NEWS


Apply online at this link to register for the scholarship: https://animexfencing.com/tws


Don't delay! The deadline is December 20!


Each year the Wildlife Society hosts an annual meeting/conference for students or young professionals in the wildlife career field. The Western Section of The Wildlife Society’s Annual Meeting/Conference attracts a diverse blend of over 600 wildlife professionals, managers, students, and academics who study and manage wildlife species, habitats, and issues related to their conservation. In 2023 the 70th meeting will be held virtually or in person on February 7-10, 2023 at the Riverside Convention Center in Riverside, CA. Participants will attend concurrent technical sessions spanning a broad spectrum of topics, learn about a wide variety of wildlife-related studies and projects during the poster session, enjoy a keynote address, engage in a plenary discussion, and take advantage of the opportunity to network with peers and experts. This meeting is especially valuable for students and early career professionals being that there are several relevant workshops offered such as resume building, oral presentation skills, publishing scientific papers, and job interview effectiveness.


We are happy to announce that Animex Fencing has teamed up again with The Wildlife Society SF Bay Chapter to offer up to 4 scholarships for students to ATTEND FOR FREE!


Apply online at: https://animexfencing.com/tws


Don't delay! The deadline is December 20!


For more information on the annual meeting/conference and associated schedule: https://riverside2023.tws-west.org/Western Section Annual Meeting

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Updated: 1 hour ago

Because the ways in which we interact with our natural environment and with each other are interconnected.


 

Welcome to the Wildlifers' Blog, where we step into the world of our fellow wildlife professionals. The array of professional pathways in wildlife science and management is extensive. Not only that -- the Bay Area is a big region, with many diverse ecosystems, people, mirco-climates, and cultures! The goal here is to share experiences and interests among our members on a monthly basis, as a virtual option for low-pressure community engagement and fun. Any member of The Wildlife Society is welcome to participate. We've prepared some pretty simple template questions for you to work from, but please feel free to share more if you like! Please keep all language respectful.


Email TWSBayArea@gmail.com to be featured on the blog!


 


This month we are featuring Wildlifer, Laura Duffy!


County Where you Live: San Francisco

Profession: Wildlife Biologist, Marine Ecologist


 

What are you working on these days?

Tell us about a favorite project or a recent day in the field.

 

I am currently working on a NEPA-driven environmental planning effort for National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), studying the implications of potential offshore aquaculture in federal waters offshore of California. Due to the heavy planning effort (not permitting or regulatory) of the project, it's all behind a computer these days! While I really miss field work and wildlife interactions, for now I am excited to be working on big-picture, marine environmental systems at the crossroads of science and policy. Every day I coordinate in the virtual space among protected resource specialists, fisheries biologists, oceanographers, economists, social scientists, and other subject-matter experts within the agency and research centers, as well as with other agency personnel and local stakeholders.


My favorite place to be is along the coast or out to sea. You learn very quickly when you go offshore if it's the life for you or not -- some people think it is scary or go stir-crazy; I find it exciting and serene. I've worked previously for NOAA/NMFS as a fisheries and protected resources observer (spending up to eight weeks out at sea!), and have done wildlife surveys all over California. It's fun to combine my California and offshore experiences in this position.


 

What sparked your initial interest, and/or what has inspired you most in your career?

 

I was raised on the coast, and could never get enough of the water and the outdoors -- constantly taking in my surroundings, learning how things interacted in my environment. You never know what you may see wandering along a beach; it is such a crazy-dynamic place. You can walk the same stretch over and over and get entirely different experiences depending on the tide, the direction of the wind, time of day, etc. The same drastic changes can happen underwater: the surface may be completely chopped up with wind, no visibility, but if you dive down just three feet or so, a whole world can open up. You never know what's going to pop out from under the surface of the water, or what is happening just beyond your sensory capabilities! The ocean is just crazy interesting, from a physical, biochemical, and ecological standpoint.


 

What resources (and/or who) helped you get to where you are today?

Describe how your career has been enhanced by exposure to diverse people, places, or experiences. How could others, who may be trying to have a career like yours, take advantage of similar opportunities?

 

Between undergrad and returning for a MSc, I worked as a fisheries and protected resources observer in the commercial fisheries, and I would HIGHLY recommend that adventure to anyone! You don't have to be a marine biologist, any natural science degree is required. After an intense training on US Coast Guard safety and specifics of whatever region you choose (I went to Alaska), you go collect biological and statistical data on target species, bycatch, and protected resources at sea. Not only is it a super exciting way to get field experience, it is a great way to gain some financial stability (which could apply anytime in life, but for me it was after spending too much money on beer and pizza in college). Ideally, you spend your entire contract at sea, so many of your monthly expenses are taken care of by living/ working/ eating on the ships, or staying in provided bunkhouses while in port.


The job also provides collaborative access to people from every walk of life. Folks come from all over the world to work in the US fishing fleet -- they may not have similar education, hold the same opinions, or even speak the same language. But on a ship, no one is there without a specific job to do, and everyone relies on each other for a successful trip and for each others' safety. When your "world" is a floating hunk of metal over 1,000 miles from land "world peace" becomes a very achievable goal, no matter who is working shoulder to shoulder with you. You have to figure out a way to cooperating with and respect one another. I've taken that with me in my career and in life.


 

Where is one of your favorite places to play outside in the Bay Area?

 

Fort Funston, part of the Golden Gate Nat'l Recreation Area


Before I lived in San Francisco, I discovered Fort Funston on a day finding dog-friendly beaches in the area. It's one of largest areas that allow dogs off-leash, which can be really fun (if you are a responsible dog owner with a well-trained pup... but I digress...). Its dramatic sandstone cliffs, giant dune systems, native plants, and variety of wildlife amazed me! It's a big expanse of land that overlooks the city from a distance. I've seen barn owls, great horned owls, coyotes in the wooded areas; hawks and ravens soar over the dunes; tons of shorebirds of course; and marine mammals can often be seen surfacing from the beach or bluffs. Sometimes whale bones even pop out of the sand for awhile after some major sediment transport after a storm.


Honestly, a big part of how I ended up going to SFSU for grad school and living in my neighborhood for the last ten years is because I discovered Fort Funston. Beautiful views are easy access on a paved loop from the parking lot, or you can go up to 11-miles round trip into the bluff trails south of the lot. Highly recommend!!



A brown and white dog sitting on a beach bluff overlooking sand dunes, green vegetation, a beach, and the ocean.
Laura Duffy's dog, Jersey, at Fort Funston.

Photo credit: Laura Duffy.



Laura Duffy in the field near Mount Diablo.

Photo credit: Laura Duffy.



Thank you, Laura!


Would you like to be the next Wildlifer featured on the blog?

Email TWSBayArea@gmail.com

And remember to follow us on Social Media!


Instagram: @sfbaywildlifesociety

Facebook: San Francisco Bay Area Chapter of The Wildlife Society


Updated: 1 hour ago

Because the ways in which we interact with our natural environment and with each other are interconnected.


 

Welcome to the Wildlifers' Blog, where we step into the world of our fellow wildlife professionals. The array of professional pathways in wildlife science and management is extensive. Not only that -- the Bay Area is a big region, with many diverse ecosystems, people, mirco-climates, and cultures! The goal here is to share experiences and interests among our members on a monthly basis, as a virtual option for low-pressure community engagement and fun. Any member of The Wildlife Society is welcome to participate. We've prepared some pretty simple template questions for you to work from, but please feel free to share more if you like! Please keep all language respectful.


Email TWSBayArea@gmail.com to be featured on the blog!


 


This month we are featuring Wildlifer, Rachel Roberts!


County Where you Live: Contra Costa

Profession: Wildlife Biologist, Mammalogist


 

What are you working on these days?

Tell us about a favorite project or a recent day in the field.

 

I am currently working for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) as a Senior Environmental Scientists Specialist and my focus is on bobcats. We have been legislatively mandated to produce a management plan for bobcats by 2025. We are currently in the data gathering phase, which means working with remote camera stations, collecting bobcat scats for fecal DNA analysis, and trapping and collaring cats.

Although there are many things about my job that I like, one of my most favorite projects is working with the remote camera stations. I've had many days in the field recently where I have found myself hiking to a remote location in a beautiful landscape in order to check camera stations that have been out for six weeks. I just feel so at home and at my most real self when I'm navigating cross-country with only my experience, instincts, and a good GPS app to guide me. Sometimes you set up a camera station in the perfect "catty" location and don't see anything exciting in the photos when you return. And other times, places that you didn't think would have cats at all, turn out to be packed full of bobcats. I really enjoy the remote camera portion of our bobcat research.

Obviously trapping and handling bobcats is a highlight of the job, but the most rewarding aspect of this part of the project has been working with the Regional CDFW bobcat crews. We have spent a lot of time collectively learning how to trap bobcats and what different methods work in different parts of the state. Each team has undertaken this task with a passion and fervor that proves what fantastic upcoming wildlife biologists we have coming up in this field.


 

What sparked your initial interest, and/or what has inspired you most in your career?

 

I've always wanted to work with animals and then making my way through college classes I realized that I wanted to work outside. The field classes that I took at San Jose State University (SJSU) are really where the sparks began to happen. Going into the field with my college cohort and incredible professors, I learned so much and that's when I was sure that I wanted to pursue wildlife biology. Then a little later my passion for mammals was solidified with my Mammalogy class and small mammal trapping.


 

What resources (and/or who) helped you get to where you are today?

Describe how your career has been enhanced by exposure to diverse people, places, or experiences. How could others, who may be trying to have a career like yours, take advantage of similar opportunities?

 

My professors at SJSU worked closely with the caretakers of the Canada de los Osos Ecological Reserve (CDLO) in Santa Clara County, one of the CDFW lands in the area. As such we spent a lot of time in our field classes going out and doing research and restoration activities at the Reserve. That experience led to my MS thesis research on bobcats at CDLO, which in turn led to my ending up in my current position. CDLO provided me with many of the resources that I needed to get through my graduate degree, and its caretakers and the regional CDFW staff continue to support our bobcat project.

Exposure to diverse people and places has enhanced my career through providing me with varying trials and experiences that have given me a diverse set of skills to pull from. I spent a lot of time volunteering, working for little pay and traveling away from home to seek these experiences and it was definitely worth it. I realize that my fortune at being able to do these things does not ring true for many younger scientists these days, but there is a lot to be said for volunteering at home in your community. Getting involved in local citizen science projects, working to care for your fellow humans, local wildlife, and their precious habitats, helping to clean a waterway, or participating in a BioBlitz or Christmas bird count are all great ways of gaining diverse experiences and making connections that could lead you to that next step in your path.


 

Where is one of your favorite places to play outside in the Bay Area?

 

Morgan Territory Regional Preserve


We used to live very near a trailhead going into Morgan Territory and I spent many years exploring the Preserve. I've had many wonderful experiences on that property and seen it change over the seasons and over the years, making it a very special place in my life.

We were exploring up on a rocky ridgeline one year when we came around a bend and ran smack into a nesting prairie falcon. The frightened bird chased us down the ridge, diving at our heads as we tried to climb through rocks as quickly as possible to get away. A breathtaking and frightening experience.

Another time we were out on a hike pretty far from home, in the early evening time. We were not hiking during the rainy season but there were huge gray clouds heading over us, which was a little confusing. Finally as we were making our way back to the trailhead but still about two miles from home, the clouds opened up and dumped hail. One side of the sky was clear blue and the other was gray and stormy. It hailed on us all the way until we got home. We were soaked and our little dog was so put out by having to run home in a hail storm. It was a fantastic experience!


A selfie photo with a person in the foreground, desert in the background, and mountains on the horizon.
Rachel Roberts checking remote camera stations at the Mojave National Preserve

Photo credit: Rachel Roberts.



A bobcat walking away from the camera, holding a rodent in its mouth.
A bobcat with its next meal.

Photo credit: Rachel Roberts.



Thank you, Rachel!


Would you like to be the next Wildlifer featured on the blog?

Email TWSBayArea@gmail.com

And remember to follow us on Social Media!


Instagram: @sfbaywildlifesociety

Facebook: San Francisco Bay Area Chapter of The Wildlife Society


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