Students, Professors Collaborate on Ethiopia Church Forests Paper – Colby College

by Zelalem

Two assistant professors of environmental studies, Travis Reynolds and Denise Bruesewitz, and three Colby students have published an article in African Journal of Ecology. The paper, titled “Ethiopian Orthodox church forests provide regulating and habitat services: Evidence from stream sediment and aquatic insect analyses,” is available in an early online version. Sara LoTemplio ’16, an environmental science and psychology-neuroscience double major, is listed as the first author, and Marie Abrahams ’14 and Jacob Wall ’16, both environmental policy majors, are coauthors along with Alemayehu Wassie from the faculty at Bahir Dar University in Ethiopia.

The Colby student researchers were funded by a combination of sources including the Environmental Studies Program Hollis Fund, a Goldfarb Center Student-Faculty Collaborative Research Grant, and a William D. Adams Presidential Scholars Award. Building on this and other pilot research, Reynolds and colleagues (including Wassie, Clare Boothe Luce Assistant Professor Cathy Collins (biology), and Meg Lowman of the California Academy of Sciences) successfully applied for a National Science Foundation award in 2014, which now funds a Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Site at Colby and in Ethiopia titled “The Cultural, Economic and Ecological Roles of Church Forests in Ethiopia.” Colby research in the Ethiopian Orthodox church forests was the subject of a Colby Magazine article in 2013.


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