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Envirothon: Coming home

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Envirothon Testimonial

Brandon Fuller

My name is Brandon Fuller. Originally, my plan in life was to get my degree in journalism and write for Field and Stream magazine, or something along those lines. I was attending Oklahoma State University when I had a revelation.

During my first semester I was having a very tough time, I just wasn’t happy. I felt like something was missing, as if I wasn’t doing something right. I felt out of place and I was really home sick being a Coloradan and going to a place without a single mountain. But during a geology class that I was taking at the time, things started to change.

We had started a chapter on rivers and water systems. It was almost like a little fire started up in my heart again. I had learned a lot of the material at an early age at The Youth Conservation Camp at Beaver Creek (a camp designed to teach kids about natural resources), and this was the chapter that made me start to think about pursuing a career in natural resources management. I wasn’t set on changing my major or anything; it was just a thought in the back of my mind at the time.

Sometime later when I was home on break, I ended up helping out at an Envirothon competition that really changed everything for me. It was at this event that I met Jeremy Gallegos, a Colorado parks and wildlife officer. As I was asking him about life working in his field, I started to wonder if it was something I wanted to do, too. I eventually got around to asking him about education and expressing my interest in pursuing a possible degree in fisheries biology. He had told me about Colorado State University and the Warner College of Natural Resources. I didn’t realize it at the time, but Colorado State University is the equivalent to Harvard or Yale for natural resource programs. It was also in my home state, which was something I had been missing terribly. I started to consider changing my major and even my school.

It’s safe to say that the conversation I had that day changed the course of my life. I ended up deciding to pursue a degree in fisheries knowing it was something that I loved – it just felt like the right thing to do. I ended up leaving Oklahoma and transferring to Colorado State to chase this newfound dream of being a fisheries biologist. What is really amazing is that now I am happy. I love my classes and am excited every day to learn about fish, stream ecology, wildlife ecology, and everything that corresponds with natural resources.

The only thing more exciting than the classes is the job opportunities. Ever since I changed my major I have had the most amazing job opportunities, my favorite working with Trout Unlimited. Never in a million years would I picture myself working on high mountain lakes and streams, but I am. I look forward to going to work every morning now.

The National Conservation Foundation is working to connect with Envirothon alumni across the world. Did you participate in Envirothon as a high schooler? Contact NACD Director of Development Melisa Augusto at melisa-augusto@nacdnet.org.

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