Friday, March 23, 2012

Lynchburg Bird Club donates money to Randolph biology department for growing bird and mammal collection

Randolph College is fortunate to have a growing collection of bird and mammal specimens that students can examine to learn more about animal biology and evolution. Thanks to the Lynchburg Bird Club, that collection of skins will have a new home.

Last week, the club presented a $1,000 donation to the College. The money will help pay for a new museum cabinet for the expanding collection of avian study specimens, said Doug Shedd, The Catherine Ehrman Thoresen ’23 and William E. Thoresen Professor of Biology.

A group of three students and an alumna recently began working with Shedd to prepare bird specimens to be added to the collection. The students have been learning how to perform taxidermy to preserve the birds and repair any damage they have. “For the first time in many years, we’re adding new specimens to the collection,” Shedd said.
Angelina Haines '12 (left), Will Guzman '15, professor Doug Shedd, Emily
Smith '11, and Aaron McRorie '13 have been working to expand the
College's collections of animal study skins. Photo by Barbara Shedd.

Emily Smith ’11, who graduated in December, organized the project after spending last year cataloging the College’s natural history collection and updating the tags on each animal specimen. Aaron McRorie ’13, Angelina Haines ’12, and Will Guzman ’15 have been working with her to preserve the new specimens.

Shedd said this project is helping to expand an important resource at the College. “Natural history collections play an important role in ecological and evolutionary studies and in teaching,” he said, pointing out that biology students study the specimens to learn about evolution, while art students use the collection to draw animals with great detail.

“We are excited about the progress we've made with the Collection Project and look forward to important additional advances soon,” Shedd said.