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Herb Bergquist, GIS Coordinator
Geographic Information Systems Program
Herb Bergquist grew up in rural Columbia County, Copake Falls, N.Y., which is about 100 miles north of New York City—just a stone's throw from both Massachusetts and Connecticut. He began his education in wildlife and water resource management and later merged his chosen career path in natural resources with his interest in the emerging technology of Geographic Information Systems (GIS).
"The field of GIS has evolved into a technology that permeates practically all aspects of society, with infinite ways to deliver spatial information being added every day," Bergquist says. "We see this from our GPS navigation system in our cars to Google Earth on our home computers. My job is to harness the technology of GIS and provide natural resource spatial information in a way that is usable to both the GIS novice and professional to help them make more informed decisions."
Bergquist received an associate's degree in Fisheries and Wildlife Management at SUNY Cobleskill College and a Bachelor of Science in Water Resources Management with a minor in Wetlands Ecology at the University of New Hampshire, Durham. During that time (1992 – 1997), he worked for both the University of New Hampshire and the State of New Hampshire using his GIS skills in their research divisions. During the summer months and field seasons, he worked as a field biologist and team leader on both the Service's Environmental Monitoring and Assessment Program (EMAP) and the northeast Loon program.
These positions exposed Bergquist to intense biological data collection activities that helped establish a solid foundation in the field of fisheries and wildlife management. A few months before graduation, he was selected for a GIS tech position with the State of New Hampshire's Environmental Services Division, and from there, Bergquist eventually took a position with the Service's National Wetland Inventory in Hadley, Mass. Prior to his college days and related positions , Bergquist worked in the construction trade, the service industry and as property estate manager for a number of years.
"My current position has been extremely challenging, tapping into my traditional GIS skills of spatial analysis and mapping, multi-tasking abilities, my people management skills and my ability to work through difficult, contentious issues that have competing interests," Bergquist says.
Bergquist's parents have stuck around Columbia County. They still spend much of their summer months (as he did growing up) in central Maine, where they have owned a Sebec Lake camp for the past 50 years. Currently Bergquist lives with his wife of 20 years, 9 year-old daughter and their yellow Lab GIGI, about 50 miles to the east of Copake Falls in the Massachusetts hill-town of Worthington. Throughout his adult life, he has stayed in the northeast region, living and working in Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and New York.
Traditional outdoor activities played a significant role early on in his life and in his future academic and career path.
"I grew up hunting, fishing, trapping, hiking, camping and working in the outdoors," he says. " I credit my father for the intense appreciation, respect and love I have for our natural resources and the environment. That appreciation and respect has come from real-life, hands-on experiences coupled with a future academic career that gives greater meaning to my work today. His outdoor ethic and sometimes fanatical approach to bringing the outdoors into my daily life is thought about often and I'm thankful for it."
October 20, 2014