College graduate students Ryan Burdge ’08 and Jonathan Holley ’08 recently received grants for their research projects from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and the Virginia Environmental Endowment, respectively. Burdge’s research focuses on the health of bluebirds living near pesticide-treated golf courses and Holley is researching stormwater management practices, according to a College press release.
p. “I’ve always been interested in how human landscapes could be incorporated into wildlife conservation efforts,” Burdge said.
He is specifically interested in the quality of life of Eastern bluebirds on golf courses. He will monitor the bluebirds’ breeding success and determine if and how the birds are ingesting pesticides.
p. Burdge is building on research conducted by former College graduate student Dr. Dan Cristol, his advisor. Burdge received a total of $27,500 for his research. He needs the funds for pesticide analysis, field supplies, travel costs and research stipends.
Holley said that his research on the effectiveness of stormwater retention ponds was prompted by a previous job where he inspected retention ponds in North Carolina. Retention ponds retain and treat stormwater runoff before channeling it into local streams.
p. Stormwater runoff can carry pollutants that may cause serious damage to streams.
p. “Stormwater management … has outpaced the science; the levels of water quality improvement associated with retention ponds are for the most part unknown,” Holley said.
p. Holley’s grant was $15,400. The money will go to purchasing lab equipment, field equipment and water samplers for analysing water samples for pollutants.
p. Burdge and Holley will both graduate from the College’s Master of Science program in 2008.