Eagle River, Wisconsin may not be the first place you think of when thinking of Forestry, but it is exactly where Jessica Hepker ended up, and she loves it.
After graduating with a Forestry degree, with an option in Interpretation, in December of 2011, Jessica worked for the Des Moines Y camp with Mike Havik. When her 3 months was completed there, she joined Trees for Tomorrow in Eagle River. Trees for Tomorrow is a natural resource specialty school that provides educational programs to junior high and high school students.
Working as a Seasonal Naturalist, Jessica uses her degree to help provide school learning experiences to the students through camps and trips around Wisconsin and Michigan. When she started working at Trees for Tomorrow, Jessica got to go on a trip to the Porcupine Mountains in the Upper Peninsula, Michigan saying it was more fun than she expected. Education experiences are offered year round providing field studies through biking, canoeing and skiing.
Working for Trees for Tomorrow is rewarding for Jessica. “When at work, it doesn’t feel like work, it’s fun!” This is stuff I would be doing anyway, skiing, hiking.” Providing education to children about a subject she loves, in an environment she’s passionate about is exactly why she studied Forestry at Iowa State in the first place.
"We hiked down to this awesome waterfall and the 7th graders posed for a picture in front of Bond Falls in the U.P. This is one of the locations for our water quality class. The students learn about difference living organisms that live in the aquatic ecosystems of the north woods as well as how our actions affect the quality of the water." Road Scholar bikers came to "Trees" in early September. "Although our main audience is middle school and high school students, we also host adult workshops including Road Scholar biking in the fall, skiing and snow shoeing in the winter, birding in the spring, and canoeing in the summer."
Jessica encourages current Forestry students to “get involved in everything on campus. Get involved in Clubs.” These experiences can lead to future opportunities and careers after you graduate. “Make sure you network, in the long run it’s worth it.”
More information about Trees for Tomorrow can be found on their website, www.treesfortomorrow.com.