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
- Residents of senior center displaced after water main break
- Peach State gears up for a rare big week for men's hoops
- Man struck and killed by vehicle in suburban Atlanta
- Man killed, second man hurt in Waynesboro shooting, stabbing
- After weather delay, GA to perform rare execution of a woman
- Woman killed in wrong-way interstate wreck is identified
- Savannah police investigating death of Colombian man
- Governor staff raises exceed those for teachers, others
- Muscogee schools, CSU partner on science, math, tech program
- No charges for lobbyist who brought gun to Capitol
- Suspect in fatal Los Angeles street race held on $2M bail
- Obama plans trip to South Carolina, 48th state in office
- Pickup truck goes into frozen river; dead dog found inside
- New York City mayor marches in gay pre-St. Patrick's parade
- 3rd child dies after carbon monoxide leak in Ohio home
- High-speed drive lands Marine in jail; struck bike officer
- Rare Native American pendant found as crew digs Ohio trench
- 1 killed, 5 wounded in shooting at Detroit social hall
- House Speaker John Boehner: I like my job `most days'
- Coroner: Man in wife's Christmas Eve ax slaying killed self
- Greece protests planned Turkish air maneuvers in Aegean Sea
- Estonians vote in parliamentary election amid security fears
- Israeli military conducts 'surprise' drill in West Bank
- US officials called 'terrorists' mock Venezuela travel ban
- Russia detains Ukrainian parliament member over Odessa fire
- Popular Peru ex-minister charged in killing of journalist
- Italy resumes Navy exercise amid new tensions over Libya
- Elegant Vazquez replaces folksy Mujica as Uruguay president
- Party of Lesotho's prime minister ahead in election results
- Coalition balks at signing peace accord for northern Mali
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.
Black HistoryCelebrating Black History Month with African American Firsts: Sports Legends
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!