I Am Duke Environment - Photo Contest Fall 2017 Winners

  • Among the Friars of the Paramo

    Among the Friars of the Paramo, grand prize winner
    by Laura Turcotte, staff
    "Colombia is one of the world’s most biodiverse countries, yet ecotourism is a fairly young and emerging industry there. Ecotourism is vitally important because it benefits local communities (though employment and local spending) while supporting ecosystem conservation on a national scale. One such ecosystem is the paramo, which occurs above tree-line and below snow-line in the northern Andes of South America. This past summer, I had the opportunity to visit the paramo in Los Nevados National Park in central Colombia and to see some of its unusual inhabitants. These “trees" are frailejón plants, so named because their shapes evoke a group of friars. The dense, succulent, hairy leaves protect the plant from cold winds while providing nesting space for high altitude hummingbird species. Unfortunately, the paramo ecosystem is threatened by development, agriculture, and resource extraction. Ecotourism is one way in which we can help protect and preserve rare and unique habitats like the Colombian paramo. I am DukEnvironment because I support Ecotourism. "

  • Summer energy research

    Summer energy research
    by Candise Henry, 5th year PhD (EOS)
    "I spent this summer conducting energy research with the Advanced Reactor Systems and Safety group at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. During my time there, I got to visit tons of different facilities, including this hot cell laboratory. Hot cells are shielded nuclear radiation containment chambers where nuclear fuel rods are assembled and and other gamma ray emitting material are handled. Here, I am moving items inside the hot cell using a robotic manipulator arm."

  • The Peak

    The Peak
    by Micaela Unda, senior ESP undergrad
    "Where do you come from? If where do you come from means where were you born and grew up, then I am from California. That is my home, and that is where my childhood memories are shaped and formed, from embracing Yosemite as an extension of my backyard to craving Big Sur campfires. The towering redwoods first instilled my passion for the environment. Yet, if where do you come from asks the question of the place that feels deepest inside of you, then home is New Zealand. Within the mountains above Wanaka, I embraced being Duke Environment, as an area of study is not only the place, but also the mindset. Entirely immersing myself into the surrounding nature, I delved into studies of New Zealand ecology where words of evolutionary distinct, ecologically isolated, and critically endangered filled countless pages of my conservation biology notes. Environments unlike another other overwhelmed as my knowledge from the Nicholas School traveled thousands of miles to the South Island of New Zealand. So in effort to gain a bit of perspective, 5,177 feet and 10 miles later, I arrived at the peak."

  • Fieldwork from Above

    Fieldwork from Above
    by Anna Windle, MEM’18, CEM
    "Duke Marine Lab students and researchers install ground control points (GCPs) for an upcoming drone flight over Bird Shoal, part of the Rachel Carson National Estuarine Research Reserve in Beaufort, NC. GCPs are marked targets on the ground with a known location that help drone mapping software accurately position a map in relation to the real world around it. By using GCPs, we can significantly improve the positional accuracy of a map produced by drone imagery. For this project, we are developing maps of local oyster reef habitat using drone remote sensing imagery in order to assess oyster reef health. This type of data will provide valuable information indicating where to construct or protect existing oyster reefs as well as provide guidance as to where efforts should be placed to limit harvesting practices."

  • Summer in Shenandoah

    Summer in Shenandoah
    by Alex Rudee, MEM’18, EEP
    "I spent my summer researching the impacts of air pollution and climate change on national parks as a Stanback Intern with the National Parks Conservation Association. The best part of my internship was actually getting to see and experience some of the national parks that I was working to protect. One Friday, all the interns in the DC office took a trip down to Shenandoah National Park in Virginia. As we admired the views from Skyline Drive shortly before a rainstorm hit, I appreciated just how essential clean air is to our ability to enjoy the natural wonders of our national parks. (Photo by Ryan Valdez)

  • Using Marine Mammal Data to Engage Girls in Science

    Using Marine Mammal Data to Engage Girls in Science, “Outsiders on the Inside” category winner
    by Amy Whitt, MEM’04 CEM
    "I'm on the inside engaging Dallas, Texas girls in marine mammal science and motivating them to pursue STEM careers! People featured in Photo: Amy Whitt, MEM, 2004 (third person from the left in the second row–wearing turquoise shirt)"