Future leaders in wildlife conservation visit campus

Wildlife Technology Student Chelsea Beck assisted with the bird banding study.

Penn State DuBois Wildlife Technology Student Chelsea Beck assisted with the bird banding study. Here, she prepares to release a banded bird back into its habitat.

Credit: Steve Harmic

A group of young people interested in careers focused on wildlife conservation or research visited Penn State DuBois on Monday to learn about educational opportunities that could interest them. A total of 19 high school age students visited as members of the Wildlife Leadership Academy, based in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, and they learned more about the Penn State DuBois Wildlife Technology degree program during their visit. 

According to representatives from the Wildlife Leadership Academy, the organization's mission is to engage high school age youth to become Conservation Ambassadors to ensure a sustained wildlife, fisheries and natural resource legacy for future generations. A year round program, the academy begins with rigorous summer field schools that focus on wildlife biology and conservation, as well as development of leadership skills. It continues with community outreach through education, service, and interaction with media and the arts.

While at the campus, the academy members participated in a bird banding exercise performed by Instructor in Wildlife Technology Emily Thomas. Thomas explained that song birds are captured, outfitted with a metal band around their leg, and released. Those bands can be used to track the migration patterns of birds, as well as their habitat requirements if they are recaptured in subsequent studies.

The students also got an overview of the entire Wildlife Technology program, which prepares graduates to work in conservation oriented fields. They conduct research aimed at preserving the environment and animal and plant species, work to reclaim land damaged my mining or deforestation, and more.

Katie Cassidy, the program and outreach coordinator for the Wildlife Leadership Academy, said this visit helped to further the academy's mission. She said, "We try to foster the students from high school to career, including their educational options. We introduce them to different programs and colleges so they can see what options they have for educational opportunities."