2018 Grant Recipient

Past HCAS Board President Bob Cherry awarded the 2018 Sue Wells Research Grant to Taylor Paige Fulk. Paige is a graduate student and teaching assistant at Appalachian State University. Her research focuses on how animal personality of adult birds, specifically Tree Swallows mitigates the effect of anthropogenic disturbance on nestling growth, health and stress physiology. Paige will provide an update regarding her research for a future edition of High Country Hoots, and present a program at one of our monthly meetings to discuss her results. We look forward to learning what she discovers.

2017 Grant Recipient

Once again we used the Annual Membership Meeting as the setting to award the Sue Wells Research Grant. This year’s winner, Tyler Pyle, was presented with a check for $500 to support his research. He is looking at the influence of parasitism on Eastern Bluebird offspring as well as the influence of blood borne disease on bluebirds. Tyler is a graduate student at Appalachian State
For the first time we also awarded a runner-up grant. Chelsea Corrigan, from Western
Carolina University, has been given $250 to support her research on the variation in fear responses
of urban and rural Eastern Bluebird nestlings.
We have asked both students to write up their research, when complete, for a future edition
of High Country Hoots so we can all read about what they learned. In addition, Tyler will present
a program at one of our monthly meetings to discuss his results. We look forward to learning
what they found.

2016 Grant Recipient

Anna Pierce, (left) receiving check from Jan Rhoney.

Anna Pierce, a senior majoring in Biology at Appalachian State University, is the 2016 recipient of the Sue Wells Research Grant. The grant has been provided annually since 2012 to students doing research on birds in the North Carolina High Country.

In past years the Sue Wells Grant has helped students studying birds and cliff face ecology, Song Sparrow mating success and Tree Swallow hormone responses to aggression.

The grant program was created by HCAS in 2012 and named in memory of Sue Wells, one of the founding Board members of High Country Audubon Society, who served on the Board of Trustees until 2010.  Sue was also instrumental in creating the National Bird-Feeding Society and led the movement to help make backyard bird feeding the successful hobby it is today.

Sue’s husband, Ralph Wells, passed away on June 29, 2016. Ralph generously supported the HCAS research grant and joined us at our membership meetings the last three years to help present the Sue Wells Research Grant to the selected student.

2015 Grant Recipient

The 2015 Sue Wells Research Grant was awarded to Kristen Content, a graduate student at Appalachian State University.  Kristen is looking at the relationship between bird personality and avian stress hormones in Tree Swallows.  She has been monitoring 107 active nest boxes at Valle Crucis and Meat Camp.

2014 Grant Recipient

Appalachian State University student Angela Langevin was selected in 2014 and will be studying the interactions of the Western North Carolina cliff-nesting avian community with the cliff-face ecosystem they inhabit. She is a graduate student in ASU’s Biology program.

To read Angela’s thesis, click on the link below.

Avian Guano as a Nutrient Input to Cliff-Face Ecosystems in Western North Carolina

Angela collecting samples on a cliff side

2013 Grant Recipient