Field Notes
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Field Notes Entry   
TOGIAK: A Model Volunteer
Alaska Region, February 11, 2008
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Dave Kuehn
Dave Kuehn - Photo Credit: n/a

If you’ve never met Dave Kuehn, well… you’ve missed out. If you have met Dave, then you know what I’m talking about.

Dave Kuehn has been a large part of several of Alaska’s refuges for the past fourteen years, even though he’s not an Alaska resident and he’s not on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife payroll. So what’s the story behind that? Dave hails from Minnesota. Until his retirement last year, he worked as a research biologist for the State of Minnesota’s Department of Natural Resources. During those years, he used his accrued leave from that position to travel to Alaska and work as a volunteer for the National Wildlife Refuge System, missing only one year since 1993.

Described by a colleague as “an ardent conservationist”, Dave has been a very “hands-on” volunteer who has worn many hats on behalf of the Refuge System. He has spent a total of six years over two separate stretches working with fox and rat eradication programs for Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge (NWR), and was a part of their ledge-nesting seabird population counting program as well. In between his stints with Alaska Maritime, he volunteered his time on behalf of Yukon Delta NWR, performing public use interviews and nest surveys of waterfowl, loons, gulls, cranes, and swans.

For the past three years Dave has volunteered at Cape Peirce for Togiak NWR. He has conducted seabird population counts that have been vital to a long term monitoring program designed to assess the health of nesting seabirds that are a part of the Bering Sea ecosystem.

Dave has been described as a tireless worker, a consummate professional, and a great all around guy to share a field camp with. All told he has volunteered over 3500 hours spanning 14 years to our Alaska’s refuges.

And while Dave’s dedication to preserving our country’s natural resources is both evident and commendable, he does have personal interests beyond his job and volunteer time. Dave is a skilled angler and an outstanding wildlife photographer, as those who know him can attest.

Oh, about the one year (1999) Dave didn’t work for Alaska’s NWR System: he served as a volunteer that year working on a moose harvest registering program for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. The state of Alaska, and in particular our national wildlife refuges, owe a debt of gratitude to dedicated volunteers like Dave Kuehn.

Contact Info: Kristen Gilbert, 907-786-3391, Kristen_Gilbert@fws.gov
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