|Trish Lavasseur sits atop Mount Whitney last summer.|
“Coming to Alaska was definitely was a life changer for me,” she says.
After returning home, Levasseur attended the University of Maine at Augusta for a year, but she transferred to the University of Alaska Fairbanks in the fall of 2011 to study wildlife biology and conservation. As part of her studies, she encountered an environmental ethics class taught by Dave Valentine and then outdoor recreation management from Pete Fix, classes she enjoyed greatly. She realized she was more interested in natural resources management than wildlife biology and switched to the major in 2014.
Levasseur is glad she changed majors. “It really is a small program, but the faculty make it pretty great and are always willing to help.” she said. “I would never have had the opportunities I've gotten here.”
She is particularly interested in outdoor recreation management. This past summer, she had an internship with the Bureau of Land Management in the White Mountains. She surveyed visitors at Nome Creek about their experiences, observed how BLM manages the national recreation area and helped rebuild trails. She is still working part-time with BLM to write up a report about the experience and help with other various projects.
Levasseur is also president of the Resource Management Society, the SNRE student club with natural resources management students who get together for activities, including occasional pizza and movie nights with a natural resources twist. Their goal is to introduce other students to natural resources management, so they invited students and the public to a showing and discussion of the environmental documentary “Earth Days” recently.
The club meets weekly to plan events, including this fall’s Farthest North Forest Sports Festival, a lumberjack-style competition, a holiday party and a winter Olympics in the spring. This past spring, members joined with SNRE faculty to ski to Valentine’s house for a potluck. The event gave students a nice way to interact with faculty outside of school, she said.
While the club is partly social, it also has an educational component, and the club hopes to get guest speakers to talk about natural resource management issues. They also hope to connect with the community more through volunteer activities such as litter pickup.
Levasseur expects to graduate in 2017 and she is not sure exactly what she will do next but it will likely be something with outdoor recreation management. Her hobbies include just about everything outdoors, she says, including hiking, ice climbing, snow machining, skiing, playing hockey, camping and biking. She is also interested in photography, playing various instruments, music and cooking.