RIVER'S EDGE

TREE Interview #1: Jeramie Strickland

Welcome to the first of the TREE interviews! Click HERE to read more about the TREE program and its relevance to my book, RIVER’S EDGE.

Today I (Erin) am interviewing Jeramie Strickland, a wildlife biologist for the US Fish & Wildlife Service.

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E:  Hi Jeramie! Tell us the year(s) you were at Thomson Causeway.

J:  From 2006-present.  

E:  At the time, were you a student in high school, college, or graduate school? If you were conducting research, what was your focus?

J:  Started working on the Turtle Camp project during my master’s thesis research work.  Now I am working full time on the Refuge where the Turtle Camp site is located.  I also worked for the Ecological Society of America previously.  In 2006, I sat down with Dr. Janzen and my colleagues (Lori Neuman Lee, Shannol Thol) about my ideas in starting a research program for high school students from urban areas.  This idea had been on my mind for a while, especially since I was from Chicago.  Fred, Shannon, and Lori were receptive of the idea, and the rest was history (smile). Both Fred, Lori and Shannon were the back bone in helping to start the program.  

E:  What was your favorite part of TREE?

J:  Seeing the high school students grow to learn more about field biology, designing their own research project, collecting and analyzing the data, and presenting their work at our FWS Learning Center for the final phase of their internship. 

E:  Can you share an anecdote or funny story about your time there?

J:  In 2010, students were alarmed that their was a creepy guy “stalker” in the woods following them around for several days on and off.  Students lost sleep, went to bathrooms in groups, and were alarmed.  Come to find out, it was a land surveyor (smile).  Also we thought one student was missing, but found the student sleeping in the van the following morning. 

E:  How did TREE benefit you later in your education or career?

J:  Working with the Turtle Camp and TREE crew helped me get my foot in the door with the US Fish and Wildlife Service where I am now a Wildlife Biologist.  

E:  Who would you recommend the TREE program to, and why?

J:  Everyone!  Never know the value in networking and spreading the word to attract more diverse audiences into science.

E:  Is there anything else you’d like people to know about TREE?

J:  It’s the model program to get youth connected to the outdoors and interested in pursuing environment and science related careers. They learn that science, is cool and fun. And the students are able to see the broader implications of their field work.

Jeramie, thanks so much for taking the time to answer my questions! I love that you had the original idea for providing research opportunities for HS students in urban areas—VERY cool!  🙂  I’m sure you’ve motivated several aspiring biologists over the years.

Readers, click HERE to read more about Jeramie’s background and current job as a wildlife biologist. And remember that 10% of April sales of RIVER’S EDGE will be donated to the TREE program. Help support future turtle research and young biologists!  🙂 

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