Greg Gianforte is a nominee for Montana’s House of Representatives seat which will be decided in November.
To show his support for the candidate, Donald Trump Jr. announced that he would visit Gianforte in Montana where the two planned to shoot prairie dogs along with campaigning.
Lindsey Sterling-Krank is a University of Montana Western alumna. At the university, she studied environmental science and biology. She is now the head of The Prairie Dog Coalition, a branch of The Humane Society focused on protecting prairie dogs and their habitats.
She recently gained publicity after she made statements condemning Trump Jr. and Gianforte’s plans to kill prairie dogs, many of which may be pregnant at this time of year. Her statements were re-printed in several large publications.
Krank is a former student of Environmental Science Professor Rob Thomas who spoke about her newfound celebrity.
“It’s not every day that a graduate is featured in the New York Times and the Boston Herald. Lindsey has been quoted as an expert in environmental conservation work. We’re quite proud, obviously, as a department that we helped her to get to that point and that she’s using her education to make a difference in the world,” Thomas said.
Working for non-profit organizations focused on conservation is a natural fit for environmental science students who graduate from Montana Western. Experience One allows these students to work extensively in the field as a part of their education.
“Our emphasis is placing them in a job. Montana Western has the highest job placement rate in the system, in the MUS. There’s a reason for that,” Thomas said.
Environmental Science students at Montana Western recently made a big impact on the local habitat by gathering data at Poindexter Slough. Siltation caused by mining and ranching over the course of many years has caused declines in the size and population of fish in the slough.
The students’ findings were used by Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks to help in the restoration of the internationally renowned fishery.
“I took my field studies class out there for two-and-a-half weeks. They were out there every day, all day, gathering data. Recording stream populations, bug populations, plant data, they take
those data and analyze it to see whether the restoration work that’s been done has been working or not,” Thomas said.
“We used the information to help Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks to know what needed to be done out there. We saved them a ton of money.”
Thomas believes this hands-on approach gives University of Montana Western graduates an edge in the job market.
“The students, they’re coming out knowing exactly how to do the kinds of things professionals are doing to evaluate whether natural environments are functioning properly,” he said.
Thomas is particularly proud of Krank because his goal as an educator is to give his students the tools they need to change the world.
“That’s hugely important to me, that students use their education to make a positive difference in the world.”
In closing, Thomas said, “It takes a lot of guts to go up against the son of the President of the United States and a guy running for the House of Representatives. It’s not about the politics of those individuals. It’s about Lindsey having the experience and confidence to take a stand.”