“Its very hard to give them any sense that you can have a lot of variation in a population,” she said.

“The only example I’ve found is with the salamanders. You can actually go to these different sites and show students how much variation we have, and I can’t think of other easy examples where you can do that in such a small region.”

Marvin O’Neal, the Course Director for Introductory Laboratories in the Biology department, is afraid that the deforestation will affect many more students than the administration realizes.

“That forest is used for my course,” he said. His BIO 204 course is taught to over 1,200 undergraduate students every year. “The hotel would occupy our most accessible and diverse field site.”

Graham agrees with the notion that the forest serves as a valuable classroom for students, and offered her own analogy.

“If you had a state of the art molecular lab to do state of the art analysis you needed for medical research and to teach students specifically how to do that research, you wouldn’t go in and bulldoze that classroom,” she said. “That classroom would be a prize, it would be something you valued. Whereas here, without really thinking, they’re proposing to bulldoze what is a very, very valuable and nice laboratory for many classes on campus.”

As for the salamanders, Fisher-Reid offered up a grim prognosis in the event that the hotel is built where plans call for.

“Once its deforested, that population is gone,” she said. “They need the woods.”

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