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National Park Service News Release


Contact(s):   Gerry Gaumer, National Park Service, 202-208-4993

Judy Raichek, Canon U.S.A., 516-328-5186


Canon National Parks Science Scholars Help National Parks Through Research

Program Names Fifth Class of Ph.D. Scholarship Recipients and Announces Program Expansion to International Scope

For Immediate Release -02/20/02

WASHINGTON - Now in its fifth year, the Canon National Parks Science Scholars Program named eight new recipients today among the country's best graduate students in the environmental sciences. The scholarship program is a collaboration among Canon U.S.A., Inc., the National Park Service (NPS), and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). This prestigious Ph.D. scholarship program is the first and only of its kind to encourage doctoral students to conduct innovative research on scientific problems critical to the national parks.

"I am thrilled to welcome the most recent Canon Scholars into the program and look forward to the results of their research," said NPS Director Fran Mainella. "The research conducted by these young scientists is vital to the preservation and understanding of national park resources.

The eight winning students are: Elizabeth Brusati, University of California, Davis; Andy Bunn, Montana State University; Emily Donald, Columbia University; Robert Hale, University of Oklahoma; Ruth Lambert, University of New Mexico; Wendy Palen, University of Washington; Susan Rupp, Texas Tech University; and Blake Suttle, University of California, Berkeley.

For winning one of the most coveted scholarships in conservation and the environmental sciences, each student will receive $75,000 over three years to complete his or her degree. Their research and findings will be applied to the contemporary and vital challenges facing the long-term preservation of the National Park System.

Starting in 2002, the Canon National Parks Science Scholars Program intends to expand its scope to include students working on behalf of national parks throughout the Americas. In announcing this expansion and Canon's additional contribution of 3 million dollars over 4 years, Canon Executive Vice President and General Counsel Seymour Liebman said, "We are proud to be a founder of this program that so strongly supports developing new scientists whose careers will focus on conserving our nation's natural resources. We look forward to an exciting future as the Program expands beyond U.S. borders to benefit the countries of the Americas."

The Canon National Parks Science Scholars Program was established in 1997 to develop the next generation of scientists working in the fields of conservation, environmental science and park management. Students are chosen from four disciplines: biological sciences, physical sciences, social/cultural sciences, or technology innovation. Since the program first began, students have conducted research in more than 45 national parks, and published and presented over 55 scientific articles and presentations.

"There is an enormous need to understand how the natural and cultural resources of the national parks can be preserved in a developing world. The key to understanding and protecting our natural and cultural resources is the concept of parks for science and science for parks," said Mike Soukup, Associate Director of the NPS.

Canon U.S.A., Inc., is one of the largest corporate supporters of the environment. For more than 30 years, Canon has championed programs that promote conservation, environmental education and the protection of endangered species and their habitats. Since 1995, Canon has given millions of dollars to conservation and scholarship programs in national parks. Canon U.S.A.'s commitment to the environment stems from the philosophy of its Japanese corporate parent, Canon Inc. This philosophy of kyosei, which means "living and working together for the common good," serves as the guiding principle of all of Canon's workplace conservation and recycling activities as well as its philanthropic giving.

AAAS is the premier scientific organization in the United States. They are committed to the Canon National Parks Science Scholars Program and to furthering the research efforts of these young scientists. The AAAS is a nonprofit professional society dedicated to fostering scientific freedom and responsibility, improving the effectiveness of science in the promotion of human welfare, advancing education in science and increasing the public's understanding and appreciation of the promise of scientific methods in human progress.

The National Park Service is composed of more than 20,000 Rangers, Biologists, Historians, Geologists and other Professionals who care for America's 385 National Parks and other special places so that everyone today and in the future can experience America's history and beauty.

For more information on the Canon National Parks Science Scholars Program, contact Dr. Gary Machlis, Canon National Parks Science Scholars Program Coordinator, Natural Resources Stewardship and Science, National Park Service, 1849 C Street, NW, MIB-3217, Washington, D.C. 20240; telephone: (202) 208-5391; or email: gmachlis@uidaho.edu.

-NPS-

Editor's Note: Biographies on the 2001 class of Canon National Parks Science Scholars are attached.

2001 Canon National Parks Science Scholars

Elizabeth Brusati is an ecology student at the University of California, Davis. She will be working in Point Reyes National Seashore and other sites in central California. Her research will examine interactions between introduced species in salt marshes, focusing on impacts caused by Atlantic cordgrass (Spartina alterniflora).

Andy Bunn is a student at Montana State University. He is studying the relationship between tree-line forests and climate change over time scales of decades to centuries. He will be combining paleoecology with high-resolution satellite imagery to create a computer model of treeline dynamics. He will be conducting fieldwork in Sequoia, Yosemite, and Yellowstone National Parks. He presented preliminary data at the Fall 2001 meeting of the American Geophysical Union.

Emily Donald is an archaeology student at Columbia University. She will be studying prehistoric musical instruments, architecture and settlement patterns, and iconography to examine music and performance in the prehistoric American Southwest. She will conduct research at Pecos National Historical Park and the NPS western Archaeological and Conservation Center. Her typology of instruments will provide a reference for archaeologists. Her observations will contribute to our understanding of prehistoric societies, and provide material for park interpretive exhibits.

Robert Hale is a student at the School of Meteorology at the University of Oklahoma. He will be studying the effects of the widespread Greater Yellowstone Area fires of 1988 on regional soil moisture. By using a model of land-atmosphere interactions, he will attempt to quantify the direct consequences of the fire-induced land cover changes, and how these direct effects may lead to atmospheric feedbacks that alter long-term soil moisture.

Ruth Lambert is a student at the University of New Mexico. She will be conducting research on prehistoric agriculture and settlement at Wupatki National monument through the study of small sites, generally considered to be field houses. During excavations, architectural, artifactual, botanical, and soils data will be collected to determine how the structures were used and to understand the chronological relationships between small sites and large habitation sites. Once analyses of these sites are completed, data will be evaluated against models to better understand prehistoric settlement.

Wendy Palen is studying how increased exposure to ultraviolet radiation may affect the distribution and dynamics of amphibians that breed in exposed alpine ponds within Olympic National Park. Her research will explore how complex changes in historical and future climate regimes may affect amphibians within the park. Wendy is a student of zoology at the University of Washington.

Susan Rupp is a student at Texas Tech University. She is studying landscape and wildlife ecology in the Jemez Mountains of north central New Mexico. Her research focuses on the development of a model to simulate movement and distribution of Rocky Mountain elk (Cervus elaphus nelsoni) in relation to post-fire vegetation recovery occurring after the 2000 Cerro Grande Fire at Bandelier National Monument. The model will be used as a predictive tool to assess the impacts of various management decisions on elk populations.

Blake Suttle is a student at the University of California, Berkeley. He is examining the effects of climate change in northern California grassland communities. He will be experimentally manipulating seasonal rainfall levels in sample plots of prairies at Redwood National and State Parks and the Angelo Coast Range Reserve. He will use the resulting data to test the predictions of leading climate change models, and measure effects on the grassland plants, herbivores, detritvores, and predators.

2001 Honorable Mention Awards

The following students received an Honorable Mention Award of $2000 each.

Scott Bretthauer, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Diane Cotente Curewitz, Washington State University Eric DeChaine, University of Colorado James A. Goodman, University of California, Davis Amber Jessen Keyser, University of Georgia Ashley B. Morris, University of Florida Lara Rachowicz, University of California, Berkeley

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