Geography faculty to study military land restoration

Ammunition bunker
Ammunition bunker along hiking trail, Assabet River NWR, Massachusetts. (formerly Sudbury Training Annex, Fort Devens)

David Havlick, assistant professor, Geography and Environmental Studies, recently received a $244,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to study the ecological restoration of former military lands.

The grant supports three years of research which will focus on lands now managed as National Wildlife Refuges. Many of these military-to-wildlife sites are heavily contaminated with toxic chemicals and unexploded ordnance yet are ecologically rich and relatively undeveloped.

Havlick will team with Marion Hourdequin, assistant professor of philosophy, Colorado College, to examine restoration goals at these sites. The project will provide an understanding of how restoration can account for the complex social and ecological histories of the sites. The research will focus on critical ethical and practical questions of what restoration should preserve, recreate or obscure, while also addressing important issues facing land managers as they develop restoration plans.

The grant includes support for the involvement of undergraduate students at Colorado College, a graduate student at UCCS and a workshop for land managers and scholars.

Leslie Weddell of Colorado College contributed to this article

Warning Sign
Warning sign and ongoing cleanup of naval ordnance at Vieques National Wildlife Refuge, Puerto Rico. (formerly part of U.S. Navy Atlantic Fleet Weapons Training Area)
Former weapons storage area
Former weapons storage area, Great Bay NWR, New Hampshire (formerly Pease Air Force Base)

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