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Noah Howie
July 6, 2021

Internship with The Nature Conservancy leads to graduate assistantship

Environmental science major Noah Howie ’21 knew from the beginning of his college career that he wanted to work for the conservation of wild spaces. Thanks to a campus that doubles as an outdoor lab and the support of dedicated faculty, he is achieving his goal. Noah landed an internship with The Nature Conservancy followed by a graduate teaching assistantship in the Forest Dynamics Lab at the University of Alabama, where he is pursuing a master’s degree in geography with a concentration in environmental and natural resources.

For three years, Noah gained experience on the student team of Dana Professor of Biology Martin Cipollini, conducting research and prescribed burns related to the restoration of the longleaf pine on Berry's mountain campus. Prescribed burns help reduce hazardous wildfire fuels, remove unwanted pests and plants from native habitats, improve general habitat conditions and promote native plant growth.

A summer 2019 internship with the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, along with Berry coursework, also built Noah’s resume. “My courses in ecology, intro to environmental science and even chemistry helped me to understand mixing herbicide chemicals, analyze forest composition and identify invasive plant characteristics,” he says.

“That [work] combined with two prescribed burns in fall 2020 put me in a perfect position to work with The Nature Conservancy,” Noah says.

Zachary Taylor, associate professor of environmental science and studies, mentored Noah during the application process. “He told me that the department of environmental science and studies and The Nature Conservancy were going to partner and host a full-time academic internship based around burning,” Noah remembers. “I continued to bug him for as much information as I could until the internship was set in stone.” Taylor also suggested that he explore opportunities at the University of Alabama and the Forest Dynamics Lab.

Noah emphasizes the importance of conservation to future generations: “It’s our duty to make sure wild spaces get passed on for each generation to enjoy. Conservation also ensures that our wild spaces continue to provide vital ecosystem services that we need.”

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