Environmental & Organismal

Lyken grew up in Salmon, Idaho, close to nature and watching Steve Irwin on the Nature Channel. He knew he wanted to be a biologist from an early age.

“We were and are just a part of a system that’s way more complicated than we give it credit for. Biology is our existence, and it’s beautiful—how it all seems to just work together. We’re trying to understand those interactions, how they govern our lives, and what we can do to have as positive an impact as possible.”

Lyken learned about FLC through a family friend, and then visited Durango on a trip. He was drawn by the diverse ecology of the area—desert and mountains intersected by rivers—and Durango’s small town charms. It was both familiar to his Idaho roots, and offered something new and exciting.

Since joining the Biology program at FLC, Lyken has had myriad opportunities to actually do biology. “I’ve been working on a project that could make a difference in the ecology of North America.” Lyken designed a project to look for correlations between the fungal community of bat guano and that which exists on their bodies in order to identify less invasive, less costly, and more available methodologies to test for and monitor White Nose Syndrome in western bat populations. In February 2019, he presented his research at the Student Ecology Symposium at CSU in Fort Collins where he was afterward approached by faculty from a number of universities who were impressed by the quality of the work he was doing.

Following his graduation in Spring 2019, Lyken’s future as a steward of the landscape he deeply cares about is wide open.

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