Each year the Curator of Natural Lands chooses several junior or senior students who are familiar with the environment around campus and the Northfield area to be the college student naturalists. Student Naturalists are responsible for the following:

  • Organizing and leading field trips related to the natural environment in the area.
  • Creating and maintaining an information board detailing seasonal happening and natural events on campus such as tree plantings and phenology.
  • Maintaining a social media presence to interest and engage the larger student body
  • Organizing tree plantings and other restoration activities on campus.
  • Creating environment educational opportunities for the community.

The Student Naturalists for the 2019-20 year are Ella Doud (’20), Izzy Istephanous (’20), Henry Henson (’20), Denver Link (’21), Matt Hallahan (’21), and Allie Raduege (’21).

Ella Doud- My name is Ella, I am a senior Environmental Studies, Biology, Education major. I studied abroad with the Environmental Studies in Australia and New Zealand program spring 2018 and stayed in New Zealand the summer after to work on a few organic farms and did some independent travel. I am from Fort Collins, Colorado where my mom, my older brother, our two crazy dogs, my beloved cat, and peculiar chickens still live. I usually spend my summers in the Northwoods hiking, canoeing or kayaking. I’ve participated in, and have lead short day trips and longer excursions (ranging from 9-14 day trips). This summer I lead two kayaking trips up in Canada. I think nature is one of the neatest things there is and I am looking forward to sharing that with St. Olaf and Northfield!

Izzy Istephanous- I am a senior Biology and Environmental Studies double major. I am also Student Government Association’s Environmental Senator, and the Marketing and Communications officer for both the Political Awareness Association and the Diversity Initiative Support Committee. Over the past two summers, I have done internships at the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Minnesota, and through CURI at St. Olaf. My research at St. Olaf was about prairie bumblebee diversity. My environmental experience includes three years of wildlife photography which allowed me to practice animal identification and patience when it comes to observing wildlife in their natural habitat. Feel free to talk to me about any of the above topics, or anything else!

Henry Henson- I am a senior Biology and Environmental Studies major from St. Paul, Minnesota. As a child of two veterinarians, I grew up running around the vet hospital and developed an affinity for critters from a young age. When I wasn’t there, I spent my free time climbing trees and running through parks with my siblings. In addition, many of our vacations consisted of backpacking in various national parks or swimming and canoeing in the Great Lakes. My love for the nature deepened when, in high school, I attended Conserve School, an environmental boarding school in northern Wisconsin. Here I decided that biology and environmental science were the subjects that I wanted to study in college. Since then, I have worked for the City of Arden Hills Parks Department, Environment Minnesota, and most recently, in Alaska doing research on melting permafrost. After arriving at St. Olaf I have enjoyed the Natural Lands in all four of its seasons. I love walks and running in the fall where I get to see the changing colors, Nordic skiing in the winter, tapping maple trees in the spring, and experiencing the glory of summer in Northfield. I am excited to work with the great natural lands team in order to share this wonderful place with others and help them connect with it as I have.

Denver Link- I am a junior Biology and Environmental Studies major with a fond relationship to the natural world. Coming from Dubuque, Iowa, I grew up on the southwestern edge of the driftless region, and I have spent much time enjoying all that the region has to offer. The past five years I have fostered a hobby of fly fishing, and it has taken to many places in which words can’t even describe. I spend my winters on snow while I compete on the alpine ski team at St. Olaf. Over the past couple of summers I have worked for a local soil and water conservation district and for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources Fisheries Bureau. I have gained key perspectives working with farmers and talking to the public about issues our environment faces. I thoroughly enjoy discussing environmental impacts and regulations with others to gain a more holistic idea on problems we see today. I see the natural lands at St. Olaf as a tool to tackle the environmental issues in our world. I look forward to engaging a wide range of people within the natural environment and to discuss perspectives on the natural world.

MattHallahanMatt Hallahan- I am a junior Environmental Studies major from Whidbey Island, Washington. I was introduced to the outdoors through scouting, and I see it as a space rich with challenge and wonder. I’m intrigued by the joy we can find in everything from vast soaring cliffs to the texture of moss on the forest floor. I spent weeks wandering the rivers and mountains of Oregon with Outward Bound, lived for a year after high school in the deep woods at Wisconsin’s ReWild University. I spent last spring and summer helping to run StoGrow, the organic farm here on campus. In the future, I hope to take on a role as an outdoor educator, perhaps teaching for Outward Bound or NOLS for a few years. Later I may pursue a career in wilderness management or wildlife restoration. I’m glad for the chance to get more people involved in the wonderful Natural Lands here at St Olaf.

Allie Raduege- I am a junior majoring in Biology and Music with a concentration in Environmental Studies. I grew up in Bellingham, Washington, which is between the Cascade mountain range and the Pacific Ocean. Growing up in such a rich natural environment fostered my love of nature and the outdoors, particularly anything that lives below the waves and an appreciation for the massive trees that dominate my home region. At a young age, I set my sights on studying marine biology long term, and have been actively researching limb regeneration in sea star populations and studying the west coast’s unique wasting syndrome. The past two summers I have researched with Dr. Shea in St. Olaf’s Natural Lands in various forest restoration projects, and I am proud to be a part of St. Olaf’s strong ecology community, and I look forward to introducing many other people to the joys of the natural world.



Kathleen Shea with student naturalists Emma Cornwell, Roz Anderson, Kirsten Maier, and Andrew Kaul.

Kathleen Shea with student naturalists Emma Cornwell, Roz Anderson, Kirsten Maier, and Andrew Kaul, Fall 2012.

For more information on the student naturalist position at St. Olaf College, contact Dr. Kathleen Shea (sheak@stolaf.edu).