There are many different ways to get involved at Missouri Western while building your resume at the same time. For students in the wildlife management program, this opportunity is given to them through the Student Chapter of The Wildlife Society. Here, they have the chance to listen to professionals in their field, get hands-on experience and receive multiple certifications before even graduating. 


During his 27 years here at the university, Dr. Cary Chevalier started and continues to grow, the society so that students are able to grow their knowledge as well. 


 “I consider the Student Chapter The Wildlife Society to be a non-traditional capstone course,” Chevalier said. “They register for and then, using my quotation fingers in the air, when they join and then they pass the class when they graduate. The student chapter's role is to provide the sorts of professional development opportunities outside the classroom, where it would be more difficult for students to try to do this kind of stuff on their own.” 


One of the certifications that students of the chapter are able to receive is the Wildland Fire Behavioral Ecology certification. Through their partnership the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Department of Interior, they are able to receive the s190-130 through online courses and and inperson field component. 


As our knowledge grows on different ecologies in the country, certifications like these make applicants more desirable.


“Part of habitat management and restoration involves burning stuff,” Chevalier said. “This called prescribed fires and we've learned more and more and more that a huge number of the different here in North America are actually fire driven ecologies. From a hiring point of view to see an undergraduate, that has this kind of certification. Very easily sets them apart from the crowd and makes them more marketable.”


The next chance members have available to receive a certification is Wednesday, March 8 at the weekly meeting. The two part certification starts with a classroom session where a Stihl representative will present an educational video and have students take apart the chainsaw, hands-on. The second part, is where the fun happens. 


“We have the in the field day, and they get to put on the safety equipment, be there'll be with an experienced Sawyer and they get to make sawdust,” Chevalier stated.  “Now, we're not doing any lumberjack stuff. The trees will already be down so we will already have follow the trees and move them to where we wanted to be. Then they get to go out on the tree. So they'll learn how to limb the tree, they'll learn how to cut it into sections, you know, that kind of stuff. And so they can, they can sit there and just chainsaw away. We also tend to do things like bring a log splitter, so that they can learn how to work.” 


Students also appreciate what the society can do for them as a whole. Senior wildlife management major and vice president of the society, Katy Stafford, acknowledges this. 

“Without the society I wouldn’t have my hunter safety or my chainsaw safety certifications,” Stafford stated. “I wouldn’t have been able to do the monarch butterfly tagging or any of the awesome events we’ve done over the years.”

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