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NEW: Clark Receives $300k to Help Solve Beetle Infestation

Monday, June 04, 2012


Clark Associate Professor of Geography John Rogan, with Associate Professor of Geography Deborah Martin.

Clark University has been awarded a $329,992 grant from the National Science Foundation to help aid the city in eradicating a pest responsible for wiping out trees across the city.

The new program will be titled, “REU Site: Mapping Beetles, Trees, Neighborhoods, and Policies: A Multi-Scaled, Urban Ecological Assessment of the Asian Longhorned Beetle Invasion in New England” and will be a part of Clark’s Human-Environment Regional Observatory (HERO) program, which works with eleven students over the summer.

“The grant will allow Clark undergraduate students to work with eight other undergraduates from various universities in the United States, to address the ecological and societal impacts of the present Asian Longhorned Beetle invasion in Worcester,” said Clark Associate Professor of Geography John Rogan, who is co-principal investigator of the grant, along with Associate Professor of Geography Deborah Martin.

A Current Issue

The invasion of the Asian Longhorn Beetle is a present issue and the study hopes to answer questions that still remain.

Clark's Provost, Davis Baird.

“We have an interest in engaging with people who do this for a living and helping everyone understand why this is such an important issue. We don’t want the science aspect of it to be separated,” Rogan said.

“I’ve been around working with other HERO projects, but the grants supporting it had been finalized. And so we were able to bring something new. It seemed like a perfect thing,” said his counterpart on the project, Professor Martin. “Not until we received National Science Foundation support did we realize how much of an effort there has been in the community on this issue. There are still a lot of questions people have about it.”

The HERO project is seen as a way to both solidify Clark’s commitment to real world issues and hands on research.

“One major reason I came to Clark was the HERO program and the intersection of interdisciplinary work coming to real issues,” said Clark’s Provost Davis Baird. “This is part of Clark’s core effort putting research to work, into communities.”

Clark Associate Professor of Geography John Rogan.

Thinking Like a HERO

HEROFellows will receive $4,500 for the eight weeks of full-time research, plus an allowance for room and board. Six students will be chosen to attend the April 2013 Association of American Geographers scholarly meeting in Los Angeles to present their research to an audience of scholars and professionals.

“HERO has been going on as a Research Experiences for Undergrads and has been funded by a series of grants,” said Nick Cuba, HERO Manager. “This will be our first year of doing a three-year project. In the past, the program has been sort of a hodgepodge of people working on various projects, but this year will be one group of people bringing different methods to study different aspects of one problem.”

Clark student of geography and Worcester native, Joey Danko, has been selected of one of this year’s students working on the project. He has also done environmental work with the Ecotarium. “I’ll be working with the Beetle Impact Assessment to look how the tree average loss changed,” he said. “I ultimately want to make Worcester a better place. It’s nice to be going to a school where I can do that.”


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