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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.

Continuing Education for Natural Resource Professionals

February 22, 2011 4 comments

Welcome. Are you considering continuing your education? Are you looking for courses in natural resources, forestry, fisheries, or wildlife? Then you’ve come to the right place.

As a college graduate in wildlife, I want to make sure that I’m constantly improving myself or reinforcing the skills that I have. In personal searches, I’ve found that either the price or scheduling of courses at universities are too much for me or I’m not able to pick everything up and travel to a state that has a course I’m interested in for an entire semester. In my review of potential courses I’ve found that the intensity of coursework (such as GIS) may not be something I want to pursue online thus making distance learning less of an option.

However, I’ve learned not to fret.

There are courses available to students, professors and career professionals that are set up to that are more flexible, shorter, costs less, provides housing (some), provides networking opportunities, and delivers to you the same amount of information as a semester at a university.

Of course each option (university vs. field courses) have their pros and cons. However, it is up to you to determine which course of action is best for you and your career objectives. Just know if you’re trying to make a decision about a course, you’ll have to decide quickly because seats are often limited.

So sit back and relax. As courses arise I’ll detail them on this blog along with university options in respective posts. As a collective whole you can review course availability via a calendar created just for field courses.

 

Arkansas Wildlife Programs

November 10, 2010 Leave a comment

The last months of the year are the times when high school students and undergraduate seniors are considering either pursuing higher education or entering the work force for some time. The decision of where you will go to school is difficult (unless you’re following family tradition) and can make a difference in who you meet plus your experiences for the next few years of your life. Furthermore, deciding what you will major in can be another obstacle. If you’re considering an environmental major the schools available to you changes greatly compared to if you are interested in majoring in business.

If you’re still in the throws of determining which school is right for you (or which have environmental majors) then I’ve recorded here all the schools in Arkansas which have majors in wildlife, fisheries, forestry, and environmental sciences. Finding information shouldn’t be difficult especially if you’re flexible and don’t mind being from Maine and attending school in California. Other states which have been completed are Alabama and Alaska that you may be interested in reviewing. The abbreviation list for understanding which degrees are available as either an undergraduate or graduate student has also been updated.

Initial credit for this information is given to the Wildlife Society. I’ve edited it to also reflect schools which have clubs for Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences. I plan to revisit these schools at a later time to share those which also have the professional organizations of the Society of American Forester’s and the American Fisheries Society. Being involved while your in school can assist you in developing skills (not just leadership skills) that you will utilize when you graduate from college.

So if you’re thinking about pursuing a major in wildlife, fisheries, forestry, environmental science or related sciences stay tuned for the next states who have environmentally based majors.

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.