By Kira Mazzi, USFWS
I have a confession.
I love playing in the dirt and mud. I love coming home exhausted and dirty from a hard day working in a river. I love going out and collecting information. I love getting paid to work outside.
I love being a wildlife biologist!
Here I am working with an elk. (Photo: Kira Mazzi/USFWS)
I currently work as a Biological Science Technician in Washington state for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, but I've also worked for the National Park Service at Crater Lake National Park and Biscayne National Park. Additionally, I have worked for the Arizona State Game and Fish Department and organizations in the private sector, too.
I am just at the start of my career, but I feel as though I have already seen and accomplished so much.
At Biscayne National Park, part of my job involved scuba diving and snorkeling along some of the most pristine coral reefs in the world. I got to work on a variety of projects, including the removal of invasive lionfish (Pterois volitans and Pterois miles), researching algae growth on coral heads, and documenting the population dynamics of the Caribbean Spiny Lobster (Panulirus argus).
At Crater Lake, I assessed the chemical and biological health of the lake by netting and trapping invasive fish (rainbow trout and kokanee salmon) and crayfish, collecting water samples for lab analysis, and installing equipment that will allow scientists to monitor the lake 365 days a year.
And now I'm busier than ever. I work in urban streams. I snorkel for freshwater mussels. I study fish and their breeding habits at hatcheries. I tag and retrieve various species of fish and monitor their movements. I also work with fish like the bull trout and mud minnow.
I have a great feeling of accomplishment when I consider all the information I have gathered and all the organisms I have helped. I really feel that there is a truth to the old axiom that one person can make a difference.
I work in the field, on land, and in the water, and I am grateful that I have been able to follow my lifelong dream.
I encourage you to do the same.
Kira Mazzi is a Biological Science Technician for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service