Honors students explore urban ecology

UMSL junior Kristen Deason (left) uses a clinometer to measure a tree's height with the assistance of sophomore Stephanie McDonald. Both are participants in the Campus Honors Environmental Research Program.

UMSL junior Kristen Deason (left) uses a clinometer to measure a tree's height with the assistance of sophomore Stephanie McDonald. Both are participants in the Campus Honors Environmental Research Program.

Students in the Pierre Laclede Honors College at the University of Missouri-St. Louis have begun an ecological survey of a stretch of land on UMSL’s South Campus and the adjacent St. Vincent Park.

With the summer launch of the Campus Honors Environmental Research Program, the young ecologists are determining the flora and fauna that inhabit the 75 acres of woodland. Students already have identified 35 species of birds and other vertebrates, and a report summarized the land’s human use history since before European settlement. CHERP will provide data concerning restoration and the best future use of this “wild” area. Research results will be shared with St. Louis County Parks.

“The CHERP courses in urban ecology are intended mainly for non-science majors, while science majors in the honors college are encouraged to undertake supervised individual field research projects,” said Robert Bliss, dean of the college. Bliss said the “honors college does not monopolize the site” and he welcomes the interest of UMSL’s science departments and College of Education. Call 314-516-6874 for more information.

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