Step Aside, SmokeySenior Sean Monroe knows how to prevent a forest fire and then some.
By: Maeggie Licht , East High School
“I thought I was going to go into geology until last summer,” said senior Sean Monroe. “I landed a job with Minnesota Conservation Corps doing a lot of state park maintenance.” This was just the beginning for Sean, after meeting a group of Wildland Firefighters, Sean began to rethink his future. That very summer, he realized a career that could bring him something new each day for the rest of his life.
After high school, Sean will attend a forestry technician program at Vermillion College in Ely, MN. The program covers forest resources and management, wildfire ecology and management, and other natural resource studies. He thoroughly enjoyed the eight week Americorps program. Americorps is a government program that has a corps for different specific areas of conservation jobs, work helping within communities, and even disaster relief. His work last summer took him into the great outdoors at state parks St. Croix National Scenic Riverway, Milacs Kathio, Crosby Manitou, and more. Workers lived on their campsites together and went out on “spike,” various works at parks all over the state, throughout the week. Sean toiled with his team to remove invasive plants like Buckthorn Prickly Ash and Honeysuckle. “The fun part was the diversity of the job. You would work on trails one week, and then the next week you’re duck tagging,” said Sean. “The people all love what they do and you grow close to virtually everyone in the program because you’re spending so much time with them.”
Sean’s passion for a natural habitat fuels his drive. “I just enjoy being outside away from day-to-day distractions, and there’s a great bunch of people that come along with natural resources.” For his hard work over the summer, Sean was awarded a leadership award. With this award, he was able to secure an in with a summer program following his freshman year at Vermillion college. The Mountain Youth Corps is a program for young adults ages 18 to 25. The corps does national forest service work in the backcountry of Colorado.
After his freshman and sophomore years at Vermillion College, Sean plans to attend Michigan Tech where he was accepted this year, but deferred to avoid debt. In the near future, he would love to see himself working as a Wildland Firefighter after he earns his red card. Further down the trail, Sean wants to get a job in natural resources and forestry possibly out west to work in the majestic mountain views.