Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Wildlife Botany and Ichthyology: A First at Haywood Community College

The Fish and Wildlife Management Faculty, Advisory Committee, and Former Students were in agreement that a field botany course and fish identification course were much needed additions to the Fish and Wildlife Management Technology Curriculum. This fall semester, students had opportunities to take both courses. 1) Wildlife Botany: It is critical that wildlife graduates can identify common herbaceous plants, shrubs, and vines, in addition to the trees they learn in Dendrology. The Wildlife Botany labs were field-oriented so that students could gain a better understanding of the landscape, while identifying plants and their wildlife uses. The students observed around 275 species during the semester and were tested on 165 species for the final lab practical. This course will truly separate Haywood’s graduates from many other wildlife graduates across the country in that they will have a solid education and understanding of plant composition across the landscape of the Southeast, and can better meet wildlife management objectives for their employers through sound habitat manipulation. 2) Ichthyology: Basic fish anatomy, physiology, and identification was being taught in Fishery Management class, and this took up valuable lab time during the first half of each spring semester in this course. Now students gain a basic understanding of fish anatomy and identification in Ichthyology through a combined 3 hour lecture/lab session one day a week. This allows students to focus on fish identification during the fall semester, and enables faculty to teach valuable fishery management techniques and practices during lab sessions in Fishery Management class. Students can now focus on managing the aquatic resources they have learned to understand and identify during Aquatic Ecology and Ichthyology, making the latter an outstanding new addition to our Program. A special thanks to David McKinney for assisting Chris Graves with the Ichthyology course and study sessions for students! You will be missed.

Pic Below: David McKinney, TA for Wildlife Management and Ichthyology during Fall 2009. David will definitely be a major contributor to the betterment of our fish and wildlife resources in North America through his passion and dedication. This student now enjoys “Haywood Legend” status! (Post by Chris Graves)

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