UNC Biology Class, BLM Partner to Protect Endangered Plants

biology students in the field

July 25, 2017

University of Northern Colorado students last week worked alongside Bureau of Land Management botanist Carol Dawson to collect data aimed at protecting two endangered plants: Osterhout's Milkvetch and Fenland's Beardtongue.

Fifteen undergraduate students in Associate Professor Mitchell McGlaughlin's intensive field botany course compiled the data with the help of three graduate students while completing a weeklong portion of the class that takes students into the field to learn about local flora.

They spent most of their time in the Middle Park region near Kremmling. Students collected data relating to plant abundance, reproductive status and insect damage in long-term monitoring plots. The data is used to determine if the endangered plant populations are increasing, decreasing or stable, which has direct implications for the type of activities that can occur on public lands where the plants grow.

These opportunities provide UNC students with hands-on conservation and resource management experiences, greatly expanding their biological knowledge. The UNC collaboration with the BLM also supports the importance of students being familiar with data-driven management and the laws governing endangered species protection.