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York College biology students conduct research to gain experience and make a difference in the community.

May 22, 2017
Conservation Biology

When Dr. Bridgette Hagerty arrived at York College of Pennsylvania she immediately began searching for opportunities to get involved in the community. With her background in biology, Bridgette quickly found a home at Richard M. Nixon Park -  a short, five-minute drive from campus.

Why is it important to give back to the community? 

“I am always looking for ways to connect my research and teaching to help protect biological diversity. I see how much our local community uses the park system and loves these areas,” Dr. Hagerty explained.

For more than 15 years, York College has enjoyed an excellent relationship with Nixon Park, and Dr. Hagerty is working to grow and strengthen this valuable partnership. In her conservation biology class, students are able to conduct research about the park habitat and species to provide recommendations that will improve protection of park lands.

Why is student research important?

Recently, York College biology students conducted research on the study of the effects of roads within the York County Parks on red-back salamander abundance, habitat quality, and an on-going study monitoring a disease called ranavirus.

Serving as their mentor, Dr. Hagerty was able to share her knowledge as an Ecologist through hands-on experience outside the classroom. The ranavirus can cause local extinctions and the research findings were shared with the managers of Nixon Park to make educated decisions about closing roads, preventing the spread of disease, and improving the habitat for breeding amphibians.

By conducting research and projects independently, with guidance from experienced faculty, students gain confidence and experience which enable them to be successful in their professional careers.

To learn more about the York College Biology program, visit our website.

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