One of the best parts about watching the girls grow and learn is to see them interacting with other young people they meet along the way. Below are two student assistants that submitted answers to us. Chelsea and Kelsey both work for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. We met them through Karen Cleveland. (We are still patiently waiting for Karen to submit her answers so we can blog about her immeasurable assistance introducing Athia and Maia to the Michigan area).
Chelsea and Kelsey, along with three other students comprise the five versions of the Environmental Student card. Without further ado, here are their answers.
What is your full name and title?
Chelsea White, Student Assistant
Kelsey Fisher, Student Assistant
Where do you work and reside?
Chelsea – I work for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources in Lansing, MI and I live in Fowlerville, MI.
Kelsey – I currently work for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Division as a Student Assistant.
What is your educational background?
Chelsea – I have a BS from Michigan State University in fisheries and wildlife with a concentration in wildlife biology and management.
Kelsey – I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Science with a major in Fisheries and Wildlife and a concentration in Wildlife Biology and Management from Michigan State University. I attended Lansing Community College for my general education credits prior to attending MSU.
What was your life like growing up?
Chelsea – I grew up in a rural area of southeastern Michigan in a town called Fowlerville. I spent most of my weekends in northern Michigan at my family’s cabin. There, we would spend most of our time outdoors mostly hunting and fishing.
Kelsey – I lived in a medium-sized town, but was always engaged with the outdoors. I was lucky enough to grow up in Michigan, surrounded by many lakes, rivers, and terrestrial landscapes. I have been hunting and fishing in Michigan since I can remember. Not only have I enjoyed hunting, I have also enjoyed learning about the biology and interactions between the animals and their environments. My childhood friends and I used to ride our bike around town and play in the local creek, trying to catch frogs and crayfish. I grew up having a variety of pets including two dogs, fish, a guinea pig, and two yellow canaries.
Did you have a nickname? If so, how did it come about?
Chelsea – No I actually don’t. Some people call me Chels.
Kelsey – My grandpa calls me Scooter. To this day, I still do not know why.
What are you currently reading? Why?
Chelsea – I’m currently reading “The Wayfinders: Why Ancient Wisdom Matters in the Modern World” by David Wade because my other passion is anthropology.
Kelsey – I am currently reading American Buffalo: In Search of A Lost Icon By Steven Rinella. I enjoy learning out hunting heritage and North American wildlife. The interaction of conservation and hunting is important to me and I believe Steven Rinella has a good take on the connections of these two important topics.
What are you curious about or exploring in your field of expertise at the moment?
Chelsea – I’m curious about most subjects in wildlife or wildlife management. Particularly, primates and birds.
Kelsey – I am curious about what will happen with the Isle Royale ecosystem in the future. Moose are one of my favorite animals, so I have always been interested in the predator-prey interactions on the island.
What is your favorite Movie? Why?
Chelsea – My absolute favorite movie is Jeremiah Johnson. It’s a movie from the 1970s about a man who goes to live in the mountains. I’ve always dreamed of having a similar lifestyle.
Kelsey – One of my favorite movies is Alone in the Wilderness. The simplicity and real documentation of this movie is what makes it so great. The thought of being out in nature to hunt, fish, and live sounds like a fun experience.
What personal strengths do you find especially helpful in your profession?
Chelsea – Endurance and Curiosity
Kelsey – I believe my background in outdoor recreation is a key strength when it comes to understanding management and conservation.
What is your least favorite subject? Why?
Chelsea – My least favorite would probably have to be Physics. While I think it’s interesting, I never really could get a good grasp on physical science.
Kelsey – My least favorite subject was math.
What advise you to offer to parents who want to help their children get involved with the natural world?
Chelsea – Get them outside and restrict the technology!
Kelsey – Let them explore and play in the dirt or creek if they want to. It is all about having fun and creating a connection with the environment around them. Show them why they should care about nature by spending time with them doing outdoor activities.
To what teams and/or clubs did you encourage students to join?
Chelsea – Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, local hunting/conservation clubs (Ducks Unlimited, Pheasants Forever, etc.)
Kelsey – I would recommend joining a local habitat or outdoor club that works to clean up the environment and provide habitat for wildlife in the area.
Is there a daily routine you enjoy?
Chelsea – Not particularly, however, I do like sitting down with a good book.
Kelsey – I enjoy watching for wildlife while I commute to and from work.
How do you integrate technology in your profession?
Chelsea – I use the computer daily at work. Believe it or not, technology can be a useful tool when it comes to this field.
Kelsey – Social media has become a large factor in communicating with stakeholder groups. It is a fun way to engage with a diverse group of people and get them interested in the outdoors.
How do you disconnect from technology?
Chelsea – Go outside!
Kelsey – I enjoy rustic camping where I can turn off my phone and not need to worry about the time of day.
What advice would you offer nature-lovers who live in large cities?
Chelsea – Animals are in cities too, sometimes you just have to look a little harder! Go to a nature center, park, arboretum, or look for birds from your front porch J. Use public lands to go hunting, fishing or hiking when you have time.
Kelsey – Nature can be found in the weirdest places, you just have to be willing to look for it. Local parks and natural areas can be full of wildlife and adventure.
What advice would you offer nature-lovers who live in rural areas?
Chelsea – Take a walk, go birding, hike, or take your dog. Hunt and fish on your property and get others involved.
What advice would you give to adults who are interested in supporting their local wildlife ecosystems?
Chelsea – Hunting and fishing both positively help wildlife management and contribute money to habitat restoration and maintenance. If that doesn’t interest you, think about volunteering at a nature center, local DNR, or park.
Kelsey – Contact a local conservation club or even a university outdoor club. Habitat work is so important for local wildlife. Many states offer volunteer opportunities for people who want to help improve wildlife habitat.
Are there specific wildlife or science clubs you find interesting? Why?
Chelsea – The Audubon Society and the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International because of my interests.
Kelsey – I was involved with the Michigan State University Fisheries and Wildlife Club. They provided a variety of opportunities including nature hikes, river clean-up days, nest box cleaning, and habitat projects. I am a current member of the National Wild Turkey Federation who promote habitat programs, hunter recruitment and retention, and making sure future generations can enjoy the natural resources.
What could a visitor expect to see when they come to visit you at work?
Chelsea – Lots of desks and cubicles, great people, and lots of taxidermy mounts J.
Kelsey – Friendly people, many pictures of Michigan wildlife, and a variety of taxidermy animals.
What are your thoughts about our national park and preserve systems?
Chelsea – I think they are so important and vital to get many people outdoors. I worked in Yellowstone National Park a couple years ago and it was one of the best experiences of my life.
Kelsey – I believe it is important for our national park and preserve systems to be available for public us and recreation. These systems are amazing ecosystems and should be available for everyone to enjoy responsibly.
Is there anything else you want to share or say?
Chelsea – It’s never too late or too early to get involved in conservation!
Public Outreach and Engagement Unit
DNR Wildlife Division
Policy and Regulation Unit -Wildlife Division
Michigan Department of Natural Resources