UWSP Alum Hired as Warden
Sarah McQueen

Every semester, hundreds of students sign up for classes in the Natural Resources department, many of them working towards a career in environmental law enforcement, and once in awhile one of them lands a dream job close to home, like Wisconsin’s newest DNR (Department of Natural Resources) conservation warden, Rick Rosen.

Rosen graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point in 1994, with a major in wildlife and minor in law enforcement. Rosen was named regional warden West Central Region, head quartered in Eau Claire and covering 19 counties.

“I would consider the job of a conservation warden the greatest job in the world,” Rosen said. “I just love being able to work outdoors, share my knowledge and experience with the public, and not having to be in an office all the time.”

Rosen noted changes in the program at UWSP since his graduation, saying that it is a huge advantage for students to be able to be out of school already certified as law enforcement officer. Students who do wish to work as a warden must first complete training at the police academy. Many chose to take the semester long course at Mid State Technical College here in Stevens Point.

In the fall of 2012 there were 77 students registered for the environmental law enforcement minor, it is not offered as major so students must choose another major to pair with the minor.

“In my 36 years with Career Services, I’ve only seen federal agencies recruit law enforcement folks directly from college on one occasion,” said Mike Pagel, a career specialist at UWSP. “They usually recruit from the military or from existing ranks of law enforcement professionals. Aspiring Wardens typically pursue work related to their majors (vs. the Environmental Law Enforcement minor) or they take conventional law enforcement work and wait for states to post vacancies.”

Rosen worked as started his career as a park ranger at Devils Lake State Park in 1994. He also worked as a patrol officer for the Baraboo police department and most recently as a warden supervisor of five counties new Spooner Wis.

“I enjoy the challenges of working with the public, and getting the opportunity to educate them on natural resource topics,” Rosen said. “Also as a law enforcement officer you can make a huge difference in actually catching the folks that are violating the law and bringing them to justice.”

Rosen stated that he enjoyed his time at UWSP and came out feeling confident that he had gained a great education with great instructors. He offered some advice for students in school now who are aspiring to be a warden one day.

“I would say number one thing is to get to know the department of natural resources by doing either internships or ride-alongs. Really thoroughly explore your options on what is available for jobs within the department. Stay engaged in the outside of class work, make the extra efforts to take internships on, go to your safety courses and become certified in ATV, snowmobile boating, hunter safety.”