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Ecological Research as Education Network (EREN) Meeting to Be Held at Meredith

Meredith College will host the first all-members meeting of the Ecological Research as Education Network (EREN), June 27-29, 2012.

Franklin and Marshall College Professor of Geoscience and Environmental Science Robert C. Walter will deliver the meeting’s keynote address on Wednesday, June 27 at 7:30 p.m. in Ledford 101. This session is open to all Meredith College students, faculty and staff.

Walter will discuss the effects of watershed restoration on ecosystem services in a stream impacted by legacy sediments. He and his wife and colleague at Franklin and Marshall, Dorothy J. Merritts, co-published this research in Science in 2008 and received the 2011 Kirk Bryan Award from The Geological Society of America for Best Paper.

The five-year EREN project was established in 2010 with a $498,980 grant from the National Science Foundation and represents a collaboration among 14 "founder" colleges. The impetus behind this project was a desire to more fully integrate ecological research into education at primarily undergraduate institutions (PUIs), along with the recognition that many of the most pressing questions in ecology and environmental science are best addressed using multiple sites and coordinated data collection. The EREN project facilitates the development of multi-site, collaborative ecological research projects involving undergraduates that allow students to explore ecological patterns at regional to continental scales.

The network has grown to more than 120 PUI faculty members from across the United States. Sixty faculty members, representing over 50 institutions from 23 states, Puerto Rico and Canada, will attend this first all-members meeting, including Meredith Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences Erin Lindquist.

Meredith College is a founding institution of EREN. Meredith undergraduate students have participated and will continue to participate on the collaborative faculty-student research projects in classes and independent research.

Lindquist is a member of EREN’s Leadership Working Group and co-lead scientist on EREN’s Permanent Forest Plot Project (PFPP). The goal of this project is to establish a set of permanent research plots throughout the United States and Canada that will allow faculty and students to address questions related to tree biomass, carbon accumulation, invasive species, and disturbance patterns across a range of sites and ecoregions. Students in Meredith’s Plant Biology and Environmental Science courses have also participated in this project utilizing the one-hectare permanent study plot in the Meredith Forest. Three Meredith students are doing summer research on EREN’s Turtle Pop project, which aims to determine the effect of urbanization on turtle populations.

The National Science Foundation is an independent federal agency created to promote the progress of science. With an annual budget of about $6.9 billion, the NSF provides funding for approximately 20 percent of all federally supported basic research conducted by America's colleges and universities.

For more information on EREN, visit

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