Allegheny College Student Honored with Statewide John Laudadio Conservation Leadership Award
Allegheny College senior Bailey Kozalla will be honored with the 2022 John Laudadio Conservation Leadership Award by the Pennsylvania Federation of Sportsmen and Conservationists (PFSC). Named in memory of Pennsylvania State Rep. and former PFSC President John Laudadio, the award recognizes a young adult who has demonstrated a commitment to the conservation effort in Pennsylvania.
According to the PFSC, this award is not only a great honor to the recipient but also continues to promote the behavior that Laudadio would be proud of — a longstanding commitment to the conservation of valuable natural resources.
“To me, the principle of conservation is to preserve and protect the elements of the natural world that we all share,” Kozalla says. “By protecting ecosystems and their natural processes, humans will not only benefit from the services that ecosystems provide but wildlife biodiversity will thrive due to the preservation of their habitats. We all have a responsibility to be stewards of the land, and ensure that our descendants will be able to enjoy it as well.”
Kozalla became interested in conservation at a young age; her firsthand experiences hunting, fishing, and admiring wildlife behavior helped her gain much of her knowledge and appreciation for the outdoors.
Knowing she wanted to ignite this passion for the environment, she chose to attend Allegheny and major in environmental science & sustainability. She sought not only to increase her own knowledge of the natural world, but also to dedicate her career—and Senior Comprehensive Project—to it.
Kozalla’s Senior Comp epitomizes her passion for the natural world, her application of classroom learning, and her desire to make a difference. She is partnering with the Foundation for Sustainable Forests (FSF) and the Pittsburgh Aviary to help assess small openings in the forest, created by logging efforts, that are highly beneficial to birds.
She is also using her skills in Geographic Information System mapping and analysis in novel ways to help quantify the frequency and size of these forest openings. Her goal is to provide the FSF with more feedback on sustainable forest techniques and the aviary with much-needed information on the ability of these gaps to enhance bird populations.
About Kozalla’s work, her advisor, Environmental Science and Sustainability Professor Richard Bowden says, “She has been extremely clever and independently driven in her use of computer-based mapping and has shown great initiative in networking with her collaborators on this project.”
“Bailey displays all the skills and strengths that we so prize in our curriculum in Environmental Science and Sustainability,” adds Beth Choate, associate professor and chair in the department. “Bailey’s development as a sustainability practitioner extends well beyond the walls of the classroom into the community, and I have no doubt that she will continue to have a positive impact on the world around her after graduation.”
After graduation, Kozalla hopes to use her environmental science major and writing minor to provide others with the education they need to participate in conservation.
“I hope to find a career that will allow me to blend my love of writing and storytelling with my passion for environmental science. I believe that Allegheny has prepared me well to follow my dreams,” says Kozalla.
Kozalla extends her appreciation to her family for encouraging her to follow her dreams. She also thanks Bowden for introducing her to the avenues to accomplish her goals and those of the Northwest Division of the Pennsylvania Federation of Sportsmen and Conservationists and the Crawford County Sportsmen’s Council, which nominated her for this award.
Kozalla advises other students who are interested in an environmental career to “never lose sight of why you were initially interested in this field. You will not make a ton of money from a career in conservation, but you will get rich in the satisfaction of knowing that you are truly making a difference in ensuring that people and wildlife will have access to clean air, water, space, and habitat.”
The award will be presented to Kozalla at PFSC’s Spring Conference banquet on March 26, where she will accept it in the company of her family, advisors, and peers.