Outdoor professionals talk about the media with UNL students


Greg Wagner urges students to be different when pursuing their careers.

Story and Photos by Matt Haron, NewsNetNebraska

Nebraska wildlife took a step inside on March 14th.  Greg Wagner and Daryl Bauer spoke to University of Nebraska-Lincoln students about the importance of interacting with news media and the public. The UNL Wildlife Club hosted the event. Wagner is public information officer for the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission and Bauer works with Fisheries and Outreach.

The message to students is that everyone, even outdoorsmen, will someday have to work with news reporters and/or members of the community.

“To convey important natural resources information, whether it’s a pheasant or a trout, you have to be able to effectively communicate,” Wagner said.

Wagner’s, public information officer, (right) and Bauer’s (left) main message to students when dealing with the media is to be yourself.

Monica Keep is a senior in the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources. She said this lesson will help when she moves to South Africa after graduation to work with great white sharks.

“I knew you did outreach volunteering and talked with the public, but I never knew it was this involved. I never knew it was writing blogs, dealing with media and interviews and reports,” said Keep.

Personal interaction important

Although, Wagner agrees that using blogs and social media are important in any profession,he said it’s even more important to have personal interaction with people.

“It’s easy to sit behind a computer and do it on Facebook, Twitter and Blogs, but this generation is still lacking the one-to-one contact,” said Wagner.

Bauer works with Fisheries Outreach, a group dedicated to getting more Nebraskans involved with the outdoors.  He and Wagner feel its important to have fun when communicating with youth.  For example, Bauer demonstrates turkey calls (see below). Bauer said the bottom line is that students need communication skills, no matter what careers they choose.

“We do this because we love the outdoors. We love fishing and wildlife. We want (students) to make that a career, but then you discover it’s a lot more than fish and wildlife. It comes back to you’re working with people,” said Bauer.

Communication skills in demand

Wagner said many Nebraska Game and Parks jobs involve people management positions, so students must have communication skills when they graduate.

Senior Josh Kownovsky asks a question regarding outdoors professions and communication with the public.

“Most of our management at the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission is people management of natural resources. So, it’s important for students to take as much of the communication realm of classes that they can,” said Wagner.

Josh Kownovsky is a senior and the current president of the UNL Wildlife Club. He said knowing that many jobs require communication skills is why he wanted other students to hear Wagner and Bauer’s message.

“It was really important I felt for people in this field, even media and natural resources, to hear that information too, not just me. I’m trying to promote everyone else to learn it,” said Kownovsky.

When Kownovsky first approached Wagner about speaking, Wagner said many students in wildlife majors think they will rarely have to work with people.

“There’s still that misnomer in (the College of) Natural Resources still exists. ‘I can’t wait to get outside, I’m going to be working with fish and wildlife and I don’t have to interact with anybody.’ Well, that couldn’t be further from the truth.”

Now that more students know they will be working with the members of the public and news reporters, Wagner has one final message.

“Be honest, be forthright with information and be yourself,” said Wagner.

Daryl Bauer Turkey Call

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