Meet Shane Weigand
Ticks, black footed ferrets, fledgling piping plovers.
Wildlife resources senior Shane Weigand has had face-to-face experiences with these animals and more during his time in the College of Natural Resources. During field trips and summer work experiences, he’s banded birds, fought fires and dragged tranquilized mountain lions out of trees.
“I’ve had lots of opportunities,” he said, reflecting on the past four years. “It’s been a very engaging experience, scary at times.”
Shane, who grew up near Bozeman, Montana, found out about the University of Idaho by Googling for natural resources schools. “It seemed like a natural choice,” he said. “I grew up in the outdoors—hiking, fishing and hunting.”
Shane chose to attend U-Idaho for several reasons. Coming from a small high school, he felt that the campus was the right size, he liked its location, and he noticed the school’s high graduation rate.
His interest in wildlife led him to join the University Chapter of the Wildlife Society and to seek out a variety of work experiences with a variety of species. The summer of his freshman year he worked at the Des Lacs Wildlife Refuge in North Dakota, as a Youth Conservation Corps supervisor. He spent the next summer banding mourning doves and ducks and conducting piping plover nest surveys, all while dealing with mosquitoes and horse flies, at the Medicine Lake National Wildlife Refuge in Montana. During the summer of 2012, he worked on a black-footed ferret reintroduction project at the Charles M. Russell Wildlife Refuge in Montana. Over winter break of his senior year he returned to the Charles M. Russell Refuge, this time as a technician for a mountain lion collaring project. He located lion tracks and recorded vitals and other measurements from captured lions.
In addition to learning about wildlife management, Shane says he’s learned a lot about job hunting over the past four years. He’s used that hard-won knowledge to help other students find jobs and point them to opportunities. “I enjoy helping out other students,” he said. “Giving them tips about calling first, telling them what to ask during an interview.”
Shane currently works at the Aquaculture Research Institute Cold Water Wet Lab on campus, a position he got because he’d been volunteering in the lab a couple of hours a week. His advice to other students? “If you see a project or something else that you’re interested in, ask to volunteer and learn. It’s amazing what doors open.
“There are plenty of seasonal job out there for students with at least some experience.”
After graduation, Shane plans to return to the Charles M. Russell Refuge as a biological technician for the summer. Eventually he’d like to go to graduate schools to further develop the skills he’ll need to work on broader problems and to manage wildlife on a larger scale.
“My major in CNR is my ticket to work anywhere I want to work,” he said.