Athens, Ga. – University of Georgia student Rachel Katz of Huntersville, N.C. has been named the first Butler Fellow in Ecology. Katz was recognized at the recent Institute of Ecology event, “A Celebration of the Butler Fellowship Program at the UGA River Basin Center.”
Columbus attorney James Butler established three Butler Fellowships with a $1 million gift to the institute in 2006. The assistantships are for graduate students studying environmental issues including water quality and land use.
“Although Rachael has a deep interest and considerable experience in aquatic biology, it was her experience with the Carolina Raptor Rehabilitation Center that gave a new dimension to her career,” said River Basin Center co-director Ron Carroll.
Katz experienced firsthand how vulnerable hawks and owls are to the human environment. She responded to the damage inflicted by collisions with power lines and cell phone towers, the ingestion of pesticides and many other stresses.
“This experience led to her commitment to dedicate research towards finding harmony between the natural and the human-built environment,” said Carroll.
Katz holds a B.A. in biology from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. She is now pursuing her master of science degree in ecology. She is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Frank Katz.
“The future of our planet rests with how well we conserve and protect our natural resources,” said Institute of Ecology director John Gittleman. “Education is the answer to whether we will be able to adapt to the rapidly changing problems in the environment.”
The River Basin Center is the public service and outreach office of the Institute of Ecology. The center’s mission is to integrate science and policymaking, particularly relating to the intersection of land use with water quality/quantity and biodiversity issues. For more information, see http://www.rivercenter.uga.edu.
With roots that date back to the 1950’s, the Institute of Ecology at the University of Georgia offers undergraduate and graduate degrees, as well as certification programs. Founder Eugene P. Odum is internationally recognized as a pioneer of ecosystem ecology. The institute is ranked eighth by U.S. News and World Report for its graduate program. For more information, see http://www.ecology.uga.edu.