Welcome to our Summer Blog Series, SFRC Serves. We are proud to share the stories of how our students and alumni give back to their communities.
Master of Science in Geomatics
In 2017, Nicole Jennings graduated with her BA in Wildlife Ecology and Conservation. Currently, she is pursuing her master’s degree in Geomatics. As an undergraduate, she worked part time for UF and also volunteered with three different organizations: the U.S. Geological Survey; the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC); and the Avian Research and Conservation Institute (ACRI).
Nicole’s work with the U.S.G.S manatee project involved a lot of photo and database organization as well as assisting with manatee captures for health analysis in the winter time. She says, “I worked 1-2 times a week for 3 years organizing photos and sketching scar patterns to help with the identification of individuals in the field.” Once a year, her team would conduct manatee health assessments in the field. The data they collected included: weight, sex, measurements, and blood and a tissue sample collection. This data was used to help analyze the health of the manatee population.
For over a year, Nicole volunteered with the Avian Research and Conservation Institute, which is an organization dedicated to gathering scientific data to achieve conservation goals. She says, “In that time I helped set up mist-nets for swallow-tailed kites, conduct kayak surveys for limpkin birds, and help with fundraisers.” Nichole adds, “The work I did with ACRI was highly involved with research and conservation efforts for swallow-tailed kites.”
She also participated with FWC in research on mortality of Florida panthers, black bears and white tailed deer, where they conducted routine necropsies to better understand the cause of death. She concludes, “I’m happy to help anyone get involved with these three places if they’re interested!”
Links to all three organizations have been provided below:
If you are interested in sharing your experience as a student volunteer, please feel free to click here and fill out our submission form.