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NWP Global Registry of Apprentice Ecologists - Electric Lake, Huntington Canyon, Utah, USA

Electric Lake, Huntington Canyon, Utah, USA
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Registered: December 2019
City/Town/Province: price
Posts: 1
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Land Ethics: Our Moral Responsibility

Just one short year ago during my freshman year at university, I had butterflies in my stomach as I sat in my first wildlife-related course. Math, science, and other subjects were interesting to me, but they never caused such an exciting reaction; my willingness to learn skyrocketed as soon as the clock struck 2:00, and my attention became clearly focused like the sky after a storm. The class, the topic, they are my niche; my interest was caught like gas to a flame. A few weeks into the semester, my professor taught everyone about the migration of Sandhill Cranes. This led us to discussing the infamous book "Sand County Almanac" (1949). The book alone fastened a tight grip onto my mind and brought millions of questions to my pen and paper. "Thinking Like A Mountain" is an excerpt of the book in which Leopold witnessed firsthand the importance of keystone species, and how interactions with wolf populations can affect entire ecosystems. This one example shed light on how humans and organisms relate to their environment; human interference is bound to happen. However, there are ways to manage and adjust how society may go towards living in a more balanced manner. The interpretation I have concurred from his writing is that in order to fully understand how conservation and stewardship for the environment works, one must think selflessly.

"The cowman who cleans his range of wolves does not realize that he is taking over the wolf's job of trimming the herd to fit the change. He has not learned to think like a mountain. Hence we have dust bowls, and rivers washing the future into the sea" (Leopold).

The next class meeting, we watched a documentary about the author, Aldo Leopold, that my life changed for the better. "The Search for the Green Fire" (Leopold Foundation) took me deep into the beginning of conservation and forestry sciences; this short film about the life and studies of Aldo Leopold explained how he became a leader in environmental ethics and why conservation and limits on hunting became enforced. I was engulfed into the narrative of Leopold's life and legacy. For the entirety of my freshman year, Leopold's personal encounter was ingrained in my mind. His words left such a deep impact on me, that it led me to change my major. I became determined to dedicate my secondary education towards such a substantial movement.

When I enrolled that year, I had an intent to study Wildlife Ecology and Management. I was determined to study conservation and analyze populations as a wildlife biologist. As the semester progressed, I applied for a position with the Southeastern Utah Division of Natural Resources office. I began in May as an Aquatic Invasive Species Technician, a program under Wildlife Law Enforcement. My responsibility was to inspect all watercraft for invasive species that could threaten the local ecosystem of the waters. I worked all summer as a DNR employee, and by the end of September I found myself an entirely different person. Although I did not have much authority as a technician, I was given responsibility for two lakes.

I learned many things from my summer career, but the one thing that stood out was environmental ethics. During my first year of college, I learned about ecology and management, but not how the public relates to the land. With ecology comes humanity, principles, and a True understanding of nature. Although I was to inspect boats, I found myself educating the public, learning new behaviors of native species, and becoming closer with the environment that surrounds me. Under the influence of "Thinking Like A Mountain" and the conservation officers I came to know, I slowly changed my course of study towards Recreational Resource management. In September 2019, my seasonal job came to an end. I still had a yearning for being in the mountains, so I did a volunteer trip for an electro-fishing survey on a stream near Electric Lake, Utah. This experience allowed me to observe local fish and how weather patterns affect species populations. I also gained experience in communicating to a group. The best part of that day was being awarded the opportunity to see firsthand how the Division of Wildlife Resources uses teamwork and moral responsibility to accomplish such a daunting task. All of the data collected, fish handled, and equipment used was with care and professionalism. It gives me those butterflies, just as I did that September day, when I think about my future and how I will impact and protect our mountains.
Date: December 9, 2019 Views: 1797 File size: 19.9kb, 4836.2kb : 2640 x 1760
Hours Volunteered: 135
Volunteers: 15
Authors Age & Age Range of Volunteers: 18 to 50
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