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Natural ResourcesYou like the outdoors, right? Then you’re going to love this place. Northland College has a location like nowhere else on Earth. We are surrounded by a million acres of forest and the largest freshwater lake in the world. These amazing natural resources are right outside our doors and serve as living laboratories and natural playgrounds.
Expect to get out often as part of your classwork in Natural Resources. You will be working closely with faculty who will immerse you in the wildlife, fisheries, forests, wetlands, streams, and lakes of this northern ecosystem. You will have experiences tracking wolves, monitoring streams, tagging fish, and researching plants and climate change in the Apostle Islands—and then teach you how to analyze the data back at the lab.
You will acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to communicate effectively, manage resources, and solve problems. Classes are small enough for in-depth field activities, data analysis, and group projects such as developing a management plan.
You will get the ecological, economic, policy, and management foundations necessary to use, protect, and enhance natural resources, preparing you for careers in government, tribal agencies, not-for-profit organizations, or the private sector and for graduate school.
Our graduates go on to do the coolest stuff—from mitigating ecological impacts of climate change in Antarctica to managing fires out west to studying sharks in South Africa, and everything in between.
Areas of study as an emphasis:
With ecological restoration you get a rock-solid foundation in the synthesis of geology and biology and the importance of understanding the natural history of ecosystems. We will teach you the practical nuts-and-bolts of designing and implementing restoration plans—and give you a client to work with. This project integrates theory and practice in plant communities, design concepts, assessment techniques, and prescribed fire. You will graduate ready to apply your education to real-world challenges and to make a difference by working to restore the habitat, species diversity, and ecological integrity to degraded ecosystems.
- Ecological Restoration Emphasis Requirements
Fisheries & Wildlife Ecology
Fisheries and wildlife ecology will prepare you for a career studying and managing wild populations of animals for multiple uses. At Northland, you will learn the basics while studying populations of wolves, flying squirrels, sharp-tailed grouse, trout, and sturgeon, to name a few. Our courses and lab work cover anatomy, physiology, genetics, and ecology, so you’ll know your animals inside and out. Our intensive Field Techniques class provides a month of hands-on, outdoor learning and collaboration with local wildlife and fisheries professionals. We also emphasize the human dimensions of managing animal populations and the interests of different stakeholder groups.
- Fisheries & Wildlife Ecology Emphasis Requirements
Forestry is more than trees. Way more. A Northland College forestry degree will take you beyond conventional forestry to becoming a skilled leader and thinker in this field. The modern forester needs to be fluent in the biological, ecological, social, and economic worlds, to understand how trees and forested ecosystems work, and how forests interact with other Earth systems. You will learn about the interconnectedness of forests, human society, and culture from a historic to modern land ethic viewpoint while exploring the past, present, and future role of forests as a commodity that can provide potentially renewable and sustainable raw materials, fuels, sources for recreation, clean water, diverse habitat, carbon sequestration, and more. In four years, you’ll be ready for a future in ecological restoration, scientific monitoring, wildland fire, private or governmental land management, environmental policy and law, traditional and alternative timber products, or preparation for postgraduate degrees.
- Forestry Emphasis Requirements
Title: Assistant Professor of Natural Resources
Office Location: CSE 139
- Ph.D. University of Wisconsin Madison (2013)
- M.S. University of Wisconsin Madison (2010)
- B.S. University of Wisconsin Stevens Point (2003)
Although my travels have exposed me to many beautiful landscapes and cultures, my roots run deep in northern Wisconsin. From childhood to present, the woods, streams, wetlands, lakes, and prairies of Wisconsin have been my classroom. I am excited to have the opportunity to share my love of science and the Northwoods with the students of Northland College. As an ecologist I enjoy interacting with students as they make observations and develop questions and theories on how the world works. I like to expose students to the scientific method and scientific concepts and theories through applied, interactive, and reflective learning.
As an ecologist trained in interdisciplinary scholarship, I believe it is important to introduce students to useful tools from other disciplines and to expose students to multiple paradigms. Thus, I cover some of the basics of statistics, social science, communications, political ecology, and geographic information systems science in labs and lectures.
Feel free to contact me for more information on my teaching philosophy and background.
My research interests cover a broad array of conservation- and ecology-based questions, both applied and theoretical. I enjoy applying novel approaches to complex ecological questions. Currently, I am researching multiple aspects of wolf management and ecology in the Great Lakes Region, including: the implications of the sociopolitical conflict over wolves, the spatial and temporal patterns of wolf-human conflicts, how changes to wolf management and policy affect wolf-human conflicts, wolf management and tribal treaty rights, the behavioral response of white-tailed deer to the presence of wolves, and the top-down effect of wolves throughout the food web (trophic cascades).
I am also involved in lemur conservation and research in Madagascar. Currently, with colleagues at The Aspinall Foundation, I am using remote sensing and geospatial analyses to study how anthropogenic and cyclonic disturbances impact the distribution of four lemur species, each of extremely high conservation priority (indri, greater bamboo lemur, diademed sifaka, black-and-white ruffed lemur). Using geospatial analyses I am also examining what landscape characteristics best describe suitable habitats for these four lemur species.
I enjoy involving students in my research, as well as, mentoring students in their own independent research projects.
Peer-reviewed Journal Publications
Olson, E.R. and J.M. Doherty. In prep. Macrophyte diversity-abundance relationship mediated by invasive and native dominants.
Olson, E.R., Marsh, R.A., Bovard, B., Randrianarimanana, H., Ratsimbazafy, J., and T. King. 2013. The impacts of human disturbance on the Critically Endangered greater bamboo lemur and a closely-affiliated food source, Madagascar giant bamboo. International Journal of Primatology. 34, 486-499.
Olson, E.R., Marsh, R.A., Bovard, B.N., Randrianarimanana, H., Ravaloharimanitra, M., Ratsimbazafy, J., and T. King. 2012. Arboreal camera trapping for the Critically Endangered greater bamboo lemur Prolemur simus. Oryx. 46, 593-597.
Olson, E.R. and S.J. Ventura. 2012. Geospatial methods to examine shoreline erosion in the Chippewa Flowage: A case study. Lake & Reservoir Management 28, 170-175.
Olson, ER and J Doherty. 2012. The legacy of pipeline installation on the soil and vegetation of southeast Wisconsin wetlands. Ecological Engineering. 39, 53-62.
Olson, E.R., Ventura, S.J., and J.B. Zedler. 2012. Merging geospatial and field data to predict the distribution and abundance of an exotic macrophyte in a large Wisconsin reservoir. Aquatic Botany. 96, 31-41.
Olson, E.R. 2010. Rana pipiens (northern leopard frog) winter activity. Herpetological Review, 41, 206.
Favorite thing to do in Ashland
I enjoy being with my family and watching my daughter explore the woods and waters of the Northwoods. I participate in any activity that gets me outside, but my favorite activities include: backpacking, hunting, canoeing, rock and ice climbing, fishing, wild ricing, and hanging at the sugar camp with my family.
1411 Ellis Avenue Ashland, WI 54806-3999
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