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Nate Fedrizzi '10
Nate Fedrizzi '10

Nathan Fedrizzi '10 Receives Bristol Fellowship

Searching for Sustainability in the Global Seahorse Trade

Posted April 12, 2010
Tags Bristol Fellowship
Nathan Fedrizzi ’10 has been awarded the College’s prestigious Bristol Fellowship. The Bristol Fellowship was begun in 1996 as part of a gift to Hamilton College by William M. Bristol Jr., (Class of 1917). The purpose of the fellowship is to perpetuate Mr. Bristol’s spirit and share it with students of the College that was such an important part of his life. Created by his family, the fellowship is designed to encourage Hamilton students to experience the richness of the world by living outside the United States for one year and studying an area of great personal interest.

Fedrizzi’s project is titled “Searching for Sustainability in the Global Seahorse Trade.” A biology major, he plans to examine both the ways in which humans are using seahorses, and the methods of conservation that will best allow for sustainability, and the ongoing fascination with these enduring icons of the ocean. He will travel to Portugal, Vanuatu, Malaysia, Cambodia, Panama and Hong Kong for his research.

In his proposal Fedrizzi writes, “Seahorses are a genus of fish that have evolved truly unique morphology, adapting them to a sedentary lifestyle in shallow water in coastal areas worldwide. Due to this unique appearance seahorses have attracted human attention for millennia, appearing on archeological relics and in mythology, as the steed of the god Poseidon. It is unclear when seahorses first became used for medicinal purposes, but records from ancient Rome indicate that there was an existing historical precedent of their use in treating a vast variety of ailments. The same morphology that has attracted human attention to the seahorse has made them exceptionally poor at recovering from disturbance, and with human activities placing increasing strain upon their populations, it is no surprise that the genus is in severe global decline.”

With the Bristol Fellowship Fedrizzi hopes to gain a better understanding of intricacies of the seahorse trade, and to gain insight into the ways in which these unique animals can be protected and conserved. He plans to document his journey through a combination of writing, film and photography, and aim to capture both the beauty and extraordinary strangeness of seahorses, and the tragedy of the human actions that are rapidly shunting them towards extinction. “While I acknowledge that human consumption for traditional medicine will continue,” Fedrizzi notes, “I hope to develop the tools to better move the trade towards sustainability.”

While at Hamilton, Fedrizzi has studied abroad in Zanzibar, Tanzania. He is a resident advisor and music library and archive staff assistant. Fedrizzi served as vice president of the Hamilton College Film Guild and as a weekly columnist for The Spectator. In 2009 he served as a writing and production intern for Kontentreal Documentary Film and Strategic Entertainment New York, N.Y.

The Bristol Fellowship is intended to be highly personal and is open to all interested Hamilton seniors. Proposals are evaluated based on inquisitiveness, a spirit of adventure, depth of personal interest, and openness to other cultures. While not a requirement, proposals are also considered for their sense of family connection.

William Bristol served as a Hamilton trustee, president of the alumni association, fundraiser and benefactor. He was one of seven generations of Bristol family members to attend Hamilton, dating back to the chartering of the college in 1812. Mr. Bristol's great, great-grandfather became one of the college's first trustees after helping to found the Hamilton-Oneida Academy, which later became Hamilton College in 1793.

Nate Fedrizzi '10 is a graduate of Westhill Senior High School ( Syracuse, N.Y.)

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