SFVAS Announces Scholarship Results

The San Fernando Valley Audubon Society (SFVAS), affiliated with the National Audubon Society, is pleased to announce three new scholarships awarded this year to promising college students who are involved in the study of conservation or ornithology.  Originally the scholarships were to support their participation in our national conferences, but since the pandemic hit SFVAS pivoted to helping students with their academic expenses instead.


Natalie Beckman-Smith is a senior at CSUN, studying ecology and evolutionary biology.  She is  particularly interested in bird taxidermy, and will do a ZOOM presentation on this subject later this year for SFVAS with her professor, Dr. James Hogue.  Natalie also has been helping with bird banding and nestbox management for Western bluebirds.  She has a natural instinct when it comes to working with animals, and is very focused on our local species


Richard Rachman is pursuing his Masters degree in Ecology and Evolution at CSUN, minoring in Geospatial Information Systems (GIS).  He uses GIS to study vegetation mapping in our region.  He is also focused on what is happening in our local environment, as wildfires, climate change and development impact our ecology.  He is particularly interested in our oak tree woodland, and his thesis will explore mapping these giant trees how they have been impacted, critical to insuring their survival.  In the meantime he is very busy surveying animal and plant life on campus and in all the regions of California.


Elliott Bloom is fascinated by penguins, and his thesis at CSUN is about Magellanic and Humboldt penguins, which co-exist off the coast of Central Chile.  Both birds Have the same body sizes and diet compositions, but somehow they overlap territory and survive.  Elliot is examining how this works, and how the dropping food supply will affect them.  He’s been studying how their special build works to help them feed and move through the water.  Penguins are such a popular representative of the bird community, he hopes to foster interest for their conservation, as well as the marine environs they need.