Monday, June 11, 2012

Fish and Wildlife Management Technology Celebrates Its Largest Graduating Class of Recent Memory

On May 11, the Fish and Wildlife Management Technology program graduated its largest class of recent memory.  Thirty-two students from across the state of North Carolina, and one from Georgia, shared a common sense of accomplishment Friday night.  Many of these graduates began their new jobs as early as the following Monday!

The Fish and Wildlife Management Technology program is a challenging 5-semester A.A.S. degree option that draws quite a bit of attention from across the state and from occasional nonresidents.  It is the only 2-year associate’s degree option for people interested in studying fish and wildlife management in North Carolina, with NC State University offering the only bachelor’s degree option for those interested in pursuing a 4-year degree or higher in wildlife or fisheries science.  One of Friday night’s graduates, Mr. Jordan Nanney, is planning to pursue his bachelor’s degree studying wildlife science next fall at NC State University.  When asked why he chose Haywood Community College, he said that “after researching his options, he knew HCC was where he should start his college career.”  Now in Kentucky working with bobwhite quail, Mr. Nanney gained the practical knowledge and technical skills that are often not offered at the 4 year universities.

Fish and Wildlife Management Technology graduates are challenged by a variety of coursework and field exercises throughout their student careers at HCC.  Forestry, wildlife, and fisheries, along with geospatial technologies, are all integral parts of their technical training.  Furthermore, students spend a great deal of time in the field and whenever possible, study resources beyond western North Carolina to gain a much broader educational experience.  Many of the graduates go on to seasonal and temporary positions with agencies such as the NC Wildlife Resources Commission, National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Universities, and non-governmental organizations such as The Nature Conservancy, Nature Centers, and more.

Here are a few of our 2012 Fish and Wildlife Management graduates that have secured jobs in the field of study: Austin Baggarley – white-tailed deer and coyotes in Georgia, Aaron Bingham – wildlife damage control services near Hickory, Ashley Derks – South Carolina State Parks, Aaron Ducker – Trout Unlimited in Georgia, Derrick Helms – U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Devin Miller – black bear research in Louisiana, Jordan Moses – National Park Service, Josh Randolph – NC Wildlife Resources Commission, Alex Swaringen – songbird research at Fort Bragg.  After gaining job experience, many usually qualify as full-time wildlife or fisheries technicians throughout the country, but more and more of the students are transferring to various universities, both in- and out-of-state, to pursue higher education in the field of study.  These graduates choose to continue on to become wildlife or fisheries biologists and managers.  To the surprise of many people outside of the profession, only a small percentage of graduates go on to become wildlife officers (i.e. game wardens) or park rangers.  There are always some in each class, however, that choose this exciting professional route!

For more information about the Fish and Wildlife Management Technology program, contact the Department of Natural Resources Management at 828-627-4560.  Other programs within the department include: Forest Management, Horticulture, and Low Impact Development.

Post by Chris Graves, Faculty
Fish and Wildlife Management Technology

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