Ashley Gramza has joined Virginia Tech to serve as the national bird conservation social science coordinator. In this new position, based in the Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation, she will also co-chair the Human Dimensions Subcommittee of the North American Bird Conservation Initiative, a forum of government agencies, private organizations, and bird initiatives dedicated to promoting and advancing bird conservation.

The objective of this high-profile position is to build social science (also referred to as human dimensions) capacity within the bird conservation community through research, partnerships, and outreach. Gramza is well suited for the role, having worked on topics ranging from wildlife habitat conservation on private lands in Iowa to understanding the motivations for negative human-wildlife interactions at National Park Service sites. She holds a bachelor’s in wildlife ecology and a master’s in human dimensions of natural resources, and is completing her doctorate in wildlife biology.

Gramza will work closely with Ashley Dayer, assistant professor of human dimensions in the department. Their first project will examine why landowners choose to enroll in the USDA Conservation Reserve Program, a voluntary initiative that pays landowners to remove environmentally sensitive land from agricultural production to improve environmental health.

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