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Winter Harbor Schoodic Institute at Acadia National Park is pleased to announce the 2024 Cathy and Jim Gero Acadia Early-Career Fellows in Science Research, Science Communication, and Environmental Science Education. Working at the intersection of conservation, scientific research, education, and communication, this cadre of early-career professionals will work alongside National Park Service and Schoodic Institute staff in Acadia National Park and surrounding areas.

Science Research Fellow Louisa Liu graduated from the University of California-Davis with a degree in wildlife, fish, and conservation biology along with multiple seasons of varied field work experiences. Liu’s collegiate and professional experience spans from tending bird nesting boxes and surveying vegetation to monitoring bats and trapping small mammals in Lassen Volcanic National Park.

“Since landing three weeks ago, this fellowship has already spurred my growth as a scientist and given me plentiful resources to explore burgeoning ideas. With the invaluable guidance of supportive mentors at Schoodic Institute, I can’t wait to see through our newly updated acoustic avian monitoring project, embark on naturalist adventures with new friends, and grow as part of the wonderfully collaborative community in the Northeast,” said Liu.

Trevor Grandin of Kansas City, Missouri, is the Science Communication Fellow. Grandin graduated with a degree in communications from Truman State University, where he managed the college radio station. Grandin most recently worked as a producer for local NPR stations. He will build on this experience to produce a third season of Acadia National Park’s podcast, Sea to Trees, and host future episodes of Coastal Conversations on WERU.

“I’ve always had a great curiosity for the natural world. If I can impart that same curiosity and love of nature on the readers and listeners who consume my work, I’d consider this fellowship a success,” said Grandin. “I can’t put into words how lovely it is that I get to pursue my interests in a place like Acadia National Park. I can only hope that the people, places, plants and animals of Maine allow me to tell their stories!”

Environmental Science Education Fellow Lauren Knierim graduated from Clemson University with a degree in wildlife and fisheries biology and has experience in Pennsylvania as an environmental educator. Since graduating, Knierim has continued to engage and teach the public at Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge in Georgia, where developed, coordinated, and led outreach and education programs both online and in person. Knierim will apply these skills while working with the Schoodic Education Adventure program and park visitors.

“For me, this fellowship is an opportunity to be fully immersed in the integration of research, communication, and education and to use the experience to further develop tools that connect people to place and make science more accessible to all. I feel incredibly fortunate to share this experience with like-minded professionals who are committed to creating a better future for people and our planet.”

Established in 2022, the Cathy and Jim Gero Acadia Early-Career Fellowship is a highly competitive 10-month program for recent college graduates to develop professional skills in conservation fields, engage learners of all ages in science, and advance science to inform park stewardship. The fellowship is possible through the generous support of Catherine and James Gero, the National Park Service, Schoodic Institute, and the National Park Foundation.