As a native of Mabel, Morgan Roppe and her family would often take the 70-mile drive to Wabasha to visit the National Eagle Center. While on one of those trips, Roppe met a man named Cameron Feaster. She and Feaster struck up a conversation and he told her about the work he does at the International Wolf Center in Ely.
Feaster also told her about various internships that are offered at the International Wolf Center. Intrigued, Roppe began to closely watch for job openings. Soon, the perfect opportunity came along and, over the summer, Roppe got the great news she’d been hoping for. She was hired as a wolf educator intern and will work to educate the public about wolves for the next nine months in Ely. Roppe is one of two wolf educator interns who were just hired at the International Wolf Center. She’ll be stationed in Ely, where her job will be to lead programs and answer questions from visitors to the Center, which includes a pack of five live wolves.
“Her primary focus is interacting with the public in a couple different ways,” said Interpretive Center Manager Krista Harrington said. “Just as the visitors come in and interpreting the wolf behavior and answering questions. Which one is that? What kind of wolf is that? How much do they weigh? Her other primary focus is educating during programs. She’ll lead the daily programs that are offered several times a day in the auditorium.”
A 2013 graduate of Mabel-Canton High School, Roppe earned a double major at the University of Wyoming and graduated in May. She earned degrees in wildlife and fisheries biology management, as well as environmental and natural resources.
Roppe got interested in animals and biology while working on the family farm. She loved being outside and eventually started to think about ways she could make a career of it.
“I started really getting interested in biology at the end of high school,” she said.
Then, while in college, she worked with classmates on a chipmunk project where they were captured, fitted with a radio collar and then tracked. She also worked at a game check station to ensure hunters had proper licenses. In another opportunity, she and other researchers darted an elk and took vital signs from it.
“Morgan has diverse experience when it comes to field projects with animals,” Harrington said. “She’s also worked a lot with educating the public.”
Once the internship is over, Roppe is hoping a role opens up for her to stay with the Center for the long-term.
“If I could stay here at the International Wolf Center, I would love that,” she said. “Otherwise, I’m hoping to either find a position with the DNR or some other place where I can do conservation work.”
In addition to leading those discussions in the interpretive center, several wolf biology camps and events will be led by Roppe. She will also have a key role in leading the group tours at the center. Some are day trips and others are overnight trips. The overnight trips have been especially popular with groups as they’re able to sleep overnight in the center’s auditorium and watch the wolves on the other side of the glass throughout the night.
Roppe is the daughter of Dag and Sue Roppe, who live just outside of Mabel.
The interpretive center attracts more than 40,000 visitors a year. The center is a Minnesota-based non-profit that seeks to advance the survival of wolves by teaching about wolves, their relationship to wildlands and the human role in their future.
For more information about the center and its mission, visit www.wolf.org.