Welcome Current and Future Wildlife Conservation Students
NEWS AND GREAT NEWS
The News: The Rio Wildlife Conservation Program (formerly the Wildlife and Fish Conservation and Management Program) is starting its 11th year. Whether you are transferring from Hocking College having earned an associates degree or are starting as a freshmen at Rio, we are continuing to provide more and more hands-on learning activities.
The Great News: We continue to grow the Rio Eco-Monitoring (REM) project. In addition to the Rio campus, we have secured permission to conduct various course labs and inventory and monitoring efforts at over 27 sites totally over 3,000 acres. These locations are all in southeast Ohio—including Gallia, Jackson, Meigs, Vinton, Athens, and Hocking counties. Opportunities include monitoring southern flying squirrel nesting box grids, bluebird box trails, bat houses, paired vegetable plots (exclosure vs. non-exclosure to observe deer impacts and plant phenology), deer mineral licks, and stream quality (biological, chemical, and physical) monitoring. Other field activities include using radio telemetry, acoustic monitoring equipment (for bats and frogs), trail cams, cover boards, electrofishing, and video probe camera technology. Monitoring of vertebrates (mammals, birds, frogs, toads, salamanders, etc.) and invertebrates (both terrestrial and aquatic) as well as plant studies are underway.The REM project continues to have student participation in the generation of long-term data sets. This has fostered directed studies, provided practicum opportunities, and data analysis experience for students — all of which are valuable experiential, hands-on learning to complement the classroom wildlife and fish curriculum. Active participation by students results in their acquiring important skills and insights valued by employers.
The Rio Wildlife Conservation Program degree program provides an up-to-date curriculum that maintains a focus on species-level assessments and management, natural history of flora and fauna, and land management practices. All junior and senior students take these 11 courses: Advanced Ornithology, Mammalogy, Local Flora, Genetics, Evolution, Ecological Methodology, Limnology, Human-Wildlife Conflicts, Applied Population Biology, Communication of Environmental and Natural Resources Technical Information, and Conservation Biology (the capstone course). Four credit hours of electives are also required to further their knowledge of fauna, flora, and natural resources management. Special topics in the past have included Aquatic Entomology, Biology and Management of Reptiles and Amphibians, Management of Western Wildlife, Invasive Species: Management and Monitoring, Biodiversity: Monitoring and Management, Management of Anadromous Fishes, and Landscape Ecology & GIS—the offerings each semester are determined by availability of qualified professionals and student interest. Coupled with the course-work completed during completion of your the associate degree at Hocking College or while a freshmen and sophomore at Rio, each student experiences an excellent balance of hands on, conceptual, and management-oriented learning to prepare for a career as a wildlife or fish professional.
The Rio Wildlife Conservation Program provides critical thinking skills, a solid academic background, and specific field and lab skills required for employment by either government or non-government agencies and organizations focused on management, monitoring, and/or research of wildlife and fish resources. Coupled with instilling an attitude of lifelong learning, these skills encourage the flexibility necessary for graduates to advance beyond entry levels positions, and actively engage in management of fisheries and wildlife in the 21st century.
Our curriculum is also designed to meet the educational requirements an individual needs to earn the associate certified wildlife biologist (CWB) status of The Wildlife Society. Elevation to the status of a certified wildlife biologist (CWB) is possible when one obtains at least 5 years of full-time professional-level experience within a 10-year period.