Virginia Tech hosted last spring’s Ecological Society of America’s Mid-Atlantic Chapter annual conference, which focused on disturbed environments and urban forests. Susan Day, assistant professor of urban forestry and chair of the chapter, served as conference chair. “This was one of the largest conferences held by the chapter, and I think everything went really well,” Day observed.

Several guest speakers delivered informative presentations, including Greg Shriver, assistant professor in the University of Delaware’s Department of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology, and Stephen Schoenholtz, professor of forest hydrology and soils and director of the Virginia Water Resources Research Center at Virginia Tech. Attendees also visited the Kayford Mountain mountaintop removal site in West Virginia to observe the effects of the mining practice on the environment.

“This conference really gave our students an opportunity they wouldn’t have normally,” Day said. “These chapter meetings are important because they give them a chance to present and network with fellow students without going to an expensive national meeting.”

Several fisheries and wildlife sciences students took home awards for their participation in the conference. Doctoral student Brandon Peoples took home the first place award in the oral presentations category, while master’s student Brittany Hopkins placed second. David Drewett earned an honorable mention for his work in the undergraduate poster division. “We had great participation from all our students, with a significant increase from last year,” Day commented. “I think this shows that we have a strong graduate program and all the students should be really proud of themselves.”