Amos Tuck is a self-proclaimed fish fanatic with a passion for natural resource conservation. As a student in the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources, he has been involved in several outreach programs designed to educate the public about the importance of conservation. He has earned several competitive scholarships and is a member of the Xi Sigma Pi Forestry Honor Society. After graduation, he plans to pursue a master’s degree in, you guessed it, fish sciences and to conduct research on rare freshwater fishes.
Cedartown High School
B.S. in forest resources with an area of emphasis in Aquatic Sciences
University highlights, achievements and awards:
I was chosen as a Warnell Student Ambassador in the spring of 2009 and was elected president for the 2010-2011 school year. Being a Warnell ambassador has provided me with an avenue in which to pursue my passion for environmental outreach as well as allowing me to represent the Warnell School in academic and professional settings. I am an elected officer of the University of Georgia Student Chapter of the Wildlife Society, where I run programs involving community and university wildlife outreach and service. I am also a member of the UGA Wildlife Conclave Team, which earned the overall championship at the Southeastern Wildlife Conclave for six of the past seven years. I have been awarded the Archie Patterson Scholarship, the Forestry Alumni Scholarship, and the Coosa Water and Soil Scholarship for my academic and leadership achievements in natural resource science. My extracurricular involvement at UGA lead to my acceptance into the Blue Key National Honor Society in the spring of 2010. I am also a member of the Xi Sigma Pi Forestry Honor Society. In my sophomore year, I was presented the Gamma Sigma Delta Most Outstanding Student in Forest Resources Award. I earned the Rotaract Student Service Award in the spring of 2010 for my conservation education services through American Fisheries Society, Warnell Student Ambassadors, and Project WET and Project WILD. I have also been recognized at Honors Day, listed on the Dean’s and President’s List, and received the HOPE scholarship.
I spent the past summer working as a technician for the Georgia Department of Natural Resources Nongame Conservation Section. The job had me in rivers all over the state kayaking, electrofishing, snorkeling and boating to look for rare and endangered fishes and mussels. The job was a dream come true because I was getting to see the aquatic species and rivers I have fallen in love with.
Family Ties to UGA:
My mother attended UGA before marrying my father. When I started here as a freshman, my older sister was a senior. For my senior year, my younger sister will be entering as a freshman. I have been a Bulldawg for as long as I can remember.
I chose to attend UGA because...
... I did not struggle through my college selection process. I was accepted into UGA during early admission and never really looked back. The fish science program here is excellent, and as a senior in high school I already had a desire to pursue fish biology. I had grown fond of the university and the eclectic Athens culture through visits to see my sister, and I was ready to experience these things for myself. The HOPE Scholarship has greatly eased the financial burden of college and made UGA a leading competitive academic school. How could I turn down attending a prestigious, affordable school offering bountiful experiences?
My favorite things to do on campus are...
.. I enjoy spending my time in between classes outside. I rarely take the buses, so I spend a lot of my time strolling through campus. During the spring, I enjoy trying to identify birds by their song. I am always up for a spontaneous game of Frisbee, football or even a pull-up contest on the tree outside Warnell. I also like to explore the 800 acres of Whitehall Forest. Intramural sports at the IM fields and a workout at Ramsey are my favorite ways to stay active. There are so many things the campus has to offer, but it is hard to compete with a Saturday at Sanford Stadium.
When I have free time, I like...
…I have been known to go fishing before even my 8 a.m. classes. Whenever I have any down time, I always want to go fishing. I have been an avid angler for as long as I could hold a fishing rod. My fondest memories of my childhood were spent on the lake with my father. Recently, I have taken up snorkeling as another way to experience the underwater world. I keep a list of fishes I have seen, much like people who keep bird lists. My snorkeling and summer internship has also led to my new mussel shell collection.
I also love to play sports of any kind. Whether it’s baseball, football, softball, volleyball, basketball, badminton or four square, you can count me in. I experience the great outdoors through hiking, camping and kayaking. Basically, I am all about doing anything that involves the outdoors. When I am available, I like to volunteer as an environmental educator. I have had many opportunities to educate through university outreach programs, and I also have been featured as a guest speaker in public schools.
The craziest thing I've done is...
…I have done a number of crazy things with the UGA Chapter of the Wildlife Society. At the Southeastern Wildlife Conclave, I took a survival class where I learned how to prepare and eat earthworms, crickets, mealworms and hardtack. At our annual Wildlife Supper, I helped prepare various wild and sustainably caught meats such as coyote, bobcat, beaver, venison, raccoon and snapping turtle. I distinctly remember a moment watching the animal call competition at conclave, where participants go up on stage in front of hundreds of people and compete by making noises like animals. While a girl was on stage doing a bullfrog call, everyone in the audience was very attentive and taking it extremely seriously. I remember thinking, “This is the craziest thing I have ever seen.” I loved every minute of it.
My favorite place to study is...
One of my favorite classes at UGA has been the Natural History of Vertebrates, and my favorite place to study is the “vert” lab in Warnell. The lab portion of this class involved learning the taxonomy, natural history and identification of vertebrate animals. Warnell professional students are given keys to get in the main building, so we had access to the “vert” lab 24/7. My friends and I would spend hours and hours going over preserved specimens—skins, skulls, antlers, traps—and note cards. It was refreshing to see how much everyone in the class helped each other, rather than engaging in cutthroat competition for the best grade. I think that cooperative learning from future natural resource conservation leaders bodes well for our environment.
My favorite professor is...
… Dr. Steven Castleberry and Dr. Jay Shelton. I was Dr. Castleberry’s student in the Natural History of Vertebrates, and he is one of the advisers for the Wildlife Society. Although Dr. Castleberry specializes in mammals instead of fish, I aspire to achieve similar accomplishments in my endeavors. I probably learned more from his class than I have in any class I have taken at UGA. Dr. Castleberry is a great outdoorsman and enjoys having a good time, but he tackles everything with the upmost professionalism. I have had Dr. Shelton for two different classes. Dr. Shelton’s excitement and enthusiasm has very much rubbed off on me. I attribute much my fish fanaticism to his contagious personality. It is great to have professors who are leaders in their area of research and still show a strong commitment to the personal development of their undergraduate students.
If I could share an afternoon with anyone, I would love to share it with...
... Harrison, one of my best childhood friends who died in an accident in 2009. The way Harrison attacked life with a positive, no-holds-barred attitude, despite a lifelong battle with muscular dystrophy, has made a deep impression on the way I live my life. I would love to spend an afternoon with him to express how much of a hero he has been to me and so many others, and to just share a few more jokes with an old friend.
If I knew I could not fail, I would...
... become a singer/songwriter. I am amazed when people are able to express themselves through music. I secretly dream of being on stage and belting out some blues and bluegrass. Maybe one of these days I will pick up the harmonica and give it a go.
After graduation, I plan to...
... pursue a Master of Science in fish sciences and maybe even a Ph.D. My goals are to become a fish biologist conducting research on rare freshwater fishes and also a loving father. It is a lifelong dream of mine to play a major role in the conservation of fish and still balance a rewarding family life.
The one UGA experience I will always remember will be...
... eating at the dining halls freshmen year. The food is so good here that almost every freshman was on the meal plan. Every time I went to eat I would sit down and meet a new person. My Facebook friends doubled daily freshman year. I got to be good friends with the guys on my hall over family supper every night at 6:30. Coming from a small town, I was worried I would be unable to connect with people at such a large university. It did not take me long to realize that we all had something in common—we like to eat. I will never forget that feeling of walking over to the main line and seeing that corned beef and cabbage and classic lasagna as the daily special.