ENVS Endeavors



The annual James J. Whalen Academic Symposium celebrates the tradition of student and faculty collaboration in research and creative activity at Ithaca College and the continuing support that President Whalen provided for this work during his presidency from 1975 to 1997. The Symposium affords students the opportunity to give oral presentations on their senior and honors thesis projects and independent research, and to present their original creative work in the arts, including music, theater, film, and two- and three-dimensional art. Attended by students, faculty, and the larger community, the Symposium is a high point in the academic year.

2010 presentations ranged from the start-up of a student-run maple syrup microenterprise tapping and processing sap from Ithaca College Natural Lands to climate change impact on Ithaca's Heat index to one entitled "Messing with Sex: The effects of endocrine disruptors on sperm morphology." Check out some of the student presentations below, and see photos here

Creating Community Through Food: The IC organic garden project - Emma Hileman and Taryn Hubbard
Sustainable Food Systems: The magic of mushrooms - Taryn Hubbard
Messing with Sex: The Effects of endocrine disruptors on sperm morphology - Hannah Braun and Jeffrey Hatzel
South Hill Maple Syrup Company - Rachel Glassberg and Tyler Glassman
The Impact of Climate Change on Maple Syrup Production in Ithaca - Ashley Bell

Whalen Symposium presentation on Rainwater collection and drip irrigation at Ecovilliage - Hayden Ort-Ulm


During the Spring 2011 semester the National Conference for Undergraduate Research or NCUR was held at Ithaca College. At NCUR the Environmental Studies and Science Department was well represented with 17 students presenting 10 different research projects.

Presentations ranged in topic from the challenges of transboundary conservation on the US/Mexico border to the impacts of herbicides on fish reproduction. Check out some of the student presentations below.

Sperm Tales: How the Most Widely Used Herbicide Affects Reproduction in Male Fish - Jeffrey S. Hatzel, Hannah J. Braun, Matthew N. Arnold

The Relationship Between Free-Ranging Space Use Patterns and Captive Open Arena Behavioral Tests in Muskrat (Ondaatra zibethicus) - Jeffrey S. Hatzel

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch: A Case of Ineffective Global Environmental Management - Lauren E. Goldberg, Lee Ann L. Hill

Frack Attack: How Hydraulic Fracturing for Natural Gas Threatens Human Health - Lee Ann Hill, Noah Mark, Jessica Wunsch, Emma Garrison

Ithaca College's Greenhouse Gas Inventory for Fiscal Year 2010 - Jonathan Thompson

Learning and Performing Wildlife Research Through the Muskrat - Anthony Veroline 

Mapping Land Cover for Local-Scale Conservation in the Town of Danby, Upstate NY - Christina Konnaris

Using Macroinvertebrate Community Assemblages to Assess Water Quality - Kevin M. Gill, Carly Nagle, Hannah Devine, and Stephanie Ligouri

Amphibian Distribution: Environmental Factors Surrounding New Mitigate Wetlands -Elise Edwards

Challenges of Transboundary Conservation on the US/Mexico Border in the Bid Bend/Rio Bravo Area - John G Davis




During the Summer of 2011, Associate Professor L. Leann Kanda gave a presentation regarding Wild Muskrat populations, in which research was done with Ithaca College students.  Below is the abstract outlining the research.



L. Leann Kanda*, Laura Easton, Jeffrey Hatzel, and Laura Louon Department of Biology (LLK, LE, LL) and Department of Environmental Studies and Sciences (LLK, JH), Ithaca College, NY 14850 In field research, individual variation among animals has often been relegated to a random error effect, but in recent years a bridge between behavioral ecology and psychology has brought a new focus on the ecological and evolutionary implications of individual animal personalities. Personality temperaments such as boldness (risk– taking) and exploration (reaction to novelty) have been linked to measures of survival and reproduction in numerous taxa. However, the direct link between such temperaments and the spatial and movement ecology of the individuals has rarely been made explicit, particularly in mammals. We used a local population of muskrat (Ondatra zibethicus) to examine the relationship between behavior in a captive assay and subsequent space use. All captured muskrat were exposed to an open field test before handling, and subadults were then radio–collared and routinely located by telemetry in the field. We used Principal Components Analysis to characterize animal behavior in the captive test. Low recapture preventing us from evaluating the reliability of the open field test, and high predation greatly reduced sample size for field evaluation. Although we saw variation in animal response in the test, these did not correlate to the variation in subsequent space use metrics. We encourage other mammalogists to routinely include captive assays when animals are captured, permitting intrinsic individual differences to be explicitly considered as a variable in ecological research.


FALL 2011


Noah Mark (Environmental Science '12)  presented in December the results of his summer 2011 research at University of Arizona's Biosphere2 at the December meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco.


Jeff Hazel (Environmental Science '11) presented  November at the Sigma Xi annual conference, which allowed Jeff to present his project: Reintroduction of American Chestnut (C. dentata) to the South Hill Natural Area where researchers from many disciplines attended this conference.  Commit-to-Change funding assisted Hazel in travel to the annual conference to present his project as he studied the implementation of American chestnut seeds directly introduced into a forest ecosystem. 


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