Chasing Giants!

Posted by Jonathan Twining on Jan 23, 2015 11:00:00 AM

Believe it or not, professors like me don’t know everything! It is a challenge for me to keep pace with new and exciting developments in my fields of ecology and environmental science. To learn some new techniques for monitoring salamander populations in streams, I had to get back in touch with my "wild side" this past summer, spending a week camping in the Clearwater National Forest while studying salamanders in Weir Creek.

Salamander-Jon-TwiningOn this adventure, I accompanied Dr. John Cossel and his students from Northwest Nazarene University to their annual Salamander Camp where I assisted in the search for the Idaho giant salamander, an amphibian endemic to Idaho and Montana (meaning they are found there and nowhere else in the world). These salamanders were captured using electrofishing methods, then weighed, measured, and tagged before release, all of which were new experiences for me. It was great to contribute to this ongoing 10-year research project. Beyond salamander survey techniques, I learned new skills in video-making and editing, and put them to good use making a documentary of the experience. To see this documentary and learn about the Idaho giant salamander, please watch “Chasing Giants” on the One Biota Network Channel, the channel for the ENC Environmental Science Program.

The exciting thing is that I now can share this experience in the classroom at Eastern Nazarene College. I am also hoping that in the near future, Dr. Cossel and I can find ways for NNU and ENC students to work together on these kinds of projects. 

If studying Environmental Science at Eastern Nazarene College is for you, contact an Admissions Counselor to learn more information.

Jonathan Twining
Assistant Professor of Biology

Photo: Coeur d'Alene salamander, photo by Jonathan Twining

Written by Jonathan Twining

Jonathan Twining teaches the ecology and environmental science courses for the Biology Department and is the advisor for the Animal Caretakers Team (ACT). Twining worked for a number of years as an environmental scientist and project manager with consulting firms in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. He has been very active in the greater community, partnering ENC students with organizations like the Quincy DPW, Wildlands Trust of Southeastern Massachusetts, Massachusetts Audubon, the South Shore Natural Science Center, and the Department of Conservation and Recreation. His passion and primary research interest is the ecology and conservation of vernal pool habitats. He has written numerous articles for NCM Magazine, and has been a speaker in local congregations about the care of creation (environmental stewardship).

Topics: ENC Faculty, Environmental Science