What do you do when wanderlust and a passion for research come crashing together? You get packing.
From the deserts of the American Southwest to the rain forests of Brazil, Kelly Knutson ’15, Grand Forks, N.D., has made the most of every opportunity to take his education out of the classroom and into some of the most diverse and extreme ecologies on the planet.
Following a passion for activism and conservation, Knutson has expanded his Concordia education to include research into the distinct ecologies of Florida’s Everglades, the desert region of the American Southwest and, most recently, the Amazon rain forest of Brazil.
Though the specifics of Knutson’s research have varied from one location to another, the core of his experience has been the study and development of conservation methods and practices in different areas of the world.
The ecological challenges facing these drastically different regions are as diverse as the ecologies themselves. But Knutson says that many of the skills and lessons learned in one part of the world are transferable and can be applied anywhere.
“Education is key,” he says. “I could easily start a campaign about deforestation back home, but having people be educated about the issues is more important.”
While a person would be hard pressed to find many similarities between the arid desert of the Southwest region of the U.S. and the lush canopy of the Amazon rain forest, Knutson has found that the mission of ecologists and conservationists remains largely the same even across continental borders.
“It’s exciting to work with people who are so passionate about what they’re doing,” Knutson says. “It makes me so grateful for the people working to preserve these ecologies.”
With a focus on research both at home and abroad, Knutson has opened up his Concordia education on a global scale and started down the road to becoming truly responsibly engaged in the affairs of the world.
“With every research experience, my curiosity grows and new opportunities open,” Knutson says. “What’s most meaningful is the ability to pass on knowledge and experiences that positively affect society, the environment and the world.”