MHS Students Work Hand in Hand With DNR Biologist, UW Grad Student

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MTT News Desk's picture
Perry Hibner, Community Relations Specialist for the Middleton-Cross Plains Area School District
Students in the field

Several MHS biology students found out what it's like to work in the field last month.

Jeff Erickson and Dan Drangstveit took 18 students to the Sandhill Wildlife Center on Dec. 13 and 14 to work with Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources biologist Dick Thiel and a University of Wisconsin-Madison graduate student.

The students explored research techniques used to study timberwolves, porcupines, and bison, Erickson said. They also studied the natural history of these animals. 

The students learned about timberwolves' pack behavior and social hierarchy as well as their adaptations for successful pursuit of deer. The students learned where porcupines make their dens, what they feed upon, how they adapt for defense, and how they are trapped for research. Finally, Erickson said the students focused on how bison are significant to Native American culture.

The highlight of the trip, Erickson said, was exposing the students to the process involved in putting a porcupine to sleep in order to implant a radio transmitter for tracking purposes.

Erickson said he has been going to the DNR facility for approximately 20 years.

"I have been working with Dick for a long time and he is always very enthused about working with our students,'' Erickson said.

The field biology students will also take an upcoming trip to northern Wisconsin to study the state's northern elk and deer population.

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