Colorado State University to Host 17th Annual Front Range Student Ecology Symposium Showcasing Student Research

Colorado State University will host the 17th annual Front Range Student Ecology Symposium Feb. 22-23, 2011. The theme of this year’s event is “Changing Ecosystems: Creating a Sustainable Future through Science and Stewardship.” The symposium is free and open to the public.

The symposium showcases exceptional student work in ecological research. Undergraduate and graduate students have the opportunity to present their research and learn about the work done by their peers.

Students submit their work in one of three categories: proposed, ongoing or completed research. CSU faculty, researchers and fellow graduate students evaluate presentations and provide suggestions for improvement.

“This is our 17th year, and the event has gotten bigger every year,” said Kristen Kaczynski, a doctoral candidate in ecology who is on the executive committee for the symposium.

This event has grown from a meeting of CSU students to a regional gathering that includes presenters from all Front Range colleges and universities and hundreds of attendees.

“The Front Range Student Ecology Symposium is planned, organized and implemented by students in an interdisciplinary, collaborative manner, bringing together students from across disciplines and university departments,” said Sarah Bisbing, president of the FRSES executive board and a doctoral student in ecology.

Eric Menges will give a keynote address at 4 p.m. Feb. 22 in the Lory Student Center North Ballroom. Menges is director of the plant ecology laboratory at Archbold Biological Station in Lake Placid, Fla. He is a leader in plant ecology, fire ecology and preservation of rare plants and studies the demographic patterns of plant species and their interactions with various components of the ecosystem.

Menges also will participate in a lunchtime panel, “Hands On or Hands Off: Defining Our Role as Ecological Stewards,” at 11:45 a.m. Feb. 23 in the Lory Student Center Longs Peak Dining Room. Panelists and attendees will discuss who should manage land and whether those managers should adopt active or passive roles. Other panelists include Greg Aplet, senior forest scientist with the Wilderness Society; and Jill Baron, ecosystem ecologist with the U.S. Geological Survey and senior research ecologist at CSU’s Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory.

“The symposium provides student researchers with the rare opportunity to present their research in a friendly, receptive environment,” Bisbing said. “One of the main goals is to give students the chance to network and receive constructive feedback from academics, professionals and their peers.”

Other events scheduled for the symposium:

  • Research Photography Contest, Feb. 23, all day, Lory Student Center North Ballroom.
  • Oral Presentation Sessions, 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Feb. 23, Lory Student Center 2nd floor. Topics include disease ecology, global change and conservation biology, fish and wildlife ecology.
  • Poster Presentation Sessions, 2 -4 p.m. Feb. 23, Lory Student Center North Ballroom.
  • Reception and Awards, 4-7 p.m. Feb. 23, Lory Student Center University Club.

Universities participating in addition to CSU include University of Colorado-Boulder, Metro State College, Colorado College, University of Wyoming and University of Colorado-Denver.

The Front Range Student Ecology Symposium is entirely student-run. For more information and a full schedule of events and presentations, visit

The event is sponsored by the Graduate Degree Program in Ecology, Associated Students of Colorado State University and many other departments and colleges across campus.