2022 Joseph E. and Robin C. Hightower Award Winner, Emily Nastase
Emily is a Master’s student in Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology. Her thesis is focused on investigating the long-term decline of Henslow’s Sparrows (Centronyx henslowii) in North Carolina. The sparrow is a grassland specialist, migratory songbird that has been suffering long-term declines throughout its range. Only one population persists in North Carolina, and conservation agencies are working to develop adequate management actions to protect this population. A major component of Emily’s research is to provide the foundational data (i.e., demography, distribution, genetics, and habitat use) necessary to develop a species status assessment (SSA) and subsequent management plan for the Henslow’s Sparrow population in North Carolina.
Emily will be using the monetary award to attend a US Fish and Wildlife Service 4-day workshop dedicated to developing the SSA. The goals of the workshop are to learn the concepts and requirements of developing a SSA, demonstrate the complexity of and expertise required to develop a SSA, and share tools and resources used by practitioners to create SSA’s.
After she graduates from North Carolina State University, Emily would like to work in the field of wildlife and natural resource conservation. Specifically, she is interested in developing conservation actions to protect and enhance threatened or endangered species.