Former FHSU graduate returns from the African Plains to the Great Plains to present conservation seminar

As the number of vegetation conservation areas increase, especially in Africa, the debate has arisen among scientists about the location and functionality of the designated locations.

Nichole Lambrecht, 2002 Fort Hays State University graduate and current student at the University of Pretoria in the Republic of South Africa, will address these issues at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 23, in Albertson Hall, room 169, on FHSU's campus.

"What she's looking at is if the conservation areas that are set up protect all the different types of vegetation or if the selected areas just protect whatever is in that location," said Mark Eberle, Laboratory Coordinator. "Were the places selected because they were convenient, was it because of political problems or is there a specific reason to why they have been chosen?"

"To date" Lambrecht wrote in her master's thesis, "most conservation areas have been designed on an ad hoc basis in areas not suitable for agriculture and forestry or for urban development. The main goal of systematic conservation planning is to design protected areas that represent the full variety of biodiversity and promote the persistence of these organisms by maintaining natural processes and viable populations by excluding threats."

"The purpose of this study is to test the representativeness of vegetation types within the conservation areas of southern Africa," she wrote.

Following the 15-20 minute public seminar, Lambrecht will present a slide show of African wildlife that she's taken while helping grad students. Eberle described this as the "Ooh and awe factor" that shows what Lambrecht experiences daily in Africa.

Lambrecht received her bachelor's degree in biology from FHSU in December 2002. She is currently working on her master's in Conservation Ecology and Planning at the University of Pretoria.

"We've really fortunate to have Nichole give this presentation to us," Eberle said. "She's flying in for a wedding and it's kind of a one-day-only thing, so we're very happy to have her take time to do this."

Eberle mentioned that at the moment Lambrecht was working with elephants.

"This really shows you the great accomplishments that somebody who really wants something can achieve," Eberle said.

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