TREE Interview #9: Brooke Bodensteiner

Welcome to the ninth of the TREE interviews! Click HERE to read more about the TREE program and its relevance to my book, RIVER’S EDGE.

Today I (Erin) am interviewing Brooke Bodensteiner!

E:  Hi Brooke! Tell us the years you were at Thomson Causeway.

B:    I was at the Causeway the summers of 2011 and 2012 (I will also be there this summer, 2013).

E:  At the time, were you a student in high school, college, or graduate school? If you were conducting research, what was your focus?

B:   I was an undergraduate student at Iowa State University. The first year I participated in Turtle Camp/ TREE it was the summer after my freshman year of college (I am currently a junior in Biology).

My first research project was focused on nest predation. Last year my focus was on the effects of hydric conditions (water content) of the nests on hatchling phenotypes (observable characteristics such as mass and length), and I will be repeating this experiment again this summer.

E:  How did you first decide to participate in the TREE program?

B:   I joined the Janzen lab late in my first semester at Iowa State University. I was first told about Turtle Camp and the TREE program by Dr. Fred Janzen. After hearing about Turtle Camp and TREE I was very excited and joined the lab intending to work at these programs.

E:  What was your favorite part of TREE?

B:   I have so many different favorite parts of TREE/Turtle Camp, but at the top of my list was getting to know the high school students. It was wonderful watching (and being a part of) the high school students learn and gain a new found appreciation for the outdoors, wildlife, and science. Often times students have never camped before (I had very little camping experience before beginning this program), so that is fun introducing them to this outdoor experience.

E:  Can you share an anecdote or funny story about your time there?

B:    There are so many it is difficult to choose. The first year I participated in TREE, in our down time we had team “photo shoots.” Each team had their own theme. Ours was P.N.C.I.S. (predation nation criminal investigative service). It was so much fun and we all had a good laugh looking at the photos afterwards. I have attached a few for your viewing enjoyment!

E:  How did TREE benefit you later in your education or career?

B:   I have gained so much from TREE! It has helped me improve my leadership, communication, and team building skills. I have also gained countless practical skills for my future education and career. The TREE program has influenced me in my decision making for my future plans. I am now intending to attend graduate school to pursue my PhD.

E:  Who would you recommend the TREE program to, and why?

B:    I would recommend the TREE program to any and all high school and undergraduate students interested in ecology and field work. This program is really something other youth programs should aspire to. The TREE program has had a huge beneficial impact for me, and I would say everyone who has ever participated in it as well.




Brooke is seated on the right side of this pic.



Potter’s Slough! Notice the turtle trap in the foreground.


Brooke, thanks so much for taking the time to answer my questions! So great to hear about your experiences with TREE and your plan to pursue a PhD! And I LOVE the pictures.  ;-)  

Readers, 10% of RIVER’S EDGE sales through May 5th will be donated to the TREE program. Help support future turtle research and young biologists!  


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