Jennifer Owen-White

A portrait of a woman in a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service uniform
Refuge Manager

7851 Second Street SW
Albuquerque, NM 87105
United States

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About Jennifer Owen-White

Jennifer Owen-White and three Youth Conservation Corps students check out a lizard.

Jennifer Owen-White is the first manager at New Mexico’s Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge, which was established in 2012. Before that, she was refuge manager and visitor service manager at refuges in South Texas. She has worked for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service since 2010.

What she loves about the job:
“Our staff, volunteers and interns are some of the most dedicated, creative and passionate people I have ever known. Our 100+ partner organizations are incredible. Our amazing community members are the backbone of the refuge and the guiding force behind our work and ultimately our success.”

What’s most interesting and rewarding about it:
This eight-minute TED Talk that White gave in 2015 in Albuquerque says it all.

What’s most challenging about it:
“There are so many opportunities to make a difference and only so many hours in a week. I know I need to find balance. I have a responsibility to set the tone and model for my staff and partners the importance of being a well-rounded healthy person working toward work-life balance.” 

Skills you must have to succeed at it:
“Humility. A willingness to really listen. And perseverance.”  

Animal she identifies with:
“Texas horned lizard or New Mexico whiptail lizard. They represent my two homes, and they adapt. They can be timid when need be and camouflage. Or they can be bold and stand up and fight. They are resilient. They can have a loss — like losing a tail to a potential predator — and will keep on going and grow a new tail.” 

To find available refuge manager jobs, go to Search “0485” and/or “wildlife management.” Filter by “U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service” or “Department of the Interior.” The job requires a bachelor’s degree in biological science and specialized study related to wildlife biology, animal ecology, zoology, botany and a range of other relevant fields. Details about education and experience requirements.