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Field-Schools

Exploring a Career as a Wildlife Conservation Officer – Part 3

This blog post is the final installment of a three part series, written by Luke, a three year veteran of the Academy, who attended PA Bucktails as a student and Assistant Team Leader and PA Drummers as an Assistant Team Leader.  He was asked to write a paper about a potential career choice, and decided to explore the aspects of being a Wildlife Conservation Officer.

Luke works with his team at PA Drummers to dissect a Ruffed Grouse.

Luke works with his team at PA Drummers to dissect a Ruffed Grouse.

Throughout this experience of learning about a specific career that I find interesting and would consider to pursue in a few years after I learn the basics of being a Wildlife Conservation Officer. I learned so much about the Wildlife Conservation Officer and their efforts to help the wildlife and create an equal opportunity for all of the ethical hunters and fisherman. I think this career just would be perfect for me since I love being in the outdoors, care about conservation, and am interested in criminal justice. Ever since I was little I knew I would not be good in a desk or cubicle job because I just love the outdoors so much. I hate being stuck inside all day, I would rather be outside on the lake shore or sitting in a tree just listening to the wildlife all around me.

 

This job is all about the outdoors, from being in it to protecting it, this job clearly deals with the outdoors. Being a Wildlife Conservation Officer would provide me with the opportunity to teach people the information I already know and what I have learned through this research process. I love informing the public on how to be a part of conservation or talk to them about specifics on one of my favorite topics, the White-Tailed deer. My whole life changed since attending the Wildlife Leadership Academy where I talked to so many knowledgeable adults who wanted to spend time with the other teenagers that were there with me. These adults opened my eyes to what I could do to teach everyone else in the world about the passion I have for the outdoors. This is why I feel that being a Wildlife Conservation Officer would be a great career for me.

 

Luke with his team at PA Drummers this past summer.

Luke with his team at PA Drummers this past summer.

 

Category: Youth Blog · Tags: , , ,

Exploring a Career as a Wildlife Conservation Officer – Part 2

This blog post is the second of a three part series, written by Luke, a three year veteran of the Academy, who attended PA Bucktails as a student and Assistant Team Leader and PA Drummers as an Assistant Team Leader.  He was asked to write a paper about a potential career choice, and decided to explore the aspects of being a Wildlife Conservation Officer.

Luke and his team work on plant pressing at PA Drummers.

Luke and his team work on plant pressing at PA Drummers.

Throughout many experiences in the outdoors and talking with quite a few professionals I have realized that I would like to become a Wildlife Conservation Officer. It is a job that I have thought to be interesting and something I could see myself doing. This job has interesting aspect about it that I just think would be so fun and enjoyable to do as an adult. Everything about being a Wildlife Conservation Officer sounds so intriguing and amazing. These men and women are somewhat overlooked and need to be recognized for their service to our wildlife and forests. The job of being a Wildlife Conservation Officer is great for someone who loves the outdoors, cares about conservation, and is interested in criminal justice.

As a Wildlife Conservation Officer, the person has to really enjoy the outdoors and being in the wilderness. The primary goal is to stop poaching or at least slow down the number of poaching kills. To begin with, if the Wildlife Conservation Officers do not try to stop the illegal activity of poaching there will be no animals for the ethical hunters who are hunting properly. Also, they regularly walk through the woods to try to find traces of a poacher and follow leads on poaching. To add, wildlife Conservation Officers work in natural parks and game preserves and they check licenses for proper usage. An example of this would be during hunting season to make sure each hunter has the proper licensing and is hunting the right species in the correct season. These police officers of the woods need to be aware because of the ever present wildlife and people. Additionally,  people can be armed with a gun or knife because they just finished or are hunting. We need these men and women to protect our natural resources, so to make sure they are safe, the Wildlife Conservation Officers are issued a gun and a knife for self-protection. The Officers patrol back roads, rivers, and hiking trails. The Wildlife Conservation Officer is essentially a police officer but protects wildlife, fish, and other resources instead of just people. Undoubtedly, all of these points culminate into one main theme and that is the love and interest in the outdoors that a person needs to possess to be a Wildlife Conservation Officer.

“In order to be a Wildlife Conservation Officer,

one has to show that they care about conservation.”

The Wildlife Conservation Officer does a lot of work dealing with restoring conservation and making sure conservation rules are followed. A Wildlife Conservation Officer checks fishing licenses so that lakes and rivers do not get overfished. These men and women work with the community and visit schools to talk about endangered species. It is recommended to take biology or wildlife conservation in college to understand some laws and tactics of conservation.

A Wildlife Conservation Officer also deals with a lot of criminal justice so to be one a person would have to be interested in criminal justice. This career again is basically a police officer but with some differences. As a Wildlife Conservation Officer someone would track down illegal importations and exportations of federally protected fish and wildlife. Also someone would arrest or ticket illegal hunters or fisherman for hunting out of season or the illegal taking of fish or game out of season. There are also forensic investigations conducted in the case of a murder or a poaching kill. The uniform of a Wildlife Conservation Officer looks similar to that of a police officer just a different color. Just like a police officer, a WCO wears a uniform with badges and patches. Another parallel is that as a Wildlife Conservation Officer someone would carry a gun and a knife for protection from angry individuals and charging wildlife. A WCO also drives issued trucks, atv’s, or even fly a helicopter if needed for a search or patrolling. Obviously, criminal justice is a big part of being a Wildlife Conservation Officer so you have to want to be in the criminal justice field.

In conclusion, the job of being a Wildlife Conservation Officer is great for someone who loves the outdoors, cares about conservation, and is interested in criminal justice. Being a Wildlife Conservation Officer is a job that revolves around conservation and the outdoors. In a sense these men and women are put in this position so that all outdoorsmen and women and the public can enjoy the wildlife and fish that inhabit our country. These people are the only protection the animals have, so the job really is great for our ecosystem so that it can function properly. These dedicated men and women make hunters and fisherman ethically hunt and fish so there is opportunity for all.

Exploring a Career as a Wildlife Conservation Officer – Part 1

This blog post is the first of a three part series, written by Luke, a three year veteran of the Academy attending PA Bucktails as a student and Assistant Team Leader and PA Drummers as an Assistant Team Leader.  He was asked to write a paper about a potential career choice, and decided to explore the aspects of being a Wildlife Conservation Officer.

 

Luke leading his team at PA Drummers.

Luke leading his team at PA Drummers.

As a young child I was growing up as a follower of my dad and his passion for the outdoors. He would always take me fishing and I could not wait until the next time my dad took me out. I learned the true meaning of conservation and how to make it work. I was taught to never leave a trace in the outdoors. As I rose through the ranks of cub scouts I found myself fully fledged and followed my love for the outdoors and went into the boy scouts, which culminated in the rank of Eagle Scout. My scoutmaster always made us do a police line to clean up a campsite once the trip was over. One Boy Scout trip that I remember in particular is when we went to Mammoth Park and we stocked trout. That is when I realized that I would really enjoy a career in conservation. The moment when I was handed bucket and helped a younger scout release the trout was quite eye opening and very enjoyable.

In the summer of 2012 I attended my first year at the Pennsylvania Wildlife Leadership Academy and got to talk to many impressive adults that are wildlife professionals. I decided on becoming a Wildlife Conservation Officer after I talked to a few that were talking to us at the academy. In March I was lucky enough to go to the Penn State deer pens on main campus and tour the facility. The students that were talking to us asked us what the disease was in a picture of a deer. I remembered back to the necropsy we did back at the Academy and I answered the question as tuberculosis and was correct. I realized that I knew so much about deer and how they exist and what they do to be able to show my potential in a career dealing with the people who hunt them or research them. To go back to the Academy I had to do a daunting task of speaking in front of others about my experience and teaching the public. After I did a few outreaches I noticed that it wasn’t an issue to speak anymore and I gained a lot of points that I needed if I wanted to go back to the Academy. In 2013 I found myself at that camp again as an assistant team leader ready to help others and also talk to others about my career.

Once again I was with the Wildlife Conservation Officers and immediately knew that I wanted this job. I love the outdoors so I figured that this job would be perfect since it is all about the outdoors.

Through this project I would like to learn the details of how a Wildlife Conservation Officer goes about day to day jobs and tasks. Also, I would like to know the rules of the outdoors and what kind of authority they carry. I would like to know the average salary and if it is enough money to support a nice lifestyle. Additionally, I would like to know where and how long to go to college. I expect to learn all of these answers by completing this project.

I will focus my research on the day to day tasks of a Wildlife Conservation Officer and how they complete each of those tasks. I will also research which colleges I should apply to and how long I have to attend the college. Plus, I will find out whether or not there is additional schooling after the college. My research questions are is there jobs out there in PA or do I have to move? If I have to move where do I have to move to? Is there anyone that is willing to talk to me about this? Is there anyone willing to be interviewed for this project? My final question is, is the career the correct one for my future?

Category: Youth Blog · Tags: , , ,

Bird as Guardian Angel

Guest contributor, 11 year old Novella, shares a story about a startling experience she had in which a bird came to her rescue.  She reminds us that nature can be both fascinating and a little frightening!

There are different things that make me afraid. I am afraid when I watch scary movies, I am also afraid of snakes.  Last summer I had a little incident with a snake. This is how it all happened. I was spending the summer at my Grandparent’s house. I got bored so I went swimming in my Grandparents pool. After about an hour I got out of the pool and was drying off on the cement. After I got done drying off, I started to do some cartwheels in the grass. On a post about three feet away from me was a bird chirping its head off. I really didn’t pay attention but when it didn’t stop I thought “is it trying to tell me something”. I looked around but didn’t see a single thing. I thought I might jump back into the pool. It was a very hot summer day and it was very humid so I thought I could use another dip in. I thought I could wait to go back into the pool and just lie in the grass and watch the clouds float by. That’s when all the craziness started. I heard a hissing sound coming from about a foot away. I just thought it was something making a strange noise.

The bird was now chirping super loud. I tried to have it stop but it wouldn’t. I saw its gaze look from me to the ground and back. I looked down and screamed the loudest scream I could. Right there only about a foot away from me was a rattle snake. It was slithering through the grass and was hissing as it went. My Grandpa rushed out of the house after hearing me scream and he immediately knew what it was. He told me to walk over to him quickly. I didn’t walk I ran as fast as my legs could carry me. I was petrified. My Grandpa called up his friend and they worked hard trying to get the snake out of the yard. They eventually were able to get the snake out of the yard.

I was very grateful that I wasn’t hurt and that nobody got hurt trying to get the snake out. Something horrible could have happen if that bird was not there to basically save me from that snake. So next time I see that bird if I ever do, I will give it a whole lot of bird seed.

Novella making e new (less scary) friend!

Novella making a new (less scary) friend!

Visiting the Bear Dens

One of our 2013 Bucktails, Alec B., recently had the chance to shadow a biologist from the PA Game Commission as they checked bear dens.  He shares his awesome experience with us:

The best kind of teddy bear!

The best kind of teddy bear!

I got to go check bear dens in the Sproul State Forest with the PA Game Commission Black Bear Biologist Mark Ternent. I went bear trapping with him last July, and got invited back to check out the bear dens this spring. Due to the rain we only went to one den, luckily that one had a sow with four cubs.

We started the day off by driving back into the Sproul State Forest towards the den, and ended up hiking about half a mile to the den from the access road. Even though we had to hike in the rain and we all got soaked, it was worth it. Once we got to the den Mark Ternent and Ethan Kibe ( Black Bear Bio Aide for the Game Commission) walked up to the den and tranquilized the sow. After the tranquilizers took their effect, we set up a tarp over the den. Then the fun part started, they pulled out the cubs from the den!!!!

Mark handed me two little bear cubs. They were so cute! The cubs were kind of grouchy at first, but then fell asleep in my coat. We weighed and ear tagged each cub. Out of the four cubs 3 of them were females and 1 was a male.

Cuddling and tagging the bear cubs, all in a day's work.

Cuddling and tagging the bear cubs, all in a day’s work.

Even though it poured and we had to hike through the rain, I would not have traded this experience for anything. I feel blessed that I have gotten a closer glance at the world of these fascinating creatures.

 -Alec B.

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Michele Kittell, Executive Director
116 Market St.
Lewisburg, PA 17837

email: mkittell@piceweb.org
phone: 570.245.8518

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The Wildlife Leadership Academy is a cooperative initiative of various state agencies and conservation organizations. It is coordinated and
administered by the Pennsylvania Institute for Conservation Education, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.