Dream Job

Stephanie Root, (NR, ‘09) with “George,” a participant in a study on desert tortoise movements in Joshua Tree National Park.Stephanie Root joined the College of Forestry as a distance natural resources student in fall 2007, after attending several other colleges. With her husband serving as a captain in the Marine Corps, Root has lived in Virginia, Florida, Hawaii, and California. “The distance education program in natural resources seemed like a great fit for me because of all that moving around—and I’ve always felt that Oregon State is a superior university and it is well known for its excellent forestry programs.”Root measuring a tortoise’s maximum carapace length.

After graduation, Root secured an internship working with wildlife through the Student Conservation Association (SCA) at Joshua Tree National Park, where her primary focus was the threatened desert tortoise. Her other work included surveying and monitoring the nesting activities of raptors such as the red-tailed hawk and golden eagle, surveying mines for bats, conducting point-count surveys for ravens, and assessing human visitor impacts at water sources frequented by bighorn sheep. She also worked on vegetation projects in the park, including species surveys, soil compaction and crust analysis, and plant propagation in the Center for Arid Lands Nursery.

Root then interned as a wildlife specialist with the Guantanamo Bay Naval Station resources department at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where she conducted population surveys on hutias, boas, manatees, and iguanas, and recommended revisions to current policies regarding wildlife.

She has now returned to Joshua Tree National Park. “I am really happy I chose natural resources as a major,” Root says, “because the coursework is the perfect blend of science and policy, which has helped me in my career.”

See the full story in Focus on Forestry.