Ellen graduated from Western Kentucky University in 2021 with a B.S. in Environmental Science, a B.A. in Spanish, and a certificate in Geographic Information Systems (GIS). She became interested in urban ecology through her undergraduate thesis project, which included a tree survey and ecosystem services summary of the urban forest and led to suggestions for the maximization of the forest resources on campus. She then got to work with Southern Kentucky Community and Technical College to complete a tree survey of their campus for a Tree Campus USA application, which cemented her interest in urban ecology. Ellen is generally interested in urban ecosystems and how greenspaces can benefit the populations surrounding them. At Ohio State, she is studying urban pollinators and how pollinator-aimed greening can help contribute to healthy urban ecosystems.
About: My name is Ellen Danford, I’m originally from Lexington, Kentucky and I got my Bachelor’s degrees in Spanish and Geography at Western Kentucky University (go Tops!). I am a master’s student with Dr. Gardiner in the Environmental Science Graduate Program here at OSU.
Research: I am researching the impact urban socioeconomic inequities, habitat fragmentation or urban spontaneous vegetation availability have on the ability of insects (lady bugs, syrphids and bees in particular) to utilize conservation green spaces. Hopefully this knowledge can then be used to combat inequitable access to quality conservation spaces and provide better access to habitat for urban insects.
Get to Know!
1. Who would you want to portray your life story in a movie?
Georgie Henley (Lucy from the Chronicles of Narnia) and I looked almost identical when the first movie came out in 2005, so I feel it’d be a fun nod to our shared childhood haircut and freckles for her to play me in a movie.
2. If money was no object, what would you do for the day?
If money were no object on one particular day, I’d love to see the Kentucky Derby! I’ve always watched on TV, but never gone to the live race.
3. What was the first concert you ever went to?
The first concert I ever went to was a Lexington Philharmonic ‘PB&J’ concert. That series aimed at entertaining kids over the summers of my youth and they’d let the kids try playing the instruments, which is where I first attempted to play the trombone. I’ve been playing the trombone for over 10 years now, so I’d say it had a pretty lasting impact on my musical life!