Forest and wildlife students go to class in the woods

A group of 27 CALS forest and wildlife ecology undergrads are having an unusual classroom experience this summer. As enrollees in Forest and Wildlife Ecology (F&WE) 658: Forestry Summer Camp, they just finished week one of a three-week course led by Eric Kruger, Anna Pidgeon and Volker Radeloff that takes place at CALS’ Kemp Natural Resources Station near Minocqua, Wisconsin. The station’s 240 acres serve as their classroom, with students learning the basics of wildlife identification, soil typing, timber cruising and much more. Here are a few pictures of their first week’s activities. More pix are available here.

Above left: While enjoying a campfire, students learned about Wisconsin’s unique wildlife issues – from deer to wolves to bears – from F&WE emeritus professor Scott Craven, a wildlife expert.










F&WE professor Anna Pidgeon taught students how to identify Wisconsin’s amphibians, reptiles and birds.











Students examined a tree core, noting the brown rot at the center of an otherwise healthy-looking tree.











Lecturing from inside an established soil pit, soil science professor Nick Balster explained how soils form, and then taught students how researchers quickly determine soil type in the field—using only their hands and a bit of water.











During weeks two and three of Forestry Summer Camp, students will put their new knowledge to work surveying the wildlife, coarse woody debris, shrubs and trees on large parcels of land in the nearby American Legion State Forest. Working in groups of four, the students will gather data from 250-300 acre plots that have been assigned to them, and then query that data to answer research questions that they devise. For undergrads, it’s a wonderful opportunity to experience how real forestry field research is done.