On April 9, 2021, the Cultural and Political Ecology Specialty Group of the American Association of Geographers (AAG) announced that Zachary Tabor, first year M.A. student in the Department of Geography and the Environment, received the 2021 CAPE Field Study Award. Zach is the first University of North Texas student to win this award and his commendation is noteworthy considering most award winners are PhD students!
The CAPE Field Study Award is $1,000 and will defray travel expenses for Zach's fieldwork this coming summer. Zach's research is titled "Big Game and Big Decisions: Identifying Local-Scale CWD and Feral Hog Management Strategies". Drawing on literatures in property, wildlife governance, and disease distribution, and framed around the concept of a wildlife/food/agriculture nexus, his M.A. thesis research asks: How do Texans contend with Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in white-tailed deer herds and unmanaged feral hog populations? And how do these strategies compare? To identify these strategies, this summer Zach will conduct in person or Zoom interviews with hunters, landowners, game ranch managers, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department employees, and game wardens in Brewster, Hardeman, Palo Pinto, Mason, Anderson, Jasper, Jefferson, and Dimmit counties. These interviews will ask questions about CWD, feral hogs, local impacts, engagement with experts, local land uses, personal ethics, and the ways deer and hog management policies affect human interactions with these animals.
A little more information about Zach: After completing a B.S. in Geography and the Environment at UNT, his passion for conservation and the outdoors brought him back to pursue a master's degree focused on wildlife. Currently, he is a teaching assistant for the department in Earth Science. After graduating next year, Zach hopes to pursue a career in conservation with a private conservation organization or a federal or state wildlife management agency.