Thursday, May 7, 2015

Geeky Origins

I've been doing this blog for 4ish years now and I realize I have never even properly introduced myself! No, "Hey, welcome to my blog, my name is Katie and here's why I'm full of geeky goodness" first blog post or even an info page on my blog. So I figure hey, it's Thursday, let's do some good ol' fashioned throwbackin' and talk about how we got to this point and share some old photos of me in the process. 

Yup, that's me, circa age 13. Growing up, I was always chasing and capturing animals, whether it was leafhoppers and grasshoppers in my backyard in North Dakota, moths at recess in 4th grade, or a menagerie of critters at my family's Minnesota lake cabin during my teen years. I was always exploring, discovering, wondering, and getting my hands dirty. By the time this photo was taken, I had already decided I wanted to go to college to become a wildlife biologist.

And whaddya know, five years later, I was enrolled at Colorado
State University in the Wildlife Biology program. This photo was taken at the one and only college sporting event I ever attended at CSU (go Rams!). I spent most of my extra curricular energy involved in the student chapters of The Wildlife Society and The Society for Conservation Biology. Yup, I was in geeky heaven! I concentrated on ornithology, which is the study of birds. To those of you who are regulars to my blog, this should come as no surprise. I spent lots of time birding with my bird geek extraordinaire friend, Jason, helped a grad student with his research on black-capped chickadees, and studied my field guide more than my text books. I also spent a summer living in a small pop-up camper, which I towed around the prairies of Colorado as I conducted bird surveys for the Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory. It was my first field technician job, and it was an amazing experience. Living out of a glorified tent, spending my days getting paid to watch birds, and being surrounded by beautiful prairie ecosystems every moment. 
After receiving my Bachelor's degree, I had another field technician job in California, working for the Point Reyes Bird Observatory (now called Point Blue). I lived in an old dairy farm house with my kick-butt roommate and coworker, Jess, and we lived the geeky dream, counting and banding birds by day, and watching movies and X-Files by night.
This Bewick's wren is less than thrilled to be having his wings measured for science.

Fast forward and there are so many jobs and experiences that have made me who I am as an educator, geek, and animal guru today. I have worked for the US Fish & Wildlife Service, wandered the swamps of Florida, got to work with incredible people and animals at Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo, studied herring gulls in Virginia, and yes, started programs as The Nature Geek at Lettuce Lake Park in Tampa.
Me and Mr. Nature Geek with members of the animal ambassador team at Lowry Park Zoo. I'm holding Ivan, the Eurasian eagle owl, and Mr. Geek has Kajaro, the red-tailed hawk. One of the best times of my life!

I have known I am a geek for a long time. Instead of hiding it, shying away from it, or ignoring it, I embraced it, and being true to my passions has led to some incredible opportunities and amazing experiences. And through this blog, I'm so happy to get to share those experiences with all of you! So keep geeking on my friends, do what you love to do, and good things will come your way.


  1. Fly that geek flag! I do, it's my name! Thanks for the great background!

  2. Love reading your blog! You and I have a mutual friend, Karen Johnson Folsom! She told me about your blog. I work for her at Nature's Classroom and have been blogging about our adventures there for the last 6 weeks or so! Check it out, if you have time, at;

    1. Hi Mary, welcome to the blog! I'm glad you're enjoying it so far! I'll have to thank Karen for sending you my way. I saw on your blog you're teaching outdoor survival, which was the camp I taught while I was at Nature's Classroom. Enjoy it!