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Posted on May 21, 2014

bocThe U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has announced that Dr. Carol Bocetti, an associate professor at California University of Pennsylvania, is a recipient of its most recent Recovery Champion award.

The award honors Fish and Wildlife Service employees and “partners-in-mission” who have made outstanding efforts to help threatened or endangered fish, wildlife and plant species reach the point where they are secure in the wild and no longer need protection — the goal of the federal Endangered Species Act.

Recovery actions may help to prevent extinctions, conserve or restore habitat, conduct scientific research, or promote public awareness, the Fish and Wildlife Service says.

Bocetti, a member of the Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences at Cal U, received the 2013 award for her work with the Delmarva Fox Squirrel Recovery Team.   She has been working with the team since 1995.

The Delmarva fox squirrel, a silvery grey rodent that can weigh 3 pounds and grow to 28 inches long, first was listed as an endangered species in 1967. Today, more than 20,000 fox squirrels now inhabit the Delmarva Peninsula of Delaware, Maryland and Virginia.

The Fish and Wildlife Service expects to “de-list” or remove the Delmarva fox squirrel from the list of endangered species, saying it is “confident of its sustained viability” in the wild.

This is the second Recovery Champion award for Bocetti, who was received the 2011 award for her conservation work as leader of the Kirtland’s Warbler Recovery Team. That once-endangered songbird, breeding only in Michigan, Wisconsin and Ontario, also has been brought back from the brink of extinction.

“I am not aware of a Recovery Champion chosen with so few years between the awards,” says Ann Haas, an endangered species program specialist with the Fish and Wildlife Service. “Although Dr. Bocetti is not unique in this recognition, she is surely a rarity.  She deserves applause for sharing her expertise for the benefit of another species in another region.”

Bocetti joined the California University of Pennsylvania faculty in 2004 after spending 18 years as a researcher in the field of conservation biology and wildlife ecology. She involves Cal U students in her research, including her work with Delmarva fox squirrels.

“The mentoring potential in both the classroom and in the field is currently the highlight of my professional life,” she says. “I was so excited to learn I’d again received this award!”

See a complete list of the 2013 Recovery Champions award winners.