Josh Blouin

Born and raised in Vermont, my first Montana experience was in the summer of 2013, as a student of Wildlife in the West. Knowing little about the charismatic species we focused on (Grizzly Bears, Wolves, Canada lynx, and Bull Trout) and the controversies that surround them, I was completely enthralled by every aspect of the program. The instructors would approach every complex wildlife issue with knowledge, passion, and inspiring empathy. They taught me more than I could have ever imagined, thus changing my entire attitude and understanding of wildlife conservation. After my summer in Montana, I was eager to learn more about wildlife, the difficulties that surround certain populations, and travel to new places with the hope of gaining new perspectives. Since that summer, I have been fortunate enough to spend a summer studying black bears and educating other about them in Northern Minnesota, working in a similar position with bats and bears in Yosemite National Park, and spending my first winter out of academia back in Montana with the instructors that altered my wildlife career three years ago, collecting DNA samples of wolverines, Canada lynx, and fisher. My next job will be in Kodiak, Alaska, where I will work with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on a brown bear research project, with a focus on food resources in the National Wildlife Refuge. Although it may sound cliché, my only advice would be to follow your dreams and be persistent. Take advantage of internships and volunteer positions because this is often where you make connections and find life-long mentors and friends.