Monday, April 14, 2014

The Goodwin-Niering Center for the Environment has plans for Knox Preserve

By Cian Fields and Marina Stuart

The Goodwin-Niering Center for the Environment is a prestigious interdisciplinary certificate program at Connecticut College in New London. Students in the program come from a wide range of academic backgrounds and work to tackle challenging sustainability and ecological issues through a research-based project on an environmental topic of their own choosing. The Center provides a series of seminars for the students as a foundation for them to build off of for their individual research project. For the sophomore Goodwin-Niering students, the seminar focuses upon land management and conservation.
Native plants from last year's projects at Knox Preserve.

Avalonia Land Conservancy is now in its second year of partnership with the Goodwin-Niering Center sophomore students. It is through this partnership that the students are able to complete mini land management projects as hands-on practice of what they learn in the sophomore seminar. This symbiotic relationship provides Avalonia with additional volunteers to help further management projects on the preserves, while simultaneously allowing for the students to gain invaluable experience as they plan and implement their own mini projects on the land.
In depth discussion of the students’ projects for Avalonia will be forthcoming, but here is a brief introduction to each of the students and their project:

Olivia Rabbit and Aly Cheney:

Aly and Olivia will be planting native plant species along a 30-foot section of stone wall near the entrance to Knox Preserve. They’re choosing plants based upon aesthetics and what will attract pollinators to the area.

Matt Luciani and Maia Draper-Reich:

Maia and Matt will be working at Dodge Paddock preserve where they’ll focus on rebuilding the dune vegetation that was knocked out by Hurricane Sandy.

Jessica Wright and Natalie:

Natalie and Jess will be tackling a particularly difficult corner of Knox Preserve. They’ll be looking to de-root invasive species, such as Tree of Heaven and Bittersweet, and utilize that dead invasive to create a large brush pile that will benefit wildlife until native species can be re-established.

Anna Marshall and Caitlin Persa:

Caitlin and Anna will be evaluating the best spots in Knox Preserve to establish native plant species habitat. They’ll be determining soil salinity levels to match locations with plants that enjoy that particular salinity level.

Emma Rotner and Emily MacGibeny:

Emily and Emma will be clearing 3 plots in which they will then plant a variety of native species. They will analyze how well each native species survives when in competition with the encroaching invasive species from outside the plots.

Cian Fields and Marina Stuart:

Marina and Cian are your humble authors of this particular blog post! They’re working on public outreach and relations for Avalonia as a means to increase membership, especially among younger generations. Check out past (and future!) blog posts to see more of what all the students are up to! 

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