In celebration of Earth Day, we are happy to share the final product of our 2020 Natural Science Fellow’s work! Meredith Hart spent the summer of 2020 trapping and identifying insects throughout the Jackson Hollow and North Sections of the Preserve. At the close of her research, she worked with VOF Preserve staff to coauthor the Preserve’s first Fellowship Report: Insect Biodiversity of the Preserve at Bull Run Mountains.
VOF’s Fellowship Program was developed to provide early career professionals with the opportunity to gain experience co-developing and executing a research project in their chosen interest area. While providing these key early career opportunities, this program also helps BRMNAP fill areas of specialized expertise and build internal capacity in the arenas of scientific and historical research, program development, multimedia, and/or other special projects that otherwise may not be possible with our small team of full-time staff.
Meredith Hart served as Virginia Outdoors Foundation’s (VOF’s) inaugural Natural Science Fellow. Her research project aims to provide the Preserve’s staff and the general public with a better foundational awareness of the insect biodiversity that is protected by VOF’s Preserve at Bull Run Mountains. Meredith completed this fellowship in the allotted 360 hours, with the support of VOF Preserve staff and volunteers. In 360 hours, our team went from project design and development, to fieldwork, to taxonomic identification, to the preparation of a photographic guide to the specimens collected, as well as the completion of several public outreach and engagement initiatives.
This report contains the fellowship products of Meredith’s work. The physical specimens captured during these eight weeks of insect trapping are preserved in ethanol and fully publicly accessible to any researcher interested in building upon this project.