USFWS Works with UW-Green Bay Mentoring Program
BY KEVIN MANN, GREEN BAY FWCO
For the third year in a row, Dr. Patrick Forsythe from the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay (UWGB) approached biologists from organizations including the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Wisconsin Sea Grant and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to be partners in a mentoring program for senior level students enrolled in his aquatic ecology course. As part of this program, employees from each of these organizations would be paired with a student to help them gain experience reviewing literature and communicating both orally and in writing. Additionally, students would learn professionalism by discussing and possibly participating in activities the mentors perform on a daily basis.
Fish biologist Kevin Mann from the USFWS Green Bay Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office (FWCO) was paired with UWGB student Jason Brabant with the topic of “Natal homing in migratory fish”. Kevin’s primary responsibility with the Service is operating a lake sturgeon streamside rearing facility on the Kalamazoo River, Michigan. With a background working with lake sturgeon, Kevin had a knowledge base in natal homing in migratory fish. Throughout the aquatic ecology course, Jason had shown an interest in lake sturgeon so assigning him the topic of natal homing and paring him with Kevin seemed to be a natural fit. Both met several times throughout the semester to discuss the successes and difficulties Jason had reviewing literature and ended when Jason finished his paper and presented his findings to Dr. Forsythe and the class.
While the main goal of mentoring program was to give UWGB students access to “real world” situations experienced by their mentors, it also allowed USFWS biologists to spread the word about their mission as it relates to fish and wildlife resources. As long as Dr. Forsythe continues to have his mentoring program, biologists from the Green Bay FWCO will continue to volunteer.