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Spring 2003 - Outdoors

Destination Purdue > Spring 2003 - Outdoors

The great outdoors

By Jenny Jones

Brooke Williams

Photo provided by Brooke Campbell

Brooke Williams, a senior in the College of Agriculture, enjoys a break by the water with the camp dog, Morton.

David Glista, a senior in the College of Agriculture, sat in a tree stand during his forestry and natural resources summer practicum. He strapped on a pair of night vision goggles and watched the open field, all the while thinking how lucky he was to have this experience. "I had never used that kind of equipment before," said Glista, a wildlife major from Philadelphia, Penn. "So it was pretty amazing to be able to see in the dark."

This is just one of the hands-on skills that students gain from the summer practicum, a five-week required course that takes students majoring in forestry, natural resources, fisheries and aquatic sciences or wildlife out of the classroom and into the woods of Michigan's upper peninsula for a summertime learning expedition.

"In addition to applying skills pertaining to their majors, students also encounter various types of wildlife and vegetation that they may not otherwise come across in Indiana," said Trent Sutton, professor of fisheries and aquatic sciences and one of several professors who often teach during the practicum.

One of the unusual animal habits that Brooke Williams, a senior in the College of Agriculture, remembers observing during summer practicum was the courtship behavior of the American Woodcock. As the sun set behind the trees, Williams and her fellow students watched intently as the male woodcock danced on the ground and flew in circles as part of its mating behavior. "I'll never forget it," said Williams, a wildlife major from Chesterton, Ind. "We were able to get within a few feet of the dancing males as they were courting the females."

Glista and Williams agreed that although learning new skills and applying existing knowledge during the practicum were beneficial, getting to know other students in the practicum was even more rewarding.