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New Rockford school project approved

Red River Zoo, NDSU to partner on new research center

FARGO — A new research center for studying birds, bats and small mammals will open this fall at Fargo’s Red River Zoo.

The project, a joint effort between the zoo and North Dakota State University, will be called the NDSU Conservation Research Center.

The partnership will enable NDSU graduate and undergraduate students to conduct research on bird species including chickadees, red wing blackbirds and Franklin gulls, brown bats, prairie voles and ground squirrels, said Wendy Reed, NDSU head of biological sciences.

“We’re very excited to take our research out to the public,” Reed said.

Partnering with NDSU and providing space for the research center helps the zoo meet its accreditation requirements, said Lisa Tate, zoo executive director.

The relationship also will help the zoo expand its public education programs.

“We have to work harder as a society to protect our natural species,” Tate said.

On hand for Friday’s announcement was Stanley A. Temple, conservation professor emeritus at the University of Wisconsin in Madison.

Temple, a senior fellow with the Aldo Leopold Foundation, lauded the partnership between the zoo and NDSU.

“It’s a very important step that quite a few zoos are taking,” he said, to jointly conduct education, research and conservation.

The project is being funded by a $60,000 National Science Foundation grant and a $30,000 donation from the Fargo-based Dietrich Family Foundation, Reed said.

Construction is expected to be completed by Aug. 1.

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