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Ryan Dougherty

Ryan Dougherty
Project Title: 
Wildlife Species Utilization of Solar Sites in Massachusetts
Program Year: 
Environmental Science
Zara Dowling

This summer, I worked with Zara Dowling from the UMass Clean Energy Extension studying how wildlife utilizes pollinator friendly solar arrays as opposed to conventional solar arrays. My project looked at two conventional (non-pollinator-friendly) and two pollinator friendly sites during the same time period in order to gather relevant data. I gained an incredible amount of experience in field work during this study, which involved scouting potential sites for the study, determining viable camera and audio trap locations, and deploying camera and audio equipment at the chosen locations for data collection. Throughout the summer, I collected data on a biweekly basis from all of the deployed traps, swapping SD cards and batteries as needed. I then analyzed the large quantities of collected data using AI tools such as Cornell’s BirdNET for audio data and a site called WildlifeInsights for camera data. The CAFE Summer Scholars Program provided me with incredibly valuable experience that I will utilize throughout the rest of my undergraduate education and future career.