Cecka used his skills on Peru archaeological project

Bruce Cecka, FVTC instructor

Bruce Cecka

Fox Valley Technical College

Wildland Firefighter instructor

Wildland Firefighter

Bruce Cecka is a good person to have along if you are visiting a state park. He often has an intimate knowledge of the trails, buildings and land features of the park. That’s because he supervised students who created maps for 23 Wisconsin state parks.

His students used Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) units to collect data and computer software to create the maps. The project saved the state approximately $750,000 and gave students valuable experience.

Cecka, a Fox Valley Technical College (FVTC) graduate, taught surveying and mapping in the Natural Resources Program at FVTC for 23 before retiring. Now, he is a part-time instructor in the Wildland Firefighter Program.

“We realized that students learning to conduct controlled burns needed mapping skills,” he explained.

Cecka has also used his skills for an archaeological project in Peru. A professor from the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith invited him to accompany her on a trip to Machu Picchu to map ruins at the top of the Huayna Picchu Mountain. The team made GPS and laser scans of a man-made, clay brick mound. Animation students created 3D displays for public visitors to the area.

While this experience was exotic and exciting, Cecka says the highlight of his career is seeing his students succeed in their own careers.

“It is great to see the enjoyment and learning that students get from their mapping experiences,” he said. “Our graduates end up all over the United States. Some work in forestry, others in wildlife management or fisheries.”