During this season the tower becomes an office for this very important work and the scientist who calls it home for three months is our only full time, paid HawkWatch employee. This year we are so pleased & excited to welcome a new member to our HawkWatch team, Erin Scott. I took some time to interview Erin & can't wait to share her insightful answers with you all. Stop out to visit with Erin & her volunteers this fall during the HawkWatch & meet her in person!
I was born and raised in Nebraska. I graduated from Benson High School (Go Bunnies!). I eventually moved and I have lived in Kansas City, MO for the last 16 years. After working in several job fields I decided to go to college and focus on what I wanted to do in life. It took some time but I now have an Associates of Science - Biology from Metropolitan Community College Kansas City and a Bachelors of Science - Wildlife and Conservation Management from Missouri Western State University.
I have always loved animals, and for a time I thought about being a veterinarian or a zoologist but I wanted to do more. After I moved to Kansas City I started volunteering at Lakeside Nature Center, helping in various ways (My favorite job was always helping with the raptors.) but what really resonated with me was the care they take to rehabilitate ALL wildlife that is native to the state. No creature is more important than the other. Being there really helped me see what I loved to do, so I decided that wildlife conservation and management, was the best path for me. I knew that no matter what job I ended up doing I would be doing something I love.
A good friend has been the counter for the last three years (cough Bethany cough), I came up to visit one weekend and just hung out with her up on the tower, it was so much fun. This summer that same friend, and a mentor both called me about the position being open. They both thought that I should apply, so I did.
That’s tough because I want to see them all, but I have to say my fingers are crossed for a Ferruginous Hawk. That might just make my year.
Yes. Although only on two other projects that were vastly different from each other. I was lucky to have two field seasons (one fall and winter, the other two summers) for both projects. My favorite was working in Southeastern Missouri nest searching for 4 specific species of ground feeding songbirds. When a pair is successful in raising a brood it's a thrill to see.
It varies for everyone, competition for jobs is higher than some people anticipate, and unless you go on to get your masters right away, sometimes those full-time jobs just aren’t available to you. If you are willing to work field jobs, in general, I think the biggest challenges can just be leaving home to work those temporary field positions, meeting new people and living with strangers for three to four months can be difficult, but if you have a positive attitude, it can also be a fulfilling part of the journey, leaving you with lasting professional contacts and friendships.
I get paid to learn more about my favorite subjects, be outside and watch animals do what they do. I never get bored watching a Peregrine Falcon fly past the tower or watching an Eastern Towhee kick around and lift leaves looking for insects to eat.
I don’t have any one big significant project accomplishment, at least not yet. Of the few projects that I have worked on, I’m lucky that I have been able to add a new skill set to my resume each time. Adding new building blocks to a career is always a great thing.
That's easy teleportation. I would save so much time and money by not commuting everywhere. I would probably hit the snooze button a couple more times as well.
Yes ma'am. It’s “meat” and the condiments of your choice squished in between two pieces of bread.
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