McShaffrey receives Herbert Osborn Award

MARIETTA — A biology professor at Marietta College has received an award from the Ohio Biological Survey.

Dave McShaffrey received the Herbert Osborn Award during the recent Ohio Natural History Conference in Columbus. The award is named after the founder of the Ohio Biological Survey and recognizes significant accomplishments and service in biology specific to Ohio.

McShaffrey said he was “a little bit shocked” to be honored.

“It’s always nice to be recognized by your peers,” said McShaffrey, who is also the Ebenezer Baldwin Andrews Chair of Natural Sciences at Marietta College.

The Ohio Biological Survey is a consortium of colleges, universities, museums, agencies, metro parks, arboreta, zoos and other organizations and individuals in Ohio and the region.

McShaffrey has been active on the society board of directors for years and in the 1990s participated in a dragonfly survey in Ohio that resulted in a book. He is updating that study.

“We are documenting whether we are finding the same species in the same places we did before,” he said.

McShaffrey was recommended for the award by MaLisa Spring, Marietta College class of 2014, and others. She is the state coordinator for the Ohio Dragonfly Survey and works for the Museum of Biological Diversity.

“As an ace photographer, his lectures were filled with exceptional photographs that highlighted each new concept. He encouraged analytical thinking by creating his own modeling programs. These challenging models required groups of students to discuss caveats and implications with each ecological theory,” Spring’s letter of nomination said. “We became adept at discussing ecological concepts early on in the course.”

McShaffrey is known for his educational outreach activities, including bringing experts from across the state to speak to naturalists in the Marietta area.

An ongoing project of McShaffrey’s is the development of the college’s Barbara A. Beiser Field Station for biology off Ohio 26 near the Hill Covered Bridge. On about 70 acres of land that extends to the Little Muskingum, Marietta College students observe and collect specimens and practice techniques.

“We’ve had the property for over 10 years. We go out there to conduct experiments and take measurements,” he said. “Our hope is to have some equipment out there in the future.”