CHAMPAIGN – Two interns from the National Great Rivers Research and Education Center, who are also Lewis and Clark Community College alumni, presented their research at the 59th Annual Meeting of the Illinois Chapter of the Wildlife Society (ICTWS) in Champaign, Illinois, this past April.
Addis Moore and Jacob Decker are currently attending Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, but both earned their associate degree from Lewis and Clark. Moore and Decker are prime examples of L&C students making the most of the unique professional development opportunities that L&C and NGRREC have to offer.
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Decker started as an intern with NGRREC’s Habitat Strike Team in Spring 2021 and was later hired as a Strike Team Junior Assistant. He has also conducted research with NGRREC’s Conservation Program Manager Justin Shew on wildlife habitat associations using trail cameras to detect wildlife ranging in size from white-tailed deer to squirrels.
Furthermore, Decker, along with several other NGRREC interns, contributed as co-authors to a peer-reviewed research article involving treefrog surveying techniques.
Decker presented a poster highlighting data from his fall 2022 NGRREC research internship, which looked at quantifying invasive bush honeysuckle through a free remote-sensing program.
“It was great being back at the ICTWS conference for a second year,” he said. “Being able to sit and talk to other people from all over the state that are in this career field is without a doubt, great for my own professional development.”
This summer, Decker will be gaining an entirely new research experience as an intern with NGRREC’s Lyle Guyon on a floodplain forest inventory project, funded through NGRREC’s National Science Foundation – Research Experience for Undergraduate (NSF-REU) award.
Addis Moore, who also attended the conference, started as an NGRREC intern in summer of 2022, continuing in this role every semester since through NGRREC’s year-round intern program coordinated by Amy Monroe.
“We create projects with the intention of providing a valuable experience for undergraduate students when coordinating research programs for interns,” Monroe said, “Both Jacob and Addis demonstrate the benefit we hope for with our interns. Their professional growth and development over the course of their research, as well as their eagerness and dedication to their projects prove they are on the path to being a true asset in their field.”
Moore’s initial research explored the habitat associations of wild turkeys using data collected from Decker’s trail camera project in 2021. He then collaborated with Shew, his research mentor, on a brand-new restoration research project. This project aims to evaluate a newer, safer, and easier-to-use tool to control invasive honeysuckle. Simultaneously, they are testing how successful seeding treated areas can be using a native grass, wildflower, and shrub.
“It was a great opportunity to share my project and ideas with others,” Moore said. “I learned so much from other people attending the conference. Overall, the experience was exceptional and greatly beneficial.”
The students had the opportunity to see fellow students across the state presenting and discussing their research. They also attended a special symposium on drone use in the wildlife field, which offered a hands-on experience for both students and professionals.
Shew was president of the Illinois Chapter this year and helped plan and coordinate the meeting, along with the chapter’s board members.
For more information on NGRREC’s intern program, visit www.ngrrec.org/Internship or contact Amy Monroe at email@example.com.
National Great Rivers Research and Education Center (NGRREC?)
Founded in 2002 as a collaborative partnership between the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Lewis and Clark Community College, NGRREC is dedicated to the study of great river systems and the communities that use them. The center aspires to be a leader in scholarly research, education, and outreach related to the interconnectedness of large rivers, their floodplains, watersheds, and their associated communities.
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