Wednesday, February 27, 2013

FWS Biologist Shares Her Peace Corps Experience

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is a proud employer of Peace Corps alumni. In celebration of Peace Corps Week (February 24th - March 2nd), we asked an FWS biologist (and former Peace Corps volunteer) to share her story. 

I served in the Philippines from 1987-1989 where I lived in a small town in the north of the country, and had my own bamboo hut on the Lingayen Gulf. My field was Marine Fisheries and my project was building artificial reefs out of old tires. 

The natural coral reefs had been dying off for several reasons, including dynamite fishing. The artificial reefs were intended to provide habitat for reef animals and plants. My Filipino coworker would arrange to obtain the materials (including BUYING the old rubber tires), and we would travel out to small villages and work alongside the villagers to construct the tire reef modules and cement weights. Then the men would take the completed modules out to the chosen site on a bamboo raft and push them off into the water. I really enjoyed meeting and working with the subsistence fishermen and their families, and seeing how they lived. The Filipino people are very kind and friendly.

Monday, February 4, 2013

FWS Ecologist helps recover threatened plant and restore north Puget Sound Prairie

In December 2012, FWS Ecologist Ted Thomas carefully transported over 3,000 golden paintbrush seedlings (Castilleja levisecta) from the Center for Natural Lands Management nursery in Olympia, WA to the San Juan Island National Historical Park in northwest Washington. Listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act, golden paintbrush provides food, shelter, and habitat to a variety of prairie species in western Washington.
Jerald Weaver and Raena Parsons, National Park Service staff helping to move seedlings from truck to site.
A group of local volunteers from the National Park Service and the San Juan Island community helped plant over 2,000 golden paintbrush seedlings in the park and approximately 1,000 seedlings at a cooperating private land location. The plantings at American Camp are the first plantings of golden paintbrush on a National Park Service unit. Ted, the local volunteers, and NPS staff plan to plant more seedlings after prescribed burns have been implemented to restore additional prairie lands.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Puget Sound Prairies, Science Café Kick-off!

On January 7th, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service kicked off the 2013 Science Café lecture series in Olympia, Washington. This month’s topic focused on Puget Sound Prairies, the Taylor’s checkerspot butterfly and the streaked horned lark (a bird), and the Endangered Species Act. The presentation was co-delivered by FWS Listing and Recovery Program Manager, Jodi Bush, and FWS Ecologist and prairie species expert, Ted Thomas.

During their presentation, Jodi and Ted provided an overview of Puget Sound prairies and how the Endangered Species Act plays a key role in protecting and conserving prairie species and habitat. At the end of their discussion, Jodi and Ted took questions from the audience and thanked the many partners who help with prairie conservation.

Olympia Science Cafés provide an informal atmosphere where community members can meet to deepen their understanding of science and technology. Over 50 people attended this event and we would like to extend a special thanks to Orca Books in Olympia for hosting.

To learn more about Puget Sound prairie conservation please visit