The Rowan University Wildlife Conservation Society Final Project Report By Alissa Ambacher, Keith Meise, Kelsey Wright, Kyle Crawford, Matt Kemner, Sara DiVito, and Taylor GazdzikOur project was to create a draft plan for wildlife conservation on Rowan University’s campus.Our main focus was to work towards increasing and maintaining bird populations.We accomplished two main goals: 1. Creating an on-campus group of students 2. Drafting a plan for bird conservation on campusOur on-campus group of students is willing to work with the administration and take thenecessary steps to conserve wildlife, specifically birds, on the Rowan University campus.Our draft plan is a summary of what our vision is and the specifics of how we want to go aboutmaking that vision a reality. The draft plan discusses our vision, which is increasing andmaintaining bird populations at Rowan University. Some of the specifics that we discuss in ourplan are: • Working with the Green Living Community to create a hummingbird garden • Making nest boxes and placing them around campus to attract Screech Owls • Attracting American Goldfinches and Black-Capped Chickadees • How we plan to work with the school officials at Rowan University • What specific habitats we are going to focus on in order to attract more birds to the areaIn order to implement our plan from the group project, we need: • A big student following, to provide support • Permission from the administration, to make changes to the campus’s grounds • Faculty support, so that our organization can have more power of persuasion among the administration and the Rowan community • Money, so that we can afford supplies like nest boxes and gardening equipmentThe main challenge for implementing this plan is getting the word out, and getting peopleinvolved; getting the administration involved and motivated to help us make these changes isanother big challenge. One opportunity lies in helping with the hummingbird garden, and helpingthe Rowan Environmental Action League (REAL) with their projects in the hopes that they willhelp us with ours. An opportunity to motivate the administration is to make Rowan Universitybeautiful enough to get the media involved. We have the opportunity to make Rowan a betterplace, and if we can show the media this, then Rowan’s administrators will be more likely toprovide support.
The significant social issues related to our project are…Personality Research: Personality research helps us come to a better understanding of who we are and thosewith whom we interact. It allows us to look at various personality types and examine thestrengths and weaknesses of those personality types. This has the power to impact the way weinteract with each other, especially in our group. The examination of personality can be used as apowerful tool, one which can be used to improve the quality of work that a group produces. Forinstance, our group focuses on sustaining bird life on campus as well as increasing the numbersof birds. In our group, we are working towards a common goal; to achieve that goal, manydifferent tasks must be accomplished. Different personality types may be beneficial forcompleting each type of task. An extroverted person may be better off meeting with an officialwhile an introverted person may be better off keeping records and organizing a plan on paper.This is only one example. Playing to the strengths and weaknesses of individual personalitytypes can save time on a project as well as smooth the interactions of those working together onthe project. Motivational Theory: Motivational theory is an important social issue in relation to this project. Motivationaltheory actually consists of many psychological theories that strive to understand why people aremotivated to do something or act in a certain way. These are important concepts to understand inrelation to wildlife conservation on Rowan’s campus because it will help us understand whypeople are unmotivated to conserve wildlife and how we can get people to be more motivated todo so on campus. We can utilize the concept of extrinsic motivation, which would involvemotivating people by creating external rewards; for example, if Rowan’s campus is the greenestcampus on the East Coast, then the university will stand out and attract more attention, and theadministration will be motivated to let us make more changes, especially, in this case, to birdhabitat on campus. Also, we can motivate students to conserve wildlife on campus by making itinto a game: whoever can make the most nest boxes or whatever campus organization raises themost money to renovate our landscaping, and whoever wins will be rewarded. Actor-Network Theory: Actor-Network Theory has a great deal of importance to our group because without ourworld network working properly, none of us would exist. Without us playing our part, andkeeping our surroundings clean and healthy, the birds would have a really hard time surviving.Humans, animals, and plants are all connected; without one, the other cannot exist. We give andwe receive, and without all these factors working together in this huge network, nothing wouldbe able to function properly. The birds depend on us to provide a healthy environment, so weneed to make a change at Rowan University to bring them back. We need our environment andour environment needs us, so it is our job to start making wise decisions on how we can save it.
Semiotics: Semiotics, the study of signs as well as the relationships that exist between signs andpeople, objects, or ideas, will play an important role in the future growth and success of both thisproject and our group, specifically by aiding in the advertising/spreading-the-word aspect of thelatter. In order to spark interest in what our group is attempting to accomplish, we can considersemiotics whenever we create flyers, pamphlets, or banners; certain words, shapes, colors, fonttype, and even font size can help attract the attention of others who may be curious about theRowan University Wildfire Conservation Society and its goals. These seemingly-simpledecisions could not only work subconsciously (meaning that the words, shapes, colors and sizesare subtly pleasing to the mind) but could also prove to other students, professors and eventownspeople and town officials that, if a decent amount of effort is put into the creation of flyers,pamphlets, and banners, we are professional, determined, and, perhaps most importantly,dedicated to what we are attempting to do.Environmental Psychology: Environmental psychology plays a large role in our overall goal of turning RowanUniversity into a more bird-friendly environment and growing the population of birds in ourcommunity. It is important to develop an understanding of the relationship between humanbeings and the environment, specifically with birds. We can then use what we learned to gainmore supporters of our cause. Birds are a key indicator of the quality of life surrounding variousenvironments. With more birds on our campus, our student body can then have a betterunderstanding of how important they can be.Political Ecology: Political ecology is the study of the relationship between politics, government, andenvironmental issues. This plays a large role in our project. We must make changes on ourcampus in order to make it a more inviting place for birds to nest and live. In order to make thesechanges, we must appeal to the administration of the school, who, in this situation, is the“government”. The students on campus can petition for change, but ultimately it is up to theadministration to make decisions. Because of this, it is important that we can persuade them ofthe great importance of having a greener campus that houses a sustainable bird population. If weare able to create a positive relationship between the administration and our wildlife conservationgroup, then we can make profound changes on Rowan University’s campus. Environmental Economics: Environmental economics, which focuses on the effects that various environmental issuesand policies have on the local, national and international economy, will most likely play animportant role in the progress of our group, especially in how much the Rowan UniversityEnvironmental Conversation Society can accomplish on campus. We can safely assume thatuniversity officials will be more willing to allow us to, say, plant shrubs, set up gardens and buildbird houses and bird bathes if the future outcome is financially favorable, perhaps by granting theuniversity media coverage on such projects. In fact, before we approach Rowan University withour plans, we will most likely need to convince university officials that these endeavors are
necessary ones to begin with, stating how these additions will better the campus in more waysthan the most obvious one.Race and Ethnicity in Environmental Studies: Because both Rowan University and the town of Glassboro can be considered reasonably"mixed" racially and ethnically, these factors will impact the overall success of our groupproject. I believe, however, that the university campus exists in a microcosm of its own. Througha variety of payment plans, the students are provided with food, housing, various facilities and,obviously, an education; most do not have families to provide for; most, in fact, do not even havejobs - in those senses, the Rowan University students are not necessarily put under the samepressures that other racial and ethnic groups are. Although I do not know the current state of eachindividual life, I think I can safely assume that most of the professors and administrators are not,either. So, unlike the nations racial and ethnic groups, the Rowan University population does nothave anything to lose by actively supporting environmental causes. That being said, I think thebiggest problem that our group is going to have is not going to be to get people to care about ourgoals instead of another goal, but to get people to care about our goals at all. Environmental Ethics: Environmental ethics is going to play a part in our group’s plan to return birds to RowanUniversity. Ethics is the action of doing the proper thing, and everyone is ethically obligated todo well by the environment - even small actions will help. For example, if someone sees somelitter on the ground, they should pick it up. These small things we do to make our environmentcleaner may seem like they are making no difference; on the contrary, not only are “the smallthings” right to do, they help more than people initially realize. If the condition of theenvironment improves, the birds will serve as an indicator by returning. Environmental Education: It is really important for people to begin to realize that we must teach future generationsabout our environment, the problems we are facing, and what we (and they) can do to help. If itwere not for people helping with environmental education, children would not be aware of whatis actually going on, thus creating more ignorance in the world. Environmental education playsan important role in our group’s project because, without awareness, there is no change. This iswhy we have to start teaching both young children in primary and secondary schools as well asour fellow college students around campus about the importance of birds and how we can helpbring them back to Rowan University. Without teaching others about our surroundings, they willnot have the knowledge to pass on and make a difference. Although there are manyenvironmentally friendly people on this Earth, it takes all of us working together to make a bigchange. Rowan students need to be aware of what is going on, and work together to make thiscampus a green one. We only have one Earth. We need to keep it healthy.