Biology Students Make a Difference with Boise ReWild Project

Published: November 10, 2023

In College of Western Idaho's (CWI) Professions in Biology course (BIOL 104), students aren't just learning about biology — they're actively making an impact. Recently, they participated in the Boise ReWild Project, a community-driven initiative led by the Golden Eagle Audubon Society (GEAS) aimed at preserving and revitalizing over 50 acres of land along the Boise River.

Biology student and Biology Club President, Elliot Johnson, volunteered his class to receive training from GEAS. This training equipped them with the skills to identify invasive weed species and implement proper planting techniques to safeguard against winter conditions. Students were then assigned a plot of land near the Boise River Greenbelt off Highway 21. GEAS supplied the students with tools and plants, then they got to work.

Students worked to de-weed the overgrown plot where they removed many skeleton weeds and cheat grass to plant new native plants.

“To spend my free time restoring habitat gives me a sense of greater purpose and reconciliation with the habitat-destroying world I was born into,” said Biology student, Nathaniel Walker. “Doing this kind of work has only deepened my desire to work in habitat management.”

What began as fulfilling volunteer hours for their Biology class evolved into a more extensive commitment, with students adopting an additional plot for restoration. Johnson shared the hands-on experience provided valuable insights into future careers, fostering networking opportunities with biology professionals and experts from organizations like GEAS and the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation.

“It’s a source of pride for us, something that we did as students almost all on our own,” Johnson said. “Project management was headed by a CWI student, and every volunteer who showed up was a CWI student. As future biologists, taking care of ecosystems and helping native species become reestablished is an honor.”

Beyond the environmental restoration efforts, students also were able to see the diverse wildlife that call the Boise River home, such as bald eagles and red-tailed hawks.

“It’s nice knowing that students at CWI can make a small impact on the Boise River and attempt to restore it to its natural look,” said Biology student, Cheylee Corle.

Under the guidance of Biology Instructor, Gary Heller, CWI’s Professions in Biology course is designed to introduce students to different biology careers, professional development, and current issues in the field of Biology. Students are encouraged to develop basic job search skills and documents, including a resume, cover letter, online application profiles, and communication competency. Oftentimes Heller invites guest lecturers to speak or plans field trips to provide valuable information to facilitate students in their decision-making process and future course selection.

For those with questions or in need of more information about Professions in Biology, please contact Gary Heller at

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