How Kendall Calhoun’s “love” for California led him to Berkeley

June 21, 2022
Kendall Calhoun

Kendall Calhoun

Kendall Calhoun, a PhD student in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management (ESPM), was recently profiled in a story about graduate students for UC Berkeley’s Light the Way campaign.

Born and raised in California, Calhoun focuses on understanding and protecting the state’s wildlife from extreme climate events like flooding and severe wildfires. Unlike the damage to humans, which is immediately clear following these events, Calhoun says the impacts on native wildlife largely remain a mystery.

By using camera traps, acoustic and ultrasonic monitors, and GPS tracking, Calhoun is able to observe the response and potential recovery of mammals, birds, and other species.

“I hope to identify species that are potentially vulnerable to these events so that we can inform future conservation,” says Calhoun, who has a Chancellor’s Fellowship. He also aims to “identify ways we can use fire and land management to better create more resilient habitats and ecosystems.”

ESPM Professor Justin Brashares says Calhoun’s work has implications beyond California. “A lot of the questions he’s asking and the approaches he’s using are much bigger than that and address how global change is going to change our planet.”

As the scientific community scrambles to come up with ways to mitigate wildfires, Brashares sees Calhoun’s work as part of an important tradition: “giving back to the people of California and to the world… specifically by engaging in science that has very meaningful applications to the challenges Californians and others are facing every day.”

Learn more about Calhoun’s research in this video produced by Light the Way, and consider making a gift to the Rausser College Graduate Student Support Fund to enhance the experience of our graduate students as they form lasting partnerships with faculty working at the leading edges of their fields.