Graduation Date: 2010
Hometown: Lolo, Montana
Major: Recreation Management with an emphasis in Resource Management
Whether I was camping, fly-fishing in the summer, or skiing in the winter, I’ve always appreciated the land I was able to use. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with the rest of my life; however, my first exposure to my field may have been when I was in 6th grade with the Watershed Education Network. They gave me the opportunity to learn about the diverse ecosystems that live in rivers and streams. In 8th grade, because of the exposure from The Watershed Education Network, I decided to complete my science fair project on the water quality of Lolo Creek. Those first experiences helped me decide to practice good stewardship and conservation of natural resources for future generations.
I have had the great opportunity to work for Idaho State Parks as the Park Interpreter, doing nature hikes, Junior Ranger activities, and numerous campfire programs. I was very lucky to have worked there because I had just completed my first year of college and I had no experience but despite my young age they saw potential in me. The following fall I had an opportunity to work for the USDA Forest Service up at Lolo Pass Visitor Center. I did more interpretation, but a majority of the work was visitor information about the area. From this position I was able to see and apply more of what I was learning in the classroom. J
oining clubs at the University was the best move I made. I was able to meet new people, go on many exciting trips but mostly, I was able to learn about my major from those students who were studying it. The Student Recreation Association gave me the advantage of discovering more about my major and my potential after graduation. The club is aimed at guiding Recreation Management Majors in finding a job after graduation. Upper-class men act as mentors to the under-class men.
In terms of my degree, I believe it is a very broad natural resource major that allows a person to get a job as an interpreter, a front country position, a wilderness ranger, work for municipal parks, work internationally in research, building a nature based tourism business and the list could go on. My decision to major in Recreation Management with an emphasis in Resource Management is based on that idea. I will be able to find a job in a variety of agencies and have many options when I graduate. Where ever my feet land next, I am unsure but I do know that this program has broadened my horizons. I believe I am bound to find a job I love while working in the great outdoors.
Graduation Date: Spring 2008
Major: Recreation Resources Management
Minor: Wilderness Studies
Hometown: Sheridan, Wyoming
I have absolutely no regrets transferring here my sophomore year of college. Upon starting my education at the University of Montana, I had high expectations of what I would discover and learn at this University. I was aware of the smaller class sizes, notable professors, and the excellent location of Missoula, which all bode well for this institution; however, I never dreamed I would have such a great experience. The friends I made, the classes I took, the professors I learned from, and the experiences I gained have all contributed to a unique and rewarding undergraduate experience that I will never be able to replicate. Now, as I wrap up my bachelors degree in Recreation Resources Management, I reflect back on my time at the University of Montana and realize my experience far surpasses what I anticipated.
I know one major reason I had such a fulfilling undergraduate experience is because I was a College of Forestry and Conservation (CFC) student. One distinct aspect about the CFC is the sense of community; it is rather easy to be involved in the college. I like to think I contributed to the CFC throughout my time as a student here. One highlight was serving as the undergraduate representative on a search committee hiring a new Nature-Based Tourism professor. Furthermore, by being active in three separate clubs, and holding officer positions in two, I helped various events throughout the school and community. I am most active in the Student Recreation Association (SRA), in which I had the pleasure of leading several trips spanning from northwestern Montana all the way to Northern California and serving as a liaison between students and faculty.
One of the best aspects about my education here is that it has prepared me for life after college. I was able to apply my education to real, on-the-ground work outside of the classroom throughout my three years here. For instance, I have worked seasonally for the Bridger-Teton National Forest as a Bridger Wilderness ranger in the Wind River Range of Wyoming. This has acted as my own case study and presented a unique opportunity to work closely with public land managers while gaining valuable experience in protected area land management, the field I desire to go into. Furthermore, every Recreation Management student is required to complete a practicum before they graduate. I decided to combine mine with the Senior Honors Research project I was also required to complete as a Davidson Honors College student. My project focused on campsite conditions in the Bridger Wilderness. I happily used data I collected as a wilderness ranger for my project. It excites me to know my research will be applied to future management decisions in the Bridger Wilderness. In addition, I was also fortunate enough to work on Minimum Requirements Decision Guide case studies spanning all four land management agencies for the Arthur Carhart National Wilderness Training Center. Another highlight for me during my undergraduate stint was writing the Cabinet Mountains Wilderness Management Plan for the Kootenai National Forest.
I am certainly sad to be leaving Missoula and the College of Forestry and Conservation. When not focused on class-related work, I thoroughly enjoyed what the community and surrounding areas have to offer. One could usually find me at local events, such as concerts, art walks, and the farmers market, or partaking in different outside activities, such as hiking, biking, skiing or snowshoeing, scaling up peaks, or simply admiring the local grandeur. Though I will miss my time here, I look forward to seeing where the trail of life will take me because I know I received an excellent foundation that will be very valuable in graduate school, my career, and other future endeavors. I know no matter where I go, I will look back on my undergraduate career with a smile… and plenty of pictures!