Hidden Treasure

image1 (1)Come on out to Parker’s Indian Trading Post and add your quarter to the treasure box! Once it’s filled you’ll have the opportunity to go on a treasure hunt. The first person to find the box gets all of the quarters. All you have to do is follow these four steps:

1. Buy something from the store
2. Sign the guest book
3. Add your quarter(s) to the treasure chest
4. Check our website (www.twosistersinthewild.com)for updates about the treasure

 

Samantha Sullivan – Water Pollution Biologist

Samantha SullivanThis is an interview with an amazing person that’s great at her job, Samantha Sullivan. My family and I had the pleasure of meeting her on a hot summer day in a river. Samantha and the Clarion University biology research team taught us how to find, tag, and check their health and sex, and release hellbenders back into the wild. It was a lot of fun and I learned a lot from this experience.

Where do you work and reside?

– Department of Environmental Protection; Oil and Gas Program and Wampum, PA in Beaver County.

 

What is your educational background?

-I graduated from Allegheny Clarion Valley in 2009 and received my bachelor’s in Biology at Clarion University of Pennsylvania in 2013.

 

What was your life like growing up?

– I grew up in Clarion County in the little town of Turkey City. I was and still am very close to my family. A lot of our hobbies growing up revolved around the outdoors (i.e. fishing, hunting, and camping). Growing up I spent most of my time outside playing in the stream/woods behind our house, walking around the neighborhood with friends, cruising around on a four-wheeler, and spending the summer months at our family camp down along the Clarion River.

 

Did you have a nickname? If so, how did it come about?

-My nickname is really just a name derived from my first name: Sammy

 

What are you currently reading? Why?

-I am currently reading the book Wild by Cheryl Strayed. In the past few years my fiancé and I have gotten into hiking. Specifically, backcountry/through hiking. Where we pack up all our gear and our dogs and hike X amount of miles until we find a place to set up camp. Our escape from reality. This book is a documentary of a girl that walked the Pacific Crest Trail, a 2,650 mile trail reaching from Mexico to Canada. Someday I hope to be able to find the time to do a thru-hike such as the Pacific Crest Trail and or the Appalachian Trail on the eastern coast.

 

What are you curious about or exploring in your field of expertise at the moment?

– Pre and post stream evaluations in areas of industry stream crossings. Studying the affect the crossings have on the overall ecosystem/biodiversity of the stream.

– Macroinvertebrate and Amphibian research.
What personal strengths do you find especially helpful in your profession?

– Desire to learn new things and the ability to express the skills you have. Learning never ends. You may think that you get your degree and that’s enough knowledge to get you through, but, every day you need to learn new things and know when to use that learned knowledge. The environmental field is a complex field that has many areas of expertise. Throughout schooling you will get a hint of each spectrum that you can focus on in higher academics and or in a future career. But, there will always be opportunities for further training and additional knowledge. Here at DEP, I may work under Oil and Gas, but I am constantly exposed to other programs, agencies, and complicated project proposals. Where I need to be able to research and enforce new environmental regulations or simply learn new plant identifications to correctly classify a resource.

 

What advise you to offer to parents who want to help their children get involved with the natural world?

– Get them off their phone/ tablets and out exploring. Buy them wildlife/plant identification books and have them go out and see what they can find/id (may be a fun learning experience for the parent as well!). Look into volunteering opportunities. Educational trainings/presentations put on by local agencies (DCNR: guided hikes) and colleges. Earth day trash pick-up or planting trees/flowers in the spring. Anything that gets their hands dirty.

 

To what teams and/or clubs did you encourage students to join?

– Wildlife Society

– Girl Scouts/Boy Scouts

 

Is there a daily routine you enjoy?

– Walking the dogs

– Field site visits at work to identify streams and wetlands.

 

How do you integrate technology in your profession?

– Computer information systems: Microsoft Office is used constantly in my profession. Emails for communications, Excel for keeping up to date spreadsheets, Word to produce acknowledgement letters for approved permits.

– GIS/Google mapping allows me to review aerial imagery for potential resources within a projects boundaries.

– Water quality meters allow me to conduct in the field stream readings to evaluate the quality of the stream.

 

How do you disconnect from technology?

– Hiking

 

What advice would you offer nature-lovers who live in large cities?

– Go explore your local park. Look for environmental base groups that you can join.

 

What advice would you offer nature-lovers who live in rural areas?

–  Find some local trails and go hiking. Get you license and go fishing. Turn off your TV/phone and just sit outside and enjoy your surroundings.

 

Are there specific wildlife or science clubs you find interesting? Why?

– Pennsylvania Chapter of the Wildlife Society. I became a part of this society at Clarion University and actually was able to present our research on chytrid fungus in salamanders during their 2013 conference. The society is a good way to keep up to date with current research and status of the wildlife in our home state.

 

What could a visitor expect to see when they come to visit you at work?

-Depends on if we I’m in the field or in the office. In the field we would most likely be out walking through undeveloped areas verifying an applicant’s permit application. Either that be by determining the presence vs. absence of a stream channel, delineating a wetland by determining the presence of hydric soils, hydrophilic vegetation, and hydrology, and or working with compliance to fix an environmental impact. As for in the office you would be seeing lots of paperwork, reviewing permit applications, constructing approval documents, email chains, and data entry.

 

Steven Schaller – Supervisory Park Ranger at Glacier Bay National Park

In October of 2016, Athia and Steven Schaller, the Supervisory Park Ranger for Glacier Bay National Park, worked together to identify a balance of species for the Glacier Bay National Park Area Starter Deck.

Steven provided some much needed insights and photos, and shared some pretty cool information about his favorite animals, the seabirds, especially about the Kittlitz Murrelet, a species of seabird that has been declining in numbers recently and uses the Glacier Bay area as a primary nesting ground.

EDGE of EXTINCTION Waterfowl Specialist - Steven SchallerSo, naturally, Athia added the seabird to the deck. Steven is even in the deck as well as our Waterfowl Specialist.

Here are Steven’s Answers to our Humans in EDGE questions.

What is your full name and title?
Steve Schaller, Supervisory Park Ranger

Where do you work and reside?
I work at Glacier Bay National Park and I reside in Gustavus, Alaska

What is your educational background?
I graduated from The Ohio State University with a BS in Wildlife Management.

What was your life like growing up?
My life was filled with exploration and discovery. I come from a large family, six children and very supportive parents. They always took us on trips to explore the country and to learn new things about the natural world.

What are you currently reading? Why?
I love reading Lonely Planet books about traveling to other countries. These books provide little snippets about each country and I enjoy planning trips to these countries to learn about their natural world.

What are you curious about or exploring in your field of expertise at the moment?
I am always curious about the National Parks located in other countries. Another good reason, I read these books published by Lonely Planet. They often have chapters about the National Parks for these other nations and the natural wonders, flora, fauna, and historic significance of these places.

Humpback Whale Breaching

Humpback Whale Breaching

What is your favorite Movie? Why?
Raiders of the Lost Ark is my favorite movie. I always envisioned myself traveling around the globe to explore jungles and finding hidden treasures.

What personal strengths do you find especially helpful in your profession?
Passion for the outdoors and respect for all living creatures.

What advise you to offer to parents who want to help their children get involved with the natural world?
Be patient with your children when they are out exploring. When you take them on a hike, let the children decide what to look at and how fast to go. The reward is not the end of the hike, it is the time spent outside together, especially without any electronic devices.

kittlitz's murrelet

Kittlitz’s Murrelet

Is there a daily routine you enjoy?
One of my favorite daily routines is to wake up early (5:00 am) to share my first cup of coffee with my wife on the couch. We take this time to slowly wake up, talk, and to discuss what we want to accomplish with the new day.

How do you integrate technology in your profession?
I created a type of Long Distance Classroom, where Glacier Bay can be visited by school through video-conferencing hardware.

How do you disconnect from technology?
Luckily, I live in one of the few places on earth that does not get Wi-Fi or cellular service. So when I am at home, I can only be reached by my landline. I rarely use the computer when I am at home.

tufted puffin

A Tufted Puffin floating in Glacier Bay

Are there specific wildlife or science clubs you find interesting? Why?
I enjoy going to Audubon Society meetings. Participants are interested in watching birds and provide me with lots of information where to find birds and the species of birds in the local community.

What could a visitor expect to see when they come to visit you at work?
Lots of water, both marine and freshwater. This park gets a tremendous amount of rainfall, which contributes to the growth of these giant trees. The marine ecosystem provides habitat for a variety of marine mammals to survive here. Marine mammals such as humpback whales, orcas, porpoises, seals, and sea otters can find the appropriate habitat to survive.

Rare bird near the office

Capturing photos of a rare bird near the office

Steven Harris, Interim Dean, College of Arts, Education and Sciences

Steven C. Harris, Interim Dean, College of Arts, Education, and Sciences

Steven C. Harris, Interim Dean, College of Arts, Education, and Sciences and Entomologist

One of my favorite people to talk with about nature is Steven Harris. When I attended Clarion University as a student from 1997-2001, Steve was my sounding board for bad ideas related to student projects. His knowledge of the natural sciences especially in his area of expertise, Entomology, is impressive to say the least.

Many times, I would ask him a question about something random I was learning and he would begin with “I don’t know, I guess…” and by the end of the conversation I was given an education, or routed to an expert he knew that would have the answer I was looking for.

As an employee of Clarion University over the last ten years, Steve and I have bounced ideas off each other on numerous occasions.

Once he was aware that Athia and Maia were making a game about wildlife, he was not only on board with helping them research the odd invertebrates they would photograph and bring in, but he also purchased a few sets of the game and sent them off to science teachers he knew.

We have much respect and love for Dr. Steven Harris, and look forward to bending his ear in the future.

Here are Steve’s answers to our questions.

What is your full name and title?
Steven C. Harris, Interim Dean, College of Arts, Education, and Sciences at Clarion University of Pennsylvania

Where do you work and reside?
Clarion University

What is your educational background?
Master’s degree in Wildlife Biology, PhD in Entomology

What was your life like growing up?
Pretty normal, played sports, outdoor activities

Did you have a nickname? If so, how did it come about?
Not really

What are you currently reading? Why?
Mostly read old mystery novels, helps me fall asleep

What are you curious about or exploring in your field of expertise at the moment?
Have been working on caddisflies from Panama

What is your favorite Movie? Why?
Can’t think of any in particular, like old mystery movies

What personal strengths do you find especially helpful in your profession?
Ability to work hard and concentrate on tasks at hand

What is your least favorite subject? Why?
Probably math, not very good at abstract thought

What advise you to offer to parents who want to help their children get involved with the natural world?
Just spend time with them

To what teams and/or clubs did you encourage students to join?
Clubs in their fields of study, or clubs that will expand their horizons

Is there a daily routine you enjoy?
Go to the gym, go to my lab whenever possible

How do you integrate technology in your profession?
I’m a taxonomist and have to draw different insects; the drawing now uses computer technology

How do you disconnect from technology?
I don’t think I’ve ever made the connection to technology

What advice would you offer nature-lovers who live in large cities?
Urban areas typically have natural areas to explore and most urban areas have state parks nearby

What advice would you offer nature-lovers who live in rural areas?
In rural areas you are often surrounded by natural areas, you just need to take advantage of the opportunities, which would also apply to urban areas

What advice would you give to adults who are interested in supporting their local wildlife ecosystems?
Generally natural areas are always looking for volunteers and they are also typically in need of financial support

Are there specific wildlife or science clubs you find interesting? Why?
At this stage in my career, I’m mainly involved in scientific societies, which have annual meetings and associated activities.

What could a visitor expect to see when they come to visit you at work?
They would see me staring through a microscope in a cluttered lab

What are your thoughts about our national park and preserve systems?
I think they are a great idea and would hope they are kept in as much a pristine nature as possible.

Is there anything else you want to share or say?
Take advantage of opportunities, anything is possible, don’t be discouraged.

Chelsea and Kelsey – Student Assistants for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources

Chelsea White, Student Assistant for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources

Chelsea White, Student Assistant for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources

One of the best parts about watching the girls grow and learn is to see them interacting with other young people they meet along the way. Below are two student assistants that submitted answers to us. Chelsea and Kelsey both work for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. We met them through Karen Cleveland. (We are still patiently waiting for Karen to submit her answers so we can blog about her immeasurable assistance introducing Athia and Maia to the Michigan area).

Chelsea and Kelsey, along with three other students comprise the five versions of the Environmental Student card. Without further ado, here are their answers.

What is your full name and title?

Chelsea White, Student Assistant
Kelsey Fisher, Student Assistant

 

Kelsey Fisher, Student Assistant for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources

Kelsey Fisher, Student Assistant for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources

Where do you work and reside?

Chelsea – I work for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources in Lansing, MI and I live in Fowlerville, MI.

Kelsey – I currently work for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Division as a Student Assistant.

 

What is your educational background?

Chelsea – I have a BS from Michigan State University in fisheries and wildlife with a concentration in wildlife biology and management.

Kelsey – I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Science with a major in Fisheries and Wildlife and a concentration in Wildlife Biology and Management from Michigan State University. I attended Lansing Community College for my general education credits prior to attending MSU.

 

What was your life like growing up?

Chelsea – I grew up in a rural area of southeastern Michigan in a town called Fowlerville. I spent most of my weekends in northern Michigan at my family’s cabin. There, we would spend most of our time outdoors mostly hunting and fishing.

Kelsey – I lived in a medium-sized town, but was always engaged with the outdoors. I was lucky enough to grow up in Michigan, surrounded by many lakes, rivers, and terrestrial landscapes. I have been hunting and fishing in Michigan since I can remember. Not only have I enjoyed hunting, I have also enjoyed learning about the biology and interactions between the animals and their environments. My childhood friends and I used to ride our bike around town and play in the local creek, trying to catch frogs and crayfish. I grew up having a variety of pets including two dogs, fish, a guinea pig, and two yellow canaries.

 

Did you have a nickname? If so, how did it come about?

Chelsea – No I actually don’t. Some people call me Chels.

Kelsey – My grandpa calls me Scooter. To this day, I still do not know why.

 

What are you currently reading? Why?

Chelsea – I’m currently reading “The Wayfinders: Why Ancient Wisdom Matters in the Modern World” by David Wade because my other passion is anthropology.

Kelsey – I am currently reading American Buffalo: In Search of A Lost Icon By Steven Rinella. I enjoy learning out hunting heritage and North American wildlife. The interaction of conservation and hunting is important to me and I believe Steven Rinella has a good take on the connections of these two important topics.

 

What are you curious about or exploring in your field of expertise at the moment?

Chelsea – I’m curious about most subjects in wildlife or wildlife management. Particularly, primates and birds.

Kelsey – I am curious about what will happen with the Isle Royale ecosystem in the future. Moose are one of my favorite animals, so I have always been interested in the predator-prey interactions on the island.

 

Chelsea White, Environmental Student Human Card for EDGE of EXTINCTION

Chelsea White – Environmental Student card

What is your favorite Movie? Why?

Chelsea – My absolute favorite movie is Jeremiah Johnson. It’s a movie from the 1970s about a man who goes to live in the mountains. I’ve always dreamed of having a similar lifestyle.

Kelsey – One of my favorite movies is Alone in the Wilderness. The simplicity and real documentation of this movie is what makes it so great. The thought of being out in nature to hunt, fish, and live sounds like a fun experience.

 

What personal strengths do you find especially helpful in your profession?

Chelsea – Endurance and Curiosity

Kelsey – I believe my background in outdoor recreation is a key strength when it comes to understanding management and conservation.

 

What is your least favorite subject? Why?

Chelsea – My least favorite would probably have to be Physics. While I think it’s interesting, I never really could get a good grasp on physical science.

Kelsey – My least favorite subject was math.

 

What advise you to offer to parents who want to help their children get involved with the natural world?

Chelsea – Get them outside and restrict the technology!

Kelsey – Let them explore and play in the dirt or creek if they want to. It is all about having fun and creating a connection with the environment around them. Show them why they should care about nature by spending time with them doing outdoor activities.

 

To what teams and/or clubs did you encourage students to join?

Chelsea – Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, local hunting/conservation clubs (Ducks Unlimited, Pheasants Forever, etc.)

Kelsey – I would recommend joining a local habitat or outdoor club that works to clean up the environment and provide habitat for wildlife in the area.

 

Is there a daily routine you enjoy?

Chelsea – Not particularly, however, I do like sitting down with a good book.

Kelsey – I enjoy watching for wildlife while I commute to and from work.

 

Kelsey Fisher, Environmental Student Human Card for EDGE of EXTINCTION

Kelsey Fisher, Environmental Student card

How do you integrate technology in your profession?

Chelsea – I use the computer daily at work. Believe it or not, technology can be a useful tool when it comes to this field.

Kelsey – Social media has become a large factor in communicating with stakeholder groups. It is a fun way to engage with a diverse group of people and get them interested in the outdoors.

 

How do you disconnect from technology?

Chelsea – Go outside!

Kelsey – I enjoy rustic camping where I can turn off my phone and not need to worry about the time of day.

 

What advice would you offer nature-lovers who live in large cities?

Chelsea – Animals are in cities too, sometimes you just have to look a little harder! Go to a nature center, park, arboretum, or look for birds from your front porch J.  Use public lands to go hunting, fishing or hiking when you have time.

Kelsey – Nature can be found in the weirdest places, you just have to be willing to look for it. Local parks and natural areas can be full of wildlife and adventure.

 

What advice would you offer nature-lovers who live in rural areas?

Chelsea – Take a walk, go birding, hike, or take your dog. Hunt and fish on your property and get others involved.

 

What advice would you give to adults who are interested in supporting their local wildlife ecosystems?

Chelsea – Hunting and fishing both positively help wildlife management and contribute money to habitat restoration and maintenance. If that doesn’t interest you, think about volunteering at a nature center, local DNR, or park.

Kelsey – Contact a local conservation club or even a university outdoor club. Habitat work is so important for local wildlife. Many states offer volunteer opportunities for people who want to help improve wildlife habitat.

 

Are there specific wildlife or science clubs you find interesting? Why?

Chelsea – The Audubon Society and the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International because of my interests.

Kelsey – I was involved with the Michigan State University Fisheries and Wildlife Club. They provided a variety of opportunities including nature hikes, river clean-up days, nest box cleaning, and habitat projects. I am a current member of the National Wild Turkey Federation who promote habitat programs, hunter recruitment and retention, and making sure future generations can enjoy the natural resources.

 

What could a visitor expect to see when they come to visit you at work?

Chelsea – Lots of desks and cubicles, great people, and lots of taxidermy mounts J.

Kelsey – Friendly people, many pictures of Michigan wildlife, and a variety of taxidermy animals.

 

What are your thoughts about our national park and preserve systems?

Chelsea – I think they are so important and vital to get many people outdoors. I worked in Yellowstone National Park a couple years ago and it was one of the best experiences of my life.

Kelsey – I believe it is important for our national park and preserve systems to be available for public us and recreation. These systems are amazing ecosystems and should be available for everyone to enjoy responsibly.

 

Is there anything else you want to share or say?

Chelsea – It’s never too late or too early to get involved in conservation!

___

Chelsea White

Public Outreach and Engagement Unit

DNR Wildlife Division

 

Kelsey Fisher

Student Assistant

Policy and Regulation Unit -Wildlife Division

Michigan Department of Natural Resources