07 January 2022

A Well Rounded Approach: From Lands to Wildlife

Written by: Liam Fressie

 Hello, my friends! it’s wonderful to be back at work after a relaxing holiday, so much has happened here at the Forest Service since my last post, and I’ve been so excited to share what I've been working on.

   One of the best parts about participating in an internship through Hispanic Access and the Forest Service is the shared investment in ensuring that Resource Assistant Interns receive the opportunity to gain experience in fields and subject areas that most interest us. I received my bachelor’s degree in wildlife and conservation biology, so it was no surprise to my mentors and managers that the subject area I find most interesting is wildlife. I was initially apprehensive to mention my preference for wildlife as I was currently working in the lands department, but my MANO supervisor and Forest Service mentor could not have been more encouraging and supportive in my desire to garner more experience in the subjects I was passionate about. This resoundingly supportive reaction is indicative of what it’s like to be a MANO Intern, surrounded by people that truly want to help you be the best version of yourself.

   In an effort to help me gain more experience in wildlife, my Forest Service mentor directed me to our forest's regional Wildlife Biologist. We talked about my background and my experiences in the field thus far and discussed what it was like to be a wildlife biologist in the forest service. It was an invaluable opportunity to have a one-on-one discussion with a professional in the field I hope to enter. As our meeting concluded, it was suggested that I reach out to a biologist working in closer proximity to my offices that was looking for assistance on a project monitoring Bat population.

  For the last few weeks, in addition to my normal duties in the lands department, I have had the privilege to continue to assist on developing and planning for the upcoming wildlife field season. This spring, we will be working in partnership with a national program called NABat which works to connect wildlife researchers across the country for the sake of addressing a growing ecological issue referred to as White-Nose Syndrome.

  White-Nose Syndrome is an exotic fungal disease that first appeared in the U.S. in early 2006 and has wreaked havoc on endemic bat species, leading two of the three most common species in North America. To aide in determining what factors are impacting the fungal spread as well as what factors might help to mitigate, we will be conducting Bat population surveys this upcoming spring. These surveys should help us determine where the largest colonies of bats are located as well as observe any patterns of effect or ineffect that are occurring in our region. 

I couldn’t be more excited to participate in a study that not only interests me deeply, but also has serious real-world impacts and ramifications. This study will be on going, and I’m looking forward to getting back with updates for you all soon. Until then, be healthy and happy and take care of one another!




Agency: U.S Forest Service

Program: Resource Assistant Program (RAP)

Location: Rocky Mountain Regional Office

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