School of Environment and Natural Resources
Forestry, Fisheries, and Wildlife - Wildlife
Shaker Heights, OH
For the last three years, Gautam Apte has served as Research Coordinator for the Ornithology Club at Ohio State. In this role, he coordinated the Lights Out Buckeyes avian-building collision monitoring program, a program that works under faculty supervision and in conjunction with the Ohio Bird Conservation Initiative to monitor and mitigate bird-building collisions on OSU’s Columbus campus. Under his leadership, the program has made outstanding progress in research and practical efforts, installing collision mitigation measures on several campus buildings. The program has set an example for other universities hoping to get involved in similar programs, and Gautam’s efforts have provided for the continuation of the program over the coming years. He views his part in the success of the Lights Out Buckeyes program as his greatest undergraduate accomplishment.
Beyond the Lights Out Buckeyes program, Gautam’s four-year membership in the Ornithology Club at Ohio State was among his most enjoyable experiences. There he met Buckeyes from across the university community, took trips all over the country, and participated in numerous conservation initiatives.
Over the last three summers, Gautam has found employment at various organizations throughout the country in pursuit of his passion, including Daniel Boone National Forest in Kentucky, in the Lower Colorado River Valley of Arizona and California, and Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest in Montana. His duties included mapping songbird territories in response to habitat disturbances, monitoring breeding populations of endangered species as part of a long-term study, monitoring nest success of high-elevation breeding birds in response to habitat changes, and more.
In these roles, Gautam gained valuable experience with various wildlife ecology field methods as well as the unique opportunity to live and work in truly remote and unpopulated areas, something he never would have had the chance to experience in Ohio. The chance to experience a completely different world of flora and fauna was also something he cherished. He reflected on the solitude and connection with the landscape he found: “I got to really know some of my study sites across different projects and become extremely familiar with every feature of a landscape, to the point of recognizing individual animals at work every day. I really enjoy getting to experience that as a regular part of a job.”
Gautam identifies Dr. Chris Tonra as his undergraduate mentor. He shares, “Chris advises my undergraduate research at Ohio State, and has provided opportunities for me to gain valuable research experiences, as well as to guide me in creating and completing my own research project. I owe him a lot for the opportunities he has provided for me to grow as a student here at Ohio State.”
After graduation, Gautam will go to work for the University of Oregon, taking part in a study in Central Nevada’s Great Basin. Upon conclusion of the study, he plans to continue working as a seasonal field technician for several years, taking every opportunity to travel to new locales and experience new species and habitats.
Service, involvement, and accolades: The Ornithology Club at Ohio State, research coordinator | Lights Out Buckeyes Program