Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Pygmy Rabbit Relocation Wrap-up

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Eastern Washington Field Office, in cooperation with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and numerous other cooperating agencies, recently captured 32 pygmy rabbits from populations in Oregon and Wyoming to support ongoing reintroduction efforts in the Columbia Basin of central Washington. 

WDFW Biologist Penny Becker with rabbit traps in sagebrush country, Oregon

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Careers in Conservation: From Tadpoles to Teaching

In honor of National Women's History Month, we compiled a series of stories from women who work for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.This post is by Kim Flotlin who is a biologist in our Western Washington Fish and Wildlife Office.This is a cross-post from our national blog, Open Spaces

It began with a tadpole.

(Photo: Jim Rorabaugh/USFWS)
I was three years old, and my mom insisted I take a nap each afternoon. (Although, I think it was actually my mom that needed the nap!) Although I acquiesced, I wasn't without power in this daily negotiation. I told my mom I wouldn't nap unless there was a tadpole in a Dixie cup next to my bed. 

So, one of my older siblings was forced to reluctantly take me to the nearest tadpole-bearing puddle about a block from our house. I’d take my Dixie cup with me, and my brother or sister would help me carefully scoop up one or more tadpoles into my little cup of pond water. We’d walk back home, and before my nap, I’d briefly hold those wiggling tadpoles in my little palm, loving the way they felt when they moved in cool, silky motions on my cupped hand, gazing in awed wonder at how their wet skin reflected the light. To my three-year-old eyes, they were beautiful.

I was hooked. I was a wildlife biologist in the making.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Careers in Conservation: It All Adds Up to Success

In honor of National Women's History Month, we compiled a series of stories from women who work for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.This post is by Megan T. Cook who works in the Office of the Science Advisor at our headquarters in Arlington, VA. This is a cross-post from our national blog, Open Spaces

Like many of us in the field, my journey to becoming a wildlife biologist and scientist began as a kid and developed with the help of fantastic teachers and mentors throughout my life. I grew up in urbanized Stockton, California, but my family spent every summer camping at the beach and in the mountains. When I was younger, I used to let slugs from our backyard crawl all over my hands. I also remember literally embracing a boa constrictor at a local zoo. Even as a kid I went for the slimy and scaly!

My mom was a science resource teacher, so curiosity about the natural world was always present and seemed completely normal to me. My high school biology teacher also took us on great field trips to the redwoods and tidepools but my career in wildlife conservation actually started with math.

 Megan with a green sea turtle near the San Diego Bay. (Photo: Megan Cook/USFWS)