Prairie du Chien graduate works toward degree to benefit both him and the environment

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Adam Rider

By Rachel Mergen


Recently, Prairie du Chien High School graduate Adam Rider accepted the Les Woerpel Scholarship from the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation. Rider, 20, is currently studying at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point with the intent to earn in the spring of 2019 a Bachelor of Science degree in forest management, a certificate in Geographic Information System (GIS) and spatial analysis and a certificate in environmental ethics.

“This scholarship is an extremely generous contribution toward my education. As most students are aware, college tuition is not becoming any more affordable. Wisconsin Wildlife Federation’s investment in the education of students within the field of natural resources is an incredible way to support fellow outdoor lovers, as well as promote a sustainable future,” explained Rider. “To receive this scholarship, I had to go through an online application process through the entire UW-Stevens Point College of Natural Resources. There are many different scholarships available to students within the college; however, I was one of the lucky ones chosen for a scholarship, and I am truly honored.”

On why he chose to study in his field, Rider stated, “All I knew going into college was that I wanted to study the environment. I wanted a job that would take me outdoors and wouldn’t require me to sit at a desk—I did enough of that in high school. 

“At first, I was an ecosystem restoration and management major, looking at reclaiming lands altered by human activities. Upon learning that this major often requires graduate school, I switched to forestry because that seemed like a default ‘outdoorsy’ option. After taking the forestry course dendrology, I knew forestry was the right major for me. I have always been fascinated with forests, but I never thought about actually pursuing a career in the field.”

In forest management studies, students examine the forest’s function as a system and human responsibility to manage certain forest-related objectives. To truly succeed in a forest management career, Rider said, “It requires you to satisfy both the needs of the environment as well as the needs of the people.”

The GIS and Spatial Analysis certificate program, which is similar to having a minor, teaches Rider about how to manipulate computer software to understand and publish geospatial information. 

“My favorite part about studying this field is the fact that I get to learn and work in nature. I am a hands-on learner, so I enjoy the fact that I get to spend so much time in the field learning about what I love,” added Rider.

Rider chose to attend UW-Stevens Point based on a suggestion from his high school advanced placement environmental science teacher Kurt Hutter. Hutter, who is a Stevens Point alumni, noticed Rider’s interest in the environment and recognized the perfect match between student and university. 

Currently, as Rider studies hard to prepare for his future, he works in the College of Natural Resources Academic and Career Advising Center as a peer adviser for fellow natural resource students.

For his future plans, he explained, “I am unsure if I would like to work in the private sector or if I would like to work in the public sector. I am currently working in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, as a seasonal forester for a consulting company. In this job, I primarily assist in preparing and administering timber sales. 

“In 10 years my dream would be to work in Wisconsin as a state or county forester, interacting with new and different people every day. My overall goal is to share what I know and love about forestry to promote a healthy future for Wisconsin’s forests.”

Rider is the son of Jim and Lynn Rider.

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