Rhys Green Knight Blog Photo

Environmental Studies

Environmental major interns with Alaskan National Park Service


Over the summer, Rhys Henning, a junior Environmental Science major, volunteered with the National Park Service in Skagway, Alaska, monitoring a population of Arctic terns. Each year, these important birds migrate pole to pole, 25,000 miles from their breeding grounds in the Arctic Circle to Antarctica where they summer in the southern hemisphere. The National Park Service is interested in monitoring the birds for conservation purposes given recent declines in the number of birds returning to nesting grounds on park lands.

Twice a week, Rhys would visit a nesting site located near the airport and make note of any sightings or behaviors. In Rhys’ free time, he went for hikes in places like Yakutania Point overlooking the Lynn Canal, Lower Reid Dewey Lake fed by glacier melt and Lower Reid Falls. Rhys had amazing opportunities, liking taking a historical train ride that traveled up the Klondike Railroad into Canada and ocean rafting on the Lynn Canal. His favorite excursion was a helicopter ride to the Meade Glacier.

Rhys Green Knght Blog Post


When asked to sum up his experience he said, “I think the biggest thing for me was getting to see a place so wild and untouched by humans. It’s an otherworldly place up there, and I’m so lucky I got a chance to see a place so beautiful. You feel so small being in the presence of nature so vast.”

Integrating his experiences over the summer with his interest in climatology, Rhys plans to attend graduate school in Alaska for Geoscience with a focus in Glaciology after he graduates from Bellarmine.

Story by Hannah Robinson, Environmental Science major, Class of 2023

Tags: Environmental Studies , Transformative Experience



Located in the historic Highlands neighborhood of Louisville, Kentucky, Bellarmine University is a vibrant community of educational excellence and ethical awareness that consistently ranks among the nation’s best colleges and universities. Our students pursue an education based in the liberal arts – and in the distinguished, inclusive Catholic tradition of educational excellence, the oldest and most rewarding in the western world. It is a lifelong education, worthy of the university’s namesake, Saint Robert Bellarmine, and of his invitation to each of us to learn and live In Veritatis Amore – in the love of all that is beautiful, true and good in life.