In 2009 I stumbled upon the site “savethefrogs.com” a fairly new non-profit organization devoted to amphibian conservation. Looking for some artwork to spruce up their site I contacted the creator of the non-profit organization, Kerry Kriger about some artwork that I could provide. He loved the artwork so much that he placed it on t-shirts which were sold to raise money for amphibian conservation efforts.
SAVE THE FROGS! being only a year old at the time needed something to grab the audience attention. I suggested to Kerry that a frog art contest would be a good stepping stone into spreading the word on SAVE THE FROGS! and amphibian conservation. The first year of this was highly successful and the success has only grown in the last 5 years!
Kerry Kriger recruited me as the Art Director of the site in 2009.
2011 was the first year I experienced an “out in the field” job. I was hired by Vesper Environmental a consulting firm that deals with the study of bats! For a sophomore in college this was extremely exciting. The study area was in Canton, Pennsylvania ; the purpose of this study was to insure that the endangered Indiana bat did not have roost sites on the purposed Hickock pileline that was being established at the time.
Some of the tasks that I was entrusted with was equipment setup, data collection and entry, and photography. Unfortunately I could not handle that bats that were caught in the mist-nets that were set due to the fact I did not have the pre-rabies vaccination. However the observation of that bats were still thrilling and the experience I gain from the field job was unforgettable.
In 2012 I was employ by the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to do surveys on the endangered species of butterfly, the Karner Blue. This species which is only found in the pine barrens habitat is endangered in New York due to the habitat destruction by development. The Wilton Wildlife Preserve and Park has established protection in these pine barren habitats to insure that these ecosystems stay health, not just for the butterflies but also the other species that utilize this specialized habitat.
The daily task that I was assigned was to survey and count the number of Karners I saw within each transect for eight sites. I used a 10 foot long pole that was divided into sections called bins which were used to categorize how far away the butterfly was from the transect. After a few hours of counting butterflies in the field I would return home to enter the data I collected and send it to my supervisor.
Some techniques I learned was how to build a crude water drainage system, habitat management, girdling trees, and how to use a brush-hog.
This job was really fun, and I enjoyed snapping pictures of the wildlife I saw on the job.
Mine Kill State Park hired me in the summer of 2013 to be their park ranger along with being their personal artist. I was entrusted with typical ranger responsibilities such as closing up the park at closing time, monitoring the trails and assisting the public, and attending the park events.
My days would usually start with me wandering the trails, taking as many pictures as I can to raise awareness of what the park had to offer. I got a hold of their Facebook page and managed to boost their likes from 160 to nearly 500 in just 3 months!
I also started up an art auction that the public can participate in. The theme is to create a piece of artwork inspired by the park. It is in its first year so I will have to see if it becomes successful.
Some things that I learned from working here was trail building and how to build bird boxes.
This job was a good experience for me since it was a little different then the other field job that I had.
In the summer of 2015 I was hired by the University of Amherst Massachusetts to assist a graduate student on her Master’s project on Eastern Whip-poor-wills. The study site was on Fort Drum’s military base. The main objective of this study was to determine how many whip-poor-wills were in the area and what type of habitat the birds were most commonly using. Techniques used to reach this objective goal consisted of audio surveys, nest searches, vegetation surveys, and radio tracking.
This experience was a very challenging one however it gave me a boost of confidence in the field of wildlife.
I was ranger at Mine Kill back in 2013, on my return I became a supervisor ranger and was responsible for two intern rangers as well as six park and recreational aides. My duties included training all staff under my supervision and provide assistance or information to park patrons. Park Rangers are responsible for personal projects to improve the park. The projects I completed during the 2016 season included culvert census, bird surveys, bluebird box monitoring and the revamping of the bluebird trail. I also assist the environmental educator with events and planning events. In the words of my manger the head ranger is the eyes and ears of the park. Keeping the manger informed on what is going on.
Through April 2018 to November 2019 I held the title of biological technician with WEST Inc. My objective was to conduct post-construction surveys at Jericho wind farm in Churubusco, NY. Tasks included avian die-off surveys, studying on scavenge rate of carcasses and the occasional searcher efficiency trail.
My winter survey with WEST was at a different location called Bull Run, in Ellenburgh, NY. This pre-construction survey consisted of point counts of heard and sited raptors in the area.
Both of these surveys gave me lots of experience with taking compass bearings using GPS and honing my bird and bat identification skills.