2012 Class Bios

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Instructor: Gary Ketterling

“Wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit.” –Edward Abbey

This is my fifth annual October journey to Yellowstone National Park. My first journey was to experience the park in October and study the reintroduction of the wolf : That early morning (October,2008 6:00 am) I found myself entering the park in darkness and fog. Hardly anyone was around as I journeyed to Mammoth Hot Springs in route to the Lamar Valley. In Mammoth I was greeted by a bull elk herding his harem creating a mysterious moment in a heavy fog. Down the road from Mammoth and toward Tower Jct. I heard elk bugling but could not see them, due to the dense fog. I stopped the car, not being able to see what was in the distance, rolled down the window and listened to their calls when suddenly out of the fog a herd of elk walk past my car and disappear back into the fog. I was awestruck and spent some time contemplating my connection to this generous wilderness experience. I drove slowly along the road and began to see the orange sun rise over the valley.

Yes it was the Lamar Valley, America’s Serengeti and home to wolves, elk, bear, and bison. A place where in later years I would see the Druids (wolf pack) disappear, new packs formed, grizzlies chased by wolves, fox hunting for mice, seeing a wolf den for the first time, bison with newborn calves, ravens and eagles feeding on a fresh kill, wolf pups playing with bison bones, coyotes rushing through the sagebrush, seeing the grizzly move through the valley, and yes that magnificent scenery with howls of wolves and coyotes in the distance. Yes, this was the experience I wanted to be close to. I was a guest in this magnificent wilderness and nature was allowing me to see it at its very best. Future trips with students allowed me to see the human sense of excitement as students experienced there first wolf, the cooperation and collaboration of students searching the ridges for wolves, witnessing many different animal interactions and their first glimpse of majestic views, and learning a respect and reverence for the wilderness. Now days this is a spiritual journey about wilderness, nature, and respect for many things I may not understand. It puts everyday tasks in its place and raises the question “What will this wilderness and nature allow me to experience and add to my understanding of such a grand place and life in itself?” Stay tuned!

“But love of the wilderness is more than a hunger for what is always beyond reach; it is also an expression of loyalty to the earth which bore us and sustains us, the only home we shall ever know, the only paradise we ever need.—if only we had eyes to see” –Edward Abbey

Tom Dodson

Tom “Dragontom” Dodson – I am a junior at VCSU who is currently studying Fisheries and Wildlife Science. I have a passion for a variety of different scientific fields, including but not limited to paleontology, herpetology, botany, behavioral anthropology, and archaeology. I am from Jamestown, ND and spend my free time fishing, playing trading card games, working in my lab, and caring for a large variety of exotic pets (among other things). My choice of entertainment media is anime and manga. I do enjoy playing video games but generally prefer them to have plot. As you can probably guess from my nickname, I am fanatical about dragons. “Of what avail are forty freedoms without a blank spot on the map”? – Aldo Leopold

Brian Chepulis

“I now suspect that just as a deer herd lives in mortal fear of its wolves, so does a mountain live in mortal fear of its deer.” 
― Aldo Leopold

Hello, my name is Brian Chepulis. I’m originally from Devils Lake, North Dakota and am currently a senior at Valley City State University. I will be graduating this spring with a degree in Fisheries and Wildlife Science. I work for Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center during the summer, conducting breeding bird surveys on Conservation Reserve Program fields throughout the Northern Great Plains.

Emma Nelson

Emma Nelson – I am a senior from Grand Rapids, Minnesota, majoring in fisheries and wildlife science. I look most forward to being able to sit back and watch what goes on in nature where most people will never get to experience. I cannot wait to see the scenery and interactions between different species within habitats and how each one affects the other. I don’t have an opinion on the reintroduction of the wolves, so I’m looking forward to visiting with people that are both for and against wolves in Yellowstone. I enjoy hunting and spending time outdoors soaking up the natural beauty of nature.

Brandon Meyer

“Instead of controlling the environment for the benefit of the population, perhaps it’s time we control the population to allow the survival of the environment. “ -David Attenborough

My name is Brandon Meyer I am from Oakes, ND and currently a junior at Valley City State University. I plan to graduate in the spring of 2014 with a bachelor’s degree in Fisheries and Wildlife Management, with a wildlife concentration.

Kyle Johnson

I’m from Carrington, ND and I love the Outdoors. In my blog I’ll be posting about the wildlife I see and the way they are acting. I love to look at things in different ways and take in what some people may not ever notice. I’ve never been to Yellowstone so everything will be new to me.

Amy Doll

My name is Amy Doll and I am 20 years old. I grow up in West Fargo North Dakota. My major is Fisheries and Wildlife Science and I am a junior at Valley City State University.

Joe Orr

“The last word in ignorance is the man who says of an animal or plant: ‘What good is it?”― Aldo Leopold

I am originally from Benson, MN where I graduated in 2010. I am currently a junior at Valley City State University where I plan to graduate in December of 2013 with a Bachelor’s degree in Fisheries and Wildlife Management.

Matt Klein

“Nothing is more priceless and more worthy of preservation than the rich array of animal life with which our country has been blessed” – Dick M. Nixon

Matthew Klein
Hometown: Mandan, ND
Major: Fisheries and Wildlife Science

Matt Kietzman

Matt Kietzman
From Coon Rapids, Minnesota
21 years old
Fisheries and Wildlife major at Valley City State University
Wants to see wolves, bears, and other large predatory mammals while in Yellowstone.

Zack Kennedy

“I don’t believe you have to be better than everybody else. I believe you have to be better than you ever thought you could be.” Ken Venturi

Hello my name is Zack Kennedy I am a senior at Valley City State University and I am majoring in Fisheries and Wildlife Science. I am from Cando, North Dakota. This last summer I worked at Icelandic State Park by Cavalier where I worked as a Park Ranger.

Audrey Fergel

I am a senior at VCSU and am in Wildlife Biology. I am originally from southwestern central North Dakota. My husband and I have lived in West Fargo for 11 ½ years when I decided to return to school to pursue my degree. I am very excited to speak with the biologist in Yellowstone and learn about the reintroduction of the wolf. I think it will be interesting to hear about how the reintroduction has influenced the various species of animals in the park. It will be a once in a life time experience for me, as it will be my first trip to Yellowstone.

Cody Wegner

Hello my name is Cody Wegner, my hometown is Jamestown, North Dakota. I am currently a junior at Valley City State University, majoring in Fisheries and Wildlife Biology. This will be my first time in the park and I am looking forward to the experience.

Adam Larson

Hi I am a Junior at Valley City State University majoring in Fisheries and wildlife biology with a concentration of fisheries. As this is my first time in the park, I look forward to the natural beauty and learning about this unique ecosystem.