The Natural Lands hires a group of students who work closely with the Natural Lands Manager to carry out management activities in the various habitats that are in the Natural Lands. This is a physical job that requires resiliency to inclement weather, endurance in working outside for extended periods of time, and teamwork with fellow Natural Lands technicians. This position is crucial to the upkeep of the Natural Lands and provides our students with conservation and land management experience.
There are many experiences involved in this exciting position, such as:
- Participating in prescribed burns
- Learning about native species through seed collection and restoration
- Removing invasive species
- Continuing ecological monitoring
- Utilizing various land management equipment
The Natural Lands Student Technicians for the year of 2021-2022 are Andy Harrison (’23), Hahns Huebsch (’24), Harris Kramer (’22), and Autumn Pozniak (’24)
Andy Harrison – I’m a junior biology and environmental studies major from Lakeville, Minnesota. I started to become interested in nature and when I learned more about climate change and biodiversity loss. I was able to participate in an educational trip to the Galapagos in my junior year of high school that changed my life and since then I’ve been striving to learn more about the world we share with so many other incredible species across a multitude of ecosystems. I’ve been a natural lands technician since the summer following my freshman year, and because of that, I’ve grown to appreciate how therapeutic getting outdoors can be. I’m looking forward to another year where I’ll be able to identify more plants, collect and spread native seeds, and reduce the number of invasive species in the natural lands.
Hahns Huebsch – I am a sophomore this year, and currently looking at biology and environmental studies majors. I grew up in the small town of Osceola Wisconsin in the St. Croix River Valley, and as a result, I spent a good portion of my childhood in and around the river. Whether it was building stick forts in the woods, taking canoe trips, or climbing trees, I was always steeped in the natural world. Seeing the power and beauty of the ecosystems surrounding me gave me a deep love and respect for the outdoors and all the life it is composed of. I work on Common Harvest and Foxtail farm, which both grow organic vegetables within the framework of Community Supported Agriculture. Over the years, I have learned exactly how much work goes into raising the food we eat, as well as the many systemic environmental issues in agriculture today. These farms focus on sustainability, working to balance water use, carbon emissions, and chemical application with the health of the soil and the environmental resources available. I am so thankful that St. Olaf has a place like the Natural lands and I am excited to help maintain it!
Harris Kramer – I am a senior Environmental Studies and Japanese major from Circle Pines, Minnesota. I love walking through the natural lands and getting distracted by all the cool plant, animal, and bug/insect life I see. I have been enjoying Minnesota’s beautiful wilderness since I was a kid. I spent many summers swimming, searching for agates and camping in Northern Minnesota. I worked in the Natural Lands this summer which was very rewarding since I was able to gain a better understanding and appreciation for a part of campus I truly love.
Autumn Pozniak – I am a sophomore majoring in Biology and Creative Writing. Growing up in the northern Minnesota wilderness fostered my passion for nature and the environment from a young age, and I plan on pursuing a career in wildlife conservation/ecology in the future. I’m particularly fascinated by avian and mammalian predators, and would love to work with wolves and owls! I spend my winters taking snowy hikes and ice fishing, and during the summer, I’m usually off on some camping, climbing, or road trip adventure. This past summer I worked and lived in Yosemite National Park where I got to fully immerse myself in the unique landscape and wildlife inhabiting it, and the summer before I lived on an island in northern MN studying the birds of prey of the area. This will be my second year as a Student Natural Lands Tech, and I’m so excited to be a part of the care and management of the Natural Lands again! The Natural Lands is a place everyone can go to immerse themselves in nature and just de-stress, and I’m so happy that I get the opportunity to work to keep it at its best so everyone can enjoy it as much as I do!