What's New with the Chesapeake Watershed CESU

Chesapeake Watershed CESU Student Award Winners 2023

Originally published in the National Park Service Natural Resource Quarterly, used with permission.

Photos of CHWA CESU winners pictured top to bottom, left to right: Leah Rudge, Chandler Berry, Morgan Crump, and Megan Massa.
CHWA CESU winners pictured top to bottom, left to right: Leah Rudge, Chandler Berry, Morgan Crump, and Megan Massa.

A new award program from the Chesapeake Watershed Cooperative Ecosystem Studies Unit (CHWA CESU) recognizes graduate students who make outstanding contributions to a CHWA CESU-facilitated research project. Up to 3 awards of $1,500 are given annually. This year’s winners are:

Chandler Berry for his contributions to analysis of online information and news on rock climbing management issues at Harpers Ferry (HAFE), support of a 3-park climbing management research project for Harpers Ferry, C&O Canal, and Great Falls, and his assistance with field data collection at Rock Creek and Wolf Trap for visitor use reporting. 

Megan Massa for her work on grassland bird responses to habitat management in NPS battlefield parks. She analyzed a long-term NCR Inventory & Monitoring Network (NCRN I&M) grassland bird dataset, to document the value of NPS battlefield parks to grassland bird conservation and to demonstrate how land managers can augment or adjust open-space management to benefit this imperiled suite of species. She presented on this research to the 2022 American Ornithological Society conference, and in NPS forums (including meetings for the NCR Science Forum and the NCR Natural Resource Advisory Group). 

Leah Rudge for her contributions to interpreting results of a grassland bird study at Harper’s Ferry for park management use and for her public outreach and communication efforts related to that study. She also held a workshop for park staff to observe bird mist-netting and banding, and presented a talk on the topic at the Mid-Atlantic Ecological Society of America conference, and a poster at the Association of Field Ornithologists meeting. 

Morgan Crump received honorable mention for contributions to a project evaluating human perceptions of anthropogenic light sources in protected areas. Over several years, Morgan led a team of undergraduate students who assisted volunteers through a one-mile trail system offering different rotating lighting conditions at night. Morgan demonstrated poise and professionalism in all her stakeholder interactions.

To learn more about the CHWA CESU Student Award, contact Rhonda Schwinabart at rschwinabart@umces.edu.