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Muhlenberg’s contributions to the science division’s growth in environmental science include recently built labs at Graver Arboretum to support biology and environmental science work, as well as a laboratory being constructed at the Raker Field Station, which is funded by a NASA grant.

All of these opportunities for hands- on activities, research and field study have prepared environmental science majors to continue their work in “the real world.”

Regardless of whether a student with a degree in environmental science ends up in a lab or a wildlife reserve, behind a desk, or in front of a classroom, he or she leaves Muhlenberg a well-rounded scholar of the sciences. The environmental science major at Muhlenberg College is a testament to the liberal arts ideal of studies encompassing several different fields.

 

By Allison Auclair ’05

Were one to compile a list of the many Muhlenberg faculty members who have outstanding credentials and an impressive body of work, Daniel Klem Jr, B.A., M. A., Ph. D., D.Sc. would surely be at or near the top. Without exaggeration, Klem’s work has the potential to greatly reduce accidents and thereby save millions of lives—the lives of millions of birds, that is. Klem, a professor and ornithologist at the College, has not only devoted himself to educating students, but to preserving wildlife as well.

Some 30 years ago, Klem embarked on a journey to bring public awareness to the under appreciated environmental hazard of the massive number of bird deaths that occur due to collisions with glass. To compile his research, Klem evaluated everything from observational data to controlled field and lab experiments. He has also conducted meticulous “window-kill” surveys worldwide. Although little public attention resulted from the first 30 years of his work, Klem’s work is now receiving acknowledgement. His research has been featured in the Philadelphia Inquirer, and he has been cited by the New York Times, Chicago Tribune, CNN and dozens of national and international media outlets.

Recently published by the Associated Press and National Audubon Society, Klem is confident that increased awareness about the issue will lead to a remedy for the problem. Klem hopes engineers, architects and other innovators will be enticed to create a type or design of glass that will solve this problem. Pilot projects, in which various marked-glass prototypes are used to reduce bird-into-window crashes, are now underway in “bird-friendly” buildings in Swarthmore, Pa., and Niagara Falls, N.Y.

Along with his remarkably comprehensive research dealing with bird-glass collisions, Klem has achieved academic success in several other areas. Co-author of the books “A Field Guide to Birds of Armenia” and “Handbook of Birds of Armenia,” he occupies the first fully endowed chair at the College entitled: The Sarkis Acopian Professor of Ornithology and Conservation Biology. Klem earned his bachelor’s degree from Wilkes College in 1968, where he now serves as a Trustee, a master’s degree from Hofstra University in 1973, a doctoral degree from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, and in recognition of his internationally recognized contributions, he was awarded the honorary degree Doctor of Science from Wilkes University in 2000.

Additional achievements include an elected membership to the American Ornithologists’ Union, the Darbaker Prize for his study of avian anatomy and histology from the Pennsylvania Academy of Science, the Lindback Foundation Award for Teaching Excellence here at Muhlenberg, and the Hawk Migration Association of North America Service Award. His work has been funded by research grants from American University of Armenia, Pittsburgh Plate Glass Foundation and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, among others.

It is evident that Klem’s work will continue to bring acclaim to Muhlenberg College and the birds that he so passionately enjoys teaching, studying and writing about. The College community is honored by his dedication and diligence. Needless to say, countless numbers of birds are alive because of his commitments.

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