Erin Bellavia, Haywood Community College

Erin Bellavia, Assistant Manager of Tensas River National Wildlife Refuge in Louisiana, says “Nothing comes close to the quality of education I got at HCC.”

Bellavia is a jack-of-all trades at the refuge. She helps with purchasing, logistics, does field work with biologists, oversees interns, helps mark timber, and anything else that comes up.

“But my number one priority is forest management,” she says. “I am proud to have a small part in such a big job of managing this land.”  

Bellavia is a 2008 HCC Fish and Wildlife Management Technology graduate. After HCC, she continued her education at the University of Tennessee finishing in 2011 with a Bachelor’s degree in Wildlife and Fisheries Science.

“The hands-on experience and volunteer opportunities that is available to students at HCC is invaluable and is a great networking tool. The enthusiasm and knowledge of instructors is what makes the program so successful. The instructors at HCC want to produce quality technicians that know what they are doing.”

Now, Bellavia is also an adjunct natural resources faculty member at HCC. “I want students to take away an awareness of how complex wildlife management is and the role of state and federal agencies. I want these students to see how people fit in to all this.”