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John Jay Senior Lauded for Scientific Research

CROSS RIVER, N.Y. –John Jay High School senior Michael Rosenthal has been named the winner of the Fisher Scientific Award in Animal Science at the Westchester Science and Engineering Fair held this month.

Rosenthal participated in the fair as part of the Mianus River Gorge Preserve’s Wildlife Technician Program (WTP). The WTP was started at the Preserve in 2005 to provide Westchester, and now New York City, high school students with the opportunity to conduct cutting-edge ecological and wildlife studies, according to the group. Through a highly competitive process, students are selected in their sophomore year to work alongside staff biologists and MRGP-funded graduate students for three years on conservation issues facing urban and suburban ecosystems.

The Preserve was established in 1953 and is dedicated to preserving, protecting and promoting the appreciation of the natural heritage of the Mianus River Gorge and the quality of its watershed. A not-for-profit conservation and education organization, the Preserve protects more than 1,000 acres in Bedford, North Castle and Pound Ridge, and Stamford, Conn., including one of the last stands of old-growth forest in the northeast U.S., according to the organization. MRGP manages a 764-acre nature preserve, which is open seasonally with five miles of hiking trails and outdoor exhibits.

Rosenthal’s award-winning WTP project was called “Evaluation of Passive Methods for Estimating Coyote Density: Will They Work?” He is currently experimenting with two coyote population estimation methods to see whether they can be used to accurately measure the number of coyotes at the Preserve. The first method involves using spectrogram analysis to distinguish individual coyotes by their howl. The second method uses randomly placed automated heat and motion triggered cameras to photograph coyotes as they move about the Preserve and mathematical models to estimate population density.

For more information about the Preserve’s programs, visit its website .

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