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EAC/BLM interns attend and present at annual Symposium

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EAC/BLM interns attend and present at annual Symposium

By Lori Dugan

Thatcher, AZ—The EAC-Bureau of Land Management Partnership interns and instructors were recently invited to present their research work at the 6th Annual Natural History of the Gila Symposium held at Western New Mexico University. David Henson, biology department head at EAC, spoke about the characteristics of the Chihuahua scurf pea, a rare legume petitioned for listing under the Endangered Species Act to a theatre of over 200 professionals from various fields of the natural sciences.

Dr. Joneen Cockman, of the Bureau of Land Management Safford Field Office, followed with a presentation entitled “Fluvial geomorphology of the Gila Box Riparian National Conservation Area in Southeastern Arizona – Historical Perspectives and Today’s Condition Assessment.”

Cockman and Henson have worked in tandem for the past six years identifying EAC students who had a desire and aptitude for field studies in hydrology, conservation, and habitat restoration, and offering opportunities for 48 intern positions during that time period.

“Not only do the students earn wages for their efforts, but they gain valuable experience and training for their future advancement into the professional world,” said Henson.

This is the third symposium, held every two years, that EAC students have been offered a chance to present field data from research projects in which they work hand in hand with BLM professionals. This year, David Hancock and Dillon Hancock discussed their findings in “Slick Rock Water Catchments in the Peloncillo Mountains of Southeastern Arizona, which was co-authored by Jeremy Gillette, Amber Caldwell, Janelle Thurber, and Kamron Wynne. Both David and Dillon received $100 scholarships from the symposium for their research efforts.

A total of 42 presentations were given over the two-day symposium ranging from wetland and riparian monitoring to wildlife and habitat conservation.

Cockman and the interns also participated in the symposium’s poster session with their entry, “Ten years of wildlife observations in the Gila Box Riparian National Conservation Area.”

“I was very proud of our students and the academic contributions they made to this prestigious event,” Henson said. “Rarely do freshman-sophomore level students have a chance to add an event like this to their resume.”

For more information about the symposium or about the biology programs at EAC, contact Henson at (928) 428-8366 or by email at Dave Henson.

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