An interview with an environmental biology student: Cassie Hulett
Cassie is an envrionmental biology major currently enrolled in Dr. Faber’s ornothology class. Dr. Faber is a professor that is highly educated on birds, wildlife, and pollution ecology. Cassie admits, “There is no typical lab with Dr. Faber”. So far this semester the class has counted tundra swans with a spotting scope; visited the National Wildlife Refuge, state parks, and dredge islands to look at different species of waterfowl. Each lab day the class ventures within an hour radius of Winona, or Winona itself to observe waterfowl. Winona has a unique location that gives students and professors the advantage of traveling an hour in any direction and will find themselves in a completely different ecotype. The most memorable lab for Cassie occurred a few weeks ago where they attempted to drive a Henslow’s sparrow into a 20 ft net. This lab was not only exciting for Cassie and her peers, but also for Dr. Faber who has devoted 30 years of his career trying to rehabilitate an area for these sparrows and provide suitable habitat. This is the first sighting of this species in the area for years.
According to Cassie, the next big project for that class is a museum skin preservation of a bird of their finding. In other words, each student will be doing their own taxidermy, where they have to provide their own bird and stuff it! Cassie’s favorite element of this class is the “breathtaking views and exotic locations all over southeast minnesota and southwest wisconsin”. When asked how will this be useful in your future as an environmental biologist, Cassie responded with”even though I may not use this specifically in my career it is very rewarding to be able to identify different species of birds, because it will help me to treat and manage any ecosystem as a whole”.
Cassie’s anticipated graduation is May 2012 and plans to continue her education at Saint Mary’s by getting a Master’s Degree in Geographic Information Science.