SWAU Ecology Class Visits Wildlife Refuge
Southwestern Adventist University’s Ecology class was presented with the opportunity to go on a weekend long trip to Wichita Mountain Wildlife Refuge as part of their lab assignment. The purpose of the trip was to get the students into the unique environment of a specific eco-system where they could see first-hand what they were learning in class.
“As tradition, I usually take my Ecology students to the University of Texas Marine Science Institute in Port Aransas for their hands-on lab,” says Dr. Jared Wood, assistant professor of ecology and conservation in the biology department. “Unfortunately, we couldn’t go this year because Hurricane Harvey that hit Texas earlier this year affected it.”
Typically, when the Ecology class goes to Port Aransas they get to sample the ocean and coastal eco-system, but this time they got to see prairie eco-systems and view the wildlife. Spending time in nature and experience hands-on wildlife was an enjoyable experience for those who went.
“It was so fun for me!” says Lindsey Johnson, a sophomore biology pre-med student. “The southern Great Plains had so much life we weren’t expecting to encounter. We got to see a baby longhorn with its mom and bison and two huge gorgeous elks and a whole prairie dog town! It was so cool getting to experience everything in its natural habitat.”
The group that went camped, hiked, went to the Holy Mountain in Cache, Oklahoma, and the Medicine Park Aquarium and Natural Science Center during their trip.
“Everyone likes being hands-on,” says Johnson. “There’s nothing more hands-on than getting to stand in the middle of a 30-foot canyon next to a waterfall or hiking up to reach a 2,464-foot summit, looking over the Great Plains and seeing a herd of bison. This trip was a constant adventure!”