Wednesday, July 24th, 2024
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MU Students Conduct Wildlife Internships

While conducting a site visit, Dr. Aaron Haines and senior interns, Anthony Kessler and Halie Parker were all involved in an elk calf capture near the Pennsylvania Elk Country Visitor Center. This is done to ensure that the elk calves are of healthy weight and do not exhibit any signs of disease or parasites.

Dr. Haines is an assistant professor of conservation biology, mammalogy and ornithology at Millersville University (MU). Specializing in Conservation and Wildlife Biology, he also runs the MU Conservation and Ecology Blog and the Applied Conservation Lab.

Anthony Kessler as he checks a bear in Alleghany State Forest.

Kessler is an environmental biology major who has been an intern for the Pennsylvania Game Commission since May. During his two-month internship, Kessler went to the Alleghany State Forest and used a predator call to observe the movements that they make in order to find a fawn. He also trapped bears and checked to see if teeth had been pulled, placed tags on their ears (which are being used in a camera trap study), administered an injection for mange and took a blood sample. He then took measurements of the bears’ paws, head, body and front legs.

Parker is an environmental biology major who has been an intern for the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Bureau of Forestry since May. During her internship, Parker worked closely with the wildlife biologists within the Bureau of Forestry.

Halie Parker tagging an elf calf.
Halie Parker tagging an elk calf.

Some of her responsibilities included bog turtle capturing and tracking, peregrine falcon chick banding, examining vegetation plots, camera trapping Alleghany wood rats, sampling newts for chytrid fungus and, her personal favorite, tagging elk calves. Due to her experiences growing up with a cabin in the area, she always loved looking at the elk, so having the opportunity to get up close and personal with them was a highlight for her.

Students interested in doing similar wildlife internships can contact, Dr. Aaron Haines, the Biology Department Internship Coordinator at 717-871-7451 or email

Recommended requirements include good field skills such as telemetry, GPS, GIS, animal and plant identification and survey techniques. Also, having good oral and written communication skills, familiarity with statistics, good problem solving and team building capabilities are very helpful. Finally, students should be willing to volunteer their time as most of these internships are unpaid.


MU Conservation and Ecology Blog-

Applied Conservation Lab- Conservation Lab/Home Page.php

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