A Budding Conservationist (August’s student voice)

My first interaction with the Sandia Mountains.

Written by Tyler Wysner

I have always been fascinated and enamored by the natural world and how it works. Studying biological sciences enabled me to approach my wonderment of nature with a scientific mindset, and therefore deepen my understanding and captivation by it. I moved to New Mexico from Indiana about 4 years ago after a short visit that left me overtaken by the beauty of the landscape. I fell in love with the open sky, the elegant mountains, and the enchanting forests. It was then that I knew I wanted to be part of the conservation efforts to protect these amazing lands.

Coming out of undergraduate education, I felt drawn to follow several different career paths in conservation and was unsure how to choose. I applied for a wide range of positions (lots of field tech positions, temporary/seasonal jobs with very structured and specific work plans), but I was most excited about the thought of interning at the Guild, for a few reasons. I did not know much about the Guild, and my preliminary research into the organization yielded a vast collection of projects that dipped into many different areas of expertise. I saw the huge potential to learn a little bit about a lot of things, all in one place. I had never thought to pursue something like fire management for example, but I was intrigued by the idea of trying on some different (hard) hats.

Headed home to Albuquerque from Santa Fe via the Rail Runner.

Writing has been in accompaniment of my love for nature since before I can remember. I was ecstatic to work on writing projects with the Guild, and to have the opportunity to write about things I was learning in real time. Writing in different formats about varying topics has not only reignited my love for writing in general, but has allowed me to challenge myself as a writer. I have expanded and adapted to writing styles that I haven’t worked with much in the past. For example, I had never written anything in blog form before, so having to be pithy in a less formal setting felt new to me, and more challenging than I expected. No matter what career path I follow, I will take that with me and be able to grow from it as I continue to explore my writing ability and how it connects to my passion for conservation.

I hope to continue to explore some different ways of thinking about preservation and protection of the land, whether it is in the forestry field or not. There are so many facets and moving pieces involved in any type of conservation work, and I think it is incredibly valuable to be able to view that puzzle from multiple perspectives, as is done at the Guild. I am grateful in saying my time here has highlighted some of my strengths and skills and given me a bit of confidence and direction in my career path. Every person and every organization has something different to offer, and through exploration of varying perspectives, I plan to find out what I can uniquely offer the world of conservation.

Catching the last of the light before ending my walk by Valle Grande-my favorite place in the world.