Monday, May 16, 2011

Outreach Visit With Taylor

Hello, my name is Taylor and I am a 9th grader interested in career possibilities in aquatic conservation.  Last week I visited the Western Washington Fisheries Resource Office of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Lacey, Washington, to meet with their biologists and learn about their jobs and work.

The first thing I did was meet Brad Thompson, the Fisheries Division manager, in the building lobby. He took me back to his office where I asked him a couple of questions, which he gladly answered for me. Then I sat in on a meeting about the hatchery monitoring and evaluation team plans for the summer.

Pond near office
Next I went with Yvonne Dettlaff to go out to the ponds next to the office to try and find frogs and/or frog eggs. She pulled out a booklet that just happened to be one of the booklets my dad’s company makes. We walked around one of the ponds and started looking for frog egg masses. Out of nowhere, a frog hopped in the water. Then another frog did too and floated around a bit, so I grabbed it! I was so excited! Yvonne and I keyed the frog to see what type it was. It was a male tree frog. After that, we realized I was a little over my time limit and was supposed to be with Roger Peters, Roger Tabor and Mark Celedonia. I was escorted up to them and they told me what they did there and showed me some slideshows on how they track the fish with acoustic tags to learn about fish behaviors in different aquatic habitats. One interesting thing I learned was that fish are attracted to the street lights at night on the 520 bridge over Lake Washington in Seattle.

Later I went to see Linda Moore. She works on the blog and I got to see how it is made. Then, I went to see Dan Spencer and Baker Holden. Dan told me about his recent interactions with wildlife and the Youth Careers in Nature camp he leads during the summer. Dan gave me a packet about the camp. He called it “light reading” even though it’s a good 12 pages long. Then we went back to Dan’s office and he showed me pictures of work he had done while at another U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service office in Alaska. The wildlife is so amazing!

Lastly, I went back to Brad’s office and asked him about his favorite subject, CLIMATE CHANGE. He has many observant things to say about it including concerns about potential future changes for fish in Washington. I don’t like it either and if we don’t plan for it, the fish and wildlife may not continue to survive where they are currently located, which would be horrible. We wouldn’t be able to learn about fish and do what we love.

This experience I had job shadowing at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service really opened my eyes to all the possibilities. It has made me realize what I can really do in life.