Each year the Curator of Natural Lands chooses several junior or senior students who are familiar with the environment around campus and the Northfield area to be the college student naturalists. Student Naturalists are responsible for the following:
- Organizing and leading field trips related to the natural environment in the area.
- Creating and maintaining an information board detailing seasonal happening and natural events on campus such as tree plantings and phenology.
- Writing letters and articles to the Manitou Messenger and other publications to educate students and staff about the different aspects of the environment and local natural history.
- Organizing tree plantings and other restoration activities on campus.
- Creating environment educational opportunities for the community.
The Student Naturalists for the 2012-13 school year are Rozlyn Anderson (firstname.lastname@example.org), Emma Cornwell (email@example.com), Andrew Kaul (firstname.lastname@example.org), and Kirsten Maier (email@example.com).
Rozlyn Anderson - I am a senior majoring in Environmental Studies and Biology. I discovered the natural lands shortly after coming to St. Olaf and am excited to have a chance to share them with the community. My love for the outdoors developed when I was a kid- taking canoe trips, exploring national parks, and helping in the garden. Through these experiences I gained an appreciation of natural spaces. I continue to spend as much time outdoors as possible and in the summer lead canoe trips through Camp Widjiwagan. In high school, and now in college, I have taken biology and environmental studies classes that advanced my love for nature into a desire to protect it and work as an environmental activist. During my time at St. Olaf I had the opportunity to work on a farm in Ecuador and study animal husbandry and invasive species in India. These experiences helped me decide how I will best support the environmental movement in the future. I plan to promote food justice or become an outdoor educator after graduation.
Emma Cornwell – I am a senior Biology and Environmental Studies major from Madison, Wisconsin. I’m lucky to have grown up enjoying the outdoors, camping, canoing, and spending hours with my cousins playing in my grandpa’s grove of rare American Chestnut trees. More recently, I have become concerned with the ways in which agriculture affects the natural world. My experiences with several Environmental Studies courses at St. Olaf, the semester I spent in Costa Rica researching soil quality on an organic cacao farm, and my research this past summer on Northfield corn farms have fostered in me a desire to learn how to produce food while preserving the environment. As a student naturalist, I hope to share what I have learned about the sustainable practices of Northfield farmers. I’m also excited to share St. Olaf’s Natural Lands. I remember discovering the Natural Lands in my first year: marveling at the brilliant fall colors, cross country skiing in the chilly winter, and excitedly heading out for a run in the first warm weather of the spring. I want to make sure that others can experience and appreciate the great resource we have on campus.
Andrew Kaul - I’m a senior biology major and environmental studies concentrator with a particular love for plants. I grew up in western Wisconsin, but gained my affinity for the outdoors while exploring Minnesota on various camping trips throughout my childhood. I came to Olaf intending on a pre-med track, but discovered my true calling when I took my first ecology course and couldn’t put the textbook down. The lab component of this course was my first introduction to the natural lands, and since then I have had the opportunity to get to know them better through summer research with professor Kathy Shea, student work on the natural lands, and the wetlands education program, giving tours of the lands to local 5th grade students. My favorite part of the natural lands is the restored prairie. The fragmentation of prairies throughout Minnesota is tragic and I am proud to be involved in an effort to study and preserve this beautiful and endangered biome. I had the opportunity to research prairie ecology and evolution this past summer and am excited to continue learning more about pollination and plant biology this year.
Kirsten Maier –My love for the outdoors started at a young age. Growing up, I spent my summers outside hiking and camping in the great forests of the Pacific Northwest. When I went on a run in the St. Olaf Natural Lands during my first week of college my first year, I knew I wanted to study something that would let me be a part of them so I became a biology and environmental studies double major. Since then, I have spent hours running through them, studying them, restoring them, and appreciating them. My time as a natural lands worker and various research experiences have allowed me to appreciate all that goes into making an ecosystem healthy. My many biology and environmental studies classes have shown me the importance of sharing this knowledge with others, and I became a student naturalist to do just that. I plan to continue being a naturalist after college, sharing my love of nature with children by teaching environmental education and eventually high school science.
For more information on the student naturalist position at St. Olaf College, contact Dr. Kathleen Shea (firstname.lastname@example.org).