Student Naturalists

Each year the Curator of Natural Lands chooses several students who are familiar with the natural 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 2022-2023 year are Megan Hanson (’23), Andy Harrison (’23), and Maya Silver (’25)

Megan Hanson: I’m Megan Hanson, a senior Enviro (natural science emphasis) and Studio Art major! I love exploring natural spaces and identifying birds, bugs, and native plants. This summer I worked as a ecological restoration intern in the Chicago suburbs. When I’m not outside, I like to paint and draw in my free time

Andy Harrison: I’m a senior biology and environmental studies major from Lakeville, Minnesota. Spending time outdoors is something that I’ve always loved growing up, and I have been able to greatly expand on that during my college career thus far, both by being a Natural Lands technician since the summer after my freshman year and through my courses. This summer I had the opportunity to work as a Forest Ecology Field Assistant in the upper peninsula of Michigan, and beyond spending almost every day in the forest for work, I had the opportunity to visit local state parks and other natural areas that reflected the beauty and biodiversity of nature. I’m thrilled to be able to continue working in the Natural Lands and sharing my passion for nature with other students and the broader Northfield community.

Maya Silver: I’m a sophomore studying Biology, Math, and Race and Ethnic Studies. Growing up right near the Minnesota River Valley allowed me the time, access, and opportunity to fall in love with the outdoors, particularly through hiking, camping, and paddling. Recently I completed an Americorps service term with the Conservation Corps of MN & IA and the DNR leading camping, backpacking, kayaking, and canoeing trips for people who have no prior experience. This position has only enhanced my passion for outdoor education and science communication, and for making the outdoors accessible and inclusive. I have been grateful to work with teams of hardworking naturalists, park managers, conservation officers, field crew members, and outdoor explorers of Minnesota and have grown to appreciate just how important it is to nurture a connection between people and the outdoors. Outside of being a naturalist you can find me playing volleyball, in choir, in the scene shop, organizing activities for OUTS, or out in the Natural Lands. I’m so happy to share a place as special as the Natural Lands with the St. Olaf community.


For more information on the student naturalist position at St. Olaf College, contact Charles Umbanhowar (