Students Get Graduate Experience in NVC EcoLab Program

Three Northwest Vista College students completed another semester of undergraduate research at NVC’s Ecolab in Bandera in May. Students were supported by a Community Development grant from Microsoft.

With additional trail cameras for wildlife counting and binoculars for migratory bird censuses, Grace Doss, Sheina McManus, and Amanda Martin were able to identify mammals and birds on the 30-acre property.

“This year we identified six more neotropical bird species than we did in 2022. Neotropical birds breed in the US and Canada during the summer and migrate south of the Tropic of Cancer during the winter, some flying over 3,000 miles,” according to Scott Walker, who coordinates the undergraduate research work at the Ecolab. The research is part of the landowner’s wildlife management plan outlined for Texas Parks and Wildlife.

In addition to conducting research, students put out bluebird houses, an owl shelter, and a bat box that had been assembled at NVC by Microsoft volunteers in 2022. Providing supplemental shelter is another aspect of the property’s wildlife management plan.

This spring students had the opportunity to work with Samantha Morrison, Assistant Recreation Programs Supervisor for the City of New Braunfels. Samantha, who has a master’s degree in environmental education, discussed outdoor career opportunities with NVC’s students during lunch breaks at the Ecolab.

The NVC Ecolab is available for any NVC faculty member to use for educational purposes. Contact Scott Walker, for information.

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