The National Park Service’s National Capital Region has named University of Richmond professor Todd Lookingbill Natural Resources Researcher of the Year.
Lookingbill teaches geography, environmental studies and biology at Richmond and conducts research focused on landscape connectivity, or the degree of movement of invasive plants, small mammals, amphibians and water within and among parks. He and his students work primarily in battlefields and other mixed-use national parks in East Coast urban and suburban settings.
Their work has included analyses of proposed woodlot clearing in Manassas National Battlefield, impacts of exurban development on forest birds in Northern Virginia, invasive species management in Antietam National Battlefield, wetland and bat connectivity in Harper’s Ferry Historical Park, and historical changes in land cover due to increasing deer populations and other pressures for parks throughout the region.
In presenting the award, NPS cited his “substantial contributions to the development of geospatial approaches and methods in support of natural resource monitoring and planning.”
The park service said his work has helped the agency understand the importance of small urban parks and their influence on the larger landscape. The award citation called Lookingbill an “invaluable scientific expert to our parks and regional staff.”
“The parks of this region illustrate some of the most pressing natural resources challenges of our generation: increasing human development along their boundaries, a changing climate, and the introduction and spread of invasive species,” said Lookingbill.
“They also provide an enormous educational and ecological opportunity to conserve and promote our natural heritage through regional-scale landscape cooperatives and networks of connected parks. It’s been my great pleasure to play some role in the improved understanding and management of these tremendous resources.”
Lookingbill holds a Ph.D. from Duke and a B.A. degree from Princeton.
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