Archive

Posts Tagged ‘environmental education’

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.

 

Advertisements

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.

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. =)

Minority Involvement in Natural Resources Still An Issue

February 24, 2010 5 comments

Minority involvement in natural resources and closely related fields has been a hot topic since at least, the late 1970s. It was in 1977 that The Wildlife Society took initiative and conducted their first survey of women and ethnic minorities’ presence in these sciences referring to ethnic minorities as Blacks, Hispanics, American Indian, Oriental, Aleut/Eskimo and Other (international students). So how far has the natural resource profession come in increasing minority involvement? What factors hinder progress, if any? And what methods are being pursued to address the lack of minority representation?

Dr. Harry Hodgen conducted a study looking into women and ethnic minority representation in the natural resource field plus closely related disciplines. In this 1977 study it was found that of 11,858 students at 63 natural resource schools responding to the questionnaire only 3.1% were minorities or 370 people were enrolled (Hodgen 1980).  By the next study two years later of 16, 287 only 3.7% were ethnic minorities (Hodgen 1982). Today enrollment of ethnic minorities continues to be a struggle pursued by multiple natural resource universities and agencies as population projections depict a higher minority population by 2050 (http://www.census.gov/population/www/pop-profile/natproj.html) and wish to reflect this representation among students and personnel. A study by Environmental Careers Organization (Taylor 2007) showed that a number of prominent environmental organizations lacked diversity on their staffs. The result of ECO’s  study enacted response from several of the groups to alter how minorities are recruited, instill affirmative action plans and network in minority communities (Taylor 2007). What’s sad (and accepted as true) as I read from Taylor’s research is that these environmental organizations feel that minorities don’t accept natural resource positions because of low salary or simply not enough of them apply. Why? Is it because not enough is being done?

“When the above disparity was addressed as an issue in the early 1970s, professional societies,       universities, industries, and governments responded with programs to diversify the science workforce. Almost 3 decades later, little improvement can be identified.” (Referring to the realization of the increasing minority population but the lack of equal representation in natural resources and related fields). Davis 2002

Somewhere along the line something, SOMEONE, is missing. Today we see many organizations looking to increase diversity but I haven’t been able to discern how effective or ineffective their programs are as none seem to report data on their successes or misses so that others may follow.

I developed an interest in wildlife at the age on ten after my family obtained our dog Rex (RIP). Shortly after gaining Rex the local library began setting magazines outside for free or else they’d be thrown away. These magazines were Wildlife Conservation, International Wildlife Conservation and a few Sierra Club publications. I would greedily watch that box for new magazines to take home extract all the articles, the front and back covers, and wildlife pictures scattered throughout the advertisement pages (I would cut these out) and place them in three-ring binder notebooks to read. So between 4th and 5th grade this is what I did, and to this day I have all three article packed notebook. My love for wildlife was fixed at that age. I didn’t hunt then. I was even a preservationist (despite the wildlife conservation magazines) having read ‘Man Kind?’ by Amory Cleveland and was adamant that every creature, and tree should live until I picked up a magazine by the National Wildlife Turkey Federation.

Because this magazine was still owned by my library I couldn’t devour its pages at home and keep them but during my fifth grade year NWTF had a contest where middle school students had to define in an essay what conservation means to them. It was then at the library that I finally gained understanding of what conservation meant through the eyes of someone else my age because I could read all the wildlife magazines I wanted but none of them had explained it the way I needed to hear it. I walked home that day a newborn conservationist. Through the years it was my own drive and at times those of my parents that spurned me to continue in wildlife. Little pay? So what! I determined in 4th grade that as long as I can go home at the end of the day smiling and wake up excited money means nothing. There was no one in my life to direct me,, minority or not, and I didn’t meet my first wildlife professional until I reached college, and the first minority in wildlife, Dr. Drew Lanham, until then. What’s wrong with this picture?

“We believe there is substantial interest in natural resources in the minority community, but there are limited sources from which potential students can find out about professional opportunities (McCoy 1990).”  High school and even junior college guidance counselors generally have little knowledge of natural resource professions, or they may discourage minorities from considering such careers (Massey 1992).” I, too, faced this sort of discouragement coming through high school, but I wasn’t willing to let go. My only resource was the internet and my treasured magazines from years ago, but I had little knowledge to rely on otherwise. I was never able to participate in community natural resource camps because they required funds my family didn’t have and when I was able to participate in camp it was a recreational day camp unrelated to wildlife. So the picture becomes distorted when there aren’t a sufficient numbers of people who are advertising (I feel this is what it boils down to) natural resources as a career option. I was able to pull through but what about everyone else?

Something else I’ve come to realize in writing this is that some minorities feel that, “Career opportunities in natural resources disciplines should be marketed in terms of the diversity of technical skills and academic training…. Regardless of type of work, job title, technical training, or academic background, many respondents’ comments revealed that they wanted to feel that they were full partners in the natural resource management process (Adams 1998).” However later on in this study by Dr. Adams in the Southeast on opinions of majority and minority natural resource professionals[1] in increasing minority representation some of the initial non-respondents indicated that they did not reply because they felt that “because of their job titles, job descriptions, departments of employment, and educational backgrounds they did not think of themselves as natural resource professionals.” Others considered “the natural resource professional as a field technician or someone who has a direct interaction with the outdoors as part of their job responsibility (Adams 1998).”  This leads me to think that the minority group is a difficult group to work with in being able to discern whether someone wants to be included or excluded….

Does this inclusion or exclusion depend on geographic locales? Why do or don’t people consider themselves natural resource professionals? Why is it a pervading thought that a natural resource professional is someone who works only outside? Do Administrative Assistants, Directors, or other professionals who do not work in the field consider themselves natural resource professionals or professionals who happen to work at a natural resource agency? I find it refreshing when there is a workforce of minds from various institutional backgrounds who collectively contribute to the mission of an agency of which they are able to become a family. As Dr. Adams said the natural resource needs a diversity of people who have a concern for the environment (Adams 1998).  Personally, I would find it hard to work every day at an agency whose mission and vision I neither know nor understand. I’d never be able to consider myself a part of the family….

***

Adams, C.E; M. Moreno . A Comparative Study of Natural Resource Professionals in Minority and Majority Groups in the Southeastern United States .Wildlife Society Bulletin, Vol. 26, No. 4, Commemorative Issue Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of “A Sand County Almanac” and the Legacy of Aldo Leopold (Winter, 1998), pp. 971-981

Davis, R.D Sr., S. Diswood, A. Dominguez, R. W. Engel-Wilson, K. Jefferson, A.K. Miles, E.F. Moore, R. Reidinger, S. Ruther, R. Valdez, K. Wilson, M. A. Zablan. Increasing Diversity in Our Profession. Wildlife Society Bulletin, Vol. 30, No. 2 (Summer, 2002), pp. 628-633

Hodgdon, H.E. Wildlife Enrollment of Women and Ethnic Minorities in 1979. Wildlife Society Bulletin, Vol. 10, No. 2 (Summer, 1982), pp. 175-180

Hodgdon, H.E. Enrollment of Women and Ethnic Minorities in Wildlife Curricula: 1977. Wildlife Society Bulletin, Vol. 8, No. 2 (Summer, 1980), pp. 158-163.

Maughan, O.E, D.L. Bounds, S.M. Morales, S.V. Villegas. A Successful Educational Program for Minority Students in Natural Resources. Wildlife Society Bulletin, Vol. 29, No. 3 (Autumn, 2001), pp. 917-928

Taylor D.E. Diversity and Equity in Environmental Organizations: The Salience of These Factors to Students The Journal of Environmental Education. FALL 2007, VOL. 39, NO. 1


[1] Dr. Clark Adams defines natural resource professionals as “those employed at a natural resource agency with training to follow a line of work specific to that field” (Adams 1998).