Student Spotlight: Grace Ditch

Grace Ditch knows the value of exploration. Her early experiences exploring in the woods formed the foundation of her love of the outdoors that eventually drew her to the field of forestry. Grace is a senior in FNRM with a track in Forest Ecosystem Management and Conservation. She grew up in a suburb of Chicago and spent summers at her grandparents’ cabin in northern Wisconsin. “The cabin was where I had my first encounters with forests, frogs, wildflowers and bugs,” says Grace. “I remember the distinct joy of finding an unfamiliar treasure on the forest floor.” 

Grace Ditch in Costa Rica

This past spring, Grace explored the forest floors of Costa Rica, where she studied abroad in a program in tropical ecology and conservation. There she took courses in Spanish, tropical diversity, tropical community ecology, and human dynamics in the tropics, lived with a host family, and conducted an independent research project on bryophyte diversity in agricultural windbreaks. Besides her study abroad experience, Grace says that the Cloquet Field Session was her most memorable time in the program. “I loved being immersed in forestry for those three weeks and had the opportunity to bond over the unique experience with other people in my major.” After graduation, Grace plans to pursue graduate school, perhaps in Minnesota or the west coast. Her advice to future students? Grace says, “Get involved and get to know your peers! Developing friendships with the people in this department has been one of my best experiences here.”