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June 09, 2011
UD Receives Grant from Dubuque Racing Association

The University of Dubuque has received a $10,000 grant from the Dubuque Racing Association to enhance field opportunities for students in the Department of Natural and Applied Sciences (DNAS).

Field study opportunities are an integral part of the University's environmental-science program. With close proximity to the Mississippi River, field studies of aquatic life are an emphasis of undergraduate lab experiences and student research projects. These opportunities have brought students to the river to gather data on fish, turtles, mussels, and water quality. Currently, at least six courses involve students in research on the Mississippi River. Two of the strongest areas of student research and course lab exercises are in the study of fish and turtles. Funds from the DRA will help to purchase equipment including a Backpack Electroshocker - allowing sampling of rivers and streams for fish, and thus identifying the distribution of age, weight, and type; a Telemetry Receiver - to radio-track animals, assisting in the identification of habitat; and Fyke Nets - to capture turtles, necessary for ongoing turtle research.

Dale Easley, chair of the Department of Natural and Applied Sciences commented, "DRA has been very generous in supporting our science programs, including a previous purchase of a field vehicle. The support makes possible those extra opportunities students might not otherwise receive. Two students have already begun a study of trout in Dubuque County streams that will utilize equipment purchased with this grant."

This gift from the Dubuque Racing Association supports student's off-campus research projects which benefits the larger Dubuque community and region. For example, UD science students have partnered with the Department of Natural resources, the Dubuque County Soil and Water conservation Board, the National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the U.S. Army corps of Engineers, all aimed at creating a better understanding of the local environment.