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
- Woman dies after former boyfriend shot her during rampage
- Man sentenced to nearly 2 years for impersonating DEA agent
- Youth soccer coach arrested on child pornography charges
- Health official: States should post local vaccination info
- Judge gives 18 years to head of Georgia-to-New York gun ring
- Sentencing delayed for man awaiting punishment in FAMU case
- Jimmy Carter's church adjusts to demand for Sunday lessons
- Defendant awaiting punishment in FAMU case to be sentenced
- Coastal Ga. residents urged to watch Tropical Storm Erika
- Watershed management to launch 'No Wipes in Pipes' campaign
- Firefighters holding their own against giant blaze
- Man convicted in plot to sell deadly ricin as 'death pills'
- Frank E. Petersen Jr., first black Marine aviator, dies
- Teen to be sentenced for helping Islamic State
- Walrus leave ice, come ashore on Alaska's northwest coast
- Man hospitalized after bison attack on Catalina Island
- Student charged in university threats, will be evaluated
- Parole recommended for Charles Manson follower Bruce Davis
- Obama calls on Congress to pass budget without drama
- By The Associated Press
- UN calls for panel to identify Syria chemical weapons users
- Mexico replaces security chief and foreign relations head
- US strikes southern Afghan district seized by Taliban
- Air guitarists duke it out at Finland world championships
- Police can't keep migrants from crossing into Hungary
- UN experts call for fairness in Guatemala genocide trial
- Storm destroys homes, leaves 6 missing
- Jewish settlers take over homes in Arab part of Jerusalem
- Libya dialogue restarts without Tripoli representatives
- UN to investigate militia role in breaking Mali peace accord
The Human RaceCheck out videos on The Human Race here!
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.
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 WeekView the 2015 Tennessee Lottery 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!