Students join the Warnell School for a variety of reasons, but I feel the main reason for joining is because they love the outdoors. These students want an opportunity to get a job in which they can be involved with something they love, the outdoors! I know this was the reason that I became a student here at Warnell. Outside is my second home. If I’m not hunting then I’m fishing, if I’m not fishing then I’m probably walking around in the woods, and if I’m not doing any of these things then I am probably working outside and loving every minute of it.
Coming into Warnell, I thought I knew a great deal about the natural world around me. I mean after all, I spent as much time there as I could, I have read countless books about it, and also I was 20 years old and should know everything about everything right? Boy was I wrong. Let me tell you something people, never in my life have I learned so much as in the past year and a half here at Warnell. The thing is though, what I have learned is not just knowledge that I can regurgitate, what I have learned has shaped the way that I view the outdoors. The place that I thought I knew so much about has taken on a completely different meaning to me now. After learning so much, I truly feel that before I was just wandering around aimlessly in the woods, not actually thinking about what was actually going on around me. Now, with every step I take in the woods, I am thinking about something new. I am asking myself; “Why is that tree growing there? What kind of food is available to wildlife in this area? Could you do a successful shelterwood cut and regeneration in this hardwood stand? I wonder what kind of soil class this is? Why are there more deer tracks in this area than that one?” Being a student in Warnell has completely changed my outlook on what I love the most, and I feel that I am a better student, outdoorsman, and person because of it. My challenge to everyone involved with the outdoors is to learn as much as you can about it. Maybe you will gain a new perspective and a new appreciation for it, just as I have.