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People Who Collaborate

Marcus Nichols, Treasure Valley Community College Natural Resources Instructor

As the Natural Resource Instructor at Treasure Valley Community College (TVCC) I spend a lot of time with students out in the field. Weekly, I have students loaded up into college vans taking them to the forest, local rangeland sites, rivers and streams teaching them about local resource management. I usually get through any classroom work for the day during morning hour lectures, then pack up my toys and get them outside all afternoon.

I really enjoy taking students out into nature. Some of my students have been outdoors a lot throughout their life. I enjoy helping them understand the science and ecology behind observations they have made over the years. I also get students with an interest in the natural world but that have little experience in it. It is very rewarding providing them a chance to experience outdoors in a memorable way. I have had the chance to take students white water rafting, holding 30 lb fish or waking up early to go survey sage grouse. Those are parts of college that they hopefully won't forget!

My path to education was non-traditional compared to most teachers. After grad school I was working on a wildlife refuge in the midwest. Our refuge office was located right next door to a community college campus. The Natural Resource and Biology Instructors would always be over in our office using equipment and asking us to speak to their students. I got to know one of the instructors well and began working with his students nearly every week. I really enjoyed working with his students in the field so I decided to throw my resume out there to a small community college in Eastern Oregon. 15 years later, I'm still here!

In order to maximize my students' experience and exposure while at TVCC I really lean on local agencies and partnerships like HDP. Collaborating with outside partners allows my students to see first hand real world examples of what we discuss in class. They also get to meet potential employers before they leave my program. I think the years of collaborating with local professionals have added tremendous value to my students' educational experience.

One collaborative I participate in is the Youth Changing the Community Collaborative because I care about rural Eastern Oregon and our youth. Alot of the youth collaborative focuses on providing youth developmental and economic opportunities. It's very fulfilling to be a part of work that exposes youth to career opportunities which leads them to economic success. I believe in what HDP has done and continues to do for its community and am thrilled to be a part of it. 

When I'm not working I enjoy spending time wrangling my 4 very active kids! I also love spending time outdoors hunting, fishing, hiking and camping with friends and family.