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Wild Classrooms- Colleen Piper

Every college student knows the struggle of staying awake and interested in a typical lecture-style classroom, no matter how exciting the course material may be. Sitting in the same seat for an hour, trying to keep your mind from wandering, keeping your head off the desk so you don’t doze off, we’ve all been there. However, not all college students have had the opportunity to experience a hands-on class where you actually practice what you’ve learned in a real-life scenario unless, of course, they’ve taken a Warnell class. Whether it be a three-hour lab or weekend long field trip, Warnell offers students the chance to put what they’ve learned in lecture into action.

“Today, we got a chance to practice safely immobilizing white-tailed deer.”

“We got to practice managing a prescribed fire in the woods today.”

“Our fisheries lab went electro-shocking in the river today.”

These are all typical things you would hear a Warnell student talking about; things that would make students in other majors say “You did WHAT?!” But Warnell classes are about much more than shocking our friends or getting course credit while explopiperblogpicring in the woods, they are about getting to practice skills we’ve learned about in lecture and, more importantly, invaluable skills that we, as natural resource professionals, will use for the rest of our careers. These skills and experiences that would normally take days of training at a new job or hundreds of dollars in a public workshop to learn are being taught to Warnell students free of additional cost. And nothing says “I’m a perfect candidate for this job position,” to employers like a graduate, fresh out of college, with a resume full of full of skills and field experience.

So, yes, it is fun to brag to your non-Warnellian friends about how you went and caught bats as part of a class field trip but it’s even more rewarding knowing that your school is preparing you for success in a competitive job market. Plus, getting to have class in the woods is always an added bonus!


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