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The wonder of the biology club

Squirt, a fly river turtle, is one of the many creatures that the biology club cares for in the biology lab. Photo by  Ashleigh Stingley

Squirt, a fly river turtle, is one of the many creatures that the biology club cares for in the biology lab. Photo by Ashleigh Stingley

By Ashleigh Stingley

This week, we would like to feature the Biology Club as one of our clubs of the week. Even before it’s creation in 2008, the Biology Club has been a big part of Waldorf College

Dr. Paul Bartelt, teacher advisor of the club, said the club was an outgrowth of the former Science Club. The Science Club began in 1983, collectively called the Science Club because there were no majors at the time as Waldorf was only a two-year college. In 2000, Waldorf was first accredited as a baccalaureate school and the Biology program was launched in 2008. According to Bartelt, that was when the Science Club’s constitution was rewritten, updated and the Biology Club was born.

The Biology Club has participated in many activities including sponsored international trips, touring major exhibits, touring major zoos, touring natural areas, their annual volunteer efforts of cleaning up Pilot Knob State Park, providing leadership opportunities (which Bartelt commented have produced candidates that became Student Body Senators and Student Body Presidents), constructing floats for the annual Homecoming parades, hosting fund-raisers to support their various activities and their annual participation in Warrior Cup and Winterfest.

This is freshman Sara Vettleson-Trutza’s, a Biology and Psychology double major at Waldorf, first year in the Biology Club. She is a part of the club because of her Cooley Scholarship and interest in biology.

“I really like the club,” Vettleson-Trutza said. “We’ve done so much, like a trip to a cave, a turtle farm with many kinds of animals and we’ve done a prairie burn.”

While Vettleson-Trutza in her first year of the club, Biology Club’s president Caleb Gilbertson has been a part of the club for at least two years.

“I ran for President because I really liked some of the ideas that Kaylee Vitale-last year’s President-had,” said Gilbertson. “But I also had my own visions for the club which included being more active with the college and going on more trips.”

Gilbertson also said he really liked the club because he feels they have a great group of people who all share similar interests. “I think many of the members we have are also very involved in other activities on campus which makes the vision I had for the club hard to make reality with everybody having differing schedules it is hard to go on many trips.” Despite Gilbertson’s worries, the club has been able to go on many trips.

There was no doubt Bartelt also has his share of fun in the club. “It provides student with opportunities to develop leadership skills, to offer community service and to explore biology-related activities within a social context,” said Bartelt. “The level of activity and success of the Club each year depends, of course, on the leadership and participation of its members. Hence, the Club is more active in some years than others, but it has been pretty active for most of its existence.”

Bartelt said he has many fun experiences and he can’t pick just one. His experiences include campfire bonding complete with fun stories, watching his students realize what they have learned on their activities, working with them to plan their trips and activities and watching the club grow close over the years.

“The best memory I have of the club comes each Spring during our year end party,” said Gilbertson. “It involves a tradition where “in order to graduate” all the Seniors have to eat a frog leg that Dr. Bartelt prepares. Most people are very hesitant going into it but many people enjoy the taste and don’t find it as gross as they did beforehand. I like this memory just because it is a tradition and the reaction on each one of the faces of the seniors are quite entertaining.”

Vettleson-Trutza commented even if you aren’t a Biology major, feel free to just try the club out.

“If you don’t like it, don’t stick with it, but there is fun activities and Professor Bartelt is a wonderful advisor. It’s also handy for Biology majors” Vettleson-Trutza said.

Currently, the Biology Club meets on a need-to basis. If you would like to attend the meetings, please contact President Caleb Gilbertson.