Natural Resources Management

The Natural Resources Management Career Academy is a program designed to provide students with knowledge and skills regarding the management of earth’s natural resources. Students will focus on sustainability and stewardship of ecosystems. Graduating students will be prepared to enter the natural resources management workplace or continue their education in natural resources management at post-secondary educational institutions. 

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Natural Resource Management Job Outlook: Environmental Engineers
Natural Resource Management Job Outlook: Conservation Foresters

Required Courses:

  • Environmental Science
  • First Aid & CPR
  • Introduction to Public Speaking 
  • Work Seminar
  • Real-World Experience

Foundational Skills Classes:
Science Investigation I & II, Biology or Applied Biology or AP Biology

Recommended Courses:

  • Philosophy and Human Values
  • Forensic Science
  • Animal Science
  • Technical Writing 

Real World Experience: 

Volunteer work, job shadowing, summer employment with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Beltrami County Soil & Water Conservation District, or US Forestry Department is required for students to complete this course of study. These opportunities are arranged by the instructor/counselor at Bemidji High School and require at least nine (9) weeks in the field of study.




Career Options

  • High school and two year college: Conservation Officer
  • Four year college or more: Wildlife Biologist, Forester

Job Outlook

Environmental Conservation Careers - 10.6% growth for Central Minnesota

Fun Facts

  • Annual payroll income of US forest products industry as of 2017
    54,294 (in millions of dollars)  |  1.5 billion in MN (2014) 
  • Employment in US forest products industries as of 2017  
    937,500  |  28,246 in MN (2014)
  • Total US forest land (2012)  
    766,234 (in thousands of acres)

Job Skills

In addition to having skills in environmental conservation, employers expect their paraprofessional educators to have other skills such as:

  • Listening skills
  • Effective communication
  • Digital Citizenship
  • Problem-solving
  • Time management
  • Career and maintenance of equipment
  • Professionalism
  • Integrity

Work Seminar

Work Seminar is an on-campus business course used in conjunction with Internship and Work-Based Learning experiences. Students interested in obtaining high school credit through Interning should register for Work Seminar. This course gives students the opportunity to explore various careers and build essential foundational skills in the areas of problem-solving, decision-making, and critical thinking. Aptitude and personality analysis are explored along with work safety, resume building, interview preparation, and budgeting. Soft skills taught throughout the course include: responsibility at the workplace, taking initiative, reliability, workplace ethics, and communication skills.

Post-Secondary Programs

Upon successful completion of Academy, the trainees may be eligible to enroll in Bemidji State University’s Wildlife Biology Program or other related courses of study.


Kurt Long Voelkner

Kurt Long Voelkner is a graduate of Duluth Central High School (1977). After attending BSU (pre-forestry), he graduated with a B.S. degree in Forestry from Michigan Technological University. He earned a B.S. degree in Secondary Education and a Masters degree in Science Education from Clarion University in Pennsylvania. Kurt has worked with private, state and federal resource management entities, including five years with the USDA Forest Service in Michigan and Pennsylvania. He taught numerous science classes in Crandon, WI for 5 years and has been teaching eighth grade science at Bemidji Middle School for the last 24 years and also teaches an elective, Introduction to Forestry, class to eighth grade students. Kurt enjoys many outdoor adventures; especially wilderness canoeing, backpacking, hunting and fishing.


Kristina VanWilgen Hammitt

Kristina VanWilgen Hammitt graduated from Bemidji State University with a B.S. in Life Science and a M.S. in Science Education. She has taught for 20 years at Bemidji High School and currently teaches Environmental Science, Biology, Exercise Science, and Anatomy/Physiology. She strives to provide career exploration and learning opportunities for her students outside of the classroom, ranging from learning about winter ecology, managing the school forest, animal population case studies, relocation of osprey nests with a local electric company, and going out into the field to assist with hibernating black bear research with the MN DNR.

She has been a teacher fellow in an Earthwatch Institute located in Nova Scotia, studying climate change and its effect on small mammals. She has also been fortunate to be part of the program, Inquiry in the Rainforest, a unique program allowing teachers to assist research biologists in remote locations of the Costa Rican Rainforest.

Passionate about outdoor awareness, she brings enthusiasm and dedication to teaching students how to appreciate and participate in their outdoor world.

Business and Industry Experiences

Students in Academy will research environmental conservation careers, job shadow DNR Conservation Officers, US Forestry Department employees or learn conservation practices at the Beltrami County Soil and Water Conservation District. They may be eligible for summer or after school employment by these agencies.

Academy Gallery