Tag Archives: bethany holbrook

Thankful for the Endangered Species Act

The most important reason to be thankful for the ESA is because of the results it achieves. Since the ESA was passed in 1973, it has saved 99 percent of the species protected by it from extinction.

I'm Bethany Holbrook, and I work at our New York Field Office. You'll be hearing from me every week! Stay tuned for tales from the great state of New York. USFWS photo with Bethany holding a bog turtle

I’m Bethany Holbrook, and I volunteer at our New York Field Office. You’ve heard from me every week for several months as I share tales from the great state of New York.

With Thanksgiving around the corner, I would like to pay tribute to the work of conservationists in our agency and other resource agencies working to recover at-risk species.

Without the work of these biologists, we couldn’t celebrate the recovery of some of our favorite wildlife species, nor protect others from extinction.

This year, the Endangered Species Act celebrates its 40th anniversary; forty years of protecting imperiled species and their ecosystems.

Sure, the species listing and delisting process can be long and sometimes confusing, but it gives us a reason to celebrate our gratitude for the biologists that uphold this important Act and the species they help save.

Endangered Species Act Display

Did you know that you can propose an animal or plant for protection under the ESA? Any member of the public can do so at any time.

News_fall_web_Page_01Through our candidate assessment process, biologists annually assess and then identify species most in need of the ESA’s protection.

Species are considered for listing based on their population status and the threats.

Sometimes the Service has enough information to suggest that a species warrants protection under the ESA, but first must use its resources to address other species with higher conservation needs, as well as meet court-approved settlement agreements.

Those species become “candidates” for listing. Though candidates do not receive official protection under the ESA, their status often brings federal, state, and private resource agencies together to improve habitat and reduce or remove threats so that the species’ status is improved.

Exhibit ES2 small

Before a species can receive protection under the ESA, it must first be added to the federal List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife or the List of Endangered and Threatened Plants.

These lists contain the names of all species of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fishes, insects, plants, and other creatures that have been determined by the Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration-Fisheries to be in the greatest need of federal protection.

A species is added to the list if any of the following factors cause it to become threatened or endangered:

  • the present or threatened destruction, modification, or curtailment of its habitat or range;
  • overutilization for commercial, recreational, scientific, or educational purposes;
  • disease or predation;
  • the inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms; or
  • the natural or manmade factors affecting its survival.

See the list of species in New York that are listed as threatened, endangered, proposed for listing, or candidate species. See a list of the species that have been delisted.

The Service and its partners are achieving great successes for the many species that are protected by the ESA. Check out stories by state on our interactive map! We’ve added to our Northeast states all year as part of the celebration of the 40th anniversary of the ESA.

The ESA has given us a lot to be thankful for; a gift that will last for generations, thanks to the people who uphold it.

Happy Thanksgiving!

That's me on the right, standing with endangered species biologist Robyn Niver. Credit: USFWS

Goodbye and thank you!

That's me on the right, standing with endangered species biologist Robyn Niver. Credit: USFWS

I’m Bethany Holbrook (on the right), and I’ve been sharing stories from our New York Field Office. You’ve heard from me every week for four months, and I’m now moving on from my work there. Here I’m holding a threatened bog turtle and standing with endangered species biologist Robyn Niver. Credit: USFWS

I’m sad to share with you today that I’ll be moving on from my work at the New York Field Office.

Working for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has been one of the greatest experiences I’ve had.

They have provided me with numerous encounters with rare species, exciting field work and supportive personnel.

I consider myself very fortunate to have had the opportunity to work in the New York Field Office with a group of highly motivated and encouraging conservation professionals. They are wonderful people to work with, which makes it very difficult for me to leave.

That's me holding a juvenile lake sturgeon. Here's my post about it. Credit: USFWS https://usfwsnortheast.wordpress.com/2013/10/30/sturgeon-stocking-success/

That’s me holding a juvenile lake sturgeon. Here’s my post about it. Credit: USFWS

Four months is not a long time to work with an organization, but I have learned so many new skills and important lessons in that time. I would like to share them with you:

  • Collaboration is key: Teamwork is always important in any problem-solving situation, and handling conservation issues is no different. In addition to the support of many biologists and multiple resource agencies, conservationists rely heavily on the public and private landowners to gain access to a large portion of otherwise restricted restoration locations.
  • Restoration takes TIME: As with any project, results usually take a long time, especially when those results are minuscule along the road to recovery. Patience and dedication to a project turns those mini impacts into milestones.
  • Hands-on learning is most effective: You learn and retain much more information when you can rely on all of your senses to strengthen your memory. I would not have had such a memorable experience had I not gone out in the field with biologists to assist with field work.
  • Love what you do: Your work ethic shines through in your job, especially if you love what you’re doing. Pick a career and a concentration that you love, so you will enjoy it and excel at it.
This is Sandie Doran, a biologist with the New York Field Office. Credit: USFWS

This is Sandie Doran, a biologist with the New York Field Office. Credit: USFWS

I would like to thank all of you at the New York Field Office for my exciting experiences in the field, and most importantly, your support and encouragement. And for those of you that have kept up with my posts, thank you for lending me your ear and your support!

I have never met a group of people that truly love their jobs as much as the staff at the New York Field Office. This dedication is visible in every aspect of their job, and makes working with them a pleasure.

Thank you for everything, and I will miss you all!

Photo from the 2013 Great New York State Fair! Credit: USFWS

We’re recruiting for an outreach, education and media position!

I'm Bethany Holbrook, and I work at our New York Field Office. You'll be hearing from me every week! Stay tuned for tales from the great state of New York. USFWS photo with Bethany holding a bog turtle

I’m Bethany Holbrook, and I work at our New York Field Office. You’ll be hearing from me every week! Stay tuned for tales from the great state of New York.

My office in Cortland, N.Y., is looking for an independent, energetic individual with strong communications skills to coordinate and produce outreach materials for the New York Field Office.

The person will engage our local communities, expand and enhance our communication opportunities with both internal and external audiences, and develop media that will showcase restoration projects in the office.

You will learn about conservation practices through your own research and personal experience with biologists in the field, and then share that knowledge with the public through blog articles, Facebook posts, interpretive posters, presentations, fact sheets, website updates, or any other media you would like to use to communicate with Congressional audiences, the general public, news media, and non-government organizations.

The successful candidate will share field experiences with the public, participate in outreach events and work on educational media for the Ithaca Children’s Garden to convey a positive conservation message to future generations of environmentalists. See the below gallery for examples of my work.

This one-year, full-time paid position is available through AmeriCorps. As an AmeriCorps member, you’ll gain new skills and experiences and you’ll also find tremendous satisfaction that comes from helping others. In addition, full-time members who complete their service earn a $5,500 Segal AmeriCorps Education Award to pay for college, graduate school, or to pay back qualified student loans. Some AmeriCorps members may also receive a modest living allowance during their term of service.

If you have a creative and energetic personality, strong writing skills and outreach experience that will help develop our programs, please provide a resume directly to the New York Field Office at 3817 Luker Road, Cortland, New York, 13045, by the closing date of November 22, 2013. 


Questions may be directed to MaryEllen VanDonsel at either 607-753-9334 or maryellen_vandonsel@fws.gov.

The New York Field Office has given me some of the most memorable experiences, and I would highly recommend this position to anyone interested in outreach and conservation.

You receive a great deal of independence to make the position what you think is best, so there is plenty of room for creativity. You will work with a group of individuals who are highly committed to their role as conservationists, which will heighten your experiences while working with them.

I cannot speak highly enough of the staff at the New York Field Office for their support and inviting personalities. I am so thankful I was given this opportunity, and I hope the next outreach coordinator will enjoy it as much as I did.