Over the next 2 years, the PTB team will revisit the reintroduction sites to count the number of PTB burrows and adult beetles, which will indicate the success and survival rate of the lab-reared PTBs.
Yesterday we heard from Tesia Lin, a college student who participated in a wildlife techniques course taught in part by employees of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Today we get a glimpse from the other perspective as Mitch Hartley, a migratory bird biologist with the Service, shares his experience teaching the class and why it means more than just imparting knowledge.
Each year I look forward to my drive to Castleton State College in Vermont, anticipating the adventure of working with wildlife biology students from around the United States. For the past seven years, my U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service colleagues and I have “volunteered” our time as instructors in a two-week wildlife techniques course offered by the Northeast Chapter of The Wildlife Society.
The annual course enrolls about 20 passionate and eager students, with aspirations for a career in natural resources. The expertise that I contribute to the course curriculum is focused on migratory bird conservation. In my current job I don’t get out into the field as much as I used to, so working with students in the course gives me a chance to get outside, watch birds and other wildlife, and reconnect with the experiences, both personally and professionally, that initially drew me to a career in wildlife biology.
As part of the course, we take small groups of students on early morning walks, instructing them on common bird survey skills and techniques. We teach them bird identification by sight and song, and demonstrate how to set-up mist nests to safely capture and band songbirds.
Spending time with these students reminds me of the earnest desire and ambition I had as a young person, desperately wanting to be a wildlife biologist. The students are highly motivated, determined, and focused on their goals of a career in natural resources.
Within just 48 hours of working with the students I am always surprised at how well I get to know them and learn about their passion for wanting to make a positive difference in the world. In the process of sharing my own perspective and experiences with these students, I realize again what makes me enthusiastic about my own career, and how lucky I am to have a job that I love.
Several of my Service colleagues also make this extra effort each year to connect with the next generation of conservation professionals. I suspect that, like me, they enjoy the time away from their daily work routines, get re-energized by the students’ youthful passions, and feel a sense of satisfaction knowing that we are helping others. An added benefit of being involved with the course is that it helps build awareness and support for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and our conservation mission.
It is really humbling when, by the end of my two days with the class, nearly every student approaches me with a sincere “thank you,” and expresses their appreciation for sharing my knowledge, experiences and lessons with them.
When I returned home this year from the class my wife asked me one night “Why do you help teach this class each year?” Until she asked, I had not really thought much about it. But it made me realize how important the class is, not only to the students who take the class, but to myself and my other colleagues who have a vested interest in conserving and protecting a natural world for all future generations.
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Celebrate Women’s History Month with us! This year, we’re looking forward by honoring women across the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and female conservationists who are making history in our agency and in conservation. With each #ScienceWoman, we’ll share a photo and a couple questions and answers about her work. Stay tuned for posts throughout the month!
Meet Anne Secord, the chief of the environmental quality branch in our New York Field Office in Cortland. Anne led a team that secured $19.4 million of restoration funds from parties responsible for releasing hazardous substances into the St. Lawrence River since at least the 1950s.
She studied wildlife biology at Cornell University and Virginia Tech. Her female conservation hero is Anne LaBastille, an ecologist who authored scientific papers, popular articles and books like the Woodswoman series and Women of the Wilderness.
Q. What’s your favorite thing about working for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service? A. We work for the only federal agency that provides “in-the-dirt” protection for fish and wildlife resources. The agency is full of people who care deeply about our natural resources and take measurable steps to protect and improve them.
Q. If you could have one incredible animal adaptation, what would it be? A. I would love to be able to fly – to see the world from above it all – and it would shorten my commute.
See more #ScienceWoman profiles!