Professor named 'Conservation Hero'

Peter RosenbaumThe U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service New York Field Office has bestowed one of its first “Conservation Hero” awards on Dr. Peter A. Rosenbaum, professor of biology at SUNY Oswego.

“It’s for people that work tirelessly on rare species projects and may not receive a great deal of acknowledgement for their efforts,” said Robyn A. Niver of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service New York Field Office, citing Rosenbaum’s efforts on behalf of bog turtles.

For more than 10 years, Rosenbaum has pursued several approaches to helping the endangered turtles survive, from identifying and protecting their habitats to collecting pregnant turtles so that their young could be raised in the safety of a zoo.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service funds three projects that Rosenbaum is now conducting in association with Andy Nelson of Rice Creek Field Station. They are studying bogs in Oswego and adjacent counties to identify habitats suitable for bog turtles, and they are looking to control two invasive plant species—common reed and glossy buckthorn—that tend to dominate a wetland habitats and make it no longer suitable for bog turtles.

He is also working on projects with the state Department of Environmental Conservation to determine sites where bog turtles currently live in Western and Central New York and to define the methodology that should be used in this region to make that determination.

“It’s really hard to prove presence,” Rosenbaum explained, since bog turtles spend most of their time out of sight. There were only three sites in Western and Central New York where they were known to exist, and Rosenbaum has expanded the list to five since 2000.

Rosenbaum is active in efforts to protect natural habitats from human development by working with various land trusts to acquire land and by challenging government officials from the state and the town of Richland in court.

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(Posted: Nov 03, 2004)