For more than two decades and with dozens of students, former biology professors Dale Kennedy and Doug White studied house wrens in the fields behind the Whitehouse Nature Center. As a part of Albion College’s homecoming week celebrations, the “Dale Kennedy and Doug White Wren Trail” was dedicated to honor the work done by Kennedy and White in their study of house wrens and work in the biology department at Albion.
Kennedy and White began their careers at Albion in 1994 and began research at the nature center in 1995, setting up over 160 “wren boxes” on the trail. The boxes allowed the research team to see eggs, nests and baby birds. The boxes also helped observation of the everyday actions of house wrens, a common bird that is not commonly studied and that still not much is known about.
During their time at Albion, Kennedy and White published four scientific papers regarding their work with the wrens in addition to maintaining an academic impact on the biology department students they worked with.
“[The trail is] their legacy that will be a tangible thing that will always be out there, but their living legacy is their students that they’ve gotten to work with,” said biology professor Dan Skean.
Kennedy and White acknowledged that one of the main reasons they were drawn to Albion College for their careers was because of the nature center.
“It was an amazing experience and an opportunity to demonstrate the power of Biology and that you can study it from right outside your door at the nature center,” said White.
The trail dedicated this weekend is on the traditional land of the Anishinaabe tribes.
Several college affiliates and members of the local community came out to the rock to observe the trail dedication ceremony including former Whitehouse Nature Center Director, Tamara Crupi.
Crupi stated that Kennedy and White came to be very good friends of hers and that she enjoyed birdwatching with the two.
Kennedy and White expressed gratitude to the wrens and hope students and community members will continue to enjoy bird watching along the trail for years to come.