University of Richmond Professor Stephanie Spera Awarded Fellowship for Fall Foliage Research in Acadia National Park

April 16, 2019

Stephanie Spera, an assistant professor in the University of Richmond Department of Geography and the Environment, has been awarded a fellowship to conduct research in Acadia National Park in Maine.

Spera is one of three scientists to receive this opportunity from Second Century Stewardship, an initiative of the National Park Service and Schoodic Institute.

Spera, who focuses on climate change and landscape sustainability, will study shifts in the fall foliage season and related timing in visits to Acadia located in Bar Harbor, Maine. The town is a popular spot for leaf viewing, which generates a large tourist industry the area relies on economically.

“My research in Acadia will focus on how climate change is affecting fall foliage, including when the leaves start changing, how vibrant the colors are, and how long they stay colorful,” Spera said. “Understanding the interaction between climate, fall foliage, and park visitorship is important for the environment itself, park management, and local economies.”

Second Century Stewardship projects focus on “stewardship in a changing world,” which aligns with one of UR’s strategic plan values. For more information, visit the Second Century Stewardship website.

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This project is made possible by the National Park Service and Schoodic Institute, in part by a grant from the National Park Foundation through a generous donation from the David Evans Shaw Family Foundation. A film launching Second Century Stewardship can be viewed online.