Our family faces an unexpected tragic event at the time. On that note, Selina will take on the role of author for the week and update you all on her life!
Hello everyone, I was hoping to do this story later this summer to cover everything I’ll be doing in Montana, but since we ended up having to do it so abruptly, I’m going to walk you through all the steps I took to become a natural resources professional.
At the end of May, I completed my freshman year at UW-Stevens Point, where I’m double majoring in Fisheries and Aquatic Science and Water Resources, minoring in Soil Science, and earning a certificate in Zonal Science. wet. This past year for me has been about learning outside of the classroom.
I was secretary of the UWSP American Fisheries Society (AFS) last year, and next year I will be vice-president. Through AFS, I was able to meet and network with a variety of fishing professionals, participate in a study of brook trout movements where we electrofished and tagged individuals, conducted fyke net on the Wisconsin River and assisted with data collection. during lake sturgeon spawning. My proudest accomplishment of the year by far was completing a research project evaluating different riparian habitats and macroinvertebrate drift and attending the UWSP Jim and Katie Krause CNR Research Symposium.
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To put it briefly, my study assessed how the different land uses (forestry, wetland, and agricultural) on the Little Pluver River affected the number and composition of aquatic and terrestrial macroinvertebrates present at each site.
Before I started, I was extremely intimidated by the idea of doing research and honestly didn’t think I would be able to do it on my own. Luckily, I was able to work with a great mentor and friend, Rachael, who had done the project two years prior and was leading a similar project on brook trout feeding and riparian land use. This project was a huge stepping stone for me, and I’m so grateful to have had the opportunity to do this, especially because this project helped me find a new job during the school year that I love.
At the start of the spring semester, I started a job at the Aquatic Biomonitoring Laboratory (ABL) on campus where I sort drift samples of aquatic macroinvertebrates. Basically, organizations like MNR send us drift samples containing aquatic insects from all kinds of water bodies. By looking at the composition of macroinvertebrates, you can make a guess about the water and habitat quality in that area. Jeff Dimick runs the lab and has instilled his obsession with macroinvertebrates in many of his student employees, including me.
Shortly after graduating, I drove to Eureka, Montana, where I work as a Fisheries Biotechnician for the US Forest Service. This is my first summer traveling for work and I’m so happy this is where I landed! Eureka is a small town crossed by the Rocky Mountains and largely made up of forest service land, so there is more natural land than developed, which I love!
Until now, most of my work has involved gauging streams to see the amount of discharge flowing through them. Many of the streams we gauge are high mountain streams that rely on snowmelt to flow, so it’s important to see how flows change over the summer.
Since I arrived here, it has been relatively cool. There haven’t been many days above 70, the rain has been pretty consistent and when I got here there was still a lot of snow on the mountains. Last summer it was apparently in the 90’s most of the summer and very dry so the weather is very changeable but the weather this summer is not very common.
Very recently it rained here for two days in a row and the peaks were in the 50’s resulting in more snow on the mountains after much of it had already melted. Many of these creeks were already beginning to fill from regular snowmelt, and now with the additional rain and snow on the mountains, the creeks we rate are at record highs and there is ongoing flooding.
Soon I will be embarking on other surveys of electroshock and fish habitat, which I look forward to. We also do a variety of other small random jobs as they come up. Last week I went with my bosses to try to determine if something was a ‘stream’ and extra care should be taken as this was an area where logging will soon begin.
All in all, I’m very happy to see the direction my future is taking. I still don’t know exactly what I want to do after I graduate, but I’m in no rush to figure it out exactly because I have interests in so many different fields and I know I’ll figure it out in time.
Do what you love and tell those you love that you love them.
Mark Walters is a freelance columnist for Lee Sports Wisconsin. His daughter, Selina, wrote this week to provide an update on her events. Contact them at [email protected] Opinions are those of the author.