Where are you now and what are you doing?
I just recently took the position of Working Lands for Wildlife (WLFW) Bobwhite Coordinator for Quail Forever (QF). I was previously the Private Lands Program Manager with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. This is a partnership position funded by Natural Resources Conservation Service through National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. I still live in Georgia. I supervise close to a dozen Farm Bill biologists in 8 states.
What is one way your work is having a positive impact on natural resources and conservation?
Farm Bill programs impact more private land acres for conservation than any other program. In my position, I am able to coordinate multiple state efforts to implement the WLFW model using NRCS programs such as Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). QF’s role is to provide technical assistance to landowners and support NRCS field staff through conservation planning. We are directly impacting acres for Longleaf Pine Restoration, targeting focal species such as Northern Bobwhite and the Gopher Tortoise.
How did your time at Ichauway help prepare you for your current job or career?
Everything about Ichauway prepared me for the jobs that have led me to where I am. From administrative help with grants to tractor work in brood fields. If you look beyond your own project at Ichauway, there is an opportunity to learn a million different things and build a network of colleagues. The passion people have for conservation at Ichauway is contagious. They are a big reason I have continued working in the southeast.
What is one fond memory you have of your time at Ichauway?
I was at Ichauway working on my PhD (UGA ’13) in the Herpetology lab from 2008 to 2012. There are so many memories to choose from- Learning to burn, riding the horses on a quail hunt, Maymester, deer cleaning after a hunt, potluck family dinners. Any time I was able to get out into the field with Lora Smith was always a treat. One early spring we were out in the field helping a herp lab grad student look for snapping turtles. The student had found a prime mud hole. We were taking turns trying to work the turtles out of the thick mud, holding each other up by the pants so we wouldn’t fall in. It was pretty hilarious, until one got my finger (it hurt, but even that was funny once he finally let go)!