Posted by Sean Flynt on 2014-01-27

The Friends of Shades Creek have honored Samford University biology professor Kristin Bakkegard with their 2014 Volunteer Educator of the Year Award.
Bakkegard is a dedicated community education volunteer, reaching out to schools, scouting organizations and churches to increase understanding of science and appreciation of Alabama's biodiversity. Children throughout Jefferson County recognize Bakkegard and the salamanders she allows them to view and touch.

Bakkegard and her Samford students have done essential research on the last known population of spotted salamanders in Shades Valley. The creatures live in the Homewood Forest Preserve, which the City of Homewood and Samford University jointly placed under conservation easement in 2008.

The Huntsville, Ala., native joined Samford's faculty the same year, after earning her Ph.D. and concluding an active-duty career as a surface warfare officer in the U.S. Navy. She holds the rank of captain and remains a Navy Selected Reservist.

About Samford University – Samford University is a premier nationally ranked private university deeply rooted in its Christian mission. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th oldest institution of higher education in the United States. U.S. News & World Report ranks Samford 4th among regional universities in the South. Samford enrolls 5,619 students from 44 states, the District of Columbia and 29 other countries in its 10 academic units: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy, and public health. Samford also fields 17 NCAA Division I teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference.