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For Immediate Release

Leslie Weddell
(719) 389-6038


Husband-and-wife team receive $244,000 for research

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – January 29, 2010 –  A husband-and-wife team, one a professor at Colorado College and the other a professor at University of Colorado-Colorado Springs (UCCS), has received more than $244,000 from the National Science Foundation to study the ecological restoration of former military lands.

Marion Hourdequin, assistant professor of philosophy at Colorado College, and David Havlick, assistant professor of geography and environmental studies at UCCS, have been awarded a $244,881 grant from the National Science Foundation program in Science, Technology, and Society.

The grant supports three years of research, which will focus specifically on lands now managed as National Wildlife Refuges. Many of these military-to-wildlife (M2W) sites are heavily contaminated with toxic chemicals and unexploded ordnance, yet also are ecologically rich and relatively undeveloped.

Professors Havlick and Hourdequin will examine restoration goals at these sites. The project will provide a richer and more thorough understanding of how restoration can and should account for the complex social and ecological histories of M2W sites. The research will focus on critical ethical and practical questions of what restoration should preserve, recreate or obscure, while also addressing important issues facing managers of M2W lands as they develop restoration plans.

The grant includes support for the involvement of undergraduate students at Colorado College and a graduate student at UCCS, as well as a workshop for land managers and scholars from diverse disciplines to discuss the challenges and opportunities for M2W restoration.

An abstract of the grant follows:
Abstract: Authenticity and Historical Fidelity in Ecological Restoration:
The Case of Former U.S. Military Lands
David G. Havlick and Marion E. Hourdequin

In recent decades, hundreds of U.S. Department of Defense installations have closed as military infrastructure in the United States has been consolidated and realigned. Many of these military sites are heavily contaminated with toxic chemicals and unexploded ordnance; however, many of these same lands are ecologically rich and relatively undeveloped. This combination of characteristics has led to the conversion of almost two dozen former military bases to National Wildlife Refuges. The restoration of these military-to-wildlife (M2W) conversion sites raises important questions about restoration goals and the values that underlie them. This project investigates two key values in ecological restoration – authenticity and historical fidelity – and their relation to restoration at M2W sites. The research explicitly considers the values that underlie restoration goals at military-to-wildlife conversion sites and probes the extent to which these values and goals account for the sites’ complex genealogies.

The research will illuminate the critical ethical and practical question of what restoration should preserve, recreate, or obscure, while also addressing important issues facing managers of M2W lands as they develop restoration plans. Whether restoration should aim to recreate “pre-settlement conditions,” “pre-military conditions,” or have another goal, and how these goals produce authentic restorations or historically faithful ones, are questions of pressing practical importance.

The philosophical portion of this study utilizes conceptual analysis to investigate existing conceptions of authenticity and historical fidelity in the literature on ecological restoration. These results will be synthesized with empirical case studies of three M2W sites, involving document reviews, archival research, on-site visits, and interviews and surveys of land managers and refuge visitors.

About Colorado College
Colorado College is a nationally prominent, four-year liberal arts college that was founded in Colorado Springs in 1874. The college operates on the innovative Block Plan, in which its 1,975 undergraduate students study one course at a time in intensive 3½-week blocks. The college also offers a master of arts in teaching degree. For more information, visit <>.