Bernville teen follows passion for wildlife, completes Wildlife Leadership Academy field school

Hannah Krause pressing plant samples at Wildlife Leadership Academy field school. Submitted photo

Since she was young, Bernville resident Hannah Krause has had a love of animals and interest in wildlife. That passion is leading her toward becoming a conservation biologist. To reach that goal, she is jumping at every opportunity that comes her way to further her knowledge and become as well-rounded in the field of wildlife as she can.

One of those opportunities came her way with a Pennsylvania Bucktails program through Wildlife Leadership Academy. From June 17 to 21, Krause took part in the program with other participants ranging from 14 to 17 years old at Stone Valley Recreation Area in Huntingdon County.

“It was a lot of fun. You did have a lot of work, but it was definitely worth it. I learned more than I actually knew before,” said Krause, a tenth grader at Conrad Weiser High School. “And I learned things that I thought I knew before but was completely wrong on. You learned a lot of new things. I met people from different counties which was a lot of fun. We all got along because we all shared the same passion.”


Originally, Krause was looking for more of a camp instead of a program, but it did not take her long to embrace the experience and enjoy the hard work.

“We dissected deer, which was pretty fun. It was kind of smelly though because they were deer that had been hit,” she explained. “We learned the different parts of the deer. We learned about their four stomachs, their diets, how to age them. We learned good habitats and bad habitats and over population. We learned about how we can control their population. Afterwards you have this notebook and you have eight months of work you have to continue.”

The continued work is separated into four categories that are each made up of 12 to 14 components which each earning points. Since her return home from the program Krause has been working on assignments in the areas of presentation, creative arts, media and service. A few of those she was doing even before attending the program.

For service she is a volunteer at Red Creek Wildlife and volunteers at other similar wildlife centers. She loves photography, so much so that she said that driving with her involves frequent stops because when she sees something that she has to have a picture of she will get it, which adds to the creative arts. Krause is no stranger to presentations either. Even before the program, she was a regular with presentations on Monarch butterflies and she has become quite the expert on them.

“Ever since I was two years old, I’ve been involved with butterflies,” she explained, adding that when she was younger she would take part in the kits that would allow children to watch the life cycle of a butterfly and then release them. “It evolved into bigger butterflies. I learned about Monarch Watch and signed up for it. I created a Waystation and started tagging them. That’s turned into a really big thing now.”

She currently has three Waystations set up at home, her school and her church. Krause collects data on the Monarchs and tags them. She then sends the information the University of Kansas where the data is analyzed. Last week, she had four that she showed and demonstrated how to tell males from females and explained how she tags the butterflies.

Now she is able to do presentations on both Monarchs and deer which she has been enjoying.

Another new skill that she is adding to her repertoire is taxidermy. Along with photography, she is working with a taxidermist as part of the creative arts portion.

“It’s a lot of fun. It definitely takes a lot of concentration and patience,” she said.

Every opportunity helps make Krause more well-rounded and often seems to lead onto another experience.

“All of the work, I have to say, I wasn’t really looking forward to at first, but now that I’ve gotten into it and more opportunities keep coming up, I see that the work is necessary because it just expands your horizon into different areas,” said Krause.

In a short amount of time, the teenager has been able to take part in a number of different programs and activities with biologists and wildlife experts from all different fields. This has made her task of narrowing down a career field perhaps a bit harder, but has also helped her realize the endless possibilities that she has with her passion for wildlife.

“During the summer, I had my heart set on a wildlife center,” she said. “I wanted a wildlife center, I wanted to help animals. But now that I’ve experienced new things, I’m like ‘well maybe I can incorporate this with this and do that with that.’ I’m mixing things. Everything’s in a giant pot right now.”

This whole experience has taught Krause balance in both her life and in the grander scheme of the world. She participates in these unique opportunities while still in high school and taking part in various clubs and sports. Along with that balance, it is through her experiences that she is able to step back and see the bigger picture when it comes to the wildlife and the life cycle.

“You have to look at it both ways and see the good in both. You can’t look at it and be negative about it,” she said. “At one point it was hard because I so loved animals, it was hard for me. But once I saw the good in it, I was like ‘okay, well this is happening, it’s going to happen more.’ You get used to it. You see the good in it. You don’t look at it as the end of the world. You look at it as another cycle begins.”

Because she started with the Wildlife Leadership Academy the summer before entering tenth grade, Krause still has time to participate in their other two programs which are Pennsylvania Brookies (brook trout) and Pennsylvania Drummers (ruffed grouse). This is, of course, something that she wants to do.

“I definitely would tell people to go there. It was definitely worth it,” she said.

Looking at what Krause has accomplished so far, it is not a stretch to imagine even more will come her way. She recently took part in duck and owl banding and is looking forward to even more opportunities that continue to come her way.

For more on Wildlife Leadership Academy visit

About the Author

Shea Singley

Shea Singley is the editor of The Hamburg Area Item. She grew up in Berks County and spent three years at the University of Arizona, Tucson, where she double majored in Creative Writing and English before transferring to Kutztown University where she majored in Professional Writing. Shea graduated from Kutztown University in 2012 and during that time completed an internship in the publication department of a non-profit organization in Washington, DC. She joined Berks-Mont Newspapers in March of 2013 and had enjoyed getting the chance to explore the Hamburg area and meet the readers. Reach the author at or follow Shea on Twitter: @hamburgitem.