Real World Experience
- Job-shadow, internship, or Exploring program
- Work Seminar / Employment Skills
Foundational Required Courses
- Environmental Science
- First Aid & CPR
- Introduction to Public Speaking
- Philosophy & Human Values
- Forensic Science
- Technical Writing
- Global Perspectives
In addition to having skills in environment conservation, employers expect their paraprofessional educators to have other skills such as:
- Listening Skills
- Effective Communication
- Digital Citizenship
- Time Management
- Career and Maintenance of equipment
Upon successful completion of Academy, trainees may be eligible to enroll in Bemidji State University’s Wildlife Biology Program or other related courses to study.
Kurt Long Voelkner
Kurt Long Voelkner is a graduate of Duluth Central High School (1977). After attending BSU (pre-forestry), he graduated with a B.S. degree in Forestry from Michigan Technological University. He earned a B.S. degree in Secondary Education and a Masters degree in Science Education from Clarion University in Pennsylvania. Kurt has worked with private, state and federal resource management entities, including five years with the USDA Forest Service in Michigan and Pennsylvania. He taught numerous science classes in Crandon, WI for 5 years and has been teaching eighth grade science at Bemidji Middle School for the last 24 years and also teaches an elective, Introduction to Forestry, class to eighth grade students. Kurt enjoys many outdoor adventures; especially wilderness canoeing, backpacking, hunting and fishing.
Kristina VanWilgen Hammitt
Kristina VanWilgen Hammitt graduated from Bemidji State University with a B.S. in Life Science and a M.S. in Science Education. She has taught for 20 years at Bemidji High School and currently teaches Environmental Science, Biology, Exercise Science, and Anatomy/Physiology. She strives to provide career exploration and learning opportunities for her students outside of the classroom, ranging from learning about winter ecology, managing the school forest, animal population case studies, relocation of osprey nests with a local electric company, and going out into the field to assist with hibernating black bear research with the MN DNR.
She has been a teacher fellow in an Earthwatch Institute located in Nova Scotia, studying climate change and its effect on small mammals. She has also been fortunate to be part of the program, Inquiry in the Rainforest, a unique program allowing teachers to assist research biologists in remote locations of the Costa Rican Rainforest.
Passionate about outdoor awareness, she brings enthusiasm and dedication to teaching students how to appreciate and participate in their outdoor world.
Business and Industry Experiences
Students in Academy will research environmental conservation careers, job shadow DNR Conservation Officer, US Forestry Department employees or learn conservation practices at the Beltrami County Soil and Water Conservation District. They may be eligible for summer or after school employment by these agencies.