“I really enjoy working with birds and I feel that they deserve our attention when it comes to conservation efforts,” says Robert Taylor ’11, who was recently awarded with an honorable mention in the prestigious Udall Scholarship program. “Birds are a diverse and beautiful group of animals, and they permeate many aspects of our lives.”
The Udall Scholarship honors students who are committed to protecting the environment and the small stipend Taylor receives as an honorable mention recipient will provide him with the opportunity to move forward in his conservation efforts. Taylor, who would like to pursue a career in wildlife conservation, is particularly interested in working with birds, which are an especially at-risk group of animals.
“Besides being a ubiquitous presence in our everyday surroundings, birds have also worked their way into our cultural identities,” he continues. “I believe that they have a high intrinsic value and that they deserve our attention when it comes to conservation.”
Taylor’s adviser, Associate Professor of Biology Mark Deutschlander, informed him about the Udall Foundation and the associated scholarship opportunity.
“Professor Deutschlander has been very helpful in guiding me over the past few years and in pursuing my chosen field. I was in his first-year seminar, which focused on birds and their role in human culture, as well as the importance of conserving avian biodiversity. His own passion for birds inspired me and provided direction for my academic studies.”
Next year, Taylor will serve as Deutschlander’s teaching colleague in his first-year seminar, “Bird Obsessions: Beauty of the Beast.” Taylor hopes to “instill a passion for birds and wildlife conservation in another generation of HWS students.” He also plans to pursue postgraduate studies in ornithology.
Taylor is working on a double major in biology and environmental studies. He has participated on the crew team since his first year and, last summer, completed an internship with the Audubon Society researching seabirds in Maine.
In 2010, the Morris K. Udall Foundation awarded approximately 80 scholarships of up to $5,000 and 50 honorable mentions of $350 to sophomore and junior level college students committed to careers related to the environment, tribal public policy, or Native American health care.
The photo above features Taylor last summer as he is working on the Project Puffin, a program run in coordination with the Audubon Society. Since 1973, Project Puffin has worked to restore and conserve populations of puffins on the islands in the Gulf of Maine.