Siraj Bell ’24

4 April 2024

Name: Siraj Bell ’24
Major: Geology
Position: Arboretum Crew

What do you do in this position?

By and large, removing and treating invasive species (honeysuckle, buckthorn, and garlic mustard) is most of the work, but controlled burns, putting together tree tubes, seed collection, sorting, and dispersal are also big parts of the work.

How did you get your position?

I emailed Nancy and Matt. I asked if I could join arb crew and they said yes.

What new skills have you acquired?

I’ve learned how to treat invasive brush and weeds, the criteria and methods to conduct a controlled burn, and some of the ways to manage herbivorous mammals, like beavers and deer. I’ve also learnt how to use a brush saw!

How will your student employment experience help you in your future?

It has already helped me! This past summer, I worked for the US Forest Service as Wilderness Trail Crew thanks to Matt and arb crew. It also helps prepare me for other land management jobs in the future. Moreover, it has informed my perspective on land management. 

What type of person do you feel is best suited for this position?

It’s definitely better if arb crew employees are interested about the environment that they’re trying to steward. The shifts I’ve had with others who are really interested in the ecology of the arb are the most fun.

What do you like best about your student employment position?

On arb crew, I get to go out and learn about the arb while I work in it. Identifying species and learning what part they play in an ecosystem is almost guaranteed to happen each shift. Working in the arboretum also gives me a little bit of time away from all of my academic work back on campus. It’s almost like a study break and at times it can be meditative. The controlled burns are the most fun though.

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