Emma Balunek

Emma Balunek

  • Contact Information
  • My Story
  • Background

Contact Information

DegreeMaster of Applied Science in Natural Resource Sciences
Address NE

Off Campus
Advisor(s)Mike Forsberg
John Benson


My Story

Emma moved from Fort Collins, Colorado in late 2022 to join the Platte Basin Timelapse (PBT) team as a graduate student in the Master of Applied Science program. In 2020 she graduated with a B.S. in Ecosystem Science and Sustainability from Colorado State University. She spent the last several years working for the Colorado Natural Heritage Program exploring beautiful areas all over Colorado. She conducted field work to learn about Colorado’s rare plant and animal species and their habitats, along with one field season monitoring dozens of different wetlands across Colorado. While living in Colorado, Emma spent a lot of time in the mountains and also discovered the magic of the grasslands, which led her to PBT/UNL. She is specifically interested prairie dogs and how, as a keystone species, they are an integral part of the ecosystem. An additional area of interest is conservation photography and science communication. Her master’s project combines her interests into a multidimensional project working with PBT and Dr. John Benson’s lab studying the coyote and badger hunting relationship in prairie dog colonies in grasslands across the west. Through this project, she plans to contribute new scientific and behavioral insights about this intriguing relationship while also communicating the story to a diverse audience through high-quality photos and video; ultimately shining a light on the often-overlooked grasslands.

Emma Balunek with camera



DegreeMajorInstitutionYear Awarded
Bachelor of ScienceEcosystem Science and SustainabilityColorado State University



TitleAwarded byYear Awarded
Donald W. and Glennis A. Kaufman Research AwardAmerican Society of Mammalogists2023