Scholarship recipients in 2018
Joanne Kingsbury, PhD Environmental Science, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, USA Jo Kingsbury is a PhD student in the Environmental Science Graduate Program at The Ohio State University and is based within the School of Environment and Natural Resources. She is originally from the Isle of Arran in Scotland and completed her BSc Honors degree in Zoology at the University of Glasgow in 2011. While studying for her undergraduate degree, she spent her summers leading student expeditions to Latin America where she fell in love with tropical ecology and birds. After graduating, she worked for four years with the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) as a project officer in landscape-scale conservation. Her current research focuses on understanding how fire shapes habitat for globally threatened birds within Bolivia’s Beni Savanna Ecoregion, one of the earths most remote and threatened savanna systems. The Beni is critically understudied compared to other savanna systems globally and currently its habitats and biodiversity are experiencing extreme pressure from altered fire regimes associated with widespread cattle-ranching. Rangeland fire-management has altered historic wildfire patterns, changing the frequency, seasonality, extent and severity of fire-events. Understanding the fire ecology of this region will be vital to the future conservation of its habitats and species. She is working collaboratively with the local Bolivian Birdlife International partner Association Civil Armonia who own and manage protected land within the Beni. They have implemented multiple experimental burns to study how fire interacts with flooding and grazing to shape avian habitat (vegetation structure/composition) and resources (food/nest sites). Results will be used to build a predictive model to test how fire can be used to protect bird communities. Her work thus aims to develop more sustainable fire-management regimes and predictive tools for land managers that will help to balance agricultural and conservation priorities within this region and more widely within Latin America. Lauren Folk, Masters of Applied Science in Civil Engineering, York University, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Read Lauren’s Thesis Abstract
Lauren is a pursuing her Master of Applied Science in civil engineering at York University in Toronto, Canada. Previously, she studied at Carleton University where she completed her bachelor’s in Architectural Conservation and Sustainability Engineering in 2017. Lauren has long been passionate about sustainable development and finding ways to help improve the lives of others. She has been conducting research on human behaviour in fire (HBiF) since her junior year, transitioning her research focus from long term care home evacuations during her undergraduate degree to community resilience and wildland urban interface (WUI) evacuations for her master’s thesis. She spent three months interning at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in 2017, researching the factors affecting protective action decision making during wildfires and hurricanes. Lauren is now collaborating with community partners to improve the safety of evacuation routes for vulnerable Canadian WUI communities by incorporating HBiF into evacuation modelling and planning. She hopes that her research will help to improve wildfire safety in WUI communities and to further the study of HBiF in North America.