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Tech Professor Waterfowl Research Featured In Exhibit

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Tech Professor Waterfowl Research Featured In Exhibit

The Discovery Park of America has unveiled a new exhibit about waterfowl migration habits featuring research from a Tennessee Tech Professor.

Wildlife Ecology and Management Associate Professor Bradley Cohen said the exhibit explores the science behind waterfowl management and the importance of the floodplain of the Mississippi River. Cohen said the exhibit, titled “Duck, Duck, Goose,” is a permanent display that will stay at the entrance of the museum for the foreseeable future.

“We just hope that the people that come in there can kind of see and understand some of the cool work that we’re doing,” Cohen said. “They can link up to our social media accounts through it, and really we just want them to understand that, beyond just seeing the wildlife in – in the wetlands of Tennessee and across Tennessee, what we’re doing is providing science-backed information to help their conservation.”

Cohen said his research was chosen because he and his team are one of the local partners that had relevant, up-to-date information on the subject when the museum began working on the exhibit. He said he met with the museum’s contractors bi-weekly for around six months to design it.

“It was a really collaborative process to get to the end product,” Cohen said.

Cohen said it is critical to study this subject to ensure that waterfowl populations are properly cared for and continue to survive for generations.

“Waterfowl are a federally managed species,” Cohen said. “They migrate, so they cross state lines, and they, in fact, cross country lines, right? They’re a continental species.”

Cohen said the research has been a five-year long joint effort with the TWRA and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

“We’re putting little GPS transmitters on these ducks,” Cohen said. “So basically you can imagine it’s a little backpack that can take GPS locations and tell us where the duck is at any moment in time, and it relies on cellular technology, so we literally get texts that tell us, ‘Hey, this is where your duck is.’ That duck can be in west Tennessee during the winter, or that duck can be in Canada during the summer.”

Discovery Park is located in Union City, TN. Cohen said it is a deeply rewarding experience to see people of all ages interacting with and enjoying his work.

“It’s one of the coolest things ever, you know?” Cohen said. “If you had told me I would be in a museum, especially studying wildlife, who would have thought?”


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