Lee Biology Professor Earns Wildlife Award
By: Brannon Roberts
The collaboration of Dr. Michael Freake, associate professor of biology at Lee University, and other partners recently won the nationwide State Wildlife Action Plan Partnership Award. The partnership includes Lee University, Middle Tennessee State University and the Nashville Zoo. The awards will be presented to recipients on March 6 at the congressional reception in Washington, D.C.
“This year’s competition was really tight with several really great nominations. It truly was a tough decision,” said Mary Pfaffko, Teaming with Wildlife associate.
The collaborative effort, called the Tennessee Hellbender Recovery Partnership (THRP), is focused on the Eastern Hellbender, a rare giant salamander found in area streams. In 2011, THRP received a grant from the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, which administers the federally funded State Wildlife Grant.
The three elements of the partnership split up responsibilities. Freake coordinates field surveys in east Tennessee, handles all genetic analyses and has worked with Stephen Spear of the Orianne Society to develop a new survey technique of testing river water samples for the presence of the hellbender DNA.
“For me, working on hellbenders is all about creating and sustaining partnerships with other experts in the field because there are so many challenges to studying and managing our declining populations of hellbenders,” Freake said. “It’s definitely not a one person show and that is why we are all so delighted to receive this award.”
He was assisted with fieldwork, funding and publicity by Rick Jackson and David Hedrick of the Chattanooga Zoo, and Jim Herrig of the USDA Forest Service.
“The reasons we care about hellbenders is their uniqueness,” Freake said. “Since they are completely aquatic and need clean, cool streams, they are a valuable indicator of water quality. If they disappear from our rivers, it is a clear message that all is not well. Our concern is that this may be the last generation of Tennessee residents that will have hellbenders in the wild.”
The partnership is recognized for their efforts in the conservation of hellbenders and gaining media attention for State Wildlife Grants.
PHOTO: Pictured here with local students is Dr. Freake holding a female hellbender from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.Lee Biology Professor Earns Wildlife Award
- TN/GA Regional News
- National News
- International News
- Larger planes now allowed to land at Gainesville's airport
- Johns Creek police make 15 arrests in prostitution sting
- Wintry weather possible in northwest Georgia by mid-week
- 2 men wounded by gunfire on Atlanta's southwest side
- Concerns over drug prompt delay of Georgia woman's execution
- Agency to introduce online trip planner for metro Atlanta
- Atlanta council wants full name of airport used
- Ebola survivor leaves US after recovery to return to Africa
- Numbers show US women rarely executed
- Numbers show rarity of female executions in US
- 10 Things to Know for Today
- Man arrested in Islamic State plot due in Florida court
- GOP: House to vote on Homeland bill without conditions
- Obama holding video talk with European leaders on Ukraine
- Former Vice President Al Gore reports for jury duty in Tenn.
- Clinton used personal email account as Secretary of State
- Parents who let kids walk alone to appeal in neglect case
- Mom responds after Cleveland filing blames boy for his death
- Status hearing set in Chicago in Islamic State case
- US intelligence official: Iran involved in fight against IS
- Turkey delivers military aid to Iraq
- Egypt unearths 3000-year-old tomb in southern city
- Prominent lawyer fatally shot in Mozambique
- Reports of Maggie Smith's 'Downton' exit may be premature
- Dilain, advocate for poor amid 2005 French riots, dies at 66
- South African firefighters battle wildfire for a third day
- South Sudan rebels: President needs to make more concessions
- Afghan car bomb kills 8, including civilians
- Report: As Ebola wanes, other countries remain vulnerable
- NKorea: US-South Korea drills 'unprecedentedly provocative'
Side RoadsTake a ride with Brian Smith to explore the unique people and places to be found along the Sideroads of the NewsChannel 9 viewing area.
The Good LifeCelebrating the events, adventures and activities that represent "The Good Life" in the NewsChannel 9 viewing area.
Coats For KidsHelp us keep a child in need warm this winter.
Closings and DelaysThese are the latest School and Business Closings reported to NewsChannel 9. If you see errors or need to add a school or business, call 423-757-7320.
Educator of the WeekNominate now for Educator Of The Week!
Deaf & Hard of HearingInformation provided to NewsChannel 9 by members of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Community.
Sponsored EventsCheck Back Often for NewsChannel9 Sponsored Events!