Jeremy Edwardson, deputy project leader at the Everglades Headwaters National Wildlife Refuge Complex
When Jeremy Edwardson tells you he always wanted the type of job he has with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, you can take him at his word.
While still only an undergraduate pursuing a Bachelor of Science in wildlife management at Tarleton State University in Stephenville, Texas, he’d already built an impressive wildlife-related resume. He was a member of the student chapter of the Wildlife Society; had served as the president of the student chapter of Ducks Unlimited; was a part-owner and the wildlife manager of a hunting outfitting business; had been a wildlife program guide at a prestigious hunting lodge; had led hunts for youths as a certified huntmaster with the Texas Youth Hunting Program; and had worked as a biological science aid as an intern at the Service’s Aransas National Wildlife Refuge.
Jeremy’s love of the outdoors started when he was young. “My dad was great in terms of getting me out hunting and fishing,” he says. “While other kids were indoors playing video games, I was in the woods.” When Jeremy learned that a person could make a career directly related to the outdoors, he knew what he wanted to do when he grew up. “I kind of put my mind to it and followed my dream,” he says.
Jeremy has been with the Service for more than seven years counting his paid internship at Aransas National Wildlife Refuge and work he did at Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge while finishing his master’s degree in range and wildlife management at Texas A&M at Kingsville. His first permanent position with the Service came in 2013, when he was hired as a wildlife biologist with the Service’s Inventory and Monitoring Program/Division of Biological Services in Oklahoma. After serving as an assistant refuge manager of Bayou Sauvage and Delta National Wildlife Refuges in Louisiana, Jeremy came to the Everglades Headwaters National Wildlife Refuge Complex in January 2017, along with his wife and two daughters.
Having worked at refuges in his native state of Texas, as well as in Oklahoma, Louisiana and now Florida, he says, “All of the refuges are different, but each has something special about it.” Jeremy says the Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge, which is part of the refuge complex where he works, is especially noteworthy because “it’s the first refuge for the Service. This is where it all started.”
While hunting and fishing were both childhood hobbies, Jeremy says he now spends more time fishing. “I like being by the water,” he notes. Then he grins and points out, “I can walk a quarter of a mile and I’m in the Atlantic!” He also has long enjoyed training Labrador retrievers for hunting and competing. He currently has two, Oakley and Kori.
“I tend to like labs because of their various personalities and their love to retrieve,” Jeremy says. He adds, “Like people, it is easier to lead them to excel at something if they are doing what they love to do.”
In terms of working outdoors, the same can be said for Jeremy himself.