The Department of Ecosystem Science and Management Bird and Mammal Collection houses approximately 2,045 mammals and 1,844 birds, with approximately 2,000 uncurated specimens. These specimens hold regional and historical importance because the collection serves the community of central Pennsylvania, researchers at Penn State, and several state and federal agencies such as the Pennsylvania Game Commission, the Pennsylvania Biological Survey and its members, the National Park Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the U.S. Geological Survey.
Several notable ornithologists and mammalogists have contributed to this collection. A number of specimens originate from the Wheeler geographical surveys (1869-1879) west of the 100th meridian of the United States, along which Mexican borders of newly acquired states of New Mexico, Arizona, and California were described. More than 350 bird specimens in the collection were obtained prior to 1900, which makes them historically significant.
The curated portion of the collection contains 17 specimens of mammals that are currently listed by the IUCN as Near Threatened, Vulnerable, Endangered, or Critically Endangered, and 73 specimens of birds listed as Near Threatened, Vulnerable, Endangered, or Critically Endangered (Campephilus imperialis, imperial woodpecker). Other specimens of note include uncurated egg and wing collections, and one of the largest series of Pennsylvanian black bear (Ursus americanus) skulls in the country.
The mission of the Department of Ecosystem Science and Management is to provide educational opportunities and science-based information to protect, manage, and use natural resources for sustained benefits. Support of this collection is inherent in our mission. The school also supports the mission of Penn State, a central part of which is to expand knowledge in the natural sciences and to provide access, outreach, and public service to support the citizens of the Commonwealth and beyond. Although the collection is not open to the public, it serves as a resource for research and education for the University and local community.