Fulbright Year: 2014-2015
Proposal Type: Research Grant
Proposal Title: Exploring the Caves of Cyprus
UGA Degree: Master’s in Wildlife Conservation, Spring 2014
Hometown: Atlanta, Georgia
At some point during Lauren Satterfield’s Fulbright year in Cyprus, she plans to scale all 6,404 feet of Mount Olympus, the highest point in the island nation.
But most of Lauren’s time will be spent underground as she works with the conservation group Bio-Der to collect, share, and develop data on some 85 caves, an underused and under-protected resource in Cyprus.
Besides providing arresting formations for tourist viewing, caves in Cyprus hold and channel fresh water, and provide habitat for bats, amphibians, and insects. Additionally, caves in this area are expected to hold undiscovered archaeological artifacts. But little is done to protect caves because little is known about them.
“Currently, no protections exist for cave systems in Cyprus, mainly due to lack of data,” Lauren explains. “Experience tells us that unprotected caves are susceptible to vandalism, inadvertent damage during industrial activities, water quality degradation, and other habitat destruction. This (Fulbright) project will serve to educate local communities about this valuable resource, help mining companies choose and develop extraction sites in a more environmentally sustainable fashion, protect habitat for cave-dwelling bats and amphibians, and allow environmental groups to lobby for cave protections.”
Lauren – who has also traveled to India, Nepal, South Africa, and Botswana – says that while in Cyprus, she’ll map cave locations, provide basic hydrological and ecological data to demonstrate the benefits of caves, and develop workshops and seminars for use by conservation groups to educate the public.
A recipient of the Martha Love Memorial Scholarship and a member of the Xi Sigma Pi Forestry Honors Society at UGA, Lauren – who earned bachelor’s degrees in religion and mathematics from Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts – also has a keen interest in wildlife and volunteered with the Atlanta Wild Animal Rescue Effort before enrolling in graduate school.
Upon completion of her Fulbright year, Lauren says she plans to pursue a wildlife position that will allow her to remain overseas with the ultimate goal of earning a PhD in wildlife and natural resources and leading a research group of her own.
“My career path to this point has focused on carnivore ecology and conflict issues, although, as evidenced by my Fulbright, I also have a great interest in cave research,” she says. “My ideal position would combine working on a team to design projects, implementing those projects through fieldwork, and using my statistical background to analyze and compile results for both scientific and public use. I am most interested in projects that either directly or indirectly address human-wildlife conflict issues through data gathering, collaboration, and testing innovative solutions.”
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