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Maps, murrelets, and more...

Max Pepperdine joins the C3JV as a student researcher working to advance conservation planning in the Central Coast while building skillsets important to building a career in conservation.

The C3JV would like to welcome and introduce Max Pepperdine, who was selected for a Frost Summer Internship Stipend through the Biological Sciences Department at California Polytechnic State University.  The Frost Fund provides incredible opportunities for students and faculty to engage in undergraduate research as an embodiment of the Learn by Doing approach. Research stipends allow students to do research full-time, supporting more than 400 students each summer.

Max is in the midst of his 2022 summer research project, working with spatial datasets within the Santa Cruz Mountains of Central Coastal California to identify and model potential opportunities for strengthened habitat conservation and stewardship for imperiled species, including the Marbled Murrelet, within this increasingly fragmented ecosystem. As Max explains;

"This project is of great interest to me for a variety of reasons. It addresses some of my strongest passions by focusing on conservation efforts in the California Central Coast, and it’s pertinent to my educational, research, and career goals. Growing up in Santa Cruz County, I was fortunate to be surrounded by one of the most unique combinations of coastal and forest environments. This fostered my development of an extreme admiration, affinity for, and connection to the natural environments of California’s Central Coast at an early age. For as long as I can remember, I’ve always been interested in preserving biodiversity and promoting environmental stewardship, and this project would allow me to do just that. Opportunities like this that apply my learning in support of real-world habitat protection in the Central Coast by delineating at-risk habitats sensitive to land-use change use is a dream come true."

Through his research project, Max will be building a Priority Habitat Conservation Map to help inform conservation efforts within the Coastal Redwood forests of Santa Cruz and San Mateo Counties. With a growing interest in GIS as a skillset essential to Max's career goals, combined with the persistent need for strengthening our understanding of the C3JV landscape, this project is a win-win.

Max is currently a fourth-year student at Cal Poly SLO pursuing a B.S. in Environmental Management and Protection with double minors in Biology and Sustainable Environments. His greatest passions include protecting and preserving biodiversity, the natural environment, and public health through environmental policy, conservation planning, environmental stewardship, and community education. Max will present his research at the Biological Sciences Summer Research Symposium, which will be held August 25 & 26 at Cal Poly. For further questions or more details on this project and other efforts of the C3JV, feel free to reach out to

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