Acadia research fellows named

ACADIA NAT’L PARK — Three scientists have been awarded fellowships to conduct research in Acadia as part of Second Century Stewardship, an initiative of the National Park Service and Schoodic Institute.

The 2019 research fellows are Caitlin MacDonough MacKenzie, a postdoctoral fellow at the Climate Change Institute at the University of Maine; Kate Ruskin, a lecturer and undergraduate director in the Ecology and Environmental Sciences Program at the University of Maine; and Stephanie Spera, assistant professor of geography at the University of Richmond.

Spera will study “shifts in the fall foliage season and related timing in visits to Acadia.”

Noting that park visitation drops off steeply after foliage season in October, Acadia social scientist Adam Gibson said, “Widening this time period into November would likely have a dramatic effect on park operations.

“Understanding potential shifts in visitation levels is extremely important for understanding how to allocate park resources in order to provide for high quality recreation experiences.”

MacDonough MacKenzie will be building on her research into the ecological history of sub-alpine plant communities in Acadia.

Ruskin plans to conduct an evaluation of “human values of Acadia’s freshwater resources” to help park staff manage diverse uses of lakes and streams.

The Second Century Stewardship fellowship program was established in 2016 “to provide high quality scientific research for park stewardship, build public appreciation for science and pursue solutions to critical issues for parks and society.”

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