Meg Armistead, a Sewanee junior from Charlotte, NC, recently had a very unusual opportunity for an undergraduate. Armistead presented her research findings at the 36th Annual Meeting of the Southeast Deer Study Group in Greenville, SC. The group meets annually for researchers and managers to share the latest information about managing deer as an important wildlife species and natural resource.
Armistead was one of only two undergraduates—and the only one as a lead author—to present at the meeting, known informally as a “hunting conference.” She concedes, “There was a lot of camo,” along with the wildlife managers, researchers and administrators.
An Environmental Studies: Ecology and Biodiversity major, she knew as a sophomore that she wanted to get involved in research on the Domain; Biology Professor Jon Evens suggested the deer project: “Spatial assessment of deer browse and its effects on a forest community in southeastern Tennessee.” In addition to the summer field work, Armistead has spent two semesters of independent study on the project, including lab work and data analysis—the latter assisted by Assistant Professor of Mathematics Matt Rudd. Her study suggests that sapling number could be used as a rapid metric for assessing browse, and could be a useful tool for taking spatial variation into account in deer herd management.
In addition to her research and classes, Armistead stays busy on campus riding at the equestrian center; as a member of her sorority, leadership honor society Omicron Delta Kappa, and the Student Alumni Leadership Council; and as an environmental resident in her dorm. She participated in last summer’s Field Study in Belize, a 10-day intensive immersion course in which Sewanee students studied rainforest and coral reef ecosystems in Belize. She is gaining the research experience—and life experiences—that will be important when she pursues her future studies and career.