|Jennifer Owen-White shares her love of wildlife with members of the Youth Conservation Corps. Credit: USFWS|
Jennifer Owen-White is the first refuge manager for Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge in Albuquerque, New Mexico, the first official urban wildlife refuge in the Southwest. For now, Jennifer is the refuge’s only employee, which means she does everything from planning outdoor experiences to meeting the refuge community to writing lots of reports.
5 questions for Jennifer
1. Did you grow up in a city? If so, where, and what enabled you to develop a connection with nature? If not, why is urban outreach important to you?
I was born in Chicago and grew up in Houston. As a kid I found my love for wildlife, especially reptiles and amphibians, by catching frogs and snakes in the bayous behind my house. I also found my love for interpretation and sharing my passion for wildlife in those same bayous because in the summer I would often catch as many species of reptiles and amphibians as I could and would put together a little exhibit for the other kids in the neighborhood. I would spend my mornings catching the animals and spend the afternoons telling everyone who would listen as much as I could about them. Of course at the end of the day I would let all the animals go so I could start new the next day.