Sue Wells Research Grant Recipients

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.

2018 Grant Recipient: 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.

2017 Grant Recipient: Tyler Pyle. Tyler looked at the influence of parasitism on Eastern Bluebird offspring as well as the influence of blood borne disease on bluebirds. Tyler was a graduate student at Appalachian State University.
For the first time a runner-up grant was awarded. In 2017 the runner-up grant went to Chelsea Corrigan from Western Carolina University. Chelsea’s research was on the variation in fear responses of urban and rural Eastern Bluebird nestlings.

2016 Grant Recipient: Anna Pierce. Anna was a senior majoring in Biology at Appalachian State University. Anna’s research investigated “whether Eastern bluebirds and tree swallows…could be insightful wild bird model species for understanding how host density and individual personality traits influence disease prevalence.”

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

2015 Grant Recipient: Kristen Content. Kristen was a graduate student at Appalachian State University. Kristen looked at the relationship between bird personality and avian stress hormones in Tree Swallows. She monitored 107 active nest boxes at Valle Crucis and Meat Camp.

Angela Langevin, ASU, b

2014 Grant Recipient: Angela Langevin. Appalachian State University student Angela Langevin studied the interactions of the Western North Carolina cliff-nesting avian community with the cliff-face ecosystem they inhabit. She was a graduate student in ASU’s Biology program.

Angela’s thesis:
Avian Guano as a Nutrient Input to Cliff-Face Ecosystems in Western North Carolina

2013 Grant Recipient