Meet Alexa Ashbrook, a graduate student in the Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences department at the University of Illinois. Alexa is passionate about conservation and is currently working in the Human Dimensions of Natural Resources Research department with her advisor, Craig Miller at the Illinois Natural History Survey.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
I always wanted to do something related to science, but I wasn’t sure what. Initially, I wanted to be an anesthesiologist. My first year of college I was a biology major, and quickly realized that wasn’t for me. Once I realized that science and math were not my thing, I quickly turned to natural resources and conservation for my last three years of undergrad. These experiences in undergrad led me to the master’s program at UIUC where I study human dimensions of natural resources at the Illinois Natural History Survey.
What drew you to your current field of study?
My love for the outdoors, passion for hunting, teaching new people about hunting, and all things conservation led me to study human dimensions of natural resources.
What do you love about your work at PRI?
I love knowing how many resources I have access to. There is never anything that worries me about things I don’t know because I have so many people working around me that are so knowledgeable! The comradery and the enjoyment I have in the lab with my colleagues is a lot of fun for me. (Back when going to the office was a thing!)
How will your work impact future generations?
My work is directly related to the hunter R3 (recruitment, retention, re-engagement) program. This work is so important for conservation and future generations of hunters. In order to conserve our beautiful public lands all throughout the United States, there need to be funds coming in each year to help restore properties and purchase new properties. Hunting licenses, hunting equipment, and ammunition sales all contribute to conservation. In regards to human dimensions, learning about hunters and how to recruit and retain new ones is so important for the future of conservation as a whole.