Each summer, the Nantucket Conservation Foundation’s Science and Stewardship Department hires two seasonal Botany and Ecology Field Assistants to help us collect data on a variety of projects throughout the field season. This year, we are very lucky to have Jacob Erle and Scott Fuchs on our team! Jake and Scott will be helping us locate populations of rare plants on our properties, remove invasive species, document the effects of brush cutting and disk harrowing on vegetation community composition and populations of small mammals and insects at our Head of the Plains property, capture, radio-track and monitor breeding bats, and collect and propagate seed from native plants — to name just a few tasks!
Jake and Scott have prepared the following entries for our blog to introduce themselves below:
Right from the start I have had a passion for the outdoors, and it has taken me all sorts of places. The natural world is full of extraordinary organisms with remarkable lifestyles, and I enjoy learning as much as I can about them. I grew up in Binghamton, NY where I studied at Broome Community College; there I did wetland ecology research in the Everglades, and explored the geology of several of our National Parks out West. After transferring to the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY-ESF), I was able to study the plants and animals in the Adirondack Mountains several different times while learning there. It was through SUNY-ESF I landed my first field job doing ecological monitoring of Northern long-eared bats at Cape Cod National Seashore in the summer of 2016, working with the SUNY Research Foundation and National Parks Service. There we used acoustic monitoring and vegetation surveys to see what types of habitats the bats seem to prefer. We also set mist nets to catch the bats and attached nano-transmitters to track them. I had the time of my life being outside every day. The time of day or weather conditions didn’t make a difference to me; I just love being outdoors!
I don’t have one group of organisms I prefer, for I cannot pick just one. I have done research on all kinds of flora and fauna, and I enjoy the versatility of being able to study many different areas of life. Studying ecology on islands really interests me because the organisms there often behave differently compared to their mainland counterparts. It is that kind of diverse field research that grabbed my attention for this job; the opportunity to work on many different projects across multiple island habitats is the chance of a lifetime. The research conducted here is fascinating and the people working on these projects are very wise and experienced. My goal is to conduct graduate research studying island biogeography, and I am looking forward to learning everything I possibly can while stationed in Nantucket to fuel conservation efforts further.
I arrived on Nantucket in late May, coming from the great state of Wisconsin. I enjoy travelling but have never spent time in the northeast before. I have thoroughly enjoyed my short time on the island so far. Here’s a little bit of information about me, if you see me in the field please stop by and say hello!
I obtained my Bachelor’s degree in biology, with an emphasis in ecology, from the University of Wisconsin Whitewater. Throughout my studies I was exposed to classes focused on botany and field research methods and was immediately hooked. My alma mater lies in the kettle moraine region of Wisconsin, an area heavily influenced by Pleistocene glaciation, which has resulted in a myriad of unique plant communities and topography. This area provided the perfect backdrop for a budding naturalist. I spent countless hours hiking in and exploring the plant communities of state natural areas and state forests. I have volunteered with conservation organizations for the past 4 years or so, including The Prairie Enthusiasts and the Wisconsin state DNR. For the previous year and a half I was employed at an ecological restoration company in Madison Wisconsin, working on restoration of prairies, oak savannas, and oak woodlands. While I found this work very rewarding, I wanted to find a position that would utilize my education more and allow me to contribute to ongoing scientific research into conservation, ecological restoration, and land management.
I am thrilled to be joining the extremely talented and enthusiastic team at NCF. I hope to build upon my botany skills, learn about Nantucket’s ecology and natural history, and gain additional experience in biological field research through my time at NCF. I will be working on an array of exciting projects spanning a number of disciplines. My plans for the future include pursuing a Master’s degree, and I can’t think of a better opportunity to prepare me for advancing my knowledge and professional career than this one on Nantucket.
The Nantucket Conservation Foundation is a private, non-profit land trust that depends on contributions from our members to support our science projects, conservation property acquisitions and land management efforts. If you are not already a member, please join us! www.nantucketconservation.org