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Alum’s Legacy Gift will Support Student Experience in Wetlands Conservation

Published: 
1 week 1 day ago
Growing up on Staten Island, Paul DuBowy ’75 loved mucking about in marshes, swamps, and estuaries. At Cornell, he enrolled in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and majored in Natural Resources. Now, after a lifetime spent in research and teaching as a wetland ecologist, he’s made a commitment for a legacy gift to ensure that future Cornell students have the opportunity to gain hands-on knowledge and skills in wetland conservation.

Paul’s credits his own experience as a student exploring and studying the bogs and wetlands in Cornell Botanic Gardens’ natural areas as integral to his career choice. “I have great memories of field trips to McLean Bog and Ringwood Ponds,” he said. “Cornell helped me realize I could turn my love for wetlands and wildlife into a life’s work.”

Earlier this year, Paul and his wife, Virginia, decided to update their estate plan and create a legacy at each of their universities, to promote academic and career opportunities for students in their fields.

Paul contacted Cornell Botanic Gardens with the goal of using his future gift to expose more students to wetland ecology and conservation.  After talking with Todd Bittner, our Director of Natural Areas, he and Virginia have designated a bequest in their Wills to establish an endowment to fund a student internship at Cornell Botanic Gardens.  When their gift is realized, the Paul DuBowy Internship in Bog and Wetland Conservation will allow Cornell students to broaden their knowledge and skills in bog and wetland science and management.

“This internship will provide the hands-on learning needed to evaluate the conservation of bog and wetland plants in actual situations - what works vs. what doesn't,” Paul said. “Cornell’s natural areas are integral to understanding the interactions between biotic and abiotic functions in bog and wetland ecosystems.”

Virginia Steinhaus DuBowy was the first woman to graduate from the University of North Dakota (UND) with a bachelor of science degree in fisheries and wildlife biology.  Their bequest to UND will establish an endowed scholarship fund to assist undergraduate women pursuing majors in that discipline.

Paul and Virginia met when he was a graduate student at UND, studying for his master’s degree in Wildlife Biology.  After earning a Ph.D. in Zoology from the University of California, Davis, Paul embarked upon an academic career that included faculty positions in wildlife and wetland science at Purdue University, Texas A&M University, and the University of Newcastle, Australia.  He and his graduate students have studied aquatic ecosystems throughout the U.S. and around the world, examining ecosystem dynamics at every level from hydrology and biogeochemistry, through plants and invertebrates, to fish and wildlife management, landscape ecology and conservation biology.  He retired from academia in 2001 and began a second career with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, working on environmental restoration programs in the Everglades and for the Mississippi River and Tributaries Regional Technical Center. He also has served as UNESCO Ecohydrology Scholar at the University of ?ód?, Poland and University of Algarve, Portugal, Tanoto Visiting Scientist at Bogor Agricultural University, Indonesia, and Fulbright Distinguished Chair of Ecohydrology at Universidade Federal do Espírito Santo, Brazil.

Since 2014 Paul has been Principal of Ecohydrology Associates LLC, where he coordinates an international network of aquatic scientists involved in environmental remediation and provides graduate-level courses in ecohydrology and restoration ecology.  Virginia is Chief of Cultural and Natural Resources at Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area, a National Park Service site that spans 120,000 acres in Montana and Wyoming.

“Virginia and I feel this bequest will provide interns with more opportunities to study wetland conservation and make important impacts in the field as they pursue their careers,” Paul said.

For more information about how you can create your own legacy at Cornell Botanic Gardens, click here or contact Lynn Swain at 607-255-7416 or lswain@cornell.edu.