Portrait of Cale Graeber


Name: Cale Graeber
Hometown: Tomahawk
Major: Conservation and environmental planning
Position: Equipment operator for St. Paul-based Landbridge Ecological, a landscape restoration business

As a boy growing up among the hillsides and waterways of the north-central Wisconsin community of Tomahawk, Cale Graeber had an affinity for the outdoors. 

Graeber spent lots of time outside, hunting, fishing and hiking. Surrounded by nature, he developed an appreciation for the environment around him.

“I like to hunt and fish, and I got interested as a kid from a natural resources perspective,” Graeber said. “Along the way you realize that you have to manage those resources holistically. You have to remember the other species, too. It’s not just all about how many fish are in the water or how many deer are out in the field.”

Graeber has turned his love of the outdoors into a job. He was hired in March as an equipment operator at St. Paul-based Landbridge Ecological, a company that provides landscape restoration. 

Graeber will graduate from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls May 6 with a bachelor’s degree in conservation and environmental planning. He said he is both pleased and relieved to have been offered that job.

“Having a job before graduation is definitely a relief. And it’s a sense of accomplishment, too,” he said.

His experiences that include an internship and jobs at a berry farm and an orchard in rural River Falls helped prepare him for his new position, Graeber said. He also credits his coursework and UWRF faculty members Kevyn Juneau, Eric Sanden and Joseph Rein with helping him achieve academically and be inspired to learn. 

Graeber didn’t come to UWRF initially to study conservation and the environment. At first he was a horticulture major. But after an introduction to soils course he took, he decided to switch. 

“When it comes to conservation, soil is probably the most important thing,” he said.

Graeber advises UWRF students to get involved in campus organizations and take part in internships. Those opportunities oftentimes lead to job opportunities, as they did for him, he said.  

“Make sure that you get an internship that is related to what you think you want to do,” Graeber said. “It happens a lot where people do an internship and then get hired by the company that provided that internship. And even if you don’t get hired, you’re making connections with others that might lead to job opportunities.”

After graduation, Graber is ready to get started with his new job. He said he’s interested in the wildlife management side of conservation and may seek a job in that sector one day. 

But for now he said he’s grateful to have a position that he feels passionate about, one in which he believes he can make a positive difference. He appreciates the public attention conservation and climate change are receiving currently, and he is thankful for the opportunity to do that kind of work. 

“It feels really good to be doing something that makes me excited,” Graeber said. “It feels like you’re part of something bigger than yourself, and that is a good feeling.”