Mission Statement

Provide the fundamental educational background in wildlife and fish conservation and management to be sufficiently knowledgeable to secure employment as a professional with a natural resources-orientated agency, organization, or company or continue on to graduate school.

Program Design

The Rio Wildlife Conservation curriculum 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-level positions, and actively engage in management of wildlife and fisheries in the 21st century.

Earning the Wildlife Conservation degree can be accomplished in one of two ways: Pursue the full 4-year course requirement as a Rio Student or complete a Hocking College (HC) Associate of Applied Science degree in either Wildlife Management Resources or Fish Management and Aquaculture Science then transfer to Rio as a junior. The Rio Wildlife Conservation degree curriculum addresses theories, issues, and challenges in the context of both basic science and applied management as well as provide hands-on field-orientated instruction. 

Alumni Updates

Class of 2007

Erin (Pfeffer) Basiger–Biologist, Indiana Dept. of Natural Resources; M.S. U. Louisiana-Monroe 2011
Jack Basiger–Hoosier Outdoor Heritage Coordinator, Indiana Dept. of Natural Resources
Shane Berry–Park Ranger, US Army Corp of Engineers Berlin Lake (OH)
Julie Gillem–M.S. graduate student, Ohio University
Dom Goshe–Conservationist, W. Lake Erie Basin, NRCS
Amy Mackey–Raccoon Creek Watershed Coordinator, Ohio University
Brian McCombs–Watershed Coordinator, City of Delaware (OH)
Lisa Montgomery-Chorey–Adjunct Professor, University of Rio Grande, M.S. 2014 Environmental Studies, Ohio University
Tom Springer III–Conservationist, Fairfield Soil & Water District (OH)
Lynn Wright–M.S. Arkansas Tech University, Fisheries Biologist Texas Wildlife & Parks, Assistant District Fisheries Biologist, Texas Parks & Wildlife Department

Class of 2008

Jeff Calhoun-Environmental Specialist, ODNR Div of Mineral Res. Mgmt.
Greg Franckowiak –M.S. University of Akron, Cleveland Metro Parks, Field Ecologist, Genesis Laboratroies (TX)
Aaron Gooley–Ph.D. graduate student, Southern Illinois U.; M.S. 2010, Marshall University (WV)
Kevin Kaltenbach–Soil Conservation Technician, Huron Co.,NRCS (OH)
Charlie Morton–Wildlife Biologist, BLM (WY)
Sarah Vlach–Natural Resources Technician, Summit County Metro Parks (OH)

Class of 2009

Grace Cochran Dietsch – now “Biologist, Five Rivers Metroparks (OH) ”   (note:  note “Fiver”)
Derrick Darr-Park Technician, Blendon Woods Metro Park (OH)
Richie Elam–Biologist, Cole Outdoors (OH)
Edward Entsminger–Research Associate, Mississippi State U., M.S. 2014 Wildlife, Fisheries, and Aquaculture Sciences, Mississippi State University
Greg Feustel–Natural Resource Specialist US Army Corp of Engineers Kerr Lake (NC/VA)
Clint Geldine–Wildlife Biologist, NRCS (CA)
Steve McClure–Shooting Sports Assistant, Arizona Game and Fish Department
Tara Nagaich–Natural Resources Manager, Erie Metro Parks (OH)
Kevin Reichling—now “Conservation Specialist, Fiver Rivers Metroparks (OH)”
Nathan Schlater–WQ Specialist, Monday Creek Restoration Project (OH)
Steve Stone–Control Specialist, A All Animal Control (CO)
Andy Thomas–ODNR Div. Mineral Resource Management Inspector (OH)
Kevin Reichling—now “Conservation Specialist, Fiver Rivers Metroparks (OH)”

Class of 2010

Shali (Karr) Cox–Early Childhood & Environmental Education, Rainbow MagicDaycare (OH)
Collin Barkdull–Owner, Buckeye Wildlife Solutions (OH)
Dan Eckstein–Supervisor South Region Public Lands, Indiana Division of Fish & Wildlife
Tim Ferrell–Water Quality Specialist, Monday Creek Restoration Project (OH)
Jackie Haynal—now “Jackie Haynal Bruns—Ecologist II, Hull & Associates (OH)”
Derek Klein–Customer Service District 1, Ohio Division of Wildlife
Reid Plumb– Environmental Scientist, California Department of Fish & Wildlife, M.S. 2015 Biology, Kansas State University
Caleb Shield—now “Private Lands Biologist, Ohio Division of Wildlife
Sara Zaleski–M.S. 2015 Biological Sciences, Bowling Green State University, Technician Ohio Division of Wildlife

Class of 2011

Chris Bartholomew–Field Technician, USDA Wildlife Services (OH)
Levi Lackey–Zanesville Rod and Gun Club (OH)
Jon Sammons–Biologist, West Virginia Department of Natural Resources
Matt Wallace–Technician, Richland Soil and Water Conservation District (OH)

Class of 2012

Stacey Priest–Fish Hatchery Assistant Manager, Hocking College
Mike Retterer–Biologist, Pheasants Forever (OH)
Michael Wittemore–M.S. graduate student, Ohio University, Instructor Hocking College

Class of 2014

James Anderson–Naturalist, Marion Co. Park District (OH)
Tyler Black–Foreman, Johnny Appleseed Metro Park District (OH)
Matt Cassels–Technician, BLM (ID)
Doug Ellars–Environmental Engineer, Nucor Steel (OH)
George Hulbert–Technician, USDA Forest Service–Wayne National Forest (OH)
Jason Jones– Technician, Wolf Creek Wildlife Area, Ohio Division of Wildlife
Cheryl Kilmer–Naturalist, Erie Metroparks (OH)
Kevin Smith–Wetland Scientist/Aquatic Ecologist, CTL Engineering (OH)

Class of 2015

Andrew Bennett—now “Fish Hatchery Assistant Manager, Hocking College (OH)
Kate Bezoski–Technician, USDA Animal & Plant Health Inspection (OH)
Ben Lehr–Tech Assistance Provider, Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program
Andy Merkle–Technician Highlandtown Wildlife Area, Ohio Division of Wildlife
Nathan Bowman–Tree Climbing Expert, USDA Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service (OH)

Class of 2016

Brad Cordle—now “Threatened and Endangered Species Biologist, CEMML based at Fort McCoy (WI)
Katelynn Dearth–Ranger US Army Corp of Engineers (IL). M.S. student Natural
Rescouces Program, University of Illinois.
Sean Gebhard– Assistant Manager, Kankakee Fish & Wildlife Area, Indiana Division of Fish & Wildlife
Jacob Manning–Technician, USDA Farm Service Agency (OH)
Jordan Maxwell–Program Coordinator–Aquaculture Boot Camp 2, Ohio State University South Center at Piketon
Matt Vitullo–Technician, Pickerel Creek Wildlife Area, Ohio Division of Wildlife

Class of 2017

 Zach Williams–Soil Conservation Technician, Natural Resources Conservation Service (OH)

Class of 2018

Andrea Maxwell—Technician, Varment Guard, Columbus (OH)

NOTE: if you have alumni news…please forward to Dr. Althoff

Galllery

Graduates

Class of 2007

Class of 2007

Class of 2008

Class of 2008

Class of 2009

Class of 2009

Class of 2010

Class of 2010

Class of 2011

Class of 2011

Class of 2012

Class of 2012

Learning Outcomes

The successful student will be able to:

  • Interpret and apply information provided in technical and/or peer-reviews formats to address conservation issues.
  • Analyze and summarize natural resources/wildlife oriented data sets using descriptive statistics and graphical formats.
  • Effectively communicate, in oral and written form, environmental and natural resources technical information.
  • Relate models, theories, and concepts to wildlife conservation challenges.

 

Faculty

Awards

Excellence in Scholarship Award 2013  ~  Dr. Don Althoff

Dr. Don Althoff has been selected as the 2013 recipient of the Excellence in Scholarship Award. Don is an Associate Professor of Biology and has served as a full-time faculty member at Rio Grande since 2006. He received his doctorate in biology from Pennsylvania State University in 1983, an M.S. from the University of Nebraska in 1978, and a B.S. from the Ohio State University in 1976.

Dr. Althoff has an impressive record of scholarly activity including 28 peer-reviewed publications, 27 conference presentations, over $2,000,000 in grant funding, and multiple on-going projects. Dr. Althoff has worked tirelessly to provide unique opportunities for undergraduate research at URG and to develop a robust and distinguished wildlife and fish program at the university. Such a record of scholarship and commitment is extremely worthy of recognition.

Edwin A. Jones Excellence in Teaching Award 2014 Dr. Don Althoff

Excellence in Scholarship Award 2018 Dr. Robert Hopkins II

Outstanding Students

Wildlife Conservation Outstanding Students

YearScholarshipLeadership
2007Kevin Bridgadier
Dominic Goshe
Amy Mackey
Julie Gillem
Thomas Springer III
Lisa Montgomery-Chorey
2008Thomas Dane Bennett
Aaron Gooley
Lee Grantz
Charles Morton
Charles Morton
2009Edward EntsmingerNathan Schlater
2010Clay Cooper
Jackie Haynal
Reid Plumb
Kevin Reichling
Dan Eckstein
2011Derek Haselman
Sara Zaleski
Adam Benshoff
2012Michael Wittemore
2013Jerry Rose
2014Jason Jones
Dale Mattox
Kevin Smith
Kevin Smith
2015Troy Koenig
Andrew Bennett
Kate Bezoski
Troy Koenig
2016Kaily Chamberlain
Katelynn Dearth
Jacob Manning
Matt Vitullo
Jacob Manning
2018John Schwartz
C.J. Morgan
Robert Miller

Woods & Waters of Cleveland Club Scholarship

YearRecipients
2012Chris Hulbert
Dale Mattox
Jerry Rose
Kevin Smith
2013Chris Hulbert
Jerry Rose
Jason Jones
George Hulbert
Dale Mattox
Kevin Smith
2014Troy Koenig
Andrew Bennett
Jason Jones
Dale Mattox
Kevin Smith
Andy Merkle
Matt Vitullo
Jacob Manning
2015Andrew Bennett
Troy Koenig
Andy Merkle
Matt Vitullo
Kaily Chamberlain
Katelynn Dearth
Jacob Manning
2016Matt Vitullo
Kaily Chamberlain
Katelynn Dearth
Jacob Manning
2017Adrian Shields
C.J. Morgan
Lucy Williams
2018Adrian Shields
Jeremy Chapman
Kelsey Miller
Sayre Stejbach

Rio EcoMonitoring Scholarships

YearRecipients
2016Tyler Black
Jason Jones

Rio EcoMonitoring Seasonal Technician Rio-based

YearRecipients
2014Ben Lehr
2015Andrew Merkle
2016John Blazer
2017Lucy Williams
2018Sayre Stejbach

Rio EcoMonitoring Seasonal Technician Crane Hollow-based

YearRecipients
2015 Ben Rechel
2016Brad Cordle
2017Adrian Shields
2018Lucy Williams

Assessment

Currently, graduating seniors complete a 4-stage process that assesses their skill to

  1. generate graphical representations of data from peer-reviewed technical literature
  2. interpret graphical representations of data from peer- reviewed technical literature
  3. interpret and apply information provided in technical and/or peer-reviewed formats
  4. apply results from peer-reviewed technical literature to the conservation and/or management of wildlife resources.

Program outcomes are:

  1. Interpret and apply information provided in technical and/or peer-reviewed formats to address conservation issues.
  2. Analyze and summarize natural resources/wildlife-oriented data sets using descriptive statistics and graphical formats.
  3. Effectively communicate, in oral and written form, environmental and natural resources technical information.
  4. Relate models, theories, and concepts to wildlife conservation challenges.

Certifications

The curriculum for the Wildlife Conservation program is designed to meet the educational requirements to earn Certified Associate Wildlife Biologist (CAWB) status awarded by 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 experience within a 10-year period. Although not all employers require certification as a condition of employment, both CAWB and CWB certification conveys to employers than an individual has both fundamental educational and ethical standards essential for success as a natural resources professional.

Degree Requirements

Bachelor of Science – Wildlife Conservation (23431)

First two years:

Option A: Complete at Rio

Option B: Transfer from Hocking College:

DescriptionCredits
Associate of Applied Science degree in Wildlife Management Resources or Fish Management and Aquaculture Sciences71
Remaining General Education required hours *9-15

Hocking College transfer students must have taken HC ENGL 2123 English Composition II or HC ENGL 2225 Technical Writing. Otherwise, they are required to take URG ENG 11203 Composition II.

Additionally, Hocking College transfer students must have taken HC CHM 131 Environmental Chemistry as one of their physical science classes, or they must take URG CHM 10404 Principles of Chemistry or URG CHM 15005 General Chemistry I.

If they have not taken HC BIOS 1120 Botany, URG BIO 28802 Special Topics: Fundamentals of Biology will also be required. If they have not taken HC WLM 2251 Biostatistics for Wildlife Management, URG MTH 21404 Introduction to Probability and Statistics will be required.

DescriptionCredits
Additional 100-200 level classes at Hocking to meet standards for Wildlife Certification0-9
DescriptionCredits
Junior –Senior Course Requirements:
30000-40000 level Required Courses (34 hours minimum)34+
NSC 31303 Comm Environmental & Natural Resources3
BIO 31303 Advanced Ornithology3
BIO 32303 Mammalogy3
BIO 35304 Field Biology and Methodology4
BIO 36303 Local Flora3
BIO 37103 Principles of Conservation Genetics3
BIO 41304 Limnology4
BIO 42303 Human-Wildlife Conflicts3
BIO 43103 Applied Population Biology3
BIO 45303 Conservation Biology3
BIO 47103 GIS Applications for Resource Management3
Minimum of 4 hours taking either:
BIO 48801-03 Selected Topics in Biology
BIO 49901-03 Directed Studies in Biology
4
Selected Topics may include:
--Advanced Wildlife Techniques3
--Animal Behavior2
--Herpetology3
--Evolution3
--Wildlife Diseases3
--Wildlife Law and Organization3
Total required hours for degree122

* Students completing a Hocking College AAS Degree in Wildlife Management Resources or Fish Management and Aquaculture Sciences will have completed URG General Education Requirements in Communication, Math and Science, and partially completed Health and Social Science requirements. They will need to complete 0 - 2 semester hours of health, 9 semester hours of humanities, and 0-4 semester hours of social sciences.

Note: Hocking College transfer students must take HC CHM131 Environmental Chemistry as one of their physical science classes.

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