CSCC Welcomes SWAP Students from Yellowstone National Park

SWAP 2021 in Yellowstone National Park

CSCC Welcomes SWAP Students from Yellowstone National Park

Napierra Alexander
Thursday, August 26, 2021 12:00 AM
All, Alumni, Community, Students

CLEVELAND, Tenn. – Cleveland State Community College recently welcomed students back from Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming as part of the Student Wildlands Adventure Program (SWAP). SWAP is a student exchange program that allows students to gain experience in other parts of the country at little or no expense to them. 

During the students' week-long adventure, they had the opportunity to learn up close about North America’s most interesting predators that live in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Students paired with biologists in the natural habitat of wolves, grizzlies, and wolverines. One of the highlights of the trip was meeting with the Grand Tetons National Park grizzly bear biologist and talking about grizzly management. Students were able to hike one of the dens of grizzly 399, the most famous brown bear mother in the world. 

Sydney Crayne graduated CSCC in the Spring this year and was able to enjoy the trip to Yellowstone. Her favorite experiences were the observation of wolves and hiking to the grizzly den. According to Crayne, she pictures herself like the biologist on the trip, helping preserve the important parts of the ecosystem. 

“This part was special because I really felt immersed and connected to the wildlife and land,” stated Crayne. “Being able to crawl into a bear den while listening to the bear manager speak about the importance of his job and how he manages the bears was very interesting.”

While visiting Yellowstone, students got to discuss threatened and endangered species with a biologist from the Caribou-Targhee National Forest and later hiked to a goshawk nest. Eighteen students learned about mammal migration, wildlife diseases, large mammal conflicts with humans, and historic elk feeding grounds. 

“Experiences like these are what gives students who see a future in wildlife a chance to get a glance at what their career could hold.” stated Robert Brewer, CSCC Associate Professor.

Crayne is currently attending the University of Tennessee Knoxville with a major in Wildlife Management and minors in Forestry and GIS Mapping. Her career plan is to become a Wildlife Biologist. She’s thankful for an opportunity like this to be able to see what she can look forward to in her career. 

“It meant a lot to me because I never had the money nor the resources to go on a trip like this,’ stated Crayne. “Being able to see a completely new environment and knowing I could potentially be working out west opened my eyes to all the options I have for the future, and made me even more certain that I had chosen the correct career path.” 

CSCC Associate Professor, Robert Brewer, is co-founder of the SWAP program. One of the reasons this program was started was to broaden the horizons of natural resource majors. 

“We strive to give students a once in a lifetime experience that they could not do on their own,” stated Brewer. “It is about expanding horizons, shaping lives, and changing the world by giving the underserved segment of our college community the opportunity to see new places, learn about cultural differences, and learn about natural resource management outside their home area.”

CSCC is the only two-year school in Tennessee with a student chapter of The Wildlife Society. Membership in this student chapter allows students to meet with and compete against senior institutions. It also allows students to meet with and discuss their future with professionals in the field and advisors from senior institutions.

For more information on the SWAP or The Wildlife Society programs, contact  Brewer at (423) 473-2342 or by email at 

For more information on Cleveland State Community College, visit the website at or email If you are interested in applying, visit Students are currently enrolled online and on-campus through the CSCC main campus in Cleveland, Tennessee, as well as CSCC’s Athens Center in Athens, Tennessee and Monroe County Center in Vonore, Tennessee.

CSCC earned the Tennessee Board of Regent’s 2019 College of The Year. The Forestry, Wildlife and Fisheries program was recognized as the Outstanding Instructional Program for 2020 by The Community Colleges of Appalachia, and Brewer was recognized as the 2020 Conservation Educator of the Year by The Tennessee Wildlife Federation. CSCC directly serves Bradley, McMinn, Meigs, Monroe, and Polk Counties in Tennessee. The College System of Tennessee is the state’s largest public higher education system, with 13 community colleges, 27 colleges of applied technology and the online TN eCampus serving more than 140,000 students.


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