Abbigail Fields Receives 2023 Women's Wildlife Management Conservation Scholarship

For the past three years, Abbi has been studying wildlife conservation at Juniata College, in Huntingdon, Pennsylvania.

by posted on June 17, 2024
Rao Abbi Lede

NRA Women congratulates Abbigail (Abbi) Fields for being awarded the 2023 Women's Wildlife Management Conservation Scholarship.

For the past three years, Abbi has been studying wildlife conservation at Juniata College, in Huntingdon, Pennsylvania. Abbi spent three semesters at the Raystown Field Station, located on Raystown Lake in Central Pennsylvania. Established by Juniata College and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), the college provides special opportunities for environmental research and education. While there, Abbi gained many hands-on experiences in the field, and had the opportunity to work with agencies like the Pennsylvania Game Commission, Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, Huntingdon County Conservation District, and the USACE at Raystown Lake.

Abbi participated in a before-after control study to determine the spawning effort of Walleye in Raystown Lake. This study involved the partnership with the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission to determine if Walleye are actively using the rock rubble reefs that were placed in the lake. Abbi co-authored a research paper, “Evaluating Walleye (Sander vitreus) Spawning Effort on Constructed Rock Rubble Reefs in Raystown Lake,” on their findings in the fall of 2023, which was sent to the Fish and Boat Commission. She presented her research at both the 2024 Susquehanna River Symposium and Juniata College's Liberal Arts Symposium.

 Abbi has conducted a mark-recapture study of population estimates of invasive Virile Crayfish in tributaries of Raystown Lake and presented that at the 2023 Susquehanna River Symposium. She was also a Natural Resource intern with the USACE where she monitored Bald Eagle nests, performed weekly turtle radio telemetry, and assisted with habitat management. For the past two summers, she worked as a park ranger with the USACE at Raystown Lake.

Abbi has volunteered with the Pennsylvania Game Commission assisting with Ruffed Grouse and Woodcock population surveys, working bear check stations, stocking trout with the Fish Commission, and extracted pieces of liver, kidney, heart, and tongue from coyotes at the Mosquito Creek Coyote Hunt to test for heavy metal accumulation.

As if she was not busy enough, Abbi has made the Dean’s List each semester at Juniata College. She was awarded excellence in the field of biology and chosen as a National Science Foundation Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) scholar. She was selected to attend the 2024 S-STEM scholars meeting in Chicago, Illinois, in the fall of 2024. And she shot her first turkey on opening day!

"I never imagined that I would be chosen to receive this award from the NRA, and I couldn't be more honored,” said Abbi. “Being recognized for the work I have accomplished shows how important it is to always volunteer and understand ways in which wildlife and their habitat can be conserved so that future generations can enjoy them. This aligns with the NRA's focus to protect our 2nd Amendment rights so everyone can experience shooting sports, which are critical to maintaining healthy wildlife populations."

About the Women’s Wildlife Management Conservation Scholarship
The Women’s Wildlife Conservation Scholarship, established by the NRA Women’s Policies Committee, is a renewable one-year $5,000 scholarship available to full-time college sophomores, juniors, or seniors. Applications will be evaluated based upon their knowledge of conservation and/or natural resource issues, and their commitment to becoming a leader in the realm of conservation.

Qualifications:

  • Female undergraduate student in a recognized conservation or environmental-related degree program (i.e. habitat restoration, wildlife biology, conservation). Research projects may be eligible for consideration;
  • Enrolled as a full-time college sophomore, junior or senior (12 credit hours per semester minimum);
  • Minimum 3.0 on a 4.0 scale GPA required.

To apply for this scholarship, go here.

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