SPRINGFIELD, IL – Margaret Anderson of Makanda, Illinois is this year’s recipient of the Todd Fink Memorial Award, Illinois Conservation Foundation (ICF) Executive Director Mark Spangler announced today.
Margaret Anderson is a graduate student in the Department of Forestry at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale (SIUC). She will receive a $500.00 stipend from the ICF for travel costs associated with research and registration costs.
Ms. Anderson’s research involves restoring giant cane to Illinois. Cane is a native species of bamboo that once formed extensive patches throughout the southeastern United States, including southern Illinois. Today, only 2 percent of the former abundance of cane exists due to land-use changes and reduction of wildfires. Margaret Anderson’s research will help identify important biological and ecological factors that affect cane.
“Giant cane is an important ecological target for the Illinois Department of Natural Resources,” said Don McFall, chief of the IDNR Division of Natural Heritage. ”Cane thickets make great wildlife cover and some bird species, like the Swainson’s warbler, need it to survive. This warbler is now endangered in Illinois partly due to the lack of cane.”
The Todd Fink Memorial Fund was established to honor Todd Fink, a highly regarded biologist and ornithologist with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, who died in 1995 at the age of 36. The award goes to recipients whose graduate research at SIUC focuses on threatened or endangered species of plants or animals. Since 1996, seventeen graduate students from SIUC have received stipends from the Todd Fink Memorial Fund to support research on Illinois’ rarest species.
To contribute to the Todd Fink Memorial Fund or to learn more about the ICF, which is an IRS 501 (c) (3) not-for-profit organization, contact the Illinois Conservation Foundation, One Natural Resources Way, Springfield, IL 62702-1271, phone 217-785-2003.