Five thousand dollars was awarded to Levi Summe from the Appalachian College Association (ACA) for his senior research project on Northern saw-whet owls. Summe is a natural resource management major with a minor in biology at Alderson Broaddus University, an ACA affiliated institution.
In September, Summe presented his research on “assessing nesting box location preferences to improve conservation of Northern saw-whet owls (Aegolius acadicus) in the Highlands of West Virginia” at the ACA Annual Summit in Tennessee during the Ledford Scholars poster presentation.
The purpose of the scholarship is to provide financial assistance for students enrolled at ACA member institutions with summer research in the fields of laboratory and fieldwork, interviews, analyzing special collections, and participant observation. Ledford scholars then present their research each year at the annual summit.
Summe spent his summer building habitats for Northern saw-whet owls and setting up cameras for monitoring. His project is a continuation of research conducted by his former professor, Dr. Ross Britain. Research on the habitats of Northern saw-whet owls is minimal due to their secretive lifestyle, which is what sparked Summe’s interest in the subject.
“My research will hopefully give us a better understanding of Northern saw-whet owl habitats that we currently don’t know much about,” Summe said. “This project and scholarship are the reasons I am at Alderson Broaddus University. College is expensive, but my education at AB enabled me to be part of this invaluable project which in turn helped me fund and finish out my four years.”
Summe is from Mullens, West Virginia and plans to continue pursuing natural resource research in either forestry or wildlife management after graduating from Alderson Broaddus University in May 2020.
The Appalachian College Association is a non-profit, independent organization associated with more than 35 private institutions. Their main purpose is education which inspires them to support and offer higher education to numerous students in the Appalachian region. The ACA is dedicated to serving more than 65,000 students and offers numerous scholarships annually as part of their efforts.