30 April 2021

Published by https://dailyevergreen.com/

USA – The WSU School of the Environment announced the release of a new course for the fall 2021 semester called SOE 492: wildland fire ecology and management.

Mark Swanson, associate professor in WSU’s School of the Environment, will teach the course. He said his graduate student, Timothy Fitzgibbons, and undergraduate teaching assistant Trenton Baribault, will assist him.

The course will be shaped around the hybrid learning method, with lectures composed in person and on Zoom. In October, students will participate in a field day with the Pullman Fire Department, Swanson said.

“Students are going to take a number of online courses that are provided by the federal government,” he said. “Then, we will meet weekly to discuss the content and to tie it back into our curriculum.”

The course will introduce students to the basics of wildland firefighting and natural resource management with prescribed fire, allowing students to be eligible for certification as entry-level wildland firefighters, Swanson said.

Swanson, who has been at WSU for 14 years now, said he is excited for the course, specifically the Red Card Certification from the National Wildlife Coordinating Group. Students can get certified by passing the course.

“This is a nationally recognized type of certification for your basic wildland firefighter,” Swanson said. “I wanted our program here at WSU to give students that same opportunity.”

The class, while under the School of the Environment, is an elective. All students are welcomed and encouraged to take the course, he said.

“It’s an elective, but early returns indicate that it can be a very popular one,” Swanson said. “Students recognize the importance of fire, they’re excited to work with fire and that includes things like prescribed fire.”

He said the course will have two TAs, including Baribault, who is currently a junior in WSU’s forest ecology and management program.

“I think everyone should have some sort of knowledge on fire, even if they don’t plan on having a career in it, just to be informed about what people do with fire,” Baribault said.

Baribault said he hopes to use his experience teaching the course to conduct publication work on logging and fire.

“I think being a TA will help me kind of develop some sort of teaching skills, especially under Professor Mark Swanson, an amazing professor,” Baribault said, “but I think it’ll help me with my job because foresters usually work with people.”

The course is now open for enrollment and is being offered as a three-credit course for undergraduate students.