From a sea of candidates, Upper Iowa University conservation management major Joshua Bauer recently achieved a longtime goal and was hired as a federal wildlife officer with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. Bauer became one of only 10 individuals (from a field of 1,800 applicants nationwide) to be chosen for the position in October following a highly competitive hiring process, which included multiple phone interviews and an in- person interview in West Virginia.
“I am very excited to know that all my hard work and dedication paid off,” said Bauer, who plans to complete his bachelor’s degree in conservation management in spring 2016. “The UIU Science Department faculty has supported me every step of the way, providing me guidance as I work to attain my career and personal objectives.”
A Stuart Iowa, native, Bauer said he was initially intrigued by UIU’s conservation management program after it came highly recommended to him by Iowa conservation officers, who had previously attended the University. In addition to serving two years with the Iowa National Guard, Staff Sergeant Bauer previously served as a chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear specialist in the U.S. Army.
“Upper Iowa has a team of faculty and staff that is second to none. UIU has developed a very hands-on approach to its conservation program, and each instructor has the experience to teach from an in-the-field perspective,” he explained. “Being located in the northeast corner of the state, Upper Iowa is also centrally located to a large number of public recreation areas. These resources provide an ample amount of natural, outdoor classroom opportunities.
“I don’t believe potential conservation students can find a similar program in the state. If you want to excel in this field it takes more than a degree,” the 30-year-old added. “You need to develop solid networking skills and contacts, and benefit from hands-on training and real-world experiences. UIU helps you take those first steps in achieving your life’s ambitions.”
As a federal wildlife officer, Bauer will help contribute to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service efforts to manage ecosystems, save endangered species, conserve migratory birds, preserve wildlife habitat, restore fisheries, combat invasive species and promote international wildlife conservation.
The Service’s law enforcement focuses on potentially devastating threats to wildlife resources such as illegal trade, unlawful commercial exploitation, habitat destruction and environmental contaminants. The federal officers investigate wildlife crimes, regulate wildlife trade and work in partnership with international, state and tribal counterparts to conserve wildlife resources.
“While attending Upper Iowa, Joshua has always remained focused on gaining the education and experience needed to meet his career goals,” said Dr. Scott Figdore, dean of the School of Science and Mathematics. “In addition to developing excellent networking skills, he has demonstrated strong leadership and a keen interest in promoting sustainability practices at the University.”
“Once at UIU, Joshua fully utilized the opportunities available to him such as student-centered advising, actively participating in class, agreeing to take on challenges from faculty outside of the classroom and accepting the ongoing support of faculty and staff,” added Dr. Jennifer Stoffel, associate professor of biology. “He definitely earned this accomplishment in his life and should be commended for his staunch commitment to an education and future career.”
An aspiring K9 wildlife officer, Bauer reported to Glenco, Ga., in late November for Land Management Police Training. After completing the course, he will travel to West Virginia to complete the Federal Wildlife Basic Course. There, he will start field training and work alongside federal wildlife officers for evaluation.
With over 150 million acres of land and water in the national wildlife refuge system, Bauer understands he could eventually be stationed anywhere from the Caribbean to the Pacific Northwest. Although Alaska and the Upper Mississippi River regions rank among his most desired locations, this Peacock is simply happy to realize a dream and have the opportunity to help conserve, protect and enhance the nation’s fish, wildlife, and natural resources.