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Student Studying Environmental Sciences Writes Grant to Benefit Bonobos

(Posted May 23, 2011)

Talia Valencia, a Juniata junior studying environmental science, helped write a $100,000 grant to benefit bonobo preservation in Africa

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- Talia Valencia, a junior at Juniata College from Hagerstown, Md. studying wildlife conservation, recently received confirmation that a 2010 grant she wrote for the African Wildlife Foundation received first prize and $100,000 in grant funds from the Disney Co. and its Friends for Change: Project Green program.

Valencia, the daughter of Roderick and Angie Valencia of Hagerstown, is a 2008 graduate of Tuscarora High School in Frederick, Md.

Valencia wrote the grant in 2010 while working as a summer intern with the African Wildlife Foundation in Washington, D.C., and in January 2011 the grant was voted one of the top five entries by the Disney Co. Disney then asked the public to vote for each grant proposal on the Project Green website.

Valencia's grant, which she worked on with help from colleagues at the foundation, was named as first prize in April. Her grant proposed establishing the Iyondje Community Bonobo Reserve in the Democratic Republic of the Congo as a safe haven for bonobos, an endangered primate species.

In addition to her AWF internship, Valencia will work as an intern this summer at Catoctin Mountain Park, a Maryland wilderness park managed by the National Park Service. As an intern, Valencia will work in the park's confines with a National Park Service biologist on population densities for amphibians and reptiles.

Valencia's grant, which she worked on with help from colleagues at the foundation, was named as first prize in April. Her grant proposed establishing the Iyondje Community Bonobo Reserve in the Democratic Republic of the Congo as a safe haven for bonobos, an endangered primate species.

At Juniata, she is vice president of the Juniata Environmental Coalition, a student club, and also works as assistant to the director of the Raystown Field Station. In addition she is a tour guide for the field station and directs all student activity programming at the site. This year, Valencia was nominated for the Joanne Day Student of the Year Award, which is presented by the Pennsylvania Association of Colleges and Employers to recognize outstanding interns enrolled at member institutions.

Contact John Wall at wallj@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3132 for more information.