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Course: Environmental Information Management Training Institute

May 13, 2011 Leave a comment

When you were little you learned very quickly why it was important that you not touch the stove at certain times. You may have learned by physically touching the stove also known as kinesthetic learning. Or you may have watched (and/or subsequently) heard when someone else touched the stove which means you used visual and auditory means of learning not to touch the stove. These different ways of learning apply just the same as a wildlife professional minus the heat unless you’re doing prescribed burns or fighting wildfires.

My strongest area for learning is kinesthetic learning. While I enjoy reading books leisurely or listening when the teachers are preaching, nothing works for me like getting out into the field to put what I’ve heard into practice to see how things connect. What better way for a wildlife career professional to gain experience that fits into their schedule than through courses often offered yearly that can help them stay up to date with current field practices or learn new ones?

One set of field courses being sponsored by the University of New Mexico and DataOne as the Environmental Information Management Training Institute in Albuquerque, NM. Being held May 23 through June 10, 2011 the courses are open to Master’s  and PhD students plus professionals who seek to enhance their data skills…and that is just saying it simply. More specifically the Institute seeks to teach its students “to effectively design, manage, analyze, visualize, and preserve data and information” by exposing potential students to “all aspects of the data life cycle: from managing data files and creating databases and web portals, through state-of-the-art analysis and visualization techniques, as well as managing, analyzing, and visualizing geospatial data.”

Composed of three courses (all must be taken) six credit hours will be earned and graduate tuition rates apply. The total for the program is $1,595.34 regardless if you are considered in state versus out-of-state. If you’re not a student at the University of Mexico, you are still welcome to apply to the program. Take note however to apply as a non-degree student before registering to the Institute, a $10  fee applies. As for housing (hopefully you’re being funded through an agency or are already a student) you will be on the search for a potential place to stay. This can be discouraging for many looking to take the course even if they already live in the state much less are coming from out-of-state. Hotels in the area run $50-75 per night but during the last week of the program on campus residence halls open up that you could stay in for $45/night. Studying from your car is not an option…unless of course your car is actually an RV.

The courses that you will be taking are as follows:

INFO 530  Environmental Information Management

INFO 532  Environmental Data Analysis and Visualization

INFO 533  Spatial Data Management in Environmental Sciences

Details for these courses will be found via the University’s website dedicated to the Institute. Each course is a week-long journey beginning at 8am and ending at 5pm Monday through Friday hosted in a computer classroom. Don’t worry; I’m sure there will be sometime in there to eat!

With the amount of data we obtain growing each day the means of organizing and being able to easily retrieve that data is important. The organizers of Databasin are aware of this and created a site centered around the collection and distribution of data for professionals in the natural resource fields (and interested parties) working with spatial data (hint: Ctrl-D).

If you’re an undergraduate you might be interested in taking the online course Info 320 Information Management for Professionals online. This (I feel) would be a great introduction and look into what you can expect if you should decide to attend the Institute.

You can  find this and other courses detailed on the Field Course Calendar that I’ve created. While at this moment the calendar only has this course check back often for new additions.

Note: There are some more facts about this Institute that I am waiting to obtain. I will update this post when I get them.

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Wildlife Word of the Day 10-26-2010

October 26, 2010 Leave a comment

That land is a community is the basic concept of ecology,

but that land is to be loved and respected is an extension of ethics.

Aldo Leopold

Last time I defined ecosystem managementt which addresses management on a spatial scale and addresses the ecosystem from the individual forest to landscapes. The next word that has surfaced in this drive to learn is ecology.

First I would like to note that I believe with time (even in science) it is necessary for the definition to change only as our understanding of a subject grows. It is quite possible that a words definition won’t change at all but just in case, lol. Ecology is a word that has escaped evolution. After reading from several timeless sources, I’ve come to the conclusion that there are two working definitions for ecology.

One definition is defined by Eugene Odum (1913-2002), a leading ecologist, as the study of the structure and function of nature. He goes on to explain that ecology  “primarily concerned with the latter four levels” referring to populations, communities, ecosystems and the biosphere. What’s great is that this definition does not exclude the individual organism though it does not seem entirely inclusive either. The second definition addresses the individual organism directly and defines ecology as “the study of the interrelationship among plants and animals and the interactions between living organisms and their physical environments.(Turk)” You may wonder why I singled out the individual organism. Well, from my own observations (though few they have been) organismal ecology is important because all species do not herd or live in families.  There are species in each family which deny the approach shared by the first definition.

I really enjoy this definition by Brainerd of “ecology is the study of how everything fits (assuming that it does)”. It is such a broad definition that I’m almost certain that it is no longer considered by many. The reason is that the definition covers how things fit but not why they fit or why they (ecosystems, communities, populations, organisms, biosphere) are structured the way they are (remember earlier when I mentioned that words evolve?) So though ecology is “particular concerned with groups of organisms (McNaughton) it cannot eliminate consideration for the individual organism.

 

Works Cited (Journal of Wildlife Management Citation guidelines)

Brainerd, J. 1971. Nature study for conservation. The MacMillian Company.

Leopold, A. 1966. A sand county almanac. Oxford University Press.

McNaughton,  S.J. and L. Wolf. 1973. General ecology. Holt, Rinehart, and Winston Inc.

Odum, E. 1963. Ecology. Holt, Rinehart, and Winston Inc.

Turk, J., J. Wittes, R. Wittes, and A. Turk. 1975. Ecosystems, energy, population. W.B. Saunders & Company.

Disclaimer: My thoughts on this article are solely my own as an entry-level professional. My purpose for posts like these are to learn. I expect that in some years some of my views in this blog (and any others) will be changed by an increased experience in the field. I think that it helps to see how I grow through time in my writings and knowledge (much like when you view drawings from when you’re a kid versus as an adult).

Alaska Universities and Colleges with Wildlife Programs

October 18, 2010 2 comments

Hey there. I’ve just completed all of the Alaska Universities and Colleges which have environmentally based programs. There aren’t many schools but the programs undoubtedly are among the best in the nation especially for marine based studies. It is that time of year again where students should be searching for and applying to colleges. So if you’re interested in careers in the outdoors keep following along with this blog as I post each state up. Hopefully I can get to more states quickly however the process is time consuming. This is especially so because I want to do my best to make sure that I’ve included every updated major and contact information.

I’ve also created the abbreviation list for the degree programs. I’ll be sure to update it as I meander through the states and record their degree information.  So if you’re interested in forestry, natural resources, wildlife, fisheries or any of the other related sciences don’t hesitate to check out the states here,  and for Alabama. I actually have Arizona and Arkansas as well but it was completed back in April or so. I plan to update it but if you don’t want to wait till then check it out here as well.

So if you’re a high school student and you’re wondering “What should I major in?” or “What are some outdoor majors?” take a peek. You’ll learn something.

Wildlife Word of the Day 10-3-2010

October 3, 2010 Leave a comment

The first wildlife word ever for this blog will be presented today. The reason why I chose this word was so that I can use it as the foundation for all the terms that will come after. I don’t know a lot about this word outside of its definition however that’s the point of choosing it as the foundation: to learn more by correcting any misunderstandings and reinforcing established knowledge.

Ready?

Ecosystem Management. This term reflects my current philosophy about wildlife management. I don’t believe this approach should be universal but in an increasingly fragmented world understanding how to manage entire ecosystems  for multiple species – many which are endangered – is imperative.

The only material that I have within my grasp which defines ecosystem management is the Wildlife Society’s text “Techniques for Wildlife Investigations and Management”.

Ecosystem Management is a concept for conservation of forest wildlife because it is concerned with more than a single species and addresses a range of spatial scales from the individual forest stands to landscapes. It views a forest as an interactive systems of plants, animals, soil, water and climate. Ecosystem management applied to forests also includes consideration of values such as safeguarding its biodiversity and ecological sustainability.”

By far, I am a big picture type of person. I don’t want to know just a portion of a story; I have to have everything. Ecosystem management helps me take on that big picture. With nature it is not just wildlife, insects, vegetation or soils that professionals interact with. Our biggest subject are people who affect management from the North to the South Pole (Ice + Climate change = Problems for Emperor Penguins).

It is because of the human factor that I have a high interest in human dimensions of wildlife management. Conflict with wildlife is inevitable but our realization that eradicating wildlife to further our own existence is a crazed ideal at best. The ramifications would be far too disastrous.

So with every new word I intend to define the word and explain its importance to ecosystem management. I intend to use texts that I own and the internet as much as possible to find new revelations of this term. I hope that you enjoy this journey with me as much as I will. Feel free to recommend readings; I enjoy a good read.

Alabama Colleges/Universities

September 26, 2010 2 comments

Hi!

I completed Alabama today for schools that have environmentally based programs/majors like wildlife, forestry, fisheries etc. I’m pretty frustrated right now because I couldn’t figure out to get Google Documents to work like I did earlier this year with the layout of the sheet. I’ve simply grown content with what I have though. The links have been updated, degree programs, contact information…everything. I had hoped to have more states completed than this but alas…. I’m surprised not only at how long it has taken me but by how many of the sites change their pages since earlier this year (March/April). Granted I have spent a good deal of time working on the other states as well this weekend but it has been fun.

I added a new column known as MANRRS which stands for Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences. I was involved in the student chapters of both The Wildlife Society (TWS) and MANRRS so I’ve had the best of both. The purpose of including MANRRS is for those schools which lack a TWS chapter but has another means for students to be professionally involved. It was spurred as a result of a conversation I had about two years ago at  MANRRS conference when I asked a Black American wildlife student why he wasn’t involved in TWS. His response was that he already had what he needed from MANRRS. Understandable (even if I didn’t wholly agree with his argument as a fellow wildlifer).

I hope you enjoy. Please remember this document is an adaptation from the TWS compilation of schools/universities throughout the US which carry accredited programs of study on the environment.  So don’t forget to click through to Alabama’s Colleges and Universities with Environmental Programs in Wildlife, Forestry, Fisheries, Natural Resources, Environmental Science or what have you. =)

New addition to the blog….

September 25, 2010 Leave a comment

So there is a new piece I’m working on to not only learn and comprehend concepts within the field of wildlife but also to prep for the GRE. The Wild word of the day will consist of 2 parts. The first part will be common jargon used among career professionals studying wildlife -I may sometimes branch into forestry, fisheries and natural resources. The second part will be a GRE word that I’m studying for that day. Perhaps if I choose a good GRE word I can relate the two parts….we’ll see.

The reason why I’m doing this is to learn in both areas. In the case of wildlife some of it will be revisiting information from my baccalaureate days; I think it’s great to remember the roots of what you’ve learned. I cannot possibly include GRE math here but know that I may mention it some…just because. I won’t post a new word every day simply because sometimes time does not allow me to.

I apologize for not having the next 4 states with environmental studies ready for you. I revisited it last night but Humboldt State University’s plethora of programs through me for a loop for about 2 hours. My aim is to try to make it as easy as possible to navigate to the different schools and their programs. I’ll continue to work diligently at this as it also gives me the opportunity to contact professors once again to see if any opportunities have opened up in the human dimensions of wildlife field.

I hope that you will enjoy this as much as I will. Learning is great and I expect to spend the rest of my life doing so.

EDIT: I forgot to add that another reason why I haven’t gotten to the university based blog post is because I’m going through all the previous states as well to ensure that links are still active and the contact information is still up to date. It’s tedious but at the same time it’s fun…in its own little way. =)

The RSPB: Campaign with us: The Serengeti highway must be stopped now

August 2, 2010 Leave a comment

Seriously, TZ? How do you think a road is going to increase revenue just by providing transport from one country to the next? East Africa benefits greatly from tourism and such a road would affect Kenya and, no doubt, Uganda similarly. Having spent time in Kenya recently for two months I’d heard of the human-wildlife conflicts due to roadkills along their major highway from Nairobi to Nakuru and at least one had occurred while I was present. The number of roadkills (from my observations) have been stemmed because of the fences marking Soysambu Conservancy where many wildlife species reside and attempt to cross into. Will this proposed road have a fence lining it for the many miles it will span the Serengeti? How will Tanzania, who seems to be heading this road project, address poaching? How do they plan to address the biological backlash that is bound to occur because of this road? Roads don’t just appear by waving your hand. It requires tools, large equipment, people and noise. So many months it will take for such a road to nigh completion but what of the environmental ramifications such as erosion, and litter? How will Tanzania alter current management efforts in the Serengeti to prevent environmental degradation or rather spearhead restoration efforts? Perhaps, restoration shouldn’t even be a world that is uttered because I wonder can anything that has an active road passing through it and will be heavily transited even possible to restore….Sorry, Tanzania but this is one piece of “nice tasting” candy that you shouldn’t be trying to chew.

The RSPB: Campaign with us: The Serengeti highway must be stopped now.