majoring in Biology and minoring in Environmental Science Minor. I'm especially interested in animal biology. This summer I am conducting amphibian and avian surveys for the Great Lakes Coastal Wetland Monitoring Program and I am also a crew member for the Lake Wabikon Forest Dynamics Plot. I am conducting a Mammal Survey of the Wabikon Lake Forest Dynamics Plot as an independent project with the help of a Cofrin research grant. The objectives of my study are to create a master list of mammal species for the plot and better understand small mammal assemblages using this forest area. Field research is extremely important to me. I feel it will be an invaluable experience that can only benefit me as I pursue a career in biology. My field experience has helped me identify the upper level courses I need to be competitive. I am going to take Mammalogy, Ornithology, GIS, and Field Botany.  I also plan on participating in ecology travel courses at UW-Green Bay. I will be traveling to Costa Rica this winter and I hope to study in Panama and Australia during future expeditions. Once I graduate, I plan on pursuing a Master of Science degree. I believe this type of field experience will greatly benefit me compete more effectively as I apply to graduate schools. I have gained invaluable experience in understanding field methods and techniques by working with faculty and other students.