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Pika M.

IGC FELLOW    |   Global Change Center

Ph.D. Student  •  School of Plant and Environmental Sciences

Advisors : Dr. Leighton Reid and Dr. Ryan Klopf

Research Interests: Restoration ecology, fire ecology, endangered species management 

IGC Fellow

Pika is a PhD student in the School of Plant and Environmental Sciences. They are advised by Ryan Klopf of the Virginia Natural Heritage Program, and Leighton Reid. They received their bachelor’s degree in Sociology and Anthropology from Green Mountain College in 2017. Following undergraduate study, they joined AmeriCorps to help public schools support unaccompanied minors and immigrant student populations here in the U.S. After a summer internship on a goat farm, however, they caught the bug for working outdoors and became interested in ecology. They worked on invasive species management and fire rehabilitation in the Owyhee desert and the Great Basin with ACE EPIC and worked for two years as a forestry field technician before coming to Tech.

Pika’s research project is a collaborative effort between Virginia Tech and the Virginia DCR. This project centers around two populations of an endangered orchid on DCR lands where ecological restoration and prescribed fire are being used to promote oak-hickory woodland and endangered species habitat. Pika’s research at this preserve will compare the two subpopulations of Small Whorled Pogonia and explore whether prescribed fire is a viable management practice for this species.

Pika looks forward to the collaborative opportunities that the IGC provides, to joining a lasting network of world changers, and to sharing ideas about climate change and climate action across disciplines. They hope to enrich their understanding of ecological restoration and to collectively conceive of climate solutions.