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Kyle Wesley Recipient of Kalisz Conservation Award

Kyle Wesley receives Kalisz Conservation Award.

Congratulations to Kyle Wesley, recipient of the 2021 Paul John Kalisz Conservation Award, which recognizes undergraduate student research benefiting the conservation of forest ecosystems. Kyle is a senior pursuing a B.S. in Geographic Information Science (GIS) and a B.S. in Homeland Security. His research, mentored by Dr. Kelly Watson, used LiDAR technology to characterize vegetative characteristics at Lilley Cornett Woods, Maywoods Environmental and Educational Laboratory, and Taylor Fork Ecological Area. LiDAR is a technology that emits pulses of laser light energy and measures how long the pulses take to return to a receiver. It is commonly used to make 3D representations of the earth’s surface.

The goal of Kyle’s research was to support the development of a LiDAR-based methodology for characterizing the structure of old growth forest, which can be used to remotely locate patches of old growth within larger forest stands. "This project gave me the opportunity to apply technical skills I learned in the classroom to remotely identify and analyze characteristics of forests to support field-based research and forest conservation in the future.” Kyle explains. “Being able to work alongside Dr. Watson and seeing this project through from planning to completion was invaluable. An experience like this drives me to strive for more and to truly make an impact with my future work." 

Preference for the Kalisz Conservation Award is given to projects that include elements of road ecology, use geospatial techniques like Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Remote Sensing, or employ other technologies. Find out more about the Division of Natural Areas’ research awards here

Published on October 16, 2021

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