Local Students Present Nahant Marsh Summer Research Projects

Back row: Mik Holgersson, Nicole Herreld, Kayelyn Pohl, Travis Pulse, and Wage Miller. Front row: Amanda Sands, Rachel Carera, and Clare Murcia. Photo by Elizabeth Schramm.

Back row: Mik Holgersson, Nicole Herreld, Kayelyn Pohl,
Travis Pulse, and Wage Miller.

Front row: Amanda Sands,
Rachel Carera, and Clare Murcia.

Photo by Elizabeth Schramm

Eight college students participated in a Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation  (LSAMP) research program through Nahant Marsh this summer. LSAMP’s Iowa Illinois Nebraska STEM Partnership for Innovation in Research and Education (IINSPIRE) is a National Science Foundation alliance among sixteen two-year and four-year colleges and universities working together to broaden the participation of underrepresented minorities in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education in the Midwest.


The following student researchers will share their projects in a public poster session and reception to be held at the Nahant Marsh Education Center, located at 4220 Wapello Avenue, Davenport, Iowa, on Wednesday, August 16, from 5 - 7 p.m.:

  • Rachel Cabrera
    Augustana College, Environmental Studies
    “Goat Grazing in a Prairie: The Positive and Negative Impacts”

  • Jose Carranza
    Muscatine Community College, Conservation
    “Serpents of Nahant Marsh”

  • Wage Miller
    Iowa State University, Electrical Engineering
    “Bats of Nahant Marsh”

  • Clare Murcia
    Scott Community College, Environmental Science
    “Pollinator Population vs. Wildflower Density”

  • Kayelyn Pohl
    Scott Community College, Environmental Science
    “Water Quality of Nahant Marsh”

  • Travis Pulse
    Augustana College, Environmental Science
    “Impact of Lead on Water Quality”

  • Amanda Sands
    Scott Community College, Veterinary Technician
    “Nahant Marsh Turtle Traps: Basking vs. Baiting”

  • Dustin Sierra
    Scott Community College, Biology

Nahant Marsh and Eastern Iowa Community Colleges have been participating in the program since 2012, and has had 35 participants. LSAMP Coordinator, Liz Schramm, said, “Through this research, Nahant Marsh is gaining valuable knowledge about the plants and animals found here, and we are also providing valuable experience for the next generation of STEM professionals.”

Mik Holgersson is a conservation biologist and president of Vildmark Inc., an ecological consulting business based in the Quad Cities. Mik has a lifelong interest in herpetology (the study of reptiles and amphibians) and has conducted turtle research at Davenport’s Nahant Marsh annually since 2010. Now in its seventh season, this work has documented more than one thousand individual turtles representing five species, including the regionally rare and protected Blanding’s Turtle. All turtles trapped for summer research projects are measured and then released back into the Marsh.


Nahant Marsh is a 265-acre nature preserve nestled in southwest Davenport. The largest urban wetland on the upper Mississippi River, it is part of a 513-acre wetland complex that is home to 418 plant species, 175 bird species, 42 mammal species, 19 reptile and amphibian species, and numerous fish and invertebrate species.

Nahant Marsh is also a stopover site for many migrating waterfowl and songbird species. This unique preserve is comprised of several habitats including marshes, open water, vernal ponds, tallgrass prairie, sand prairie, and bottomland woods.

The mission of Nahant Marsh Education Center is to protect, enhance, and restore the Marsh through education, research, and conservation. Our vision is to foster wonder, appreciation, and stewardship of the natural world.