Jane Rittenhouse, who graduated from Garrett College in May with a degree in Natural Resources and Wildlife Management, was recently selected to serve as the 2012 Summer Environmental Steward for Friends of the Cheat (FOC). This position was established through the combined efforts of AmeriCorps, the United States Department of the Interior, and Southwest Conservation Corps. FOC is a nonprofit watershed organization, whose mission is to restore, preserve, and promote the outstanding natural qualities of the Cheat River in West Virginia.

Many of the problems addressed by the FOC concern acid mine drainage (AMD) resulting from abandoned coal mines. Garrett College prepared Rittenhouse for this challenge by focusing on the issues of restoring abandoned mine sites and the resultant pollution to waterways as well as connecting students to hands-on volunteer opportunities with a number of natural resource conservation groups.

Rittenhouse’s Garrett College advisor, Peter Skylstad, said he believes that she is well prepared and well suited to the job she is taking on. “Jane has recently completed rigorous training in the use and application of advanced technologies like global positioning systems and geographic information systems. These technologies are used extensively in many natural resources applications. She has also completed courses in ecology, wildlife and fisheries biology, and plant taxonomy. The knowledge, skills, and abilities that Jane has developed as a student in the Natural Resources and Wildlife Technology Program at Garrett College will make her a valuable member of the Friends of the Cheat team. She is also a motivated, passionate, and hard-working student who obviously loves her chosen career path. This is another very important reason that Jane will do well working with the Friends of the Cheat watershed group,” he said.

While serving with FOC, Rittenhouse’s responsibilities will include raising awareness of the Cheat and its value to the West Virginia communities of Preston and Tucker Counties through outreach and education.

For more information on the Natural Resources & Wildlife Technology program at Garrett College person may visit www.garrettcollege.edu Information on Friends of the Cheat is available at www.foc.org