N.C. State University to participate in the Doris Duke Conservation Scholars Program

In mid-September, the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation announced $4.5 million in grants to launch the Doris Duke Conservation Scholars Program at universities across the country – including a $1.5 million grant to the University of Florida, of which North Carolina State University is a part.

The program will provide undergraduate students with training and mentored research activities in conservation biology and other disciplines relevant to land, water and wildlife conservation.

At N.C. State, the program will be located in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and will be led by Dr. Harry Daniels, Interim Head of the Department of Applied Ecology and Drs. Tom Kwak and Jaime Collazo at the U.S. Geological Survey and N.C. Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit. A key feature of the multi-year program is the opportunity for students to work alongside conservation researchers and professionals who have agreed to serve as mentors. These research experiences and additional activities that feature extensive time outdoors in nature are designed to inspire students as well as solidify their interest in conservation science and graduate programs that can lead to a career in conservation. Students will also be exposed to career options in conservation, including through interactions with people from underrepresented communities currently working in the conservation field.

“More than ever, the conservation field needs to increase its efforts to attract, train and employ individuals from communities that today are largely absent from the conservation workforce,” said Andrew Bowman, director of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation Environment Program.

“The ultimate objective of the Doris Duke Conservation Scholars Program is to foster an increase in the number of undergraduate students from groups currently underrepresented in the conservation workforce who choose to pursue studies and a career in conservation. To that end, the program will serve students who not only have a budding academic interest in conservation but are also committed to increasing the diversity of students and professionals in the conservation field,” Bowman added.

In addition to NC State and University of Florida, the program and partnership includes Cornell University, University of Idaho, and the University of Arizona. Students will be recruited from those five institutions.

The mission of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation is to improve the quality of people’s lives through grants supporting the performing arts, environmental conservation, medical research and the prevention of child abuse and neglect and through preservation of the cultural and environmental legacy of Doris Duke’s properties. The DDCF Environment Program enables communities to protect and manage wildlife habitat and create efficient built environments.

Questions about the Doris Duke Conservation Scholars Program Partnership between NC State and the University of Florida should be directed to John P. Hayes at the University of Florida, 352-392-1784, hayesj@ufl.edu

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