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 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.