Ripon education taught Ellen Barth ’80 ‘how to find the answers’

Ellen Barth '80 banding geese

The broad aspects of a liberal arts education are put to good use by Ellen Barth ’80 of Omro, Wisconsin. Barth is the Oshkosh area wildlife supervisor for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, supervising wildlife biologists and technicians in Marquette, Green Lake, Fond du Lac, Waupaca, Waushara and Winnebago counties.

She spends time in the field with staff, participates in the hiring of new staff, deals with the public on a variety of issues and provides input to other programs within the department regarding projects that impact local and migratory wildlife species. “I spend too much time in front of a computer, but I still get outside to do great work for the wildlife in my six counties,” she says.

Ripon College was a good choice for Barth because it was close to her hometown of Pardeeville, Wisconsin, and offered a good financial package, she says. “I received scholarships and had jobs on campus all four years.” She majored in biology at Ripon College and later received a master’s degree in wildlife management from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.

Her studies at Ripon College have served her well, she says. “I learned technical writing skills, research methods, communication skills, and also was exposed to the fine arts of a liberal arts education,” Barth says. “Wildlife management can best be described as the art and science of wildlife management. People management is critical to managing the wildlife populations that are in our state.”

She appreciates the two summers she spent at the Wilderness Field Station in Minnesota, now run by Coe College, but also the important lessons she learned at Ripon.

“While at school, it was the professors who taught me to look up to see and hear the birds, look down to study the plants, and to look in the microscope to see what was so very small but so very important to our lives,” she says. “They taught me how to tear apart a symphony and tear apart a chemical equation. They taught me how to find the answers by asking the right questions, and they taught me that there is so much to be thankful for. The friendships I developed at Ripon are still with me today.”

(Photo: Ellen Barth ’80 participates in a goose banding in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, in the summer of 2018.)