Here's what you can look forward to in ECC's Conservation Technology program:
- Enjoy the vast majority of your Conservation Technology classes and activities outdoors.
- Spend LOTS of time at Calkins Nature Area & Interpretive Center, a 76-acre natural resource located along the Iowa River just three miles from campus. It's ECC's "outdoor laboratory" for studying woodland, wetland and prairie ecosystems.
- Hands-on activities include fish shocking, monitoring wildlife populations, fish sampling in streams, bald eagle surveying, re-establishing prairies, building wildflower (and other) seed collections, and more.
- Master the identity of every tree and bush native to Iowa, and its role in the ecosystem.
- Explore and help maintain the ECC Natural History Museum (housed at Calkins Interpretive Center), an extensive collection of more than 600 mounted mammal and bird specimens, an avian egg collection, a mussel collection from the Iowa River, an assortment of rocks/minerals/fossils, and many native North American artifacts.
- Gain a hands-on understanding of current field technology, including Global Positioning Systems (GPS) and Geographic Information Systems (GIS).
- Care for injured and orphaned wildlife as part of the Animal Care & Rehabilitation class.
- Local field trips include activities like astronomy, canoeing, fishing, bird watching, frog and toad surveying, monarch tagging, and exploring beautiful and unique landscapes.
- Regional field trips feature zoos, museums and wildlife refuges.
- Gain summer on-the-job work experiences with conservation agencies for a practical application of your ECC coursework.
- Meet many Iowa conservation professionals, who will help you develop a resume and cover letter and practice your interviewing skills.
- Participate in social and outdoor activities through ECC's Conservation Club. Includes regular meetings, pizza parties and picnics, field trips, and community service projects (building bird houses, planting trees, assisting Hardin and Franklin County Conservation Boards with special events).
People who work in conservation love being outdoors. They also work well with people and have good communication skills. Working conditions vary considerably and are often physically demanding. Although some of the work is solitary, foresters and conservation scientists also deal regularly with landowners, loggers, forestry technicians and aides, farmers, ranchers, government official special interest groups, and the public in general.
Some foresters and conservation scientists work regular hours in offices or labs. Others may split their time between field work and office work, while independent consultants (and especially new, less experienced workers) spend the majority of their time outdoors overseeing or participating in hands-on work. Some foresters and conservation scientists work outdoors in all types of weather, sometimes in isolated areas. Foresters also may work long hours fighting fires. Conservation scientists often are called to prevent erosion after a forest fire, and they provide emergency help after floods, mudslides, and tropical storms.
Employment of forest and conservation workers is expected to grow 9 percent in the coming decade, as fast as the average for all occupations. Most openings will result from the number of workers who leave jobs on a seasonal basis and from retirements. Demand for forest and conservation workers will increase as more land is set aside to protect natural resources or wildlife habitats. In addition, more jobs may be created by federal legislation designed to prevent destructive wildfires. Increasing pressure for the U.S. Forest Service to undertake major road repair may also result in higher levels of employment.
What/Where the jobs are
Nearly two-thirds of salaried conservation scientists and foresters work for federal, state, or local governments. Careers such as park rangers, conservationists, naturalists and teachers are associated with this field. Other conservation careers include conservation scientist, forester, park manager, resource technician, vegetation specialist, operations supervisor, and park attendant.
Degrees awarded & curriculum requirements
Conservation Technology Associate in Science Career Option (ASCO) degree (2 year); click here for curriculum
Nancy Slife, Nancy.Slife@iavalley.edu
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