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Name: Anna Meola '12
Honors in: Ecological Sciences
Hometown: Willow Grove, Pa.
Title of project: Using Ecological Monitoring and Citizen Science to Better Understand Climate Change Impacts in Pennsylvania
Project advisor: Dr. Diane Husic
Abstract or brief description: My Honors project focuses specifically on the effects of climate change on the counties in eastern Pennsylvania including Northampton, Carbon, Monroe, and Bucks. Birds have long been known to be affected by climate change, thus I chose to look at different bird species that migrate through these counties utilizing the forested areas within. I analyzed over 50 years of Bake Oven Knob Raptor data to see if the timing of the raptors fall arrival and departure from the Kittatinny Mountain range has changed. I also analyzed the arrival and departure dates of 18 neo-tropical migrants whose migration is in the spring. Finally, I performed an initial survey of invasive plants that were growing on the north and south sides of the Kittatinny Mountain range, which acts as an important bird area for many of the migrants mentioned above.
How did you get interested in your topic? I became interested in this project when I worked on it last summer with the SOAR program.
Do you intend to research your topic further? If so, how? Yes, I intend to research my project further. Although analyzing data all day does sound appealing to some, I would like to work with communities and teach them how they can become involved in nature by observing the different species of interest.
How did you benefit academically by conducting research/participating in honors? This project allowed me to benefit academically because it has allowed me to set my own pace for a project and also to set my own deadlines, which was something that I had not had to do for any other class thus far.
How has the department (or faculty advisor) prepared you for the future? I think that doing a project that dealt with the ecological sciences has broadened my horizons. It has shown me that there is much more to the academic world than just anatomy and similar science classes. It has also taught me the value of the earth and its resources. I think that this is something that I will be able to take with me further in my career and share with others.
What advice do you have for other students interested in Honors? I would definitely suggest doing an Honors project because it really shows you that you can achieve anything you put your mind to.
My future plans: My plans for the future are to obtain a job in a laboratory doing research of some sort.