DENTON (UNT), Texas — University of North Texas students with a passion for birds will have opportunities for conservation projects and connecting with avian professionals as the student chapter of the Society for Ecological Restoration has established an official affiliation with the National Audubon Society via the Audubon on Campus Chapter Program.
“Developing this relationship with Audubon will provide our students opportunities to gain experience and knowledge for a career in avian ecology,” said Dr. Jaime Baxter-Slye, an instructional laboratory supervisor and adjunct lecturer in the Department of Biological Sciences. “We have quite a few ‘bird nerds’ in UNT SER. This affiliation is exactly what these students need to launch into a global community of other like-minded professionals.”
UNT SER liaisons for Audubon Campus are UNT ecology students Bee Caceres, Christine Fox, Victoria Langham, Brandon Meadows, Clarissa Molina and Brand Richter. They worked together to establish the program and will join a network of leaders across the country to further Audubon's mission of avian education and conservation.
“I am excited to make UNT a safer place for migrant and resident bird species,” Langham said. “Urban environments need to become bird friendly so we can continue to have a pollinated world. I am excited to serve as an example to other universities, while encouraging others to appreciate birds and become passionate about avian activism.”
These students will receive and distribute educational information and internship opportunities to their organization’s 80 student members, as well as providing updates on what UNT is doing to promote bird habitats and conservation efforts.
“The ecology students at UNT love birding, but many student birders noticed dead birds around large, glass buildings on campus,” Fox said. “Bird collisions are a common problem and we decided the best way to take action to prevent future unnecessary bird deaths was to establish our chapter of the Audubon on Campus Chapter Program, which we will use as a catalyst to promote a healthy community of birds on campus.”
Each campus chapter is responsible for implementing one conservation action per year that will help transform their campus into a more bird-friendly community. The UNT students have already proposed a project to the university’s We Mean Green Fund to start a UNT “Bird Campus Committee,” which would consist of faculty, staff and students.
“I’m am thrilled that our UNT students and community will learn directly from the National Audubon Society,” Dr. Baxter-Slye said. “UNT SER also will be able to apply for grants and obtain ideas for on-campus projects to increase bird habitats. Our campus is situated in the central flyway for migrating North American bird species, so it is very important that we maintain a good bird habitat right here at UNT.”